Timeshare exchange is one of the most important elements of successful timeshare ownership, and often one of the most misunderstood.
The ability to exchange your timeshare week for a vacation from literally thousands of holiday options gives timeshare ownership the type of vacation flexibility that allows you to travel globally for a fraction of the cost of standard holiday accommodation.
Regardless of the type of timeshare you own, whether it is a fixed week, floating week or points, you have options to exchange your ownership to travel around the world.
We’ll take a look at the steps to take and the tips you need to manage the timeshare exchange process and give you the best chance of getting your favorite exchange selection.
What is a Timeshare Exchange?
Simply stated, timeshare exchange is the process of exchanging the use of your ownership to travel to a different location and vacation in a resort different from your home resort.
Exchange programs generally fall into two categories, internal and external. For internal exchanges, this usually comes under larger hospitality companies such as Disney, Marriott and Hilton, where owners have the option of vacationing in resorts affiliated with the particular brand. Some charge internal exchange fees, so check with your management company.
External exchanges involve working with a third-party timeshare exchange company such as RCI, Interval International or 7Across. Your home resort or program will be affiliated with one or more of these companies, and some charge annual membership fees.
Owners sign up and deposit their ownership into the exchange company platform, then choose from the resort options in their network to book accommodation. Exchange providers charge a fee to complete the booking confirmation.
How to Exchange Your Timeshare - Verify What You Own
When asking yourself "How to exchange my timeshare", the first area you need to verify is the week and home resort at which you own - since each resort and week has its own exchange value.
Generally, the higher quality resorts at the most sought-after destinations during prime travel seasons will bring the most timeshare exchange value. With that said, there is always a way for you to exchange your timeshare week, even if you need to get a bit creative.
Choose a Timeshare Exchange Method
Once you have established the facts regarding exchanging your timeshare week, then you'll want to select the method of exchange.
Most resorts are affiliated with an exchange company such as RCI or Interval International, the two largest timeshare exchange companies in the world. You most likely were signed up for a membership with one of those two companies when you purchased your timeshare, so check your documents or resort welcome kit to see if you are a member of an exchange company.
Check for Internal Timeshare Exchange Programs
The next step in establishing "How to exchange my timeshare week" is to start with your home resort and see if they are part of an internal exchange program.
For example, the branded programs such as Hilton Grand Vacations and Marriott Vacation Club will allow you to exchange within their network, but some companies such as Fiesta Americana are affiliated with Hilton, which allows those Hilton members access to Fiesta Americana timeshare resorts as a benefit of membership.
Internal timeshare exchange programs are often the most economical and give you options beyond your home resort, while maintaining the consistency which attracted you to your home resort in the first place.
Choose Your Timeshare Exchange Company
If you are looking for more options to exchange your timeshare, there are other very good timeshare exchange companies to choose from if you are looking beyond the larger exchange companies.
7Across (formerly Dial An Exchange/DAE) is the third largest exchange provider in the world with nearly 500,000 members globally.
Membership is free, with a cost associated to exchange once the exchange has been confirmed. Timeshare owners can use 7Across even if they are already members of another exchange company.
Make Your Timeshare Exchange Selection
Once you have established which timeshare exchange company to use, then you can:
Choose your destination - you probably already have an idea of where you would like to travel when looking at timeshare exchange options. Each provider offers different resorts to choose from but the destinations are often similar, so begin with the destination and work your way through the resort options.
Find the resort that you'll be able to exchange into using the value of your existing ownership week.
Bank your week - the term "bank" your week means you'll provide the use of your week to the exchange company in return for using the week you are requesting from that company.
Depending on the company, you may have to inform your home resort of your intention to exchange or you may have to bank, otherwise known as deposit, your week first before selecting an exchange destination. Establish the process first with the exchange company before you hand over any money.
Best to ask questions first and once you establish the process then the subsequent exchanges will go much smoother.
Get an early start - this process often takes place 12-18 months before the actual vacation dates, due to the popularity of some destinations and resorts. Begin the process as soon as you can to give yourself the best chance at exchanging into your desired resort.
Have a back-up plan - establish a list of resort options in case you are not able to get your top choice. Some resorts may be full for the week you need, so have a Plan B resort ready just in case. Flexibility of resort choices, and dates, is always a good idea.
Book Your Timeshare Exchange Travel Arrangements
When you have made your resort selection and have it confirmed from the exchange company, then you should be set to plan your travel arrangements. Double check your confirmation with the exchange provider and you may also want to confirm it with the resort directly just to make sure they have your correct information in their system.
Exchange Your Timeshare With Confidence
Working through the exchange system and understanding the process of "How to exchange my timeshare " is one of the most important aspects of timeshare ownership, since this will expand the use of your timeshare and lead to vacation enjoyment around the world.
If you need help with timeshare exchange or have questions about how the process works, or even if you are looking to buy a timeshare so you can get in the game, give us a call on 800-640-6886.