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Which exchange system do you like the best and why?

Discussion in 'Exchanging' started by Fredflintstone, Jul 20, 2018.

  1. Fredflintstone

    Fredflintstone TUG Member

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    The main reason why I dumped my timeshares and now only rent is because of RCI. In my opinion, their fees to do just any transaction is simply ridiculous. The icing on the cake for me was when they tripled the fees to keep your points if not used within a certain timeframe. Now weeks and points that you paid for through maintenance fees are being attacked through extension charges. In my experience, I had over 300 weeks points worth about 8 k taken from me because I forgot to extend and told they can never be recovered. My response was to dump RCI asap and the timeshares attached.

    Anyway, one day I may reconsider buying a timeshare resale again. I would like to learn from TUGGERS which exchange you like a why. I am especially curious on the reasonability of fees to exchange and any other charges. Quality and quantity of exchanges available would be awesome to know as well. Also, from your experience have fees stayed reasonable for a period of time?

    Thank you all for your experienced and frank opinion.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    silentg and mpumilia like this.
  2. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    We were RCI Weeks and then RCI Points members from 1997 to 2007 and switched to II. We never look back. II resort quality is superior to RCI's with exchange fees lower by about 20%. We own quite alot of timeshare of value which enables us to reserve stays in their internal systems, skipping the need for external exchange companies fees, but we still find value in utilizing external exchange companies.
     
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  3. breezez

    breezez TUG Member

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    RCI Weeks and Points are time sensative just like timeshare points/credits. They are not going to hand hold you and tell you when your stuff is about to expire. That is your responsibility to keep track of.

    An easy way to keep up on it is set reminders or alarms in your calendars a few days to a couple of weeks before they expire so you can do what you need to do to extend them.

    I agree RCI fees are high. But you can still get great deals. I can’t speak to the weeks TPU side only to the points side. When you get allotment of use year points they are good for 1 year automatically save over for another year. You can then pay a fee to extend yet a 3rd year and if your platinum they extend 2 years vice 1 year for the extension fee. If you can’t use them all in 3-4 years you probably have too much timeshare.

    Getting good exchanges means creating ongoing searches, if your really specific your odds of being filled are diminished if your less specific your odds of getting filled go up. The earlier you put an OGS request the more likely you will get filled.

    To many people decide today I want to take a trip to X for X days staying one of a few resorts and then look at what is available then. They don’t see what they want and log out disgusted. You will seldom find the more desirable stuff this way you must set up an OGS. If you don’t want to pay in advance become a platinum RCI and OGS are free, you only pay once you accept the exchange.

    On the RCI Points their is a couple disadvantage you can’t rent your unit unless you forgo your points and take home week. Most resorts have fees in addition to exchange fees for stays less than week supposedly to offset additional housekeeping expense they will endure. That said you can get a lot of stays on points especially when picking last minute inventory.

    II is a bit cheaper on exchanges but not as many can join based on what they own. But if you can join II with your home resort you can get some good exchanges at nice resorts and a lot of nice last minute deals. Exchange fees are a bit less and they constantly give you certificates for free stays for just an exchange fee.
     
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  4. Luanne

    Luanne TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    The one I like dealing with the best is Trading Places Maui.

    Reasons I like them:
    - No fee to belong since we own at Maui Hill
    - No fee to request an ongoing search, don't pay until match is made
    - Small company, so you actually know who you are talking to

    We only use them for the specific purpose of trading our Maui Hill week for a week at a different time of year.
     
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  5. Panina

    Panina TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    If you get a resort in a high demand area with limited inventory and a desirable week, trading in interval produces great exchanges. The are many more higher end resorts in II versus RCI. I always get matches to my ogs and my preferred trading company is II.

    If you want to totally be away from a trading company, I like HGVC. Being in HGVC I feel they treat their members the best and there are lots of choices to trade within the system.
     
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  6. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I don't exchange anymore- or rarely. When I do I use the free memberships in the small independent exchange companies where I do not have to deposit first. If I see something- fine. If I don't- I just use my week at my home resort. Not so terrible. Really want to go somewhere else in addition to what I own? I rent from someone else or directly from the resort. Problem solved.
     
  7. mdurette

    mdurette TUG Member

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    I use II and RCI - for different reasons.

    II - I like the higher end resorts and use them pretty much for anywhere I have to fly to.

    RCI Weeks - they have more options for where I frequently travel by car (New England) I don't deposit with RCI anymore, I find the trips I take via RCI and easily obtained via their Extra Vacations and are VERY cost effective. It makes no sense for me to give up TPUs and pay the exchange fee when I can just buy an EV for a couple hundred more.

    IMO, timeshare exchanging is a game. You need to learn the rules, practice and actually play to win.
     
  8. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Yes I agree with this. Exchanging can be one of your best travel hacks but it’s like playing the hotel points or airline miles game- it takes practice and staying on top of changes to maximize your return.

    Owning a specific timeshare week may or may not be as cost effective, but the paradigm won’t change continuously.

    That said, most of us here are “into” learning to play the game, exchanging is fun in a way. Seeing what you can get, learning the system, finding all the leverage.

