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Are the exchange companies becomeing a dying breed?

Discussion in 'Exchanging Timeshares' started by dougp26364, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. dougp26364

    dougp26364 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    In 1998, when we purchased our first timeshare, the ability to exchange was a huge part of the sales presentation. You can stay were you own but....... look at all these places you can exchange into! We even had salesmen try to convince us to buy their timeshare because it was less expensive than the others. The idea was buy low and trade high (buy cheaper timeshares and trade into more expensive places).

    It's part of what attracted us to timeshare in the first place and, honestly, was part of the fun. It was like an early Christmas present when I could lock off a studio unit, then make an instant exchange with Interval into a nice one bedroom unit and a nice resort, even if it wasn't in the prime season for that region. Many times I did this for spring/fall weeks in Branson, MO because it was within driving distance and had many nice resorts. I looked at my options today and they're pathetic compared to what they once were.

    As the years have progressed there have been so many subtle yet major adjustments by timeshare developers. It seems nearly all timeshares are in some sort of a system that promotes internal exchange rather than utilizing I.I. or R.C.I. Couple that with the ever increasing membership fee's, exchange fee's, upgrade fee's et, charged by the big two and we've found little value in either exchange company for several years.

    We're at the point where we've already allowed our personal RCI account expire and plan on allowing our personal I.I. account to expire as well. I kept them around so long as I could do instant exchange upgrades from a studio to a larger unit online but, in recent years developers, who once sold us on this ability to exchange, have put pressure on the exchange companies to make this more improbable if not impossible. RCI went to points based exchanges and I.I. now has their version of a points based exchange system up and running. I suppose if I didn't have personal experience with the way exchanging use to be I might think these new systems were nice. However, I know how it use to be. I know what I use to be able to accomplish and I know that's not nearly as easy as it once was.

    I've always said buy where you want to stay in case every thing goes to heck. A few years ago I modified that advice to buy into the system that offers you the destinations and quality you desire. Personally I'm glad I followed my own advice because I've found little use for the big two in recent years. At one point we'd complete, at a minimum, 2 exchanges a year and very often it was 3 or 4. Now, I stay within the system we own or at the resorts we own, maybe completing 1 exchange every couple of years. It's no longer worth the expense to me.

    It seems to me that developers, wanting to make it difficult for others to "trade up" by exchanging into their systems, have put enough pressure on the big two exchange companies that they may be killing themselves off, at least as far as the personal exchanging account goes. I'm sure they offer their services to manage the internal exchanges for the systems out there and that's how they'll stay afloat.
     
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  2. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I fully agree. When I started timesharing a dozen years ago, exchanging was exciting. I'd hang around the RCI site all the time, hunting to find the exchange gem of a vacation. I vacationed in exciting places because the exchanges were available that took me there - places I might not normally go to were suddenly accessible, and desirable, specifically because they came up as an exchange option.

    When RCI went to their TPU system, things began to deteriorate. They soon collapsed, for me, into something that just wasn't worth the trouble, expense, and dissatisfaction of available exchange options. My last RCI exchange was five years ago. My RCI membership expires this month, and I will not be renewing. It's cheaper to rent from an owner, when and where I want to go, than to try and find an exchange to the same place at a price that is financially viable. I have the exchange companies to blame for that, because they have priced themselves out of the market, in their greed to squeeze more and higher fees from the membership.

    My current timeshare ownerships were purchased specifically because they exchange within their own systems, and not with outside companies. When that stops being viable, I'll divest myself of all ownerships, and exclusively rent from others.

    Dave
     
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  3. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    I don't agree for my use at least. We use II. There are two pieces to this, and one you might call unrelated, getaways which we make heavy use of.

    Recent exchanges for a studio lockoff in all cases:

    Marriott Timber Lodge 2BR
    Sebel Busselton 2BR in Australia
    Sebel Swan Valley 1BR in Australia
    Tahiti Village 1BR
    Marriott Shadow Ridge 2BR high season too

    I call all of these great trades. And to that I add several getaways each year which are pretty much unbeatable. The Interval accommodation certificates and not as good as they used to be.

