Timeshares are complicated and generally have an awful reputation. The awful reputation is due to many things but one complaint that comes up over and over again is availability.
While the timeshare salespeople will show you hundreds of potential destinations, getting great resorts during peak time periods is difficult. Planning ahead very early is crucial in order to get tremendous value and maximize timeshare ownership.
Since you need to plan very early, I am constantly booking trips 1 to 2 years in advance. For some people, this can be difficult but for those of you that can schedule things that far in advance, the quality of resorts and actual cost of these trips can be a tiny fraction of the going nightly rates at hotels or even AirBnB's.
Timeshare Strategy - Using timeshare for Ski Weeks
For those of you who do not want to deal with a lot of exchanges, one timeshare strategy that I advocate is using timeshares solely for ski weeks. I wrote about this particular strategy here.
Ski trips are expensive. Aside from the lift tickets, ski rentals, food, and airplane tickets, accommodations cost a fortune during the ski season. The majority of resorts count on making their money during the 3-4 months of the season so nightly hotel rates during ski season is atrocious. $500-$1,000 per night is not unheard of.
Without timeshares, there is no way that I would be able to take as many ski trips as we do. Based on my previous math, ski trip weeks in Studio Units cost me just over $400 for the week - generally less than one night at a hotel.
Timeshare Math Review
As a summary, I pay about $1200 per week in maintenance fees for one Hyatt Beach House week. For this week, I receive 2,000 Hyatt Residence Club Points. When I exchange my points through Interval International, it requires 430 Hyatt Residence Club Points per week in a studio unit during the highest peak time. The exchange fee per week is $199.
Therefore, by exchanging my Hyatt Residence Club points through Interval International, my cost per week in a studio unit is approximately $457.00. For a 1 bedroom unit, my cost would be about double at $721 (870 points multiplied by $0.60 plus $199) and for a 2 bedroom unit, my cost would be about $979 (1300 points multiplied by $0.60 plus $199).
$1200 divided by 2,000 Hyatt Residence Club Points = $0.60 per point
430 Hyatt Residence Club Points multiplied by $0.60 per point = $258
$258 plus a $199 exchange fee charged by Interval International = $457.00
2000 divided by 430 = 4.65 (about 4 weeks)
Basically, with the above math, I can pay $1,828 for FOUR weeks of ski vacations in studio units.
Most people probably spend $5,000 for one week where I am paying $457.
While availability can be difficult, I wanted to show my readers some top notch resorts that are available NOW by booking through Interval International. Although we are in the tail end of the 2018 ski season, I am already looking at 2019 and beyond and found a few great trades that can be booked now.
Mont Trembant, Canada
Park City, Utah
Vail and Beavercreek, Colorado
Exchanging timeshares is an easy process but finding top quality resorts when and where you want to go can be challenging. You simply need to plan FAR AHEAD to get great resorts.
While I definitely can complain with many timeshare owners concerning availability, I have had very good luck during my 12 years of timeshare ownership. The trick is to constantly search, do request firsts and be somewhat flexible. If you can do that, timeshare ownership can be extremely financially rewarding in that you will be able to travel for a fraction of what nightly hotel rates go for.
Using your timeshare solely for ski weeks is a very viable strategy since even if you pay $1200 a year in maintenance fees, $1200 for a ski week in a top quality resort is still a decent price. If you can get multiple ski weeks for the same $1200 (like I do), it is an even better bargain.
If you see any weeks in this post, that you may want, search Interval International quickly and book these immediately. It is somewhat rare to finds these high quality resorts available for ski season so grab them now if you can use them!
What ski destinations do you travel to? What ski timeshares have you visited?