    My favorite exchange company is II, mostly because the first TS I bought was a Hyatt and that’s where Hyatt trades. My only RCI TS is Disney and I’d never exchange it for anything but Disney. I have some luck with SFX but their basic format doesn’t work as well for me, so I’m not sure how much I’ll use them in the future.
     
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  9. John Cummings

    John Cummings TUG Lifetime Member

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    I far prefer SFX because we have always been able to get what we want, when we want it. Their fees are lower than RCI or II and they don't have all the restrictions. I have used SFX for 23 years. We were members of both RCI and II but dropped them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
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  10. VacationForever

    VacationForever Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    :cool::p I think this is a GENERAL OR PG-13 forum.
     
  11. John Cummings

    John Cummings TUG Lifetime Member

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    That stupid auto-correct. It should be SFX ( San Francisco Exchange). I corrected it.
     
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  12. Panina

    Panina TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    And when you do the payback is high. Some will think I am nuts, but it can be alot of fun.

    And I will add explore and visit timeshares because Winning can also be finding the place you want to go each year, and not having to trade.
     
  13. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    My current experience with an SFX deposit is typical.

    I want to go to Sedona over Thanksgiving, primarily to ride mtb. This is a fairly low season for Sedona, so a realistic request given that I gave them a comparable season Hyatt deposit. I research *all* resorts in Sedona, figure out which ones are near the trailheads, come up with my short list, put it in ranked order of preference and send the list to my email contact at SFX. Most of them are of lesser resort quality than my deposit, but I’m ok with that.

    My contact gets back to me immediately, he has a week at a different resort. I research that. No go from the trail perspective. And it’s got a lot of “it’s shabby” type reviews on Trip Advisor.

    So. I have a request in. No idea if it will match or if so when. If it doesn’t match, I’ll be out a vacation because I won’t have time to book some other timeshare. Plus I’ll be out this deposit, which I’ve already paid to extend once.

    Meanwhile, I search II frequently. I see a 2BR Hyatt Pinon Pointe. Check in the Sat after Thanksgiving. I think about that, figure it will cost me an extra vacation day but I’ll get a 10 day trip instead of seven. I can make that work, so I book it.

    Could SFX have gotten me the week after Thanksgiving? Maybe, I could call them back to see. But the ability to have other options drift by, to think it through on your own, and to grab that option just makes more sense to me. It’s also nice that you can research or figure possible travel options not for *every* possible vacation option but just the options that are actually available. For example, I want a week that starts the Sat before Thanksgiving. With the SFX model, I have to research every timeshare in Sedona to see what’s acceptable and also figure out the implications to my travel plans on checkin dates for anything near my desired date. Vs with Interval, a week comes available, I can look at that specific resort and that specific date to see if it works. Five minutes later, I figure out I can make it work and now the trip is booked an I can move on.

    I had the same thing happen this past summer- wanted Park City, but in a request, then found and booked on II before SFX ever got back to me.

    I understand that SFX works for some people but I think the bigger inventory works better for me. I can set up OGS and also search on my own for alternate ideas. Time is money so SFX may be cheaper for exchanges but it takes a lot of time to research. If I was just wanting Grand Mayan every year, that would be a great use of SFX for me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the people at SFX and think for the people in their niche, it can work well. I just think I’m maybe not in their niche.
     
  14. John Cummings

    John Cummings TUG Lifetime Member

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    I had no problem getting the resort I wanted in Sedona. I always request specific resorts. We have done several exchanges to Hawaii, New York City, Mexico, Las Vegas, etc, etc with no problems.
     
  15. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Well, lol, maybe you are a more favored customer than I am. I deposited a very nice resort so I doubt that’s a limiter.

    But in reality this decision to go to Sedona only came about a few weeks ago. The difference for me between SFX and II is not so much in whether I could ultimately get what I want from SFX. It’s more that when I’m seeking something very reasonable like a shoulder season, something that doesn’t really require an OGS in II, I never know if I’m going to get it through SFX or not. And while I’m waiting, I invariably find it in II first.
     
  16. John Cummings

    John Cummings TUG Lifetime Member

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    The reason why I switched from II in the first place is because I wanted an exchange to the HGVC Flamingo which was an RCI resort so II couldn't deliver. SFX did deliver as they have ever since.
     
  17. rboesl

    rboesl TUG Member

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    I am curious. Why not just do an internal Hyatt exchange into Pinion Point? Would have been considerably cheaper than paying II's exchange fee.
     
  18. rboesl

    rboesl TUG Member

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    I use RCI quite a bit. But, that's mainly because we own with Grandview and Vacation Village at Bonaventure. My account is affiliated with Vacation Village giving me reduced exchange rates with even further reductions if we book another Vacation Village resort. I do have an account with II too but only use it if we want to exchange our UVCI week.
     
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  19. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    P
    Actually not cheaper.

    I traded in using a 1BR SBP. The trade cost me around $950 all in- factoring in purchase price ($0), MF, II membership, exchange fee, eplus and upgrