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Friend has offered use of their RCI points. Lots of questions.

Discussion in 'New to Timesharing? Look Here!' started by TravelDad, Sep 22, 2018.

  1. TravelDad

    TravelDad Guest

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    Hello! New member here, thank you in advance for your help. A friend of mine hasn't used her RCI Points in years, and has generously offered to let me use all of them. I've never booked a timeshare before, but I've tried to do some research to understand how it all works. I have a few questions:

    1. Some of the points are expiring at the end of January, as her year ends January 31st. Do I need to complete travel by that time to use those points, or do I just need to book something by then, even if the reservation is for mid-2019?

    2. What happens if I have a booking that spans the end of the use year? From which "bucket" are the points used? For example, if I check in on Janury 26th and check out on February 2nd.

    3. Is there a limit to how many reservations I can book in a year? How many units I can book simultaneously? I have over 200,000 points to work with, and it looks like there are some last-minute deals under 10,000 for a week.

    4. I read something about the Exchange Fee being significantly reduced for the Home Resort. Is that only true if booking far in advance? Or will the Exchange Fee be lower for the home resort, even with those last-minute dirt-cheap reservations?

    5. I want to make sure I understand what fees are involved. I see four different fees: Housekeeping, Resort Fees, Exchange Fees (aka the booking fee), and the Guest Certificate fee. That's everything, right?

    6. What's the deal with using RCI points for their "partner programs"? My initial impression is that this usage represents a very poor value proposition.

    7. Exchanging into DVC: it looks like inventory is nonexistent and the fees are significant. Probably not worth my while? Any tips for making it work?

    Sorry for the many many questions, and thank you in advance!
     
  2. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Hi and Welcome!
    It's always good to see other TUGgers helping new folks- and I learn too.
    Thanks breezez!

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
  3. breezez

    breezez TUG Member

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    Location:
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    Resorts Owned:
    WorldMark 39K
    Wyndham 406K
    RCI Points 196K
    Hyatt Pinon Pointe
    Hyatt Coconut Plantation
    Travel must be completed before they expire. Her account should show if they are eligible to be extended. If they are that will make them good for 1 more year, but if she is platinum it makes them good for 2 more years.

    If there is a bunch may be worth paying fee to be platinum, before extending if eligible.

    You can book as many reservations as your willing to pay exchange fees for. Always check the under 10K point reservations against last minute deals. Sometimes the last minute deals are cheaper than the points and exchange fee.

    Under her account there is a link for RCI fees. Be aware many resorts also have fees you will see this under fees tab for each resort. Some will show fees for points reservations normally this is only charged if reservation booked is a points interval less than a week, a few will charge even if a week. When points are used to book weeks inventory you typically don’t pay housekeeping fees.

    Point Partner value works out to break even or better than break even only when you have a good MF/Points ratio.

    I get .0082 MF/Points so I can pretty much get .009-.01 MF/Points using for car rentals. I have rent cars 4 weeks this year in points. You can use 33% of annual allotment per calendar year for this or 50% if platinum.

    DVC - SSR and Vero are most common but be aware DVC charges all exchangers a $190 fee at checkin. If friends points are associated with resort in 25 mile radius of Orlando you can’t use points to book into Orlando DVC.

    Finally best stuff you will never see online. Put in ongoing searches this is needed to get the hard to get stuff.
     
  4. hudshut

    hudshut TUG Member

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    Welcome to TUG! Where do you live and where would you like to travel?
    Can you travel before end of Jan?
    We do need to know which resort your friend owns? A few areas have geographic trading restrictions.

    Disney does come up if you set up a search. It looks non-existent because the searches take almost all the inventory.
     
  5. Jan M.

    Jan M. TUG Member

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    Location:
    Tamarac, FL
    Resorts Owned:
    Wyndham Presidential Reserve at Panama City Beach
    RCI Grandview Las Vegas and Discovery Beach
    Be careful if you are booking Wyndham resorts with these points because you cannot have more than one reservation at any of the Wyndham resorts for the same or overlapping dates in your name. You would have to put a guest name on if you have more than one to avoid one of your reservations being cancelled.

    I've never paid a house keeping fee for a full week stay but if you stay less than a full week you will. When you open the page up for a resort on the right hand side you will see fees. If there are any amenities fees the resort charges you will be able to see what they are. Not all that many resorts have fees. You will pay a $190 fee when you check in at a Disney resort but even with the $239 exchange fee it is still far cheaper than booking a Disney resort through Disney or paying an owner to rent a stay.

