Maximize Timeshare Ownership
The ultimate resource to understand, maximize and leverage timeshare ownership to travel in luxury accommodations on a reasonable budget.
The ultimate resource to understand, maximize and leverage timeshare ownership to travel in luxury accommodations on a reasonable budget.
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.
As you probably know, I a big proponent on using timeshares to exchange. As a Hyatt owner, I am given access to Interval International for exchanging. I find that I get tremendous value out of exchanges as oppose to using my timeshare week or even trading my Hyatt Residence Club points for other Hyatt properties.
A few years ago, Interval International implemented E-Plus. Here is a general overview of the E-Plus benefit. As a quick refresher, if you purchase E-Plus, which is $59, in addition to the exchange fee, Interval International lets you exchange your exchanged week for up to 3 times for no additional fee.
The availability of E-Plus significantly changed the ability to use exchanges. Previously, if you exchanged a week and your plans changed, you would cancel your week and be given a replacement week to use BUT you had to pay an additional exchange fee which is currently $219 per week (a sizable amount). Since you need to reserve so far in advance to get good weeks (2+ years), you were taking on a significant risk that you would need to cancel the exchanged week sometime in the future.
E-Plus solved these problems and created a great loophole to extend the use of your points and see inventory for over 2 years. You can read about that here.
For this post, I wanted to showcase my recent use of E-Plus and how I was able to score a fantastic week.
Hawaii for Christmas
If you read my blog, you should definitely read this post about my timeshare "fail". In that post, in addition to showing some unbelievable perks of hotel status, I explained that my plan to receive a timeshare for Christmas week failed and was "stuck" using my hotel points. While it was hardly a fail, I definitely did not receive a timeshare week in Maui during Christmas despite putting in a request a year in advance and searching constantly.
Hoping for a change of luck, I attempted to try to get a Christmas week in Hawaii for 2018. I used the same strategy and booked a hotel stay using points and put in a request first for Christmas week. I was hoping that this year was going to be different.
To my dismay, I DID NOT get a timeshare for Christmas week again. This goes to show you how hard it really is to get a great timeshare for Christmas week. If you are thinking of buying of timeshare with dreams of traveling anywhere you want during Christmas week, think again. The harsh reality is that even with advance planning, Christmas week in prime resorts is almost impossible.
Despite the odds being against me, I put in a request first and did not get Christmas week but did receive the week before Christmas in a one bedroom at the Maui Ocean Club. I have not been to the Marriott property but I have heard good things. There are newer properties that I attempted to get (Westin Nanea and Hyatt Kannapali) but was satisfied with the Marriott.
Despite being a Hyatt owner, I predominantly stay at Marriott properties and have yet to be disappointed.
While I was satisfied with my confirmed week in a one bedroom at the Marriott in Maui, I ALWAYS add E-Plus. While I hate the extra fees involved with exchanging, E-Plus has a lot of benefits with the most important being flexibility. Timeshares are well known for being not flexible and E-Plus has changed that. Despite having a confirmed exchange, you can still view available inventory and make exchanges for no fee.
I find that some prime weeks and resorts are available sporadically throughout the year but a lot of times, some truly spectacular weeks become available at the last minute. As you are aware, plans can change at the last minute and if they do, people have to cancel their confirmed weeks which they may have made 2+ years ago.
When this happens, since the check-in date is so near, these weeks usually get tossed into the general inventory. As a result, if you exchanged into one property but really want to stay at another, keep checking until the day before check-in. E-Plus allows you to exchange your week up to 24 hours before check-in. Some great weeks show up at that point and you can take advantage of it for no fee if you paid for E-Plus!
In my scenario, I had a great week at a very nice property but a one bedroom with a family of 4 is a little tight. I have altered my timeshare strategy to get more points / weeks because I find that for a family of 4, a 2 bedroom is ideal as everyone has their own bed, their own bedroom with TV and there is ample space for everyone to enjoy their vacation.
A studio or one bedroom just isn't big enough to fully stretch out without being on top of one another. While it is doable, a 2 bedroom is ideal and that is predominantly what I aim to get when traveling with a family of 4.
