Are timeshare points better than traditional timeshares? Let’s take a look.
When most people think of timeshares, they think of fixed week timeshares, where owners have access to the same property for the same week of the year forever. This fixed week arrangement is one model, but another model revolves around timeshare points. These points-based systems were introduced in 1974. Owners buy a set number of points that give them various vacation options. The available options depend on your specific company. Then you get points every year to use as you choose.
What do you need to know about timeshare points?
Fixed week timeshares have a number of drawbacks. The points system addresses some of these issues.
With points, you could potentially go anywhere, anytime. But there’s no guarantee that what you want will be available when you want it. So, what you gain with flexibility, you lose in security. With a fixed week, you can pretty much count on that week being there for you. Right where you left it. Whether you like it or not. With points, you don’t have that option, but you can choose from a much wider array of times and locations.
However, many of the problems of traditional timeshares persist with points-based systems. Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues with points.
It’s difficult to figure out what is in the points system. Because the value of a point depends on when and where you use it, things get complicated pretty fast. And if you’re part of a vacation club like RCI that allows you to use points for travel, then you need to figure that out, too.
If you’re particularly savvy at untangling complex systems and willing to put in the time to maximize your points and your pleasure, then points can be a good choice. However, not everyone has the desire or the ability to do that. But watch out! Once you have it all figured out, your vacation club may change its rules.
Problem: Maintenance Fees
Maintenance fees are the number one reason for timeshare sales and timeshare exits, and that goes for all types of timeshares. If you were hoping to escape maintenance fees by going for timeshare points, you’ll be disappointed. Points-based timeshares have fees just like any other type of timeshare.
But how are they calculated? Like most aspects of points-based timeshares and vacation clubs, the answer is tricky. In general, your fees will be calculated based on the number of points you own and your home resort. The fees required will vary by location. However, your fees don’t go down if you end up using your points at a resort with lower fees. Your fees remain the same. Resorts calculate your maintenance fees based on your home resort. Even if you never go there.
For example, 2018 maintenance fees for Disney’s Animal Kingdom are $6.76 per point while Hilton Head is $7.72. If Hilton Head is your home resort and you end up staying at Animal Kingdom, you’ll still pay $7.72 per point in fees.
And like fixed week timeshares, you have to pay your fees whether you use your points or not.
Unlike fixed week timeshares where you have a guaranteed week, points-based timeshares can be used anytime. However, getting the time you want where you want can be difficult. For high-value weeks, you’ll need to book as much in advance as possible. Sometimes this will mean scheduling up to 15 months in advance. And if you book during a high-value time, you’ll use more points.
Problem: Unused Points
With fixed week timeshares, when you can’t use your week, you may lose it. With points, if you don’t use them, you may lose them. You may have some options depending on your resort and the specifics of your agreement.
Most timeshare points have an expiration date. Typically you can rollover some unused points for use the following year or extend the expiration date on their points. Of course, you’ll pay an additional fee for that.
Problem: Renting Points
If you do have unused points, you may be able to rent them to other people depending on your specific agreement. However, a rental contract with points is more involved than fixed week timeshares.
Owners seeking to rent points can take the simple route and just rent those points. But keep in mind, it can be difficult to find a renter for abstract points when they have no guarantee of getting a week that works for them.
Another method is to redeem your points for the the “best” possible week and location. Then you can rent out that week. If you can arrange for a high demand week, renting will be much easier. However, this can be risky. If you can’t find a renter, you’ve already used your points. And you may find yourself having to lower your price and lose money.
Another way to approach renting is to keep an eye on ads from people who want to rent and then contact them. This requires more legwork on your end but can be a less risky and more reliable way to rent your unused points.
Problem: Exiting Your Points-Based Timeshare
Although right now, you may have trouble imagining a world where you couldn’t use your points or afford the fees, that can change. People want to exit timeshares for all kinds of reasons. As with fixed week or floating week timeshares, it can be difficult to exit your timeshare. If you are having trouble getting out of your timeshare, we specialize in helping people like you. Contact us at Primo Management Group for a free consultation. No high-pressure sales, we promise!
So, Do I Want to Use Points?
Just like everything points-related, that depends.
If you already own a fixed week timeshare, your resort may decide to convert to timeshare points. And if they do, you can be sure they’ll be contacting you. Remember that high-pressure sales pitch that got you into your timeshare? It’s ba-ack. Fixed week owners are often told they “have” to switch. But this is usually just another kind of timeshare scam.
Typically, you will not need to convert unless you want to. If you’re happy with your week and your location, you can keep everything just as it is. If you do want to convert, your resort will be more than happy to accommodate you…AND they’ll be sure to charge you conversion fees for the privilege of transitioning into a different system.
If you’re a first-time timeshare buyer, we’d recommend that you try renting before buying any kind of timeshare.
And if you need to exit your points-based timeshare, we can help.