Most timeshare companies now sell timeshare points that can be used for stays at a variety of destinations within their resort networks. Every year the owner’s points are renewed in their account, which are typically used to book accommodation from a variety of unit types at a resort in the timeshare company’s program. So you may be wondering what are the best timeshare points programs?
The best points programs generally have the best flexibility, whereby an owner can use their points not only in the resort network but beyond, such as with a company’s rewards loyalty program. The ease of use of the program is another factor, where the system is easy to manage and the use of points is straightforward, such as the home resort privileges for deeded points.
Judging the best timeshare points programs often comes down to vacation preferences, so it really depends on how and when you want to vacation. Also – brand loyalty comes into play since you may be more comfortable with, and already have a rewards membership with, a particular hospitality brand and be open to exploring timeshare points with that company.
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.
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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:
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 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, which would lead them to feel ripped off.
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 timeshare resorts in the developer's system.
Timeshare companies determine the value of the points in their programs, so companies such as Marriott, Wyndham or Disney establish their points programs based on the overall number of resorts and possible weeks available in their networks. Because each program is so different, this is why you’ll see such a disparity of points required from each program to stay in, for example, a similar-styled one-bedroom unit.
One of the main benefits of a points-based system is that an owner can take shorter-stay vacations 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.
Many timeshare developers allow owners to use their points within timeshare exchange companies, and some exchange companies have created their own points system. Some of the best timeshare points programs are provided by:
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 Honors loyalty program. Hilton has premium resorts in top-drawing locations such as Las Vegas, Orlando and Hawaii, plus offers an extensive list of affiliated resorts in 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.
The flexibility alone makes timeshare points worth it, since you can use your points to stay in a variety of unit types and choose from multiple resorts within a particular program at any time of the year. Keep in mind that the more timeshare points you own, the more flexibility you have so make sure you own enough points to give yourself the best possible experience. Otherwise, you may be searching for accommodation during off-peak seasons, which can turn up fantastic options but may be a bit limiting for you.
If you already own timeshare and want to add points, ask your resort if they are affiliated with a points program. Exchange companies have programs such as RCI points and Club Interval Points that can be used with your ownership, depending on the affiliation of the resort. Resorts affiliated with hospitality brands such as Disney, Wyndham, Hilton and Marriott have points available for sale on the resale market at deep discounts compared to resort prices, so check online to see what is for sale. Otherwise, see if your program allows you to convert your timeshare ownership into points such as with the Marriott Destinations Points program.
In many cases timeshare points are better than weeks if we are comparing points to fixed weeks. Points provide the flexibility to book vacation accommodation throughout the year, with branded programs such as Club Wyndham Access providing preferred access to over 200 resorts within its network. Weeks owners can have a similar experience through exchange providers, but even those companies now sell points programs go give their members better access to their inventory.
Most observers would say the Disney timeshare points program called Disney Vacation Club would be the best, simply because of its affiliation with the Disney World theme park complex. Owners get perks such as extended time in the parks and meals with Disney characters. Other family friendly programs are Marriott Vacation Club with its Kid’s Club activities and facilities such as the Club Thrive Activity Center at Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club.