Since I had E-Plus on my confirmed reservation, I started searching periodically for other potential options. Since I know that a lot of good inventory gets deposited at last minute, I increased my searches about 30 days out and made sure to check for any other weeks that was superior to what I had already confirmed.
In another post, I can review Interval International's new app, but the gist is that they now allow you to exchange weeks on the app instead of just getaways. While we were out for dinner, I was playing with the app and saw that a 2 bedroom unit at Marriott Waiohai Beach Club became available for the same week that I had reserved in Maui.
I have never stayed at the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club but we did visit the property about 10 years ago on our first trip to Kauai. It appeared to be a stunning property and the reviews are phenomenal. Since the exact week that I needed came up, I quickly exchanged my week on the app and got confirmation of a 2 bedroom unit at the Marriott Waiohai Beach Club. SCORE!
It did not cost any extra in fees although I did have to "pay" the difference in points which was an extra 430 points.
Therefore, by having E-Plus, I was able to exchange 1 bedroom into a 2 bedroom unit at the last minute for no additional exchange fees and got the desired 2 bedroom at a very prime property in Kauai.
E-Plus is a fantastic addition to Interval International as it provides significant flexibility. Timeshares have never been very flexible but the timeshare companies realize the appeal of flexility which is why so many programs have gone to points instead of weeks and now allow single night stays instead of the historical minimum of 7 nights.
I use E-Plus for EVERY reservation that I do since I love having the extra flexibility. Even I end up getting a great week, I still add E-Plus as you never know when plans can change or life gets in the way of a vacation. Knowing that you have the option to exchange the week for something else in the future without added fees can be very valuable and find that the $59 for that peace of mind is well worth it.
Also, even if you are planning on using the confirmed week, spend some time searching close to check-in as something better could even come along!
Have you used E-Plus? Any wins that you want to share?
The quality of timeshares differ drastically from resort to resort. Some timeshares can be greatly in need of renovations while others are luxurious and spacious accommodations that rival many luxury hotels.
In an attempt to help timeshare owners exchange into quality timeshares, both Interval International and RCI have designations for the timeshares that indicate the quality of the resorts.
Here is an overview of Interval International's resort recognition program.
Here is an overview of RCI's resort recognition programs.
For Interval International, you can see, they have three main recognitions / designations being: Select, Premier and Elite.
I generally try to only exchange into Premier or Elite properties as I do find those to be the best quality resorts. I have not stayed at any "Select" properties but some of them look decent.
In a few recent searches, I came across the Premier Boutique Resort designation.
I was intrigued as many of the timeshare properties that we have stayed with are large resorts and while we have enjoyed many of them, sometimes finding the smaller quieter resort is nice depending on the type of vacation your are looking for.
According to Interval International, these Premier Boutique Resort provide outstanding accommodations in a desirable location with limited amenities. My understanding is that these are smaller "boutique" type properties that have limited rooms and provide more of an intimate vacation experience.
Intrigued with this type of offering, I found the following list of all Premier Boutique Resorts within Interval International.
Full List of Interval Premier Boutique Resorts
Sanur, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia Mahagiri Vacation Club
Kutchan, Hokkaido, Japan Kira Kira
Kutchan, Hokkaido, Japan Yama Shizen
Kutchan, Hokkaido, Japan Youtei Tracks
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario 124 on Queen Hotel & Spa
Kelowna, British Columbia Grizzly Ridge Estates
Ucluelet, British Columbia Embarc - Ucluelet
Whistler, British Columbia Powder's Edge
Rodney Bay Village, Gros Islet, St. Lucia Bay Gardens Beach Resort All Inclusive
Rodney Bay Village, Gros Islet, St. Lucia Bay Gardens Beach Resort
St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands Grande Bay Resort & Residence Club
Soriano nel Cimino, Viterbo, Italy Palazzo Catalani
Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico MÍA at Riviera Maya
Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil Residence Waterfront I and II
Anapoima, Cundinamarca, Colombia La Gran Reserva Anapoima
San Francisco, California Club Donatello
San Francisco, California Inn at the Opera
San Francisco, California The Suites at Fisherman's Wharf
Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii Alii Kai Resort
Branson, Missouri D'Monaco Private Residence Club
Branson, Missouri Trophy Run
Pacific City, Oregon The Cottages at Cape Kiwanda
Telluride, Colorado Bear Creek Lodge
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina The Inlet Sports Lodge
I rarely see these resorts come available through a general search but I have seen a few pop up. There are definitely some great locations and some interesting resorts available.
