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Sfx vs rci. Which one is the best to maximize point usage

Discussion in 'Hilton Grand Vacations Club / HGVC' started by ThierryJapan, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. ThierryJapan

    ThierryJapan TUG Member

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    I will not be able to use my 2013 points.
    My choices are as follow if my understanding is correct

    I can rescue them to 2014 but can use it only for club booking not home week advantage
    or deposit them in Rci before dec31st, I never use RCI but when I look at the resorts list, doesn't seem attractive

    What would be the best choice.

    I have read on Tug about sfx, is it a good alternative to RCI?

    Thanks for your help as always
     
  2. SmithOp

    SmithOp TUG Member

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    SFX gives better value IMO but not sure if you could get bonus weeks this late. I received two bonus for a 2013 deposit. Click on the sample deposit to see the popup with details. Call during business hours Monday to inquire. Good for Hawaii, Western US, Mexico, some Europe.

    https://www.sfx-resorts.com/promo/login.asp

    RCI has more locations and you can bank the points there, fees are a little higher.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  3. presley

    presley TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I think your best bet at this point is to either rescue and use for club bookings next year or deposit into RCI. RCI does get HGVC units. So, it's possible that you could use it for a Hilton sometime over the next couple years.

    SFX is a very good exchange company, but you cannot deposit points. You would need to book a vacation and then deposit it. If it isn't your home week, you also have to pay for a guest certificate from Hilton. While I have had my share of nice exchanges in SFX, none of them have been close to being on par with Grand Waikikian - which you own. You'd feel like you were trading down.
     
  4. DonnaSF

    DonnaSF TUG Member

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    When I closed on my timeshare this past July, I had 16800 points to use in 6 months (8400 2013 plus 8400 rescued 2012 points) so did some binge research on RCI vs SFX. Even though SFX is more expensive to make the exchanges, I personally found it was a better overall value once I factored in quality of resort, room upgrades, and bonus weeks. YMMV.

    But the bigger question is whether you can make a reservation at GW for this year that you can deposit, and if you can whether you can still get bonus weeks. You may want to consider just rescuing 2013 points, and then have 2014 to deal with what may be an excess of points (that's what we did).

    A quick breakdown of my findings of SFX costs/benefits vs RCI...

    COSTS

    Membership
    To maximize points, you'll want either a Platinum membership ($199/year) or a Diamond membership ($299/year). You can see all the details at http://www.sfx-resorts.com/membership.aspx. We got a complimentary Diamond membership with our purchase, but when we renew I'd probably go with Platinum.

    Exchange Fees
    Currently, you can exchange either your Home Week or a Club Reservation. You'll want to make a Club reservation if you own something other than a 1BR standard, since with a Platinum/Diamond you can exchange a 1 BR for a 2BR for no additional points.

    SFX Costs - $169 (Platinum) / $149 (Diamond) per exchange. You don't pay this to SFX if you book a Bonus week.
    HGVC Costs - With a Club Reservation, you'll need to pay $49 for the reservation AND $49 for a guest certificate.

    BENEFITS

    Quality - SFX resort quality is high compared to RCI and gives you access to Marriotts, which trade through II.

    Customer Service - You can do your deposits all online, but SFX's online exchange is pretty useless. I thought this would be a downside, but they are very knowledgeable and helpful on the phone. I've dealt mostly with Nathan, who is great.

    Point Stretching - When depositing, look for a week that is considered High to SFX but Gold to HVC. For example, I booked a 1br on I-Drive over Thanksgiving for 3600 points and exchanged for a 2BR at Grand Mayan in Cabo. There's tons of availability for this resort in RCI too, but would take 4800 points to book the 2br.

    Bonus Weeks - When you deposit a week, depending on where and when it is, you get up to three bonus weeks where you pay cash instead of points. Bonus Weeks are typically on a sliding scale starting at $699 for a 1BR 181+ days out down to $199/week 20 days out. For resorts that have do bulk deposits to SFX, bonus week are a great deal. For example, we're using a bonus week to bring another family to Cabo with us for $599.

    Not sure about overall SFX availability, but others can comment on that better than I can. We've booked 4 exchanges with SFX in the past 3 months, and got exactly weeks, room size, and resorts we wanted. But our destination picks have been Mexico and Tahoe, both places where SFX is strong. Since it's a smaller company, there may not be sufficient deposits in other locations. You can call them to ask about deposit history if there's a location you're specifically interested in.

    Hope this helps!

    Donna
     
  5. alwysonvac

    alwysonvac TUG Lifetime Member

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    Since you recently cancelled your XMAS week in a two bedroom premier at Grand Waikikian, I'm assuming that you're dealing with at least 14,400 HGVC points.

    JMHO....
    Your best option is to use your points within HGVC.
    You can easily book a week at your home resort during Club Season as long as you book at the 9 month mark and you're not trying to book XMAS week ;). For example, right now Grand Waikikian is pretty much open at the 9 month mark compared to the other HHV towers. Also, you can easily use your HGVC points for your Big Island stay next year (NOTE: Kingsland two bedroom premier also cost 14,400 HGVC points for a week).

