Category Archives for "How Timeshare Works"

Jul 14

RCI Directory Research: How to Find the Best Resorts

By Jeff Pierce | Featured , How Timeshare Works , Recent Articles , Timeshare Exchange Tips

Doing RCI Directory research when looking to do a timeshare exchange is required if you want to get the best resorts. Yet, most members do not take advantage of all of the great information found in the RCI directory.

An RCI member asked the question below on Trip Advisor about a recommendation for a resort in Bali, Indonesia. While I always use Trip Advisor when researching my exchange request, the RCI Directory has the best information when you know what to look for.

“I and my wife are planning to go for 5-6 nights for New years to Bali. We are RCI members but not sure which RCI resort to pick in Bali. Please also advise whether we should stay in Seminiyak or Ubud area. What we are looking forward to is private villa with pool and amazing service.

Looking for recommendations.”

At the time there were only 2 answers but neither really answered his question. Nonetheless, I’ve found Trip Advisor a great resource when researching my timeshare vacations. I use it in combination with the RCI directory and member reviews to make my decisions.

I’ve found that the people who vacation at an RCI or Interval International resort that aren’t timeshare members are a bit more critical in their ratings or timeshares. This is probably because they are expecting a hotel experience with daily maid service and room service. I take that into account when evaluating a Trip Advisor rating.

Timeshare owners are typically willing to give up those creature comforts to enjoy larger accommodations with a kitchen and know what to expect. I consider their ratings more accurate. That being said, evaluating ratings by both Trip Advisor and the member reviews in the RCI directory gives me the most information.

RCI Directory Research: Where to StartRCI resort ranking symbols

Many timeshare members rely solely on RCI’s resort awards when determining which timeshare resorts they request. RCI has four tiers of resorts designated by 3 symbols. From high to low, the symbols are Gold Crown, Silver Crown, Hospitality, and the rest, which have no symbol.

RCI members also rank resorts by means of comment cards filled out after their vacation.  Members rank the resort between 1 and 5 stars on check in and check out, cleanliness of the room, service, activities on site and nearby and many other things. RCI compiles them and displays the number of stars and number of reviews next to the resort’s listing in the RCI directory.

rci directory research

Circled in red in the upper left corner is the Gold Crown symbol, the highest ranking RCI gives. Many members look for this first and automatically include it on their request. What stands out to me, however, is there are no reviews by members that have stayed there. If there were, there would be a row of stars and a number of how many reviews they have in the second red ellipse. I would do more RCI Directory research before I’d include this in my request.

rci directory research

The Living Asia Resort & Spa looks pretty good at first with the Silver Crown and the 5 stars. Much of the time there is not a lot of difference between a Gold Crown and Silver Crown resort. I’ve stayed at many. The problem, however, is there’s only 1 review. Being a skeptic, I might suspect that the glowing recommendation was given by someone affiliated with the resort. (Legal Disclaimer: I am not saying this happened at this resort.) I’d continue my research before adding this resort to my search.

rci directory research

This resort listing could jump out at a member that isn’t familiar with RCI’s resort rating symbols only seeing the 5 stars. In fact, it’s at the bottom for quality as ranked by RCI and there is only 1 member rating. There is no possibility I’d consider this resort as a candidate for my vacation.

rci directory research

Here’s is a great candidate! Silver Crown with 4 Stars and 28 reviews. When reading the reviews, they range from the newest to the oldest so you can see how the resort has held up over the years. The newest review was January 20, 2017, and was a solid 4 Stars. The oldest review was in 2008. The 28 reviews were about equally distributed between 3 and 5 Stars. The common complaint from those giving 3 Stars was the long distance to Kuta. The 5 Star reviewers liked the isolation.

You can see how much valuable information you can quickly find when doing RCI Directory research correctly. Let’s look at one more.

rci directory research

Clearly, the Risata Bali Resort & Spa has a lot going for it. It has 26 reviews, 4 1/2 Stars, and 26 reviews. I would read through the reviews and see if it is in the location I’d want to be and include it in my request. Even though the Medwei Bay Retreat was a Silver Crown I wouldn’t hesitate to accept an exchange there because of the reviews.