My plan is to put in a request for a few on the above list and see what becomes available. If I get a week at one of those properties, I will be sure to do a full review.
In case you wanted to do a complete search for only these Premier Boutique Resort properties, here is the complete list of Interval International codes.
MGI, KIR, YAM, YOU, VVR, GZE, CIU, POE, BG1, BGD, GBR, PZZ, MMY, WFR, GRI, CL3, CLD, IN1, INN, SFW, SW1, AIK, DMO, TRJ, CCK, BKL, ISN
Make sure to also take a look at this post for a review of all of Interval International's "best' resorts.
I am definitely interested in visiting one or more of these properties. While staying at a large resort has its benefits, sometimes a smaller, more intimate resort is what is needed. I'm glad that Interval International has these options.
Have you stayed at one of these Premier Boutique Resorts? Make sure to comment below.
The other day I was briefly talking to someone about my blog and they immediately indicated that timeshares are horrible and couldn't fathom why someone would actually own one and felt sorry for someone that actually purchased one.
I wasn't surprised by their reaction as I would say that the vast majority of the population has the same view. Many people know someone who purchased a timeshare for an exorbitant price, can never trade into the destination during the time period that they want, doesn't use it and can't sell it.
Unfortunately, this is a common story which is why I know that a blog like mine is absolutely necessary to avoid these types of stories and begin telling stories like mine.
As I stated before, one of the best ways that I can show readers that timeshare ownership is worthwhile is to show readers how I am using my timeshares and the incredible (sometimes ridiculous) values that I am able to receive.
In case you do not read this blog often, I currently own two weeks at the Hyatt Residence Club in Key West, Florida. By exchanging these weeks into points and exchanging those points with Interval International, I got tremendous value. Here is a look at some of my upcoming trips.
Economics of Exchanging
As I have discused before, here is some quick math to show you the approximate cost of these upcoming trips.
Ignoring the initial cost of these weeks, I pay about $1200 per week in maintenance fees for 2,000 Hyatt Residence Club points per week.
Therefore, for $2,400, I receive 4,000 Hyatt Residence Club Points.
Therefore, for each point I receive, I pay $0.06 cents.
Additionally, since I predominantly use my points to exchange through Interval International, the exchange fee is now $199 per exchange.
Resort Villas at Welk Resorts (San Diego, California)
The next timeshare trip that I booked will be at the Resort Villas at Welk Resorts during Thanksgiving. I was able to receive a 2 bedroom unit at the resort over the Thanksgiving holiday. This resort is located close to San Diego, California and close to Legoland, the key driving force behind getting this unit.
Cost in Points: 1,300
Cost in Dollars: (1,300 x $0.06) $780
Exchange Fee: $199
Cost per Night: ($780 + $199) / 7: About $140 per night.
While this is probably not the absolute steal that I would expect, $140 per night for a 2 bedroom unit during Thanksgiving Week in a high quality resort isn't bad. However, I generally try to do much better with my values but I can't say that this is a bad deal.
As a comparison, the resort is offering the same size unit for the same time period for about $400 per night representing a 65% discount on the retail price.
Marriott Maui Ocean Club Maui, Hawaii
The next timeshare trip planned is in Maui, Hawaii. As I did last year, we are heading there for the Christmas holiday. You can read about my "timeshare fail" here. This year, while I still am attempting to get Christmas week (extremely difficult), we were able to get into the Marriott Ocean Club for the week before Christmas and use points for the other week at the Andaz Maui (awesome resort). We were able to reserve a 1 bedroom for this week.
Cost in Points: 870
Cost in Dollars: (870 x $0.06) $522
Exchange Fee: $199
Cost per Night: ($522 + $199) / 7: About $103 per night.
As a comparison, the resort is offering the same size unit for the same time period for about $538 per night representing over an 80% discount on the retail price. Not too shabby.