    With 200k points it would likely be worth it to pay for the platinum benefit because one of those benefits is a longer time to use the points. Someone mentioned setting up ongoing searches to find reservations and you those are free with platinum. You also get a discount on guest certificates. Take a look at the other platinum benefits, I find them to be worthwhile.
     
  6. moonstone

    moonstone TUG Member

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    I have been told by a few different RCI VC's that I cant put in an ongoing search with points (true RCI points , not TPU's). I wish I could, but I am not willing to upgrade to Platinum if that is a perk. I called 2 diff RCI reps last winter while trying to set up an ongoing search to use some of our points for a 9 or 10 night stay in FL this fall, got the same answer from both of them -no can do! :(

    To answer the OP's questions;
    1) you need to book and begin the stay before the expiration date
    2) if you have 2 different use year points it is wise to call RCI to make sure they use the oldest points first, then if those aren't enough then draw from the next use year. Their system doesn't always do that when booking on line (in my experience).
    3) as mentioned before, there's no limit (with the exception Jan mentioned) to the number of vacations you book if you don't mind paying the exchange fee. I like to book several longer stays (9-10 nights) now that we are retired as the fee is the same as booking 7 nights, longer than 10 night stays cost more.
    4) Some systems have a reduced exchange fee for staying within their system. Our points are associated with the Vacation Village system so I get a reduced fee for exchanging into any of their resorts.
    5) that is most of the fees you will encounter, some resorts in cities (ie; New York, Atlantic City...) will also charge a parking fee. We have never paid a housekeeping fee because we've never stayed less than 7 nights anywhere.
    6) you are correct that using points with the partner programs are usually not a good/economical use of points.
    7) yes exchanging into DVC is hard to impossible. If you booked early enough you may be able to use all you points for 1 stay in a small unit at DVC.

    If you belong to RCI you will also be able to use Extra Vacation or Last Call weeks if you don't have enough points for all the vacations you want to take.

    Welcome to TUG! :hi:


    ~Diane
     
  7. TravelDad

    TravelDad Guest

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    Thank you for all of the detailed responses and the warm welcome! What a fantastic community you have here! To answer a few of the followup questions:

    - I'm planning to travel to the Orlando area for 3 weeks, January 12th through February 2nd, 2019. I plan to book a 2-bedroom for that trip. I may also book a one-bedroom unit for a week or two in Orlando for sometime in the next few months, to enjoy the holiday decorations at Disney World.

    - My friend owns at Vacation Village Parkway, so I guess that means I'm ineligible to exchange into DVC, but booking an exchange to stay at Vacation Village should result in lower fees? Good to know! ( EDIT: Hmm, after punching in a few dates and looking at a few properties, it doesn't look like the reservation fee is any lower at Vacation Village Parkway than it is at any other properties in the area. )

    - Of the 222,000 points, 74k were already extended previously and will expire January 31st regardless. My understanding is that of the remainder, 74k will roll over to next Use Year for free, and the other 74k can be extended for a fee of $130.

    - I read in another thread here that purchasing a Guest Certificate is often unnecessary, as many resorts will allow me to check in as long as the RCI account holder faxes something to them authorizing it. So is the correct process:
    1. Book in the account holder's name.
    2. Call the resort to make sure they will accept a fax or some other authorization to change the booking to my name.
    3. If they refuse, add a guest certificate to the reservation after the fact? Is that right/possible?

    I'm very much open to any additional tips or suggestions regarding using the points, including recommended resorts in that area. Thank you!

    EDIT: One further question: Are cribs and high chairs often provided at no cost? Or, if there are typically fees for this, what is a reasonable estimate for how much those fees would be?
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  8. Jan M.

    Jan M. TUG Member

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    Location:
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    RCI Grandview Las Vegas and Discovery Beach
    If you friend owns at VV at Pkwy I believe the exchange fee should be $209 instead of $239. The big advantage is if you can book 14 nights or more in one reservation. Then the exchange fee would only be $288 for the whole stay as long as it is booked as one reservation. We own at Grandview Las Vegas which is another VV resort. We stayed there this Spring for 17 nights booked in one reservation so only paid the one exchange fee of $278 for the whole stay. And I did it online without calling in. It went up $10 to $288 on July 1, 2018

    The best thing to do if you are needing a porta crib and high chair is to call the resort to make sure they even have them. Many resorts have them but they are on a first come first served basis.

    To the best of my knowledge being able to fax a guest name in would only be for fixed week owners using their weeks or a points week owner using their underlying week instead of the points. But using the underlying week instead of the points is something a points owner would have to arrange something like 13 months ahead of time.