There are 64 RCI resorts in Bali so I would include a few more in my RCI Directory research because I can quickly see which would be my candidates. I would then check my list of resorts on Trip Advisor for my final determination.

Now that you see how much information is at your fingertips in the RCI directory, and how easy it is, you need to make sure you take all of the steps needed to get a good exchange.

A couple of great, FREE resources for you are The Timeshare Exchange Checklist and How to Exchange a Timeshare: The Definitive Guide. Get them now and enjoy your timeshare exchange.

exchange a timeshare to maui
Mar 29

How to Exchange a Timeshare to Maui – A Case Study

By Jeff Pierce | Featured , How Timeshare Works , How To Do A Timeshare Exchange , Recent Articles , Timeshare Exchange Tips

I received an email from a client wanting to know how to exchange a timeshare to Maui for President’s Week next year and a couple of other questions. I decided to make a case study out of his questions which has turned into a bigger project than I thought.

His questions are very good and I’ll be answering them in the next couple of posts. If you really want to understand the ins and outs of the timeshare world it will be worth your time to read them.

Warning: these next few articles are pretty technical in nature. I know timeshare isn’t rocket surgery but there are a lot more moving parts to it that 99% of the consumer doesn’t know or understand. This isn’t everyday information and is hard to find, especially all in one place. So take a little time to get to know how the timeshare system really works and you’ll enjoy your ownership even more.

A great companion article to read along with this is “How to Exchange a Timeshare: The Definitive Guide.”

How to Exchange a Timeshare to Maui

My client, who I’ve renamed John, owns in the Las Vegas Hilton.  Hilton Grand Vacations, as they are called, is a points based club timeshare. I’ll be talking more about points timeshares and points based club timeshares in the upcoming posts. Whether you own in one of them or not you’ll want to read about them to understand how all timeshare works.

He said, “I do intend to travel within the Hilton network in certain years, but really like traveling to Maui during President’s week.”

Although Hilton has many timeshare properties in the Hawaiian Islands and many other places in the world, they don’t have anything yet on Maui. So John will have to use RCI to exchange a timeshare to Maui.

He went on to say, “I recently put in a request for a 2 bedroom 2 bath in Maui for Presidents week next year (2018)”. He had leftover RCI points from last year and was wondering if they were worthless.

My Response

You’re requesting President’s week 2018, certainly, one of the most demanded weeks of the year. You rolled over your 2016 RCI points but they are only good until 2017 so you will have to extend them and pay a fee, to use them for a search for 2018. So they’re not necessarily gone.

You are requesting in advance…good. You especially need to do this for such a difficult exchange. You are, however, facing 4 very big challenges with this request: first you only want 1 specific date, second, you want a holiday week and one of the most demanded weeks of the year, third, you want Maui, one of the most demanded locations in the world, and last, you want a 2 bedroom. To exchange a timeshare to Maui is one of the harder exchanges you can do but this one is extra hard.

No Way or No Problem

No problem. And I’m not trying to be funny. Here’s what you have going for you: You own a highly demanded property, the Hilton, in a 2 bedroom and you’re starting almost a year early. There are some tweaks you should make, however.

 exchange a timeshare to maui

Front Street Lahaina

Your biggest challenge will be the lack of 2 bedroom inventory in Maui. I don’t know the total of 2 bedrooms but most all of the resorts in Maui, 13 in Lahaina and 13 in Kihei, were built a long time ago when it was more common to build studios and 1 bedrooms than 2 bedrooms. And although I’ve exchanged to Maui 14 times and loved it you shouldn’t expect to find Hilton kind of quality at any of the 26 resorts in Maui.

My suggestions as to how to exchange a timeshare to Maui or any timeshare exchange is found in chapter 4, “The Science of Exchanging” in the RCI Timeshare Exchange Bible starting on page 31.

To sum that up, since you only want 1 specific date you should increase the number of resorts you’d be willing to stay in. I’d guess that probably half the resorts in Lahaina only have 1 bedroom inventory. And the resorts that do have 2 bedroom units will probably only have a few of them.