Westgate Park City in Park City, Utah during Sundance Film Festival
The next timeshare trip is scheduled for Park City, Utah. I am a huge fan of Park City as it is definitely my favorite ski destination. This year I was able to score a super prime week during the Sundance Film Festival which occurs during the third week of January. I was able to get a one bedroom unit at the Westgate Park City.
Cost in Points: 870
Cost in Dollars: (870 x $0.06) $522
Exchange Fee: $199
Cost per Night: ($522 + $199) / 7: About $103 per night.
As a comparison, the resort is offering the same size unit for the same time period for about $647 per night representing over an 84% discount on the retail price. Sweet!
Marriott Timber Lodge in Lake Tahoe
The following timeshare trip is in Lake Tahoe during ski season. I was able to grab a prime ski week for the last week of February in a Studio Unit. Hopefully, this will be a good ski season as Lake Tahoe's conditions vary year to year.
Cost in Points: 430
Cost in Dollars: (430 x $0.06) $258
Exchange Fee: $199
Cost per Night: ($258+$199) / 7: About $65 per night.
As a comparison, the resort is offering the same size unit for the same time period for about $199 per night representing over an 67% discount on the retail price.
These are my current outstanding trips planned but already have plenty of other requests pending for other destinations.
As you can see, the discounts from the retail rates are completely ridiculous. Just in these four trips, the discounts range from 65% to over 84% based on a comparison of the going rates.
As I say over and over again, timeshares are not for everyone but they are far from being a scam. The key is to learn the system and maximize their use.
I would never be able to afford many of the trip above if it was not for timeshares. Even if I could afford it, I wouldn't want to spend those retail costs for these types of trips. There are better ways to travel well, cheap and in luxury and timeshares can be one of them! Timeshares simply give me the access to more vacations at reasonable rates. It is complicated but doable and the savings can be significant!
What trips do you have planned? Make sure to leave comments below.
When you go to book various RCI resorts, there is a clickable link for some resorts reading "Urgent Information".
You should ALWAYS click that link before you book. Many times, there will be important information concerning the resort such as mandatory inclusive fees, additional fees for various services or policy restrictions such as the "1 in 4 rule".
For example, in my previous post, I explained how I stayed at the Breeze Residence Club in Guanacaste Costa Rica.
This particular resort abides by the 1 in 4 rule and has additional information that you need to review before you book. When you click on "Urgent Information", this is what shows up.
As you can see, in addition to the fee, there is a mandatory beach club fee of $70 per person as well as a charge for the Gym. This is not insignificant.
What is the 1 in 4 rule?
In addition to other important information, the Urgent Information disclosed whether the resort restricts members from trading or purchasing getaways. 1 in 4 rule is stating that a member may only book that particular resort one time in four years. You cannot reserve the particular resort more often than that.
I personally have not tried to reserve resorts that have this 1 in 4 rule more often than once every four years but the stated position is that they can cancel your reservation if you do not abide by this restriction.
Timeshares can be tricky and there can be tons of additional fees added to the cost of reserving a week. You NEED to review the "Urgent Information" before you book so that you can understand these fees and determine if it is still economically feasible.
Many times, it does not make sense to book all inclusive timeshares through RCI or Interval International since the added fees are extremely expensive. It can actually make more economic sense to book directly with these resorts.
The 1 in 4 rule is an important rule to review. The last thing that you want to happen is that RCI unilaterally cancels your reservation after flights or other plans are made that may not be changeable.
I personally dislike the 1 in 4 rule a lot. Interval International does not have a similar restriction. If they did, my view on timeshares could actually change. It is hard enough to find great resorts to trade into and with the 1 in 4 policy, it becomes even harder to obtain quality resorts year after year.
What do you think of the 1 in 4 rule?
As I have explained in multiple posts, there are various timeshare strategies that you an implement in order to maximize timeshare ownership.
One strategy that I implement most often is using my timeshare to exchange through the exchange companies. The two largest and most well known timeshare exchange companies are RCI and Interval International.
RCI and Interval International are competitors as they provide similar services. Most, if not all timeshares, are generally affiliated with either one of these companies as they provide the mechanism for timeshare owners to exchange into other timeshares around the world.