    I still find myself checking out II for instant trades, and getaways. I never have a plan for where I am going, therefore, I only take instant trades when I see something I like.

    I love trading outside of Marriott too as you can see, 3 of those 5 are not Marriott. I would be devastated without the ability to trade. We almost never go to the same place once thus it's an absolute requirement to be able to trade.
     
  4. Panina

    Panina TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    I also love trading.

    Even though I changed most of my portfolio to where I love to go I still have a couple for trading if I want to.

    II has always given me great trades to the resorts I want to go to. I still feel I get great value from them.

    RCI for me has limited appeal except for last minute trading but II free ac’s are a good alternative.

    I feel RCI is rolling the dice. They probably feel they are invincible because they are so large. They just keep raising their prices.

    Right now I used everything I have in II for trading. With RCI I have so many TPUs that I need to use. That shows the difference for me.

    Will the trading companies survive, probably as long as there is a demand. There are still lots of us timesharers that love to trade.

    If the internal systems get more greedy and trading becomes more difficult those owners will also go to the external companies.
     
  5. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I always liked the challenge and excitement of exchanging, but because I only exchanged off season, floater weeks it became more difficult over time, so I left RCI just as it went to the TPU system-just in time. And I never looked back. Glad I bought where we like to go - fixed weeks and units - and can where we can drive to.
     
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  6. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    RCI will survive on the backs of people who own weeks they can't use. Their target market isn't mostly savvy tuggers, imo, it's people who have a TS they don't want or use much trying to salvage some value.

    For everyone who gets a great up trade, someone else takes what they can get or lets a deposit go to waste.
     
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  7. geist1223

    geist1223 Guest

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    Ever since Wyndham took over RCI the fees have gotten ridiculous. The being said we have used RCI to trade for Bay of Islands in New Zealand and Scotland. But I use my free Royal Solaris weeks. When we joined Royal Solaris they gave us like 60 free weeks that did not affect our weeks at Royal Solaris to deposit into RCI when we want to. Royal Solaris weeks are only worth 9 TPU so I end up paying RCI a fee to consolidate this into 27 or 36 TPU (3 or 4 Solaris weeks).
     
  8. vacationtime1

    vacationtime1 TUG Member

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    We used to own four dedicated traders; now we own only one.

    Vistana/Starwood used to predictably bulk bank two bedroom units; now we get smaller quantities of units deposited -- locked off into one bedroom and studio units (more exchange fees that way).

    Like the others above, our trading has become internal -- Marriott DC points and StarOptions.

    The benefit (for us) is that these "trades" are usually confirmed much earlier than the old Interval trades, potentially reducing airfares dramatically.
     
  9. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I got sold all of my dedicated traders as the way we travel has changed after our retirement. I still have 3 weeks deposited into II. Good trades can still be had in II but you need to sit in front of the computer as with the room upgrade/upsize fees, a studio does not get matched to a 1BR or 2BR automatically and it now relies on an agent to call you to collect the fees. Recently I saw a Newport Coast week for July 3 to 10 with a studio in II which would have made it an excellent trade but we are so travelled out that we gave it a miss.
     
  10. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    Not sure what you mean by this. No agent has ever called me to collect any fees. You maybe are speaking of an OGS? I have never used an OGS nor do I plan to. I feel much better trades are to be had not using OGS, I've provided some examples before in various forum posts where one could obtain an instant trade but an OGS never got the same trade. I believe (but am not certain after my long trip!) one example was a Hilton Head 2BR early summer that my studio could have traded for with no upgrade fee, but OGS missed (late cancel most likely), could be the wrong resort but somewhat sure. There are numerous 1BR and 2BR instant matches in II for studios. Unless you know exactly when and where you want to go, in which case an OGS may make sense but not always. Which works for a lot of people, but not us.