    If you are traveling with younger children I can personally recommend VV at Pkwy. We ask to be in the buildings 1-6 section where the playground is in addition to the pool and a splash area for the younger kids. This section is also close to the activities center where they do the free face painting every afternoon. The resort has free sno-cones on 3 or 4 different days of the week at the different pools. I learned from other people to bring plastic glasses or insulated travel cups, straws and or spoons down to the pool with us and dump the sno-cones in them. No mess and they stay cold longer. You can even get a second sno-cone and put the cup in the freezer for later or the next day. We really enjoyed the movie nights at the pool too. You can bring your own snacks and drinks but they bring the popcorn machine and you can buy freshly popped for $1 a bag. They also have cans of soft drinks for $1. Our granddaughter enjoyed the games and activities at the pools too. In a section of 6 buildings there are 3 on each side with a common area between. In the common area is where the pool and playground are. And there are picnic tables and grills in shaded areas or semi shaded areas scattered around the common area.

    Another resort that is nice for little ones is Star Island and we ask to be in a building by the playground, miniature golf and the pool area. The playground there was redone a few years ago and is very nice. We really like Bonnet Creek and Reunion a lot but they are a lot of walking for younger kids. We like staying at VV at Pkwy and Star Island, having everything we want right out the door and being able to get to our unit quickly when our granddaughter gets hungry or tired. Plus the pools aren't as crowded which makes it easier with little ones. We don't even take the stroller, just a tote bag big enough to hold some snacks and drinks. Our granddaughter's job is to help carry her pool toys which keeps her too busy to run too far ahead. On a recent stay at Bonnet Creek by ourselves my husband commented that families looked like they were packing for a week long safari they had so much stuff on the strollers for a couple hours at the pool.

    Our granddaughters will be here next month and we are going to Orlando for 3-4 days with them while our son and DIL go on a cruise for a wedding he is in. This will be the now 2 year old granddaughter's first time going to Orlando with us. I had the option of a presidential reserve unit at Bonnet Creek or a deluxe unit at Star Island and asked my husband which he would prefer as he will be at the pool and playground with them more than I will. He wondered why I even had to ask. Star Island it is! If we were going to be there longer to make it worth booking a whole week my first choice would have been VV at Pkwy.

    At $130 to extend the points it would be cheaper to pay for a year of platinum and then you would get the other platinum benefits. See the list of RCI fees and at the bottom a short summary of the platinum benefits. Many of us have posted that the savings dollars aren't worth much. The free upgrades are within 14 days of check in but I've had some great upgrades to different resorts and/or larger units.

    RCI® Points Fees United States effective July 1, 2018
    The following information details the various fees that are associated with your membership benefits.

    Usually on an annual basis, you will also pay a maintenance fee, which is used toward the operation and upkeep of the resort at which you own. This is not a fee which is collected by RCI - you pay your resort directly.

    Annual RCI Points® Subscription Fees USD
    1 YR $124
    2 YRS $229
    3 YRS $321
    4 YRS $409
    5 YRS $499
    Annual RCI Points Platinum Fees Total Cost (USD) Price Per
    Year (USD)

    RCI Points Platinum® 1 Yr $89
    RCI Points Platinum® 2 Yrs $155 $77.50
    RCI Points Platinum® 3 Yrs $221 $73.67
    RCI Points Platinum® 4 Yrs $279 $69.75
    RCI Points Platinum® 5 Yrs $322 $64.40
    Exchange Vacations USD (Call Center/RCI.com)
    Home Week Reservation (7 nights) No Charge
    Home Resort Reservation (7 nights) $50
    RCI Points Reservation 14 nights + $288
    RCI Points Reservation: 7-13 nights $209
    RCI Points Reservation 6 nights $199
    RCI Points Reservation: 5 nights $179
    RCI Points Reservation 4 nights $139
    RCI Points Reservation: 3 nights $109
    RCI Points Reservation 2 nights $79
    RCI Points Reservation: 1 night $59
    RCI Weeks Reservation (7 nights) $239
    Managing Your Points USD
    Points Saving Fee $26
    Points Extension -
    Less than or Equal to 30,000 Points $85
    Points Extension -
    30,001 Points or more $125
    Points Extension Fee - WVO
    Flat rate $109
    Points Rental Fee (Per Point) $0.03
    Points for Deposit Fee $49
    RCI Points Protection
    Purchased 30 days or less from the date of vacation confirmation AND 15 days or more before check-in date
    USD
    1-2 nights $39
    3-4 nights $49
    5+ nights $59
    Purchased 31 days or more from the date of vacation confirmation OR 14 days or less from check-in date USD
    1-2 nights $79
    3-4 nights $89
    5+ nights $99
    Miscellaneous Fees
    USD

    Guest Certificates $84
    Membership Transfer Application (MTA) $98
    Duplicate Points Directory (S&H) $6.95

    RCI fees are subject to change at RCI's sole discretion. For complete details of RCI subscribing membership, including RCI's cancellation policy, please consult the Terms and Conditions of RCI Points® Subscribing Membership.