    Your next best option is to use RCI. With 14,400 HGVC points you can book three weeks in a two bedroom @4800 points each via RCI. You can get some decent trades to places like Hiltons (in New York, Orlando, Vegas & Scotland), Disney, Grand Pacific Resorts, Shell Vacation Club, Wyndham, WorldMark, The Crane, etc. NOTE: Each RCI reservation will cost you a RCI Reservation Fee (currently $199) and with exchanges the key is to book early and be flexible regarding your dates.

    Another option, if you'll have too many points to use is to rent it.
    TUG moderator DeniseM offers a rental service for TUG members. There is a link to her site that describes her service at the bottom of her TUG posts in the signature line titled My WebPage. You can reserve a peak summer week next year at the Grand Waikikian with your Rescued HGVC Points and rent it via DeniseM's service if you don't want to deal with the hassle of renting it yourself.

    Your other option is with SFX.
    The two major exchange companies are Interval International and RCI. These two companies get the bulk of the exchange inventory based on their established relationships with the resorts/developers. Therefore there will be more inventory with RCI than with a smaller company like SFX. However with SFX, RCI members gain access to resorts that primarily exchange with Interval International. This can be an added bonus but SFX exchange inventory will be limited since they are not the primary exchanges company for most of these resorts. With SFX you will need to be flexible with your travel dates & resort selections since SFX will have limited availability compared to the other two major exchange companies (RCI and II).
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  6. alwysonvac

    alwysonvac TUG Lifetime Member

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    Just in case you don't know, you can also book cash reservation with RCI. We have access to RCI's Extra Vacations. So, before you book your next bonus week with SFX, I would check RCI rates too. You just have to call Member Services, since HGVC members don't have online access to RCI Extra Vacation. You can also post a question on the TUG Sightings Forum to see if someone can tell you what's currently available.

    One important thing to keep in mind with RCI, some resorts charge additional fees when booked via RCI (but not with SFX) and some have a 1 in x rule via RCI (which I don't think SFX has) which makes SFX the better deal in these circumstances ;)

    For example, I read that it's best to book the Manhattan Club via SFX to avoid the daily resort fees charged to RCI exchangers
    http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1413654
    http://www.tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=162455

    More info on our RCI options - http://tugbbs.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1523144&postcount=3
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
  7. johnf0614

    johnf0614 TUG Member

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    Are "Extra Vacations" the same thing as "last Call"?? As HGVC owner I've booked "Last Call" and can see them via the portal, however wasn't aware of the "extra vacations"

    Disregard!! I see your post with the link!
     
  8. DonnaSF

    DonnaSF TUG Member

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    Oh!!! I didn't know this. When I didn't see this HGVC/RCI portal, assumed Extra Vacations weren't available to HGVC. Very, very good to know. Thank you...
     
  9. Tamaradarann

    Tamaradarann TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    You can exchange a week that is not your Home Week?

    I didn't know that you could exchange a week that is not your HOME WEEK with an exchange company. Since you can't officially rent a week that is not your home week, I would have thought that you couldn't officially exchange your week either with an exchange company.
     
  10. presley

    presley TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    You can. You have to buy a guest certificate. Hilton won't confirm any non home reservation for SFX. SFX had me forward my reservation confirmation to them and they said they'd call me a couple weeks before check in for me to add the guest certificate.
     
  11. DonnaSF

    DonnaSF TUG Member

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    It does cost more to do this with SFX, since you need to pay the reservation fee plus the guest fee. But aside from the $100 not an problem, other than the extra step of having to forward the reservation confirmation to SFX and getting the GC when the time comes.

    The non-Home Week approach seems like the most viable SFX option if you own a larger or plus/premium HGVC unit, unless you could potentially use the higher points to get a priority in exchanges. If your home week is more than 7000 points, not sure it would ever make sense to exchange that in SFX (or 4800 points with a Platinum or Diamond membership)? Interested in others' thoughts/experience on this one.

    Also, it would seem that you could also reserve in an HGVC resort other than your home resort, which could be advantageous for trading priority if it's in a higher demand/lower supply location. Don't know if they'd let you do this, or if it would make a difference. From earlier threads, sounds like you can. If so, does it affect trading and/or bonus weeks?
     
  12. SmithOp

    SmithOp TUG Member

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    I booked a 3400 point one bedroom gold week to deposit. Two bonus weeks pulled two bedroom units in SFX, $599 for a late summer season beach week and $899 for a prime ski week. I haven't used the $169 deposit credit yet, it has a longer timeframe, the bonus weeks are one year from deposit date.

    If I were to do anything with my 7,000 pt home week it would be rent for cash.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  13. DonnaSF

    DonnaSF TUG Member

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    That's what I really like about SFX. It's not just that you get bonus weeks, it's that the bonus weeks count as Exchange credits you can search against in the upcoming year, and then save the deposit credit for 2-3 years out.