Before you purchase a timeshare, you NEED to know what exchange company that particular timeshare is affiliated with. The importance of this is that you will want to know what other timeshare brands you can exchange into and what timeshare brands you will not be able to exchange into.
For this post, I wanted to show readers the major timeshare brands and their associated affiliation.
Here are the major timeshare brands and their associated affiliation:
Hilton Grand Vacation Club
Wyndham Vacation Ownership
Disney Vacation Club
Bluegreen Resort Vacations
Holiday Inn Club Vacations
Marriott Vacation Club
Vistana Signature Experiences (Starwood Brands)
Four Seasons Residence Club
Shell Vacations Club
Diamond Resorts International
Hyatt Residence Club
Welk Resorts: As you can see, I have listed Welk Resorts as being affiliated with both RCI and Interval International. Welk Resorts just changed affiliation and is now affiliated with RCI. However, it appears that Interval International still has some inventory so you can still reserve Welk Resorts with Interval International and RCI at the present time. In the future, these resorts will likely only be available through RCI.
Four Seasons: Four Seasons only has two of of its properties available through Interval International. The Four Seasons Aviara in North San Diego and the Four Seasons Scottsdale in Arizona. The other locations are not available through either Interval International or RCI as it is likely that existing owners of Four Seasons generally use their weeks or exchange internally for their exchanges.
Before you decide to purchase a timeshare, it is critical that you know the exchange company affiliation of the timeshare or brand of timeshare.
My personal strategy involves exchanging my timeshare through the exchange companies in order to maximize their value. However, it is rare for people to own more than one timeshare or multiple timeshares with affiliations with both RCI and Internval International.
The importance of this is that you need to know the affiliation for the particular exchange company to assess the quality of the potential resorts which you can trade. Even if you plan on going to the same resort year after year, there will be times when you want to exchange your week or points.
As shown above, if my timeshare was affiliated with RCI, I could NEVER trade into a Marriott Vacation Club property. Conversely, if I owned a Interval International affiliated timeshare, I could NEVER trade into a Hilton Grand Vacation property.
While there are smaller exchange companies out there (SFX Resorts) that allows individual owners to deposit their week with them and gives them the opportunity to exchange into other weeks that have been deposit, irregardless of affiliation, inventory and availability will be much scarcer than the main exchange companies of Interval International and RCI.
How important is exchange company affiliation to you? Did you purchase or do you own a timeshare because of the exchange company affiliation?
Timeshare systems are very complicated but once you get a handle on the various in and outs of the programs, there are some clear strategies that you can use to maximize ownership.
EXCHANGING YOUR WEEK
The general strategy that I use is to exchange my weeks through the exchange companies. By doing so, my weeks turn into points and my points are worth more through the exchange companies then through many of the internal trading systems. This is not always the case but I can say that this is generally the case for my particular weeks that I own.
As I discussed on Doctor of Credit, one of my weeks is at the Hyatt Beach House in Key West, Florida. I have never been to this resort and will likely never go. While I would like to visit Key West at some point, my existing week is too valuable through my use of points to simply use my one deeded week. As a result, I will never use my deeded week
WHY I BOUGHT MY WEEK
I bought my Hyatt for a couple of key reasons.
1. I really enjoy Hyatt hotels and resorts. While their footprint is smaller than some of the other hotel chains, their properties are generally top notch.
2. Hyatt has a timeshare property close to where I live. We use it a few times a year and I wanted to be able to have a resort close to home for any years where we did not or could not travel by plane.
When I first bought this particular timeshare, I recognized that there was some value based on our travel and vacation style and the system but did not fully understand the ins and outs of the program. Most first time timeshare owners do not do a ton of research and end of purchasing a timeshare without a plan. I got lucky in that despite not knowing everything, this week continues to work out very well for my families use.
INTRICACIES OF THE HYATT SYSTEM
One of the interesting parts about the Hyatt program is that you can trade it through their interval exchange system or use Interval International for the external system. The interval system allows you to book 2, 3, 4 or 7 nights for various amounts of points.
Here is the overview of the Hyatt system:
There are some ways to maximize your points in the internal system but the amount of points required for the external exchange is generally much better. For example, you need 750 points to get a studio during the highest demand times through the internal system but you only need 430 points to get a studio during the highest demand times through Interval International.
