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I need timeshare education! Help, please!

Discussion in 'Exchanging Timeshares' started by hisgal2, May 31, 2019.

  1. hisgal2

    hisgal2 Guest

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    We own at RCI's property at Massanutten, Va. I know very little about anything with the timeshare.....we've owned for probably 15 years and I don't think we've ever used it or traded the week or anything. So, obviously we've never used the timeshare to it's greatest potential. Yesterday, I came across someone posting a question on a Disney facebook group about using timeshare points (or whatever the term is??) to stay in Disney and it got me thinking......is this something I could do also? So, I need information! We have plans to be in Disney the first week of January, so I am probably too late on trying to get the time frame that I want, but I don't even know the first place to start. I need an education on this! Where do I even start??
     
  2. DRIless

    DRIless Guest

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    Read, read, read, read, read everything of interest on these board.
    RCI has no properties. There are resorts that are affiliated with RCI (like Massanutten.) There are resorts that are integrated into RCI's points program instead of trading fixed weeks. You sound like you own a fixed week which you may well be able to trade for a nice resort in Orlando in January (generally easy trading) but otherwise, Mass of Nothing doesn't have great trading power depending on your week owned and to get a DISNEY resort would be quite lucky.
     
  3. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I don’t use RCI personally so can’t speak to the likelihood of accomplishing specific trades.

    But in general:
    1. Yes, you could join RCI, which is an exchange company. There is an annual fee to be a member.
    2. You could then assign usage of the week you own to RCI. RCI will give you a certain amount of “currency” to spend in their system. The currency is called TPU. How many TPU they give you depends on the quality of your resort, the size unit you own, and the season/week you deposit. I believe they tell you the number of TPUs you will get before you commit.
    3. Once you have the TPUs, you can use those to obtain a week elsewhere, including in Orlando. DVC exchanges in RCI so you could in theory use your TPUs there, if you have enough. But more people want DVC units than are available. So your best success is setting up a waitlist request far in advance. Some people wait 2 years to exchange into DVC. Orlando at non-DVC resorts is an easy exchange though. Once you make an exchange, you pay another fee for the exchange.

    So you have to look and see if any of this is a good value. First you pay for the timeshare. Then the annual maintenance fees for the timeshare. Then the RCI membership. Then the exchange fee. It adds up, and you have to look if this is your best value way to go to Orlando. Vs just going to the timeshare you own.

    Why aren’t you using it? Maybe you should try to get rid of it, rather than spend more.
     
    mpumilia and jackio like this.
  4. Jan M.

    Jan M. TUG Member

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    Do you have a membership in RCI? If so call RCI and get your week deposited. Then have them get a search started for the week you want. No one has seen anything larger than a one bedroom unit in the last several years through RCI as far as I've seen from watching what has been available and know from what OP have posted too. Saratoga Springs Resort will likely be the only option but sometimes you can find stays at Old Key West Resort. If you are looking for the first full week of January or the next few weeks you might get something. If you mean the week of New Year's then start praying for a miracle.
     
  5. hudshut

    hudshut TUG Member

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    Welcome to TUG. This is a good place to learn.

    If you wish to exchange a week at your Massanutten resort, first you join RCI. www.rci.com
    (It is possible you already have a membership, since you mentioned RCI in your post. Do you receive emails from RCI, or their magazine?)
    You specify which resort / week / unit size you own. RCI confirms this information with your resort, and also confirms that maintenance fees are up to date. You then deposit your week into RCI. Note: Once you do this, that year's week belongs to RCI. You do not have the option to stay at Massannutten that year.
    You will need to let us know how many "Trade Power Units" TPU were given for your week. To get top properties in Orlando, you may need up to 58. To get that number, you may need to combine two weeks (this year's week and next year's week.)