    The only exchange fees in the DC system are external trades, and, sometimes unit upgrade fees. Closer in, there are typically no upgrade fees. We usually do the closer in trades where you get better deals. But, we're retired so have that flexibility. Trading is fantastic enjoyment for me. It doesn't take that much time, and, with instant trading, no need to ever get stressed or worry if you might get a match, etc. YMMV of course!
     
  11. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Yes, I meant when you use OGS for a resort that has room size larger than what you are using to trade in, your week does not get matched unless an agent calls you.

    As an example, I have 2 studios in II, both from DSV I. Last year in August, I received a call from an II agent about a NCV (2BR) OGS match for Sept 2018 and if I wanted to pay an upgrade fees for it. I was happy to pay for the trade. With my 2nd studio, I put in a request for NCV in summer of 2018 and 2019. I saw 2018 NCV summer weeks on short notice for the past month or so but unless I make an online exchange, my OGS won't match as those weeks won't be sitting in the inventory by the time an II agent checks and calls me for the exchange. Before II's implementation of upgrade fees, my studio would match to 2BR MKO and NCV regularly through OGS. Now I have to work harder if I want the room size upgrades.
     
  12. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    Yes, because you are using an OGS. That's certainly one way to do it. Or, you can use instant trades, often not pay the upgrade fees, and often get last minute airfare deals. I guess it depends what your goal is. In the 5 minutes it takes to do an instant exchange (you said you saw the weeks in summer 2018), why would you not just do that? Likely, there was no unit upgrade fee as those typically do not apply to near term deals. Curious as to why you would not do that and cancel the OGS? Or maybe it's not easy to cancel the OGS?

    I understand some (Many?) want specific places and brands only. I can see the use of OGS for that.
     
  13. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I did not make the exchange because the dates did not exactly line up right but yes, I would have if it worked out. But my point is that one needs to sit in front of the computer to keep checking for great trades that involve room size upgrades.
     
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  14. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    Ah, the exact dates.

    If you are going to sit in front of the computer looking for great trades (I spend 5-10 minutes a day for at most 2 weeks), why use an OGS? I guess I understand it's harder now for OGS folks. It's the same effort for us non OGS folks as it's always been. So, it's not true that everyone has a worse experience is all I am trying to say. I don't consider spending at most 10*10 = 100 minutes a lot of effort to find a great cheap trip and get a 2BR for my studio. Generally, I spend half of that for one non OGS exchange.

    So, I guess I am the minority here (as often is the case), I just don't agree exchanges have gotten worse (for everyone), at least not for us.
     
  15. davidvel

    davidvel TUG Member

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    People use OGS (and pay upgrade fees) because their commitments often don't allow them to travel on less than 60 days notice, or they want certainty in their travel plans for a location they want to travel to (as opposed to if we get it we will travel, otherwise not strategy.) Nothing complicated about that.
     
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  16. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    Didn't say it was complicated did I. This is a thread about a feeling that exchange companies are dying or not providing good exchanges any more. The post you referenced said why use an OGS IF she was sitting in front of a computer looking for exchanges, you maybe missed that part. I am merely taking issue that all people are losing out, this is false. Some or many are perhaps, esp. those using OGS. We remain super happy with exchanges.

    You completely misstated the use of non OGS, at least from what I posted. "as opposed to if we get it we will travel, otherwise not strategy". That is not the use at all, the strategy is lets find the best place available that's at least 2BR for my studio. Many times, this is a place we would have never submitted an OGS for. Therefore, we get to go to many good places (as we discover after going), all around the world. This is a perfectly logical strategy. I have never not travelled. There are always great exchanges out there, always. And I've certainly acquired exchanges well past 60 days as well at times, when the situation dictated it. For my 4 weeks Australia trip and 4 different timeshares all of which had to have dates line up, I had those at least 6 months in advance. To me, it's much more likely to submit an OGS and never get a match. Yes, this may indicate you asked for something unreasonable, and over time sure you can tune that as you figure it out.

