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What's the savviest buying strategy these days?

Discussion in 'Buying, Selling, Renting' started by thetimeshareguy, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. thetimeshareguy

    thetimeshareguy TUG Member

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    Hi everyone! I've been away from these discussion boards for a long time. Fact is my kids grew up and timeshare didn't make sense anymore compared to selloffs to all-inclusive for myself and a girlfriend at the time.

    Now I'm in a new relationship with a woman who has a 10-year-old son and two teenagers. Suddenly timeshare looks appealing as we'll need the occasional two- or three-bedroom condo to host the whole family when traveling.

    Many years ago I owned several week of timeshare in South Africa, as that was the cheapest way to get into the game and have something that exchanged well into resorts in North America and elsewhere. When that strategy started to be less effective, I switched to a "points leasing" program through a resort in Palm Springs. I had use of 100,000 RCI points per year, at a cost of about $700 total per year. (The program gave the option to renew or not every three years.)

    So now I'm looking to get back in the game. If you were starting fresh today, what would you recommend? I'd like to get as many points as possible for the least cost, and keep my annual maintenance fees low low low. I want to travel to different places by car and airplane.

    I await your suggestions, fellow TUGgers! :cheer:
     
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  2. ronparise

    ronparise TUG Member

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    Conventional advice now is to buy where you want to go not buy to trade

    But if trading is your thing you should know that RCI has two systems; RCI weeks that trade using Teading PowerUnits “TPU” technically not points, but points all the same. And then there is the RCI points system (which allows short stay reservations)

    You may be shocked to see the RCI fee schedule. It is, I think, expensive to exchange through RCI

    I don’t know how long you have need away but the big points systems have gotten much bigger, Wyndham especially. Buy into one of these systems and you will have a ton of choices within the system with no exchange fees

    So I’m not much help with strategy I’d just find a system that delivers what you want for your family and pull out the checkbook
     
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  3. AwayWeGo

    AwayWeGo TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Grandview At Las Vegas

    [triennial - points]
    Buy timeshares resale.

    Everything else is details.

    -- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
     
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  4. DeniseM

    DeniseM Moderator

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  5. thetimeshareguy

    thetimeshareguy TUG Member

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    Wow! It sounds like things have really changed. And not for the better. :( I will consider this idea of buying where I want to go, but to be honest the whole appeal of timeshare for me is going to different places. Maybe a chain like Wyndham makes sense therefore. Hmm. I know I have research to do. Can you give me a sense of what the RCI fee schedule is? How much is annual membership and a single exchange? That "Teading PowerUnits" or TPU sounds odd. Is it a different product or just a rebranding of points to extract more money out of people who already owned timeshare weeks or points?
     
  6. VacationForever

    VacationForever TUG Member

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    Instead of buying resorts that require an external trading company to trade to somewhere you want or a timeshare that has been converted to RCI points, you should look at a pure point timeshare system where you can book within the internal system without an additional exchange fee. Exchange fees have been going up more than inflation rate and I think RCI week exchange is now $249 per trade, in addition to the annual membership fee. Interval International is now $189, and less for certain brands when trading within the same brand.
     
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  7. thetimeshareguy

    thetimeshareguy TUG Member

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    Okay, I'll look into that and then track back with more questions later! Thanks!
     
  8. funtime

    funtime TUG Member

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    We have given up on RCI. Not only are the fees high but the inventory is non-existent. We Like II or Trading Places for exchange. II has the Marriotts which are the types of places we like to stay. Also can just buy the weeks you want on II as Getaways. Can pick up a Platinum 2BR Marriott on ebay and split into two units and get some decent trades. Trading Places gives bonus weeks if you join their club. Their system is straight forward. You can deposit a studio but if you want a 2Br you just pay an upgrade fee. Same with off season to prime season. Just pay a bit extra. So if you have a weak trader you can still work it with TPI. However they are strong in some areas but not in others. Check their web site.
     
