As I have discussed before, I have predominately used Interval International for my exchanges. The two Hyatt weeks which I own have very favorable exchange rates with Interval International which allows me to get almost 5 weeks of travel for my one week (albeit in a studio).
As I previously discussed, I now have control over another timeshare week that I own that trades through RCI. I have been reviewing and spending more time on RCI to determine how I can maximize the RCI week that I own.
The first impression is that it is significantly harder to maximize timeshare ownership through RCI. While this is my initial reaction, this may change but there are some key fundamental differences on the way that RCI works for its "weeks" program.
Exchange Trading Power
The key difference between Interval International and RCI is that RCI uses "Exchange Trading Power". RCI provides a value associated with the week that you deposit that is based on the desirability of the resort, desirability of the week, the amount of lead-time for the specific week that you deposited as well as various other factors.
Once you deposit your week, you are given a trading power. This trading power can be used to exchange into another comparable week provided that the exchanged week is equal to or less than the amount of trading power assigned to your week.
While there are various nuances and intricacies associated with this, this generally means that you cannot exchange a less desirable week for a very desirable week since the trading power will not allow you to do so.
For example, if you own a ski week during mud season, you will almost never be able to exchange that for a Christmas week at the beach.
Interval International Difference
As I stated, most of my direct experience has been with Interval International so I am keenly aware of how to maximize ownership with Interval International. With Interval International, my Hyatt weeks are given a point value and I can use those points to exchange into any other week provided that I have enough points.
While Interval International does have something similar to trading power which they call Travel Demand Index, the way that this is used for Hyatt properties is materially different in that the amount of points required for a specific size unit varies depending on three time periods where there is low, medium and high seasons.
For example, if I owned a 2 bedroom Hyatt week that was worth 1300 points, I can exchange that week for ANY 2 bedroom unit throughout Interval International (mud season week or Christmas week). I only would get restricted on my ability to exchange my 2 bedroom week if I my week was allocated less than 1300 points. At that period of time, the only 2 bedroom week that I would be able to obtain would be a 2 bedroom unit during low or medium seasons, which generally are very undesirable and don't really exist. However, I could use my low demand 2 bedroom unit and get a prime week in a studio or one bedroom.
While they both use something similar to determine "trading power", the material difference between Interval International and RCI is that RCI is vastly more restrictive in that there system uses a point system between approximately 1-35 where if you deposit a week that has exchange trading power of 10, you almost never can exchange into a similar week that has a trading power of 30. To do so, you would have to combine additional weeks and pay additional fees for the ability to do where you would exchange 3 weeks for 1.
For further clarification, Interval International, when trading Hyatt weeks, only have three distinct seasons where you may be limited on the ability to exchange. RCI, on the other hand, has significantly more restrictions where if you have a week that is only 1 trading power below a desired week, you are prohibited to exchange into it unless you combine it with another week and pay an additional fee.
Based on my initial review, this prohibits you from getting outsized value out of your RCI week as they attempt to level the playing field by forcing you to get an equal value week.
Trading power is one of the most confusing aspects of timeshare ownership. When you are sold on a timeshare, the general pitch is that you can exchange your weeks / points into any week / resort desired. The truth is that this does not occur and the quality of your owned week, as determined by Interval International or RCI, will significantly impact your ability to exchange your week for something desirable or to maximize ownership.
While this topic will likely need to be discussed in more detail, the general idea is that RCI is significantly more restrictive in allowing you to exchange a low demand week for a high demand week. Interval International allows you to do so which is how I am able to exchange into prime weeks while owning a less desirable week.
While there are significant more details to add to this post, the point was to give a general overview of trading power and to understand a key difference between Interval International and RCI.
One other material point is that RCI does have RCI Points and RCI Weeks and this is based on my comparison of owning a week with RCI Weeks. The RCI Points system is different and will review that during another post to determine if you can get outsized value from that program.
Please ask questions or add some details below!
Diving Deeper into RCI
If you have been a reader of TTG, you will notice that I have heavily posted strategies and deals predominantly concerning Interval International. As I have explained before, I own two Hyatt timeshare weeks and my grandfather had given me a week at Arroyo Roble which is a timeshare located in Sedona Arizona.
The two Hyatt weeks are affiliated with Interval International and the Arroyo Roble timeshare is affiliated with RCI. My grandfather gave me his timeshare with the understanding that he would use it while he could and upon his passing, I would be able to use it. He wanted to transfer it to me before his passing to make it easier on me and his family.
While I have had access to RCI, I mostly stayed with Hyatt's and Interval International properties and focused most of my strategies concerning those systems.
Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away this September. Fortunately, it was a quick illness but still very unfortunate and he will be missed.
Now that he is gone, the timeshare is officially mine and I have been able to explore RCI more and see some potential opportunities with RCI.
While I still believe that Interval International does have higher quality timeshares than RCI since Interval International is affiliated with Hyatt, Marriott, and some Four Seasons, RCI does have some very nice timeshares including some Wyndham's and Hilton properties.
Going forward, I should be exploring RCI more and finding more diamonds the rough. Stay tuned.
Please reach out if you have any specific questions with RCI!
With the world shut down, airlines ceasing services and hotels shutting down, travel plans have simply stopped. While I normally have dozens of trips planned, I have been cancelling our trips one after the other as the airlines change schedules and the news continues to get worse.
I have no desire on being on a plane at the moment. The close quarters with a bunch of strangers who are potentially carrying this virus is stressful.
However, while the world is fearful at the moment, the reality is that this will not last forever. While there have been many talks about flattening the curve in two weeks, the fact remains that this virus will be around for a while. While we hopefully won't be confined in our homes indefinitely, I would guess that we likely will be home for the next 4-6 weeks.
After staying at home for this length of time, I would guess that most of us will want some fresh air and get away from their house. While planes and cruises are going to be off-limits for a little while longer, the ever popular recession coined "stay-cation" will likely come back in full force.
Instead of getting on a plane, perhaps a road trip or simply heading to a local resort will become the new normal for at least the foreseeable future.
Considering that this will likely be my plan, I have been perusing Interval International and RCI to see their availability. Not surprising, availability has been unbelievable. Almost everyone has cancelled their trips for the next 3-4 months which has provided some opportunities for those who want/need to get away from the house.
While California is currently on a shelter in place order, this will not last forever and do foresee that things will begin to lift in the next 3-4 weeks. The Four Seasons Aviara is a tough timeshare to get into as it is one of the nicest throughout the system. Here is their availability for the next couple of months.
Here are some great weeks at the Four Seasons Scottsdale:
While I strongly advocate staying at home for the foreseeable future for the benefit of the world, there are some outrageous opportunities for some great weeks at some great resorts. I know that we are all likely ready for a break from our house and each of us will have their own comfort level for wanting to travel, I do encourage you to review some of these available weeks and bring back the stay-cation or road trip.
This type of timeshare availability does not come around often and if you have a timeshare in your backyard or one that can be easily reached by car, this could be a good opportunity to get out of house, support the travel industry and take advantage of this rare occurrence of being able to get a week at almost any resort desired.
Please post below some of the weeks that you may get!