    Now, is that for everyone? No. But, in a thread filled with negatives about exchanging, can I not post a positive? Can I not explain another use of exchange companies that maybe someone had not considered? Perhaps some people hear for example that OGS gets better trades, so use it, and never think twice for example? I've certainly heard that on TUG. Can I not disagree? Geez, you would think alternative ways to use things is a good thing!
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
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  17. davidvel

    davidvel TUG Member

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    No, nor did I say you said that. (This is like an "I know you are but what am I?" Pee wee Herman skit...)

    VacationForever's point was that she doesn't want to sit in front of a computer checking over and over. My point was that many people don't want to wait until under 60 days to plan their vacation, book their airfare, etc., and you can't get a 2BR for a studio unless you constantly check for the leftovers. You stated you don't pay upgrade fees which means they were booked inside 60 days (unless they were before the policy change).

    Otherwise I don't generally disagree with your strategy.
     
  18. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    Touche. I admit to taking some offense to "Nothing complicated about that.". Seemed to be an insult. I am now un-offended. I can be really good at that - being offended. Getting better.

    Did you see where she wrote:

    "I saw 2018 NCV summer weeks on short notice for the past month or so but unless I make an online exchange, my OGS won't match as those weeks won't be sitting in the inventory by the time an II agent checks and calls me for the exchange.".

    How do you suppose she saw that? My guess, and admittedly it was a guess, she looked! i.e., sat in front of that computer, how else could she see them for the "last month or so"? I believe she is saying with an OGS, she now should be doing both to be perfect and catch opportunities, which really is worse than before as it takes more time. Which I agree with. I did want to understand the process she was using not say she was wrong. Maybe not eloquently presented. But I do think the amount of effort involved in doing your own search is rather exaggerated. Unless you are a super maximizer.

    Yes, many of mine are short notice, but not always. And I am not making the claim that this works for everyone, it does not, we have no kids, are retired, etc. I merely wanted to provide an alternative view that it's not bad for everyone. That's all. Also, the idea that airfare arranged long in advance is always cheaper, it is not. There are a lot of last minute deals out there. I get emails from the various airlines going to various countries, so, when Hawaiian Airlines for example sends me one that says rates are super cheap some month, I start looking for getaways or exchanges there. Same for Thailand, Australia, wherever. In this way, I don't just blindly book some great looking deal only to find I either can't get there, or, it's a small fortune.

    Don't forget leftovers are sometimes prime properties in high season. Shadow Ridge exchange 2BR for my studio was red season (February), and was not before the upgrade fee. This did not get matched to an OGS which most likely were out there as it's likely always fully occupied in February, DSV certainly is. This can happen for various reasons at times. And it wasn't the enclaves. :) Her comment about NCV and why it wouldn't likely get matched to her OGS was spot on. But I could have grabbed it without an OGS. That stinks really for the OGS folks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  19. dougp26364

    dougp26364 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    It's not about the exchange companies not providing "good' exchanges. It's more about them not offering the diversity or flexibility afforded by instant exchanges.

    Over the years they've changed. Several years ago, I could deposit any unit, then preform my own online searches and pick from a variety of good offerings. I could do this with ANY size unit and see several different size units in various locations. I use to put in everywhere and just see what locations popped up and then looked at what was available for what dates.

    I give you a real time situation. About 5 years ago we traveled in prime season to Desert Palms, CA. I completed the trade by depositing out unit, then doing online searches. I had my choice of dates in a travel range, my choice of resorts AND my choice of unit size. NO UPGRADE FEE INVOLVED! I.I. simply showed me what they were offering. Fast forward to last year. I deposited my unit, then went online to see what was available. CRICKETS! There was literally NOTHING available for instant exchange. So I put in an ongoing search, which was matched within 24 hours. The inventory was there but I.I. didn't want ME to choose what/when/where. They made the choice and we ended up going to the resort I.I. choose for us and the dates and check in date they choose for us. This is less than convenient for us as it requires a little more work around our work schedule (We only allowed off 2 scheduled Saturdays/year).