  9. theo

    theo TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    TPU's are a sort of "artificial currency" valuation / creation, actually completely unrelated to RCI Points. The creation of TPU's and the practice of assigning TPU valuations to all non-RCI Points weeks at RCI-affiliated resorts is something that evolved in the aftermath of a lawsuit against RCI some years back.
    RCI Points continue to exist as a separate (and completely unrelated to TPU's) entity.

    We don't belong to RCI at all anymore, having long ago become disenchanted with the time, effort, uncertainties (and expense) of the "exchange game" --- not to mention finding less and less available inventory of any interest to us as time went on. When last I knew RCI exchanges were $239 each and RCI membership around $89 per year, but the bigger issue than cost for us was the the very limited and decidedly mediocre exchange inventory available .
    Others see things quite differently; to each their own.

    Btw, that 3 year lease of RCI Points option is long gone. I had one too for one 3 year period at that same place (wasn't it called Club Trinidad?).

    Anyway, my $0.02 worth is to recommend renting units where and when you want to go there, rather than buying back into timeshare ownership at all. You are interested in many locations, will always need multiple bedrooms, will be looking at different and varying times with the young ones (who are likely tied to school schedules, to some extent) --- and who needs eternal and ever-increasing maintenance fee obligations anyhow? I cannot in good conscience recommend buying into the gyrations, expense and uncertainty of playing the "exchange game" with RCI. You are absolutely right that things have changed and in my view you are also correct that few (if any) of those changes are for the better.

    Just my personal opinion. Your mileage may vary. :shrug:
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  10. thetimeshareguy

    thetimeshareguy TUG Member

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    Yeah, I have a feeling that will be what I'll do in the end. I recall back when I was last in this game that was what I was already telling others to do.

    That resort was Club Trinidad, by the way. The guy running the place was very nice and very folksy, as I recall, and the bookkeeper who ultimately send the points and collected the money was very nice too. I think that resort was a destination back in the Sinatra "Rat Pack" days. I got a lot of great vacations with that strategy, including a two-bedroom at a Gold Crown resort in Stowe during March break, and a four bedroom cottage in an A-frame cottage near a manor home in the countryside of Rutland. Great memories!
     
  11. Panina

    Panina TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    My strategy now...

    Is get a timeshare where you would like to go if you could not trade it, even if you now plan to trade it all the time.

    Make sure it trades in II and get at minimum a 2 bedroom so you are not paying size upgrade fees all the time. II has higher quality resorts and a good trader will get good trades.

    Get a week that is in a high demand place and/or time. For me the best traders have been southwest Florida.

    No need to pay money unless you want a specific resort and/or week. Of course there are exceptions. For example, I had to pay for a fall Key West week and a prime winter Marco Island week. There are many free timeshares out there that are great traders, they do not have to be part of a system, a little research and patience will get you one. How do I know, I have acquired some this way and I have given away for free to fellow tuggers timeshares that trade well.

    Of the many timeshares I own, I only have one in a system HGVC. The rest are HOA owned. As much as I love HGVC I would not go with a system again, I rather deal with the HOA then a corporation that can change the rules. I prefer HOA owned in high demand locations in prime time, which gets great trades in II.

    Most important, get something that you can easily give away when you no longer want it...once again high demand location/time.
     
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  12. 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.
    Exchange still works for me. Yes, I remember Club Trinidad and the low-priced RCI Points, and you can probably get back into that, if you want. I used to love RCI, but lately it's been difficult to find much, so I use II almost exclusively. The quality of the resorts and my luck at getting great exchange matches are two reasons I love II.

    I would buy a good trader, maybe a Marriott 2 bedroom lockoff somewhere in Platinum season, and then play the exchange game with a new company.

    Welcome back to TUG.
     
  13. Lisa P

    Lisa P TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    We like owning points for internal reservations within a large system that has many resorts in areas where we want to visit. We don't use RCI nearly as much as we used to. We gave up on II long ago for some of the same reasons others have given up on RCI - increasing fees and reduced inventory where we wanted to go. We like the quality and locations we are able to reserve with our Wyndham points for mostly eastern U.S. travel, and some limited availability in the western U.S. Knowing the system well, we avoid any additional fees - there's quite a learning curve. Wyndham points also include RCI membership in the maintenance fees.