The fees with Interval International are much higher but I still find this to be a better use of points despite the additional cash outlay.
THE HYATT INVENTORY BLOCK
The interesting thing about Hyatt and Interval International is that Hyatt owners cannot trade into Hyatt properties through Interval International. If a Hyatt owner wants to stay at a Hyatt property, you NEED to book through the internal system. Interval International blocks all inventory from Hyatt owners so you cannot see any available exchange weeks or any Hyatt getaways.
I find this a little frustrating as I really enjoy Hyatt properties. However, as a result of this, I actually stay in more Marriott properties than Hyatt properties despite being a Hyatt owner.
It is somewhat surprising than this is what occurs, but since the external exchanges are more advantageous and since Hyatt inventory is blocked through the external exchanges, I end up looking for other high quality resorts which many times are Marriott properties.
Marriott is obviously a large hotel chain but they are also one of the largest timeshare operators. All of the Marriott timeshare properties that I have been to have been high quality accommodations.
BUY A HYATT FOR TRADING TO MARRIOTT
Getting back to the point of my post, if you are interested in staying predominantly in Marriott properties, it may actually be advantageous to purchase a Hyatt timeshare rather than a Marriott property. This is completely counterintuitive but can be a fantastic strategy.
I am actually currently looking to buy a Marriott timeshare solely to be able to trade in Hyatt properties and to get access to Interval International's Hyatt getaway weeks. I'll post more about this process including what property I will choose, the cost and additional strategies resulting from this purchase.
You can definitely exchange into Marriott properties with other timeshare brands that trade through Interval International but I wanted to highlight this particular strategy of buying one brand of timeshare even though you actually prefer staying in an alternate brand of timeshare.
This particular strategy can work in various ways with various different brands but the point of this post was that you need to see what exchange company a timeshare trades through and if there could be some limitations. If there are, you need to fully understand them so you can figure out how to maximize it.
In other posts, I will go through other intricacies of particular programs and what other strategies may work to your advantage.
What strategies do you use? Did you ever consider a similar strategy before purchasing your timeshare?
Hyatt Residence Club owners have a variety of ways to exchange their week / points into various other properties. As mentioned in other posts, the Hyatt Residence Club is a hybrid system so you can either use your deeded week or convert your week into points.
When you have points, you can either exchange your points internally through the Hyatt Residence Club for other Hyatt Residence Club properties or exchange those points through its trading partner, Interval International, for other timeshares.
The one restriction to Hyatt owners is that you cannot use Interval International to exchange into other Hyatt properties. Interval International blocks that inventory so a Hyatt Residence Club owner wanted to use points to trade into other Hyatt properties, they must use the internal trading system.
While this isn't a huge deal, it is meaningful. This is because the point requirements to exchange through Interval can be much less than trading through Hyatt internal system.
For example, in Interval International, if you wanted to reserve a week in a studio during the highest demand travel season, this would require you to use 430 points. In the Hyatt Residence Club system, if you wanted to reserve a studio unit during the highest demand season, Diamond season, this would require 750 points.
This difference in points is almost double. Due to this difference, it can make sense to exchange through Interval instead of internally with Hyatt but the catch is that you cannot reserve Hyatt units through this method since Interval blocks this inventory.
As a result, I generally reserve Marriott units, Four Season Units or other high quality units through Interval using my Hyatt points instead of booking through the internal Hyatt system.
This provides me with a better use of my points but you cannot stay at Hyatt properties. I like Hyatt properties a lot and tend to gravitate to many of their hotel properties. I have stayed at plenty of the Hyatt Residence Club properties and they are all very luxurious and of high quality.
The blocking of Hyatt inventory for Hyatt owners is frustrating but understandable. However, a question came up on whether I could rent Hyatt weeks through Interval Getaways.
As I have discussed here, Interval Getaways allow you to book weeks using cash rather than points and do not have any requirements to sit through any timeshare presentations. The pricing for these weeks are generally fantastic and almost impossible to beat when comparing these prices to standard hotel rates.
