Timeshare Strategy: Interval Getaways and Interval Exchanges - a pricing discrepancy to be aware of.
For those of you who are new to the site or to timeshares in general, Interval International has two options to reserve timeshare weeks. Interval Getaways are weeks which you rent for cash and Interval Exchanges are those weeks where you trade your week or points in exchange for the week.
Interval Exchanges have exchange fees on top of whatever week or points that you use and currently run $209 per week. E-Plus (the ability to retrade your exchange for 3 times for no additional fee) is in addition to that fee for $59 but as discussed many times before, I highly recommend adding that to almost any exchange simply to give you added flexibility for your plans.
Here are some good posts to review on these subjects:
Most times, my preferred timeshare strategy is to use the points allocated to me via my Hyatt Residence Club weeks and use it to exchange for highly desirable weeks using Interval International. I find that it is a great way to maximize value out of your week and get outsized value for your timeshare.
While that strategy is my go to strategy, a recent week that I confirmed questioned this strategy. I booked a ski week at Sheraton Mountain Villas in Avon / Beaver Creek, Colorado for December 13-20, 2019 using points. I used 870 Hyatt Residence Club points to exchange for the a 1 bedroom suite.
While it is the week before Christmas, it is still a very good ski week.
I was very happy with this trade as I looked up retail pricing for this particular week and if I booked with a third party travel agent, the week would have cost me over $3800. Outrageously expensive in my opinion considering the out of pocket cost to me for an exchange.
As a reminder, I now pay about $1300 per Hyatt Residence Club week which provides me with 2,000 Hyatt Residence Club points. Just taking into account my maintenance fees, I pay about $0.65 per point. Since this reservation cost 870 points, the true cost to me would be $565.50 ($0.65 x 870 points) PLUS the exchange fee of $209 and my obligatory e-plus add on for $59.00.
Therefore, taking all the numbers into the cost for this one week rental would be $833.50.
When you compare the retail price disclosed above, $833.50 for a prime ski week in Avon / Beaver Creek, Colorado is an absolute bargain. It is roughly 78% off the retail price of the ski week.
As I stated, I thought I did very well with this trade and was happy with it. I have not been to a Sheraton property before but many of them get very good reviews and this one has been on my radar for a while.
I have discussed the benefit of using the Interval International iPhone app in the past. They recently updated it to provide more functionality but my general use is to provide the Getaway alerts.
In that post, I gave a better overview Getaway alerts but generally, you can set up alerts on the app so that you will get notified when certain resorts and weeks become available to book with cash. I always have plenty of ongoing alerts for high desirable properties as if they ever become available, they can disappear quite quickly. If you see a week that you want, book it immediately as it will likely disappear within minutes.
I ALWAYS have an alert set up for ski season to see if there are any deals to be had. The other day, my phone buzzed for an alert for Ski Season 2019. I quickly opened the app and looked at what one of my chosen resorts matched. It was a match for the same week which I confirmed at the Sheraton Mountain Villas.
To my amazement, the cash price of the week was ONLY $372!
As you can see, I could book the same exact week that I confirmed with points for $372 for the week or only $53 per night.
As you can see, even if I went forward with my exchanged week, I still came out materially better than if I simply booked directly with the resort or with a third party travel agent. $833 for a prime ski week in a spacious 1 bedroom condo in a top notch ski destination is hard to find and even if I didn't stumble upon the crazy deal above, I would have felt good about this exchange.
However, the point of this post is that you need to look / monitor multiple avenues to get the most value out of your timeshare. In this example, I purchased e-plus for this week for an extra $59. By paying this additional fee, I am able to re-trade the exchanged week for up to 3 times with no additional fee by Interval.
Since I had e-plus associated with this week, the best option to maximize my use of points would be to book the week using cash for $372 per week and use my exchanged week / already allocated points for a much higher and better use. By paying $59, I was able to save $461.50 (833.50 - $372) and get a great ski week for an extremely nominal amount of money.
However, just so you are aware, booking Getways are completely non-refundable. Once you book it, you cannot re-trade a Getaway booking so you need to be absolutely sure that you can make the trip.
Finally, always make sure to check exchanges and getaways to determine the best pricing. Even great exchanges could be available for less money using Interval Getaways. It can definitely pay to do you research.
A good tip would be to set up an alert on the Interval app following an exchange so that you can monitor whether that week becomes available for paying cash. If it does, you can do a similar calculation and see if you wanted to keep you exchanged week or pay cash and use the exchanged week for something more valuable.
Have you discovered any similar pricing discrepancies? Make sure to comment below.