    RCI Platinum® membership offers a wide range of benefits to help enhance your vacation ownership by providing you with benefits that you can enjoy on vacation and at home.

    Exclusive Sales & Savings
      • Save 10% on Extra Vacations℠ getaways and Last Call℠ vacations, even those already on sale.
      • Get a 25% discount on Guest Certificates so you can share with family or friends and save!
      • Free Ongoing Search, so we can help you find your ideal vacation and you won’t be charged the Exchange Fee until we find a match.
      • Free On-Hold Vacations, so you can iron out those last-minute details without a fee for 24 hours.
      • Earn Savings Dollars on many RCI transactions you already do (like paying RCI® exchange fees or renewing your RCI subscribing membership). Savings Dollars can then be redeemed as a form of partial payment toward the purchase of products and services.
    Priority Privileges
      • Priority Access to select Exchange vacations before they’re made available to standard RCI members for exchange.
      • Platinum Previews of Extra Vacations℠ getaway sales one day before standard RCI® subscribing members.
      • Get Priority Answer on a dedicated toll-free number for quick access to our knowledgeable RCI Platinum guides.
      • Experience the convenience of Travel Concierge and personal assistance coordinators available 24/7 to respond to virtually any request — large or small.
      • Enjoy 24/7 Emergency Travel Assistance which provides a dedicated around-the-clock travel counselor just a phone call away to solve last-minute travel problems.
    Upgrades & Extras
      • Complimentary Unit Upgrades & Resort Changes on confirmed Exchange vacations when available, so you have the opportunity to receive a larger unit at your confirmed resort, or a unit at another resort in the same geographic region as your confirmed Exchange vacation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
    sharewhereMiMi likes this.
  9. moonstone

    moonstone TUG Member

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    Traveldad, if you want to book for Jan-Feb.2019 you might want to do that asap as it is snowbird season and most resorts in FL are booked well in advance (IMHO). If your friends own at VV and are with RCI then they will have a special VV-RCI number to call to reserve weeks. It took me a few times of calling the regular RCI number and then getting transferred to the VV dept before I just got their direct number and call right to it through myself. You wont get the reduced rate by booking online either.

    We enjoy going to FL in the fall and if we are down there late enough we see the holiday lights we make sure to drive though Celebration (Disney's planned community, almost across the road from VV@Pkwy). We have also taken our DGS to Disney & Universal in late Oct twice in the last few years and encountered no crowds at all! On some of the rides we were asked if we wanted to go around again because there was nobody (or not enough to fill the ride) waiting. The crowds were just as sparse at Universal.


    ~Diane
     
  10. TravelDad

    TravelDad Guest

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    Jan M, thank you for the detailed review of Parkway. The amenities sound wonderful, and we do highly value a shorter walk from the car to bed at the end of the day (in a perfect world, we'd park our car right outside the door to the unit).

    I'm so glad you told me that, because I was considering waiting another month or so to book, in the hope that the price (in points) would come down further. I'll try to get it booked this week. What's the special phone number to call VV-RCI, and how much money can I expect to save? My friend gave me her RCI login information to book it myself, so I'd rather not inconvenience her by making her call in, unless the savings are significant. It looks like if I book online, I'm going to have to pay $209 for a 10-day trip in the next month or two, and $288 for the 3-week trip in January (plus Guest Certificate fees).
     
  11. moonstone

    moonstone TUG Member

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    I am Canadian so I don't know if you'd have the same number to call. The number I use is 1-866-724-3333. If you call the main RCI number the regular RCI reps will soon direct you once you say you are exchanging/booking through Vacation Villages. I don't remember how much of a discount we get but it isn't a great deal of money, but every little bit helps!

    Yes, when you want to book (or exchange) anywhere during high season it is better to book as early as possible. The only units that will be discounted will be what nobody wants (studios or small units, poor locations...).


    ~Diane
     

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