So when you call RCI back with your list of resorts, ask them how many 2 bedroom suites are in each of the resorts AND how many of them are typically deposited during President’s week. They may or may not answer your questions. If RCI  does give you that information you will be much better prepared for strategizing your request. If they don’t then I suggest you call the resort’s front desk for that information.

I’d did a short video on this. Click Here to watch it.

For example, if RCI tells you there is normally plenty of 2 bedroom inventory during President’s week, (not likely) you could narrow down the number of resorts you’d accept an exchange to the best 3 or 5. If they tell you the opposite you would want to expand your search to 15 to 20.

John went on to ask,

“I am most concerned about how to maximize my chance of getting President’s Week in Maui next year and in future years.  Would I increase my chance of getting a 2 bedroom in Maui next year during president’s week by depositing my 2017 point into RCI and making another request or should I use those for a 2018 request?

My Response

One of the strategies in the Timeshare Exchange Bible is to always deposit next year’s week this year. You’ll get more exchange power that way. So if you are just now depositing your 2017 week then you are losing exchange power. So it follows that if you deposit your 2018 week now and start a request you will have a better chance of getting what you want.

I’d do both. Have 2 of the exact same searches going at the same time. One search from your 2016-17 weeks and one from your 2018 week. Hopefully, your 2016-17 weeks will get you the exchange you want in 2018. If so, you keep your 2018 week searching but change the date to President’s Week 2019.

If you think you’ll want to use your 2018 week within the Hilton system, then you shouldn’t deposit it with RCI. My guess, and I can’t guarantee this, but if you widen out your current search to include 15 or so resorts you’ll get confirmed for 2017. But I don’t work for RCI so that’s why it’s very important for you to pick their brains for their suggestions when you make your request.

All in all, there is a lot to think about and strategy that goes into how to exchange a timeshare to Maui, or anywhere for that matter. You’ll want to bank and request as early as possible, pick the brains of the RCI or Interval International representative and give a variety of resorts you’d accept an exchange to, especially if you have only one date you can travel.

All of this and much more is available to you in the RCI and Interval International Timeshare Exchange Bibles. Less than 5% of timeshare owners know the secrets and strategies I’ve just revealed in this post. Get it all by Clicking Here Now.

In the next post I’ll be revealing some more really good stuff so don’t miss it. If you like my content please like my facebook page and like and comment on my posts.

How to Exchange a Timeshare to Maui

Mar 22

How to Exchange into Top Brand Name Timeshare Clubs

By Jeff Pierce | Alerts-Exchanging Timeshares , Featured , How Timeshare Works , How To Do A Timeshare Exchange , New Timeshare Exchange Resorts , Recent Articles , Timeshare Exchange Tips

Top Brand Name Timeshare Clubs

Hilton, one of the top brand name timeshare clubs, just opened a new property. The headline for an article in the Pacific Business News pronounced…
“New Hilton timeshare property in Hawaii already at 99% occupancy”

Top Brand Name Timeshare Clubs

It went on to explain that the 38-story timeshare property by Hilton Grand Vacations reached that 99% within two weeks of opening on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The 418 units are a mix of one, two and 3 bedrooms and range in price from $40,000 to $400,000 per week according to George Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

With 418 timeshare units just now on the market, and with each condo being sold for 50 weeks of the year, the total number of weeks to be sold is roughly 20,000.  With the Hilton Grand Islander just opening and with such a hefty price tag, you’d think that there would be plenty of availability for those of us who’d like to exchange. So how is it that the occupancy has reached 99% so quickly?

The Challenge with Exchanging into Top Brand Name Timeshare Clubs

The major timeshare developers such as Hilton, Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, Disney, Wyndham and Diamond are all club based. The attraction for the consumer is they do not need to go through RCI or Interval International to exchange their week to one of the other club properties. Much of the available club inventory is kept within the club for the members with a lesser amount being deposited with RCI or Interval International.

The benefits of owning in one of the top brand name timeshare clubs is that the members have priority reservations, reduced exchange fees and consistent quality. Those of you that don’t own in one of the top brand name timeshare clubs and have exchanged with RCI or Interval International know how greatly the quality can vary between resorts.

Is 99% Occupancy in Just 2 Weeks Unusual?

