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Timeshare Points Programs
Instead of selling timeshare interests by the week, many developers will opt to sell points that can be exchanged for time at a variety of resorts. One of the main benefits of a points-based system is that an owner can vacation more than once a year, while paying a single maintenance fee. Additionally, timeshare points can be redeemed for more than just a stay at a resort. Many programs allow points to be used for airline tickets, hotels, car rentals and even cruises.
These timeshare credits are a great way to get the most out of your vacation dollar. Every year owners are allotted an amount of points which are typically spent on accommodation at a resort that participates in the program. The amount an owner has to pay for a points package is determined by the operator of the program, usually a branded hospitality company such as Marriott, Wyndham or Disney. However, because the resale market operates through existing owners who are willing to sell points they have previously purchased from the developer, resale points packages are a popular method of gaining points for a reduced, affordable price.
Points Based Timeshares
Points-based timeshares allows you the freedom to stay at a wide range of luxury suites, without being fixed to a certain season or the same resort. There are many factors that influence the ability to use points at a resort. Some of those include:
- Season of the year
- Popularity of Resort
- Size of the room
- The length of stay
- The specific nights requested. (weekends and holidays usually require more points)
- Season of the year
There are points programs available that offer vacationers the choice of high-demand seasons. Most point-based timeshares allow you to save or borrow your points over a two year period, where you can use this sum of points to acquire larger accommodations or time at a more popular resort. Some programs allow you to book a shorter stay for a reduced amount of points, thereby providing multiple mini-vacations throughout the course of the year.
Similar to a timeshare ownership, points are sold in either annual or biennial usage. Annual usage allows the owner to get the same number of points renewed every year. Biennial usage renews an owner's points allotment every other year. One concern with a points program is the long-term value of one's points. If the developer is able to increase the number of points required to reserve units at participating resorts, the value of these points may erode. This would force an owner to purchase more points in order to continue vacationing. This is rarely the case, however, as points are typically provided by larger brands in the hospitality industry that can be used at a wide range of resorts in the developer's system.
Points and Exchange Companies
Many timeshare developers allow owners to use their points within timeshare exchange companies, and some exchange companies have created their own points system. Some key providers of points-based timeshare programs are:
- RCI Points
- Wyndham Vacation Ownership
- Marriott Vacation Club
- Hilton Grand Vacations Club
- Disney Vacation Club
- Shell Vacations Club
RCI Points allow vacationers to select from the greatest number of resorts, with nearly 4,500 RCI-affiliated timeshare resorts around the world. A pioneering exchange company, RCI Points allows its members to also exchange points toward travel-related services such as airline tickets, rental cars and group tours.
Wyndham offers a vast collection of luxury suites across the globe. Through an innovative points-based system, this timeshare behemoth allows its owners to use points in over 190 resorts within the Wyndham network. The largest timeshare ownership program in the world, Wyndham is a points system used by 900,000 satisfied owner families.
Marriott remains a stellar brand in the hospitality industry. In 2011, Marriott Vacation Club introduced a points program that provides a vacation in any of the 54 Marriott timeshare resorts within its network. There is high demand for Marriott points on the resale market due to the exceptional level of accommodations they provide.
Hilton Grand Vacations Club also features points-based timeshare that can also be redeemed for stays within the Hilton Hotel network. Hilton has premium resorts in top-drawing locations such as Las Vegas, Orlando and Hawaii, plus offers an extensive list of affiliated resorts in Canada, Mexico and Europe.
Bluegreen Vacation Club allows its guests to use an annual allowance of points among its network of 64 managed and affiliated resorts across the U.S. and the Caribbean. With a unique selection of room sizes, seasons and destinations, owners are free to redeem these points to design a dream vacation.
Disney Vacation Club has been extremely successful in the world of timeshare ownership, with resorts located within the Walt Disney World property in Orlando as well as near Disneyland in California and other popular destinations in Hawaii, Hilton Head Island and Vero Beach. Few vacations can compare to the quality and value of a Disney vacation.
Shell Vacations Club has resorts mostly in the western United States, Hawaii, Mexico and Canada. SVC Points operate in the standard manner, with the flexibility of these points allowing you to choose from 24 resorts in the Shell program and you can even reserve several vacations within the year depending on the size of the suite, the desired season and the number of points you own.