How to Exchange My Timeshare Week
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.
Verify What You Own
When asking yourself "How to exchange my timeshare week", 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 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.
Once you have established the facts regarding 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.
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 Club Intrawest are affiliated with Hilton, which allows those Club Intrawest members access to Hilton 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 Exchange Company
If you are looking for more options, then try your RCI or Internal International timeshare exchange membership if you are a member. There is a yearly membership fee associated with these companies, so this would be the next logical step in order to get some value out of your membership.
There are other very good exchange operators to choose from if you are not associated with one of 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 Selection
Once you have established which 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 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 until you 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 at your resort 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 your week first before selecting an exchange destination, so 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 take 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 a good idea if possible.
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.
Working through the exchange system and understanding the process of "How to exchange my timeshare week" 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.