    The point is I.I. once allowed the member to choose from what was available by offering online exchanges. It made it easy to choose when/where and, you could see instantly if there was a size upgrade available. Now I.I. has seized control and you essentially take what they give you. This might help the developers and management companies but it's no service to the timeshare owners and I.I's members.

    RCI...….. I don't have enough time to get into how those rip off artists have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. They lost value to me so long ago I couldn't tell you when it was we cancelled our personal membership. If not for the fact HGVC forces members to hold a corporate account I wouldn't have anything to do with them at all.

    So to sum up, I can still get good exchanges with I.I. but, it's on THEIR terms, not mine. Which devalues them to the point that they're not worth my time anymore. It's easier to stay within the systems we own, which I'm certain is a good thing for marketing and sales but a poor substitution for owners in general and certainly not a great thing for those at independent resorts...…… unless you don't mind allowing the exchange company to make your choices for you. Personally, I prefer to make my OWN choices of when/where/what we exchange into...…. even if I have to pay an upgrade fee. I prefer to see the inventory and make my choice...… online. Not by talking to some rep who often knows far less than I do about timeshares.

    Granted the majority know very little about exchanging and newer owners have no clue how easy it use to be to just go online and shop the exchanges available. Now it's become all cloak and dagger with the exchange company hiding what's truly available to the owners. I wonder what they'll manage to take away from the owners next or what extra charges they come out with for doing the same thing we do today without a fee?
     
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  20. NiteMaire

    NiteMaire Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I agree with Steve. I've been, and still am, pleased with II and SFX. I haven't done an OGS in II, but I've been able to get some great matches. Heck, for 2018 alone I've exchanged for:

    Hawaii: Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club (2BR)
    Hawaii: Kona Coast Resort II (1BR)
    Hawaii: Hilton Kohala Suites (2BR -- SFX)
    St Thomas: Marriott's Frenchman's Cove (2BR)

    I primarily use II for exchanging, but I also use SFX. It's how I exchanged into Hilton. I tried an OGS with SFX, but I was probably too specific on dates/times and brands. I called to expand the dates (and brands) and the rep matched Hilton Kohala (Big Island) while we were on the call. I then used II to link a Kona week to the front of the exchange.

    The Marriott preference helps for Marriotts, but I've been able to use my non-Marriott to exchange for Ko Olina and Westin Nanea among others.

    I see dougp26364 posted as I typed the above so I'll offer some additional thoughts.
    The diversity and flexibility may be less now, but I accept that we have to exchange on their terms. I still find it easy to shop the exchanges. I purchased all of my timeshares to exchange which is contrary to the conventional wisdom of TUG to buy where you want to stay. I didn't want to spend the $$ so I found great traders (resale of course) for me. I'm fond of Marriott which is why I purchased one to trade primarily into other Marriotts. However, I also have a non-Marriott trader that's given me superb exchanges. I'm also fairly obsessive about checking II shortly after 6am Eastern (as I understand from TUG, the updated inventory is released at this time). Just this week, many Marriotts in Hawaii showed up for this year. I'm already booked for my vacations; otherwise, I would have exchanged into HI again.

    By using Instant Exchange, I make my own choices (granted it's based on their availability). Even with the additional fees, I believe I'm getting great value from the exchanges...and paying less than other means of vacationing.
     
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  21. bogey21

    bogey21 TUG Member

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    From one looking at this from the peanut gallery it looks to me like there are at least 4 things heading the Exchange Companies toward extinction. First is the move away from Weeks to Points; Second in RCI's case is introduction of TPUs which devalued a lot of people's Weeks; Third is the expansion of internal Point Systems ala Marriott, etc.; and Fourth is the incessant price increases.