Due to the favorable pricing, I wanted to see available inventory for Hyatt properties to rent instead of Hyatt. I tried to search using all of the resort codes for Hyatt (HRP, HNS, HWP, HYS, HSH, HYK, HYN, HBK, HMS, HSL, HYP, HYA, HCC, HYB, HYI, HRA) and nothing came up.
I wasn't sure whether this inventory was purposefully blocked or whether there was simply no availability. I called Interval to check and was told that there is no block on Interval Getaways for Hyatt owners since you are paying cash instead of exchanging your points.
However, upon further research, I found out that this was not in fact the case and Interval blocks ALL inventory, regardless of if it is exchange inventory or getaway inventory for Hyatt properties for Hyatt owners.
This is disappointing as Hyatt properties are some of the nicest but I guess the reason for blocking this inventory is that Hyatt provides the same functionality within their internal system albeit for higher points and cash requirements.
Overall, I think the Hyatt system is one of the best currently although the Hyatt Pure Points systems is on the verge of a complete roll out. Time will tell whether the new Hyatt Pure Points system will be as advantageous but I will be sure to provide a post concerning the new system once all the details are unveiled.
For those of you who want to book Hyatt properties through Interval, the only way to do so would be to be a non-Hyatt owner or have a second account for Interval that is not linked to your Hyatt account.
Can you see Hyatt inventory through Interval Getaways? If so, post the availability below so that everyone can see pricing and availability.
Signing up for an RCI Account without being a timeshare owner: Get access to cheap timeshare weeks without ownership!
While I am a big fan of timeshare ownership, owning a timeshare comes with various hassles and expenses. Timeshare ownership is definitely not for everyone but timeshare vacations can be a very economic way to travel in luxury accomodations.
Timeshares have a bad reputation but most of those complaints involve exchanging, fees, availability and various hidden costs that aren't disclosed at the purchase. Rarely do people complain about quality of the accomodations or amenities.
There are definitely timeshares that are not very nice so you should do you research but there are some great timeshares that easily surpass even some of the finest hotels.
I highly recommend staying in timeshares and reviewing the various systems before completing any timeshare purchase. One great way to do so is through Interval International Getaways which I have discussed here and RCI Extra Vacations.
In this post, we will explore RCI Extra Vacations. RCI Extra Vacations are week long rentals that you can purchase instead of exchanging your timeshare. You need to have an RCI account in order to review these opportunities.
If you do not own a timeshare, YOU CAN STILL GET AN RCI ACCOUNT. In order to do so, you can go to RCI's website and Join. You need to click the link that says you own a timeshare and the form will ask for details on the timeshare owned but there are no deeds to upload or checks confirming your ownership. You can put in any resort that you want provided that it is a RCI affiliated resort. You can search for resorts here:
I confirmed with RCI that anyone can have an RCI account even if you do not own a timeshare!
There are many benefits to depositing a timeshare but having an RCI account will allow you access to RCI Extra Vacations.
RCI Extra Vacations are exactly like Interval International Getaways where you reserve highly discounted weeks for a week long period. The size of the unit and destinations will vary but these Extra Vacations can be an extreme bargain.
There is currently a special where you can reserve a week for as little as $199 for the entire week.
Just an example, here are some current available weeks that I found that can be a great bargain.
In order to Join RCI, the initial cost for a one year membership is $99. In addition, they offer a Platinum Membership which comes with various perks, the most significant is a 10% automatic discount on RCI Extra Vacations.
A 10% discount on these highly discounted weeks can easily cover the cost of the platinum upgrade which is $69 for a year.
There are additional discounts for a longer term membership periods.
Overall, the ability to get access to RCI Extra Vacations for only $99 for a year is a complete bargain. RCI has some quality resorts in its portfolio including those from Hilton, Wyndham and Disney not to mention others.
RCI Extra Vacations is not only a great way to save money on a vacation but a great way to get introduced to the timeshare world without the upfront cost of purchasing a timeshare and the ongoing maintenance.
Maintenance fees vary across units and programs but most RCI Extra Vacation weeks are offered for less money than those units annual dues. While there are definitely perks to owning a timeshare including the ability to book in advance, RCI Extra Vacations are definitely a great deal.
I highly recommend getting a RCI account and spending some time searching the availability to get a better handle on what is offered. For only $99, it is definitely worth it!
Good luck searching!