    Then you begin searching online to get familiar with RCI's website. You can enter a geographic area, Orlando, FL, or specific resort names/codes. RCI will return the resorts that have weeks available, by check-in date. If you wish a specific check-in date, you may enter that in the filter, and you may also limit the unit size(s) that are displayed.
    There are many lovely resorts in Orlando. Hiltons, Holiday Inn - Orange Lake, Wyndham Bonnet Creek, and many more.
    If you can stay in a 1br unit, you might be able to match Disney's Saratoga Springs (#DV06)

    To maximize your chance of getting the resort you want for the week you want, you must set up an ongoing search request.
    The easiest method is to do a search on the area you're interested in and "hold" any available week. Then go to your account, and "release" that week, but answer "yes" that you wish to continue to search. You may then modify the search request. Remove the "region" information at the top half, and enter the specific resort code and the actual check-in dates you want. For example:
    DV06 1/3/2020 - 1/5/2020

    Come back and ask questions, as you progress along the steps.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  6. Free2Roam

    Free2Roam TUG Member

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    Just a few tips to maximize your Massanutten ownership.

    One of the benefits of owning at Massanutten is that they offer "Trading Power Boosts" if you pay next year's maintenance fees early. This amounts to free RCI TPUs (with short life) that can be combined and extended (for a fee)... which, of course, is only beneficial if you'll actually use them. I own a triennial and pay 1/3 of maintenance fees (approx $220) each year. So for my triennial ownership, I get 13-20 TPUs each year just for paying maintenance fees early. And you don't have to deposit your owned week to RCI to get the free boosts.

    Also, if you own a lockoff, have them deposit as 2 separate units. For example, you might get 20 TPUs for depositing a 2 bdrm, but 13-14 TPUs for each 1 bdrm unit.
     
    hudshut likes this.
  7. Passepartout

    Passepartout TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Welcome to TUG!
    Start by reading the newbie forum. Learn the jargon like Maintenance Fee (MF) and TPU (what we call Trading Power Units) that give an indication of a resort unit's relative quality, size and season of use. TPUs are 'perishable'. They have the most value out nearly a year before your move-in date. After that date, they are nearly worth!ess. Like almost all things RCI, by paying them more money, they can be extended, and combined with TPUs from upcoming years.

    You should get out the contract you signed at the resort, and go over what it will tell you that you own. You will have questions, and TUG is the very best place for answers. Unfortunately, it can be like trying to get a drink from a fire hose. Too much info in too short of time. We all own different resorts in different systems. That they are timeshares is about the only similarity. Every system has it's own idiosyncracies- and none is perfect. So learn how yours works, and figure how to use it. Maybe not perfect, but it sure beats paying for something you don't use.

    Again, Welcome!

    Jim
     
  8. hisgal2

    hisgal2 Guest

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    Thank you all for your responses. I've replied to each response below.

    Yes, we own a specific week....it's the week of Thanksgiving. We have a unit that is a 2 bedroom where the one bedroom has a kitchenette and can be locked away from the rest of the unit. I remember them putting into the contract that if we were not going to use the main part of the unit on our week, but would use the smaller side then they'd give us a second week. I will pull out the box of information with the contract and refresh my memory on it. Like I said, it was about 15 years ago since we got it....the mortgage or whatever is completely paid off and we just pay the maintenance fee each year....and I guess the membership fee. Hubby takes care of the bills and I've never really pushed the option of using the timeshare stuff. If I can't use the timeshare for this next Disney vacation, that's OK. It's high time I learned the ins and outs of this timeshare thing so we can at least utilize it instead of just dishing out money and not getting anything in return. .....besides, we have an Alaskan vacation coming up in 2 years and if I can figure out how NOT to have to stay with the in-laws, that'd be FABULOUS. ;)


    1....well aware of the annual fee....hubby pays that bill every year when it comes. :)
    2....ok, I will make sure I get this information. Thank you
    3....ok, I understand. We'd prefer to stay on Disney property because of being able to get the dining plan as well as booking the dining reservations and fast passes early.

    Additionally....the mortgage(???) on the timeshare is completely paid off and we pay the annual maintenance fee and I'm fairly certain the RCI membership as well. I will confirm this with hubby. Why aren't we using it----the week we own is the week of Thanksgiving. We get together as a family at family property here in PA and hubby rarely has off the days before Thanksgiving and our kids still have school those days, so the timeshare doesn't get used. Years ago, I'd mention about trading our week and going to a timeshare somewhere else, but hubby never really wanted to look into it. So, now I'm taking control and learning about how we can best utilize it.


