Maximize Timeshare Ownership
The ultimate resource to understand, maximize and leverage timeshare ownership to travel in luxury accommodations on a reasonable budget.
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!
In addition to being an avid timeshare owner, I also am very involved with various hotel points and frequent flyer miles. Hotel points and frequent flyer miles are essential to have in your travel arsenal if you want to travel for free or at least open up destinations that you would not travel to due to the exorbitant costs.
I have shared some basic strategies to get hotel and frequent flyer miles but there are plenty of other interesting and unique ways to get them and use them to travel for free or close to free.
Most of the major timeshare brands offer the ability to convert your timeshare points into their hotel loyalty points. Since the Hyatt Residence Club just came out with their 2017 chart, I thought I would start by assessing their conversions.
As shown in the chart above, Hyatt owners has the ability to convert their timeshare week into Hyatt Gold Passport points. These points can be used in various Hyatt hotels around the world. Hyatt has recently announced a material change to their loyalty program and it will now be called the World of Hyatt as of March 1, 2017.
There are some significant changes to the program but the redemption values has stayed the same for the time being.
Per the chart, owners of Fixed Weeks and owners of Floating Weeks have different values assessed. The amount of Hyatt Gold Passport Points given will depend on the season of ownership and the size of the unit.
For example, owners of a 2 bedroom unit in a Gold Season have the opportunity to exchange their 1,880 Hyatt Residence Club points to 77,000 Hyatt Gold Passport points.
I put together the chart below to access the various conversion rates from Hyatt Residence Club to Hyatt Gold Passport.
As you can see, the amounts vary but are generally around 1 Hyatt Residence Club point converts into 40 Hyatt Gold Passport Points.
Also, you should note that owners of Mountain weeks are not given the ability to convert. This is most likely due to the low values associated with those weeks.
Hyatt Gold Passport Points are fantastic! They can be extremely valuable if you know how to maximize their value.
In regards to the stated conversion rates, it is almost certainly a horrendous deal. For example, if you own a Studio unit in Diamond Season, you are able to reserve one week in a studio at various Hyatt Residence Clubs during prime seasons. If you convert to Hyatt Gold Passport Points, you are given 30,000 points which can give you six (6) nights in many category 1 Hyatt Place’s (lowest tier) or 1 night in a Category 7 hotel (highest tier). While some Hyatt Place's are nice, category 1 Hyatt Places are generally airport hotels, small towns or not in highly trafficed tourist destinations.
Additionally, back in September, Hyatt formalized the ability to redeem Hyatt Gold Passport Points into Hyatt Residence Club properties. If you converted your Diamond Studio week (7 nights) and wanted to convert back into a Hyatt Residence Club property using Hyatt Gold Passport Points, (not sure why you do this) you would only be able to stay 1 or 2 nights, depending on the property.
The nightly point requirements for Hyatt Residence Club properties are below.
Overall, converting you Hyatt Residence Club points to Hyatt Gold Passport points is a horrendous deal. It will generally make no sense to do if you wanted to maximize their value.
I think that the Hyatt Residence Club offers the conversion to provide more flexibility since it opens up a vast amount of additional properties and gives the allure of opening up more destinations. However, it does not make a lot of economic sense.
There are tons of additional ways to earn Hyatt Gold Passport Points. Hyatt is a transfer partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards so there are many ways to get Hyatt Gold Passport points through credit card signup bonuses, everyday spend with credit cards or various other offers. If you want a good review of how to earn tons of Hyatt Gold Passport Points, I would start here: upgradedpoints.com/how-to-earn-hyatt-gold-points/
I highly discourage any conversions from Hyatt Residence Club points to Hyatt Gold Passport points. There are much better ways to use your Hyatt Residence Club points.
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A common theme of this blog is that you need to be flexible and plan early in order to exchange into great timeshares. This general strategy is key to making great exchanges and truly maximizing timeshare ownership.
While I firmly stand by this general rule, there are times when some great exchanges or getaways become available at the last minute. Sometimes other travelers cancel at the last moment or the exchange company releases inventory at the last minute hoping that someone will fill an empty room.
I am sure that we all know that Christmas vacation is happening next week so most of the world will likely be traveling. Scoring a christmas week in a luxurious destination is generally difficult which is why you need to put in requests as soon as possible, generally at least one year in advance.
While planning in advance is absolutely key, one of my favorite timeshare strategies that I employ when I do not get a week through requesting early is through the use of booking a hotel and searching timeshares that get released at the last moment.
The general strategy is as follows when I do not get the desired resort or week:
1. Book a hotel at the destination that you desire to travel to. Try to get the best rate possible or ideally book with points. Make sure that the reservation can be cancelled 24 hours in advance. Booking with points is generally ideal as they can likely be cancelled 24 hours before check-in. Additionally, even if this strategy does not work, the vacation would be free!
2. Put in a Interval International Getaway alert for the desired timeshare week. If and when something becomes available, it will alert you. Book immediately if it is at a comfortable price book. Do not wait, as these will disappear in seconds!
3. Constantly search for exchanges up until the very last minute where you can cancel your hotel reservation.
As stated, Interval International and RCI will sometimes release very desireable resorts for key weeks at the the very last second. Here are a couple that I found this morning.
A prime ski week in Park City for less than $500 for the week!
While I strongly advocate planning far in advance, there are times that great weeks and destinations become available at the last minute. These last minute deals can be a fantastic value especially if you were prepared to book a hotel room.
I have personally used this strategy many times and have easily saved thousands of dollars for booking a getaway instead of a the hotel stay. In addition to saving money, we are generally happier with the additional space and cooking facilities.
Specifically, I was able to use this strategy in St. Kitts. The Marriott hotel and timeshare are part of the same complex. We booked hotel rooms for approximately $2500 per room but kept looking for availability through Interval International. We were able to book a 2 bedroom timeshare for approximately $1,000 for the week at the last minute, saving us $1500 and giving us a 2 bedroom units instead of a small hotel room.
In conclusion, BOOK EARLY but if that does not work out, have a plan to keep searching. You could be very surprised with some last minute availability!