While 99% occupancy is very high, even in top name brand name timeshare clubs, it’s not unusual for a new club timeshare to be over 90%. The club members will have been receiving newsletter updates for many months prior to the grand opening and have already made their reservations. Throw in the fact that the Hilton Grand Islander is in Hawaii and it’s no surprise they reached capacity so quickly.

Timeshare properties in Hawaii as a whole had 90 percent occupancy in 2016, with 46 percent of customers traveling from Japan, 45 percent from the Mainland and 9 percent from other international markets.

What if You Don’t Own Top Brand NameTimeshare Clubs?

There are 4 reasons that timeshare clubs in general, and top name brand timeshare clubs in particular, are so difficult to exchange to:

1. Clubs deposit a smaller amount of their weeks with RCI and Interval International. For the most part, the only time a week is deposited with RCI or II is when a club member wants to exchange out of their club system to a resort destination the club doesn’t have.

2. Their quality is superior and timeshare exchangers know it.

3. Top brand name timeshare clubs are in all of the best vacation destinations.

4. Consumers pay top dollar and top maintenance fees for their ownership. Would you exchange a week you paid $60,000 for to another destination very often if ever?

These 4 reasons are why a studio unit in the new Hilton Grand Islander starts at $40,000 per week and exchanging your timeshare to one of them is so hard. Hard but not impossible.

The Timeshare Exchange Bibles

To even have a chance of exchanging your timeshare into one of these stellar properties, you’re going to need all of the help you can get. You can greatly increase your odds of doing that by applying the secrets, tips and strategies found in the RCI Timeshare Exchange Bible and the Interval International Timeshare Exchange Bible.

Even if your ownership is in one of the top brand name timeshare clubs, you’ll need help if you want to exchange out of your club into another name brand club.

Thousands of Bibles have been sold and those consumers are enjoying their timeshares the way they meant to…getting great exchanges year after year. Some have even gone from wanting to sell their timeshare at a substantial loss to being glad they own.

Click Here to see a video about the Timeshare Exchange Bibles.

I’ve even created a FREE Timeshare Exchange Checklist with 7 tips that you can download so you can get going now. Click Here for checklist.

You’ve spent thousands of dollars buying timeshare but if you’re like most owners you’re not getting all of the benefits out of it. Do yourself a favor and get the checklist and check out the video on the Bibles now. Waiting, especially in the timeshare world, is death. Take action now!

The resort/s referred to in this post are not meant to be taken as my blanket recommendation as the best timeshare exchange to fit your needs. I encourage you to do more research and not just rely on this post and/or the ratings you find in the RCI and Interval International directories.

To further help you out, read my post “Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings in RCI and Interval International” by Clicking Here.

This is a very popular destination with few timeshare units so you will want to plan in advance and make sure you have maximized your trading power.

A good start to increasing your chances of getting a good exchange with RCI or Interval International is to make sure to download your FREE Timeshare Exchange Checklist. You’ll get 7 must do tips that that you can easily implement now because the longer you wait to do things in the timeshare world the less chance you have of getting what you want.

Click Here Now to get your checklist. All of the latest information on exchanging your timeshare in RCI and Interval International. Get tips and inside secrets to exchanging your timeshare, resort reviews, travel tips and more.

Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings in RCI and Interval International
Feb 01

Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings in RCI and Interval International

By Jeff Pierce | How Timeshare Works , Timeshare Exchange Tips

Interval International’s Member Ratings

Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings in RCI and Interval International

If you have every checked into a timeshare and been disappointed, then read on. I’ve found that sometimes the accuracy timeshare ratings in RCI and Interval International to be quite inaccurate. Timeshare exchangers should use the considerable resources of the internet and social media to dig deeper before exchanging their timeshare.

I started this post to be a review of a resort I was considering exchanging to but as I dug into it I ended up finding some pretty negative experiences. I became reluctant to recommend it.

So I changed the intent of this article from reviewing what I thought was a great resort to checking the accuracy of timeshare ratings in RCI and Interval International’s.

RCI’s Member Ratings

Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings in RCI and Interval International

Since this isn’t my first rodeo with RCI and II, I’ve suspected for a long time that both companies may be posting more of the good comments than the bad but I have no solid proof to that effect. Especially if the resort is one of the major players in the industry such as Diamond, Marriott, Hyatt…etc.