    If, by a membership in RCI, you mean paying for property....or a week....or whatever, then yes. If a membership means something else, I'll need to ask hubby about that....but I'm guessing yes since we have a week that I can deposit or use. I'm ok with a 1 bedroom....our family is just me, hubby, and 2 kiddos and we usually stay in 1 BR when we are in Disney. Anything larger than that would be a bonus and the MIL could stay with us as opposed to having to get her own room....but, whatever. January 1st falls on a Wednesday this coming year. We either want to get there the Friday or Saturday after that (so, the 3rd or 4th) OR go after the MLK holiday which is Monday the 20th.

    Thanks for the welcome!

    We do have an account on rci.com, but because we couldn't remember a password or user ID, we've been locked out and I have hubby calling them tomorrow to get that fixed. I *think* we occasionally get a magazine from rci. As for emails, that would go to hubby's account, so I have no clue. I'm ok with depositing the week and it belonging to RCI since we never use our week anyways. We didn't think through that when we bought the timeshare. Our week falls on the week of Thanksgiving....which may either be a good thing or a bad thing for us, I'm assuming. The unit that would be ours is on the larger side, having one bedroom with 2 queen beds and then another bedroom with a King and fold out queen couch. The king room has a kitchenette and it's own bathroom and can be locked from the other bedroom/bathroom/kitchen/living area, etc. It sleeps like 8 people...maybe 10 if they count the couch in the main living area. I'm going to pull out the original paperwork from when we bought the timeshare....would it have how many TPUs we get or is that something that we can only get on the website? If only on the website, I'm hoping I can get to that information tomorrow (Monday). I'd definitely be willing to use next year's TPUs to use a timeshare down in Disney. My guess is that going this route would still end up being less than what it would cost me to book a room out of pocket.

    I'm going to be honest, if we can't stay on Disney property using the timeshare option, then I won't go that route. I like staying on property because we like to get the dining plan which is only available if you stay on property. But even if it works out that way, this will be a good way for me to learn how this all works, etc. Since we are looking at the possibility of 2 different weeks in January (please see a response to another post earlier for those weeks), if I hold one week and then decide we want the other week and find an available week, can we change to that other week??

    Thanks for the information!


    Thanks for that information!! Curious, what is a triennial? I'll find the newbie forum and look for that term in case you don't get back to answer that question. I believe what we have is, actually, a lockoff. There are 2 bedrooms, one having it's own bathroom and kitchette that can be locked away from the main living area/kitchen/bedroom/bathroom. The original agreement was that if we gave them the main unit area for our week and just used the smaller side, they'd give us another week. I'm not sure how that all worked and I'm going to pull out the original paperwork and get the details on that. We bought the timeshare back when they were just building the indoor waterpark. We were told that they were going to stop issuing activity cards (?). I do remember making sure that they'd write into the contract that they'd issue activity cards to any children we would have after the purchase. Again, I'm going to have to look through the paperwork for information on that also. It probably means nothing, tho.

    Thanks Jim. I pulled out the box that has all of the original paperwork and I'm going to weed my way through it all to learn a little bit. I'll also find the newbie forum and read in there. I'm ok with the large amount of information these kinds of forums tend to give. I make notes on other things I may need to learn and wade through everything. I'm ok with asking questions when I can't figure something out. So far, the responses I've gotten have given me a starting place for my learning.
     
  9. Jan M.

    Jan M. TUG Member

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    If you can go the week of January 10/11/12, January 17/18/19 or January 24/25/26 you should be able to get something at Saratoga Springs in a one bedroom from what I've seen in the last two years from watching the inventory and booking for us. I don't know about the week of January 3/4/5 because I wasn't watching that week.

    If what you own is a two bedroom lock off make sure you deposit the units separately to get the most TPU's, Trading Power Units. The sooner you deposit the more TPU's you get is my understanding. Depending on when your week is you might be able to deposit this year's week if it hasn't already passed and next year's also. It sounds like you already have an RCI account but maybe this week was never linked up to it. You might have to make some phone calls to get this done if that is the case.

    I triennial is an every third year usage week. A biannual is every other year. Even or odd year.
     