    George
     
  22. rickandcindy23

    rickandcindy23 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Wyndham Plat,RCI pts,Shell,WorldMark,OKW,SSR pts; Marriott's Willow Ridge;Val Chatelle; Hono Koa; SBP; Blue Ridge Village.
    There is a new downside to exchanging with II, and that is the new upgrade fee. Enter an OGS and if you are using a 1 bedroom to get anything, you won't get an automatic match to a 2 bedroom anymore. So if I use my Willow Ridge one bedroom for a match to Marriott's Newport Coast, I have to answer a telephone call that may not come, or may come at an inconvenient time to answer the phone.

    And the ridiculous thing is I used to avoid the II calls because they never resulted in anything I needed or wanted (will you take an alternate location, change your dates?). Now I dash for the phone, just in case, and almost every call is the same nonsense it always was. Rarely do I get the call that a week is available for upgrade. It's ridiculous. II could fix the problem but chooses not to fix it. How about a spot during the setup of the OGS, where you can check a box saying you would pay the upgrade fee and to bill the credit card automatically, if a match is found. It's like they want to call.
     
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  23. vikingsholm

    vikingsholm Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    We have used II, RCI, TPI, DAE, Platinum Interchange, and SFX. Mostly II and RCI, with the smaller systems to fill in gaps of a few preferred locations (often foreign) that don't seem so available in the large systems.

    I actually like the RCI method of TPUs and showing all inventory better than II's, because we often string together multiple weeks, and doing that on a request basis in II is difficult, and II's leftover online inventory is getting leaner and leaner in recent years. We also have a couple of good TPU value units to deposit. RCI has a lot of locations we like that are hard to find, if at all, in II.

    However, RCI is getting outrageously expensive. Also, we used to get 2-3 weeks for each 1 we deposited with our TPUs, but just recently, for example, they jacked up required TPUs on some European off season units that used to be 15-16 and now require 25 if made well in advance. This is not a trend that will keep us using them. So at our 2020 membership expiration, unless they change for the better (doubtful), we'll have to reconsider membership there.

    II still gives us good choices with our Marriott deposits, and there will always be some trades we want to make outside of Marriott. So although I hate their room upgrade fee, will probably stick with them but just trade less, and more within the Marriott DC points.

    Even the smaller systems seem to be upping their room upgrade charges, and forcing you into a paid membership for earlier access to the better unit trades, which is often necessary to get those.

    The trading exchanges were a great system for really maximizing some good deals up until about 2-3 years ago, because we have quite a few units that we can deposit. Now, it's watch, wait, and decide whether to continue with them beyond membership expirations. A recent acquisition of Worldmark credits enables us to access many WM and Wyndham locations that we used to mainly have to use RCI to access in the past also.

    These exchange companies may be writing their own obituaries with their frequent fee increases and value downgrades. Hoping for some positive Marriott innovation with the II acquisition.
     
  24. Panina

    Panina TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Hopefully in time we will get the option to check online we would pay for an upgrade without a phone call. I have been told they are planning for it but given no timeline.

    If you have multiple units in II , for example a 2 br and a 1 br, and you see a 2 br show up with the 2br that the 1 br doesn’t show, call II and ask if you can use the 1br to get the 2 br and pay the upgrade. I have been sucessfully with a call for this. Remember quality needs to be equivalent.
     
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  25. theo

    theo TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Although I hold developer sales weasels (and anything that comes out of their mouths) in very low regard, their claims about "exchanging" haven't really changed much (if at all) over the years. What has changed quite markedly is the exchange company practices, quality and quantity of available exchange inventory and associated costs.

    We've long since abandoned playing the exchange game and no longer even maintain any exchange company memberships. We have pared down our ownerships to those few we look forward to using each year, or can easily rent out for 150+% of our MF amount when we can't use the weeks. For us, the "exchange game" has just become a too uncertain and too time consuming crap shoot, whose dice we are simply no longer interested in rolling.
    To each their own. :shrug:
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
    Sunshine10, dougp26364 and mpumilia like this.

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