Before I commit to an exchange I always read reviews in Trip Advisor, Expedia and other sites to help me determine accuracy ratings. Since even the finest resorts can get some very negative comments from hard to please customers, I’ve learned to read both of the good and bad comments critically in making my assessment. I pretty much throw out the very best and worst comments and average out the rest.

In the process I’ve discovered that a timeshare owner staying at a resort they’ve exchanged into will often give a higher rating than a non-timeshare guest that is paying a nightly rate to be there.

3 Reasons That Affect the Accuracy of Timeshare Ratings:

First, unless you own a high end timeshare like Hyatt, Four Seasons, Starwood or Marriott, many, if not most timeshare owners have come to understand and not expect the services and amenities of a high end hotel chain. They give those things up in return for a more spacious and better equipped condo.  So, timeshare owners are more likely to give a higher rating.

Second, a paying guest at a timeshare resort expects just the opposite. In other words, they expect the same experience as if they were staying at a hotel. They don’t understand, or necessarily care, that the services and maintenance of the resort they are staying at is funded by a maintenance fee paid by the owners.

A number of resorts, will have owners that have stopped paying their fees and/or vote not to raise maintenance fees during the annual HOA meeting. This one-two punch makes it very difficult for some resorts to keep the quality up. The paying customer is thus more likely to give a lower rating.

Third, I suspect that the best rooms get assigned to the resort’s timeshare owners first, exchangers second and paying guests last. The resort manager wants to keep the owners happy so they will continue to use the resort and pay their maintenance fees. He wants to keep exchangers happy to get a higher rating in RCI or Interval International. That leaves the paying guest or renter. They are often times paying a very low nightly rate and don’t constitute the bulk of the business, hence their position in the pecking order.

So, make sure to do a little homework on the internet and social media instead of relying solely on the accuracy of timeshare ratings in RCI and Interval International to get a great exchange.

A good start to increasing your chances of getting a great exchange with RCI or Interval International is to make sure to download your FREE Timeshare Exchange Checklist. You’ll get 7 must do tips that that you can easily implement now because the longer you wait to do things in the timeshare world the less chance you have of getting what you want.

Click Here Now to get your checklist.


May 09

Points Based Timeshares

By Jeff Pierce | How Timeshare Works

I’m often asked whether points based timeshare are preferable to weeks based timeshare.The trend in the industry has been points for years now. In fact, more points are sold than weeks today. Most of the giants in the industry like Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Westin, Disney and Wyndham are points based.

But does that make it right for you? Points can add more flexibility to your ownership with the ability to stay 1 or 2 nights at a time instead of always having to do an 8 days/7 nights stay. Points based timeshares also allow one to get any size suite to fit their needs. A 2 bedroom one year, studio the next, etc. Points based owners typically have any day check in and no black out days or seasons as well.

Many points based timeshares are set up as a “club” and have more than 1 resort for their owners to use their points at. This eliminates having to deal with RCI, Interval International (II) or some of the other smaller exchange companies. Many “Clubs” charge fees for each transaction but not as much as RCI and II.

All of this added flexibility, though, comes at a price. And that price comes in the amount of time and effort you can spend keeping track of points and how best to use them.

It’s nice to be able to get that 2 bedroom for 3 days at the beach  in the prime season one time, and a studio at the lake in shoulder season the next, but you are most likely going to end up with some points that you can’t use at the end of the year. And if you don’t roll them over you’ve lost them.

Rolled over points usually have restrictions on their use further complicating the matter. Ultimately, the loss of points year after year can really add up, especially because you’ve  paid the HOA’s on them.

As with any timeshare membership, weeks based or points based, I highly recommend you get friendly with your “Owner Services” department to learn all of the rules and regulations…especially with points. Go directly to the source because your timeshare salesperson probably gave you a very simplistic explanation of how to use your points.

And if you’re the kind of hands on person that likes managing your timeshare, and you’re good at it, then points can really be advantageous. If you like simplicity, then opt for a fixed or floating week timeshare. Just remember to book in advance if you own floating.

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