    RNCollins likes this.
  10. hisgal2

    hisgal2 Guest

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    While I was going through the paperwork last night, I noticed we have an agreement that gives us a bonus week. Since what we have is probably a lock off, if I have them deposit the units separately, would that basically be me getting TPUs for that "bonus week"?...or do I not get anything for that bonus week? Also, our week isn't until week #47 which is in November, the week of Thanksgiving, so I should be able to deposit this year and next year....correct? Do I have to call to deposit those weeks or is that something that I can do on RCI.com? Hubby says we do indeed have an account and pay the membership fee.
     
  11. silentg

    silentg TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Best thing to do is go to RCI.com or call the number that will appear on the sight.
    Try to log in if you get a message that says forgot password send them your email address and they will send you a link to change your password. Having your account number for RCI will help too. If you do a transaction on the phone like booking an exchange they charge more. If you get the info from them to get user name and password updated you should be able to log into your account. The have on line helper too.
    Once you get access to your RCI account you can search for a vacation. If you don’t see what you want start an on going search.
    Good Luck!
    Silentg
     
  12. Jan M.

    Jan M. TUG Member

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    We are RCI points members so what I know about the weeks account is based on what I've learned here on TUG and from my sister as they have a weeks account. I thought that other people posted that they were able to deposit their week(s) online.

    About the bonus week I'm guessing that is the Extra two weeks you get as an owner of a Vacation Village property. Unless weeks owners only get one week? When you log into your RCI account you should see this:

    Vacation Village- Extra Vacation Certificate
    Vacation Village Resort members- Redeem your 2-45 day advance Extra Vacations(SM) Certificate you receive each year. For the cost of an exchange, you can enjoy a great weeklong stay at select resorts!

    You just click on it to see what resorts and dates are available. The prices can vary but seem to be the cheapest when RCI is having their best prices on sale weeks. Recently when I've looked for or booked one of those Extra Vacation Certificate weeks the prices ranged from $239-$269 for the week. The selection of resorts with the VV Extra Vacation Certificates isn't limited to just the Vacation Village family of resorts. There are resorts all over the world available in the selection.

    Vacation Village Resorts & Affiliates

     
  13. hisgal2

    hisgal2 Guest

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    UPDATE: I was able to log into RCI today. The husband *did* let the membership lapse, so according to our paperwork we've lost the 'bonus week' because of that. :/ The timeshare year goes July-June, which I didn't realize, so I cannot deposit my week until July when it resets. I did do an online chat with a rep and found out how many max TPUs we get tho. We do have a lock-off unit, so if I deposit the unit as 1, we'll get 20 TPUs. If I have them deposit the unit as 2 units, we'll get 16 and 17 TPUs. I found out there is a fee to combine those, but in all honesty, if I can combine those for this coming year as well as the following year, we *may* be able to get a larger DVC unit. If that's the case, the fees to combine and exchange, etc would still be lower than what it would cost for us to stay in a resort (we'd probably do Coronado Springs otherwise) out of pocket. Also, I found out that RCI does not have a timeshare in Alaska and I'm bummed about that.
     
  14. Free2Roam

    Free2Roam TUG Member

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    FYI A triennial is where you get to use your unit every 3 years, and pay 1/3 of the maintenance fees each year (or sometimes you pay the full maintenance fee once every 3 years.) Some resorts also have Biennial (every 2 years) ownerships
     
  15. sandkastle4966

    sandkastle4966 Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Bonus weeks are typically NOT a "TPU week/credit" rather a "free week" - that you search separately on (usually gets you something worth less than 12 ish points).

    Plan your combines - it a fee everytime. If you are looking for Disney....accumulate your weeks (maybe 2 years worth - to get a mega deposit of 60+). It will most likely take 60 to DVC unless you snag a last minute cancellation

    good luck
     
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  16. hisgal2

    hisgal2 Guest

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    So, if I deposit the 2 year's worth separately (to get the larger amount of TPUs), can I combine them all at one time for one fee? Or is that something that is different depending on what company you use and I'll need to ask RCI? I didn't think to ask that while I was chatting with them.
     
  17. Free2Roam

    Free2Roam TUG Member

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    Yes, one fee each time you combine. You can combine as many deposits as you want...and you can choose expiration date 1 or 2 years from combine date. I think the 2 yr price is about $30 more. Keep in mind that the new expiration may be shorter than your original deposit expiration date... so combine carefully. I've only combined deposits that were about to expire and I add anything expiring before the new combine date.
     

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