    SFX has said it doesn't make a difference in priority - that as long as you have the exchange request in, it doesn't matter if it's an deposit credit or a bonus credit. From those with more SFX experience - true?
     
  14. eal

    eal TUG Review Crew: ELITE TUG Member

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    Yes whenever I have had a notice of a confirmed exchange I could choose to use a bonus week or a deposit - it was up to me.
     
  15. ThierryJapan

    ThierryJapan TUG Member

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    SFX vs. RCI

    Dears,

    Thanks for all your help. I am in talk with Denise to see if I can rent out my week.

    Also sfx seems to have less inventories but much more qualitative than RCI. Do you agree?
     
  16. alwysonvac

    alwysonvac TUG Lifetime Member

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    Just my two cents ;)

    SFX will not accept off season weeks or weeks from low quality resorts.
    SFX will only accept weeks from resorts in high demand areas and only for travel dates during peak/high demand periods.

    However this doesn’t necessarily mean that SFX has weeks at better quality resorts than RCI. It really depends on where you want to go. SFX may have similiar or better resorts in one location compared to another.

    As with any accommodations (hotel, timeshare, cruise, etc), you’ll need to make a decision based on your own personal preferences/criteria. I suggest that you do some research and compare the resort directories for the places you want to visit and look at the reviews/comments, photos and videos for each of the resorts that you’ve selected.

    SFX Directory - https://www.sfx-resorts.com/directory/index.asp
    RCI Directory - http://www.rci.com/RCI/prelogin/rdMain.do
    Interval International Directory - http://www.intervalworld.com/web/cs?a=1500
    TUG Rating and Reviews - http://tug2.com/RnR/ResortsGrid.aspx
    Other sources for reviews and photos – Tripadvisor.com, Yelp.com, TUG forums, etc

    FOR EXAMPLE
    SFX has the following 9 resorts listed in their Directory for Maui (see below).

    Six out of the nine are affiliated with RCI and they are not all RCI Gold Crown resorts. If you're looking for a Maui resort comparable to the Grand Waikikian, only 2 of the 9 satisfy this requirement (Marriot & Westin). And IMHO for Marriott, only the villas in the newer sections (Lahaina & Napili) are equivalent.

    JMHO, for Maui you would have better luck renting your Grand Waikikian and using the cash to rent a week in an ocean view villa at the Westin Ka’anapali or Marriott's Maui Ocean Club - Lahaina and Napili Villas.

    1. Ka'anapali Beach Club - https://www.diamondresorts.com/Ka'anapali-Beach-Club (Dual Affiliation - RCI Gold Crown Resort Recognition & Interval International Premier Resort Recognition)
    2. Kahana Falls Resort - http://www.kahanafalls.com/ (Dual Affiliation - RCI Hospitality Resort Recognition & Interval International Select Resort Recognition)
    3. Kahana Villa Resorts - http://www.crmlv.com/property_kahana_villa.asp (Dual Affiliation - no RCI Recognition & no Interval International Recognition)
    4. Marriott's Maui Ocean Club - http://www.marriottvacationclub.com/vacation-resorts/marriott-maui-ocean-club/overview.shtml (Interval International Premier Resort Recognition)
    5. Maui Lea at Maui Hill - http://www.mauilea.com/ (RCI Gold Crown Resort Recognition)
    6. Maui Schooner Resort - http://www.mauischooner.com/ (Interval International Premier Resort Recognition)
    7. Papakea Beach Resort - http://www.papakea-maui.com/ (Dual Affiliation - no RCI Recognition & no Interval International Recognition)
    8. Sands Of Kahana - http://www.thesandsofkahana.com (Dual Affiliation - RCI Gold Crown Resort Recognition & Interval International Premier Resort Recognition)
    9. Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas - http://www.starwoodvacationownership.com/westin_kaanapali_ocean_resort_villas/welcome.jsp (Interval International Premier Resort Recognition)
     
  17. pianodinosaur

    pianodinosaur Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I have had a pretty good experience with RCI. If you check out the TUG reviews prior to booking, the chances of a bad exchange will be greatly reduced. I would see nothing wrong with depositing your 2013 weeks into RCI. That would give you two years to figure out what you want to do with them.
     
  18. DonnaSF

    DonnaSF TUG Member

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    I think this is a really important point in all this. For the original question about point stretching, even after my new learning about Extra Vacations, I still can see some advantages from the flexibility of bonus weeks in SFX if you can make good use of them. JMHO.

    But for a more general "is RCI or SFX better", there are definitely pros and cons depending on where you want to go. I'm finding it helpful to first use TUG + TripAdvisor to research resorts where I'd like to stay, and then figure out if they are in SFX and/RCI.

    There's a lot of overlap, and then some locations where one has an advantage over the other. It's turning into a helpful little spreadsheet (happy to share if anyone wants it).
     
  19. DonnaSF

    DonnaSF TUG Member

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    Actually, just reread and the original posting wasn't about point stretching directly. Don't know why I inferred that! Sorry for the assumption...
     

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