    We've considered buying resale WorldMark points for its western U.S. locations near U.S. (and Canada) National Parks. That system also seems easier to use. We so dislike paying exchange fees and the large systems allow us to bypass those escalating fees.

    When we want to find reasonably priced rentals, we look (online) at the TUG Marketplace, RedWeek, SkyAuction (RCI inventory - note the added fees above cost at the bottom of each listing in fine print), and CondoDirect (II inventory) websites. Hope this helps. Welcome back to TUG.
     
  14. T-Dot-Traveller

    T-Dot-Traveller TUG Member

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    Hi timeshare guy,
    RCI charges Canadians in Loonies - so the fee structure is similar but slightly higher than the bank rate .
    If you are interested in non AI in Mexico for a Feb or March week - RCI can work / if you book 18 months out . The TPU’ are generally reasonable - so that the total exchange cost remains effective . There are also rental from owner options.


    Hawaii - TUG posters seem to mention - less inventory in RCI than “once upon a time “
    ( since I live in the GTA ( Greater Toronto Area) like you , Hawaii is too long a flight for us . For a Vancouver resident it could matter )

    Orlando - there are $ 700 rentals all the time in the TUG - 45 day rental forum .
    There are also some TUG members / Wyndham points owners who rent - and could likely rent you a 3 bedroom at Bonnet Creek at early ARP points for more $ .

    I would read TUG for a while before making a buy move .
    I do think based on your current family size that accessing timeshare units makes sense .
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  15. vacationhopeful

    vacationhopeful TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Wyndham has become MUCH more difficult to use ... overlapping reservations are cancelled (even by 1 day, both are cancelled), fees for everything, long hold times to speak to a customer service agent, etc. Some owners still own and use their fixed weeks, but the point system is a downer.

    I own at the Ft Lauderdale Beach Resort .. has RCI points weeks found on the resale market (conversion is not offered anymore) .. but a good fixed week trades well in either RCI or II. You can trade in any system you want to pay the membership fee in (except RCI points units). Yes, it is an older resort but the location is GREAT plus all 2/2 are lockoffs and 2 versions of 1bdrs (1bdr with 1 bath faced the ocean; 1bdr with 1.5 baths MOSTLY face the intercoastal except for the xx02 units face the ocean ... higher is generally more desired up to the 18th floor). MFs for 2/2 units is around $880 yearly.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  16. theo

    theo TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    VRI*ety no longer exists. It's dead and buried, essentially absorbed into TPI (which always ran the VRI*ety platform behind the scenes anyhow).
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  17. thetimeshareguy

    thetimeshareguy TUG Member

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    Thanks for the good info!
     
  18. Railman83

    Railman83 TUG Member

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    Wyndham is also cheap to buy and reasonable to own. None of the issues described off set the pluses of being able to get a one bedroom with a kitchen for a week for $500-$600.
     
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  19. thetimeshareguy

    thetimeshareguy TUG Member

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    Fair comment. As I research this topic further, I'll be looking into which chain (e.g., Marriott, etc.) offers the most options for internal system exchange with low fees or no fees. Based on everything in this message thread, I would want at least a two-bedroom or 2+1 lock-off in a good location and a week that I would normally use myself. An East Coast ocean-front resort during the week that normally coincides with Spring Break -- a drivable distance from where I live (Toronto, Ontario) -- represents a good example. Maybe Virginia. Then I have to look at the resale acquisition costs and annual maintenance fees, and then compare all that against simply renting on an as-needed basis, which -- even if slightly more expensive -- affords maximum flexibility.

    Then I have to weigh all this against another idea, which is to buy a trailer home and upgrade my vehicle to a light-duty pickup truck, and simply drive my vacation home around to wherever I wish to go! That -- in combination with the occasional timeshare rental -- may be the way to go. But I will still research all the options folks have suggested here. I do enjoy timeshare; I'd thought I was out of the game, as my sons are grown up now -- and nothing beats selloff vacations to all-inclusive if it's just a couple -- but my lady has a 10-year-old son so I'm back into that situation for a few more years. (Yeah, I like her that much that I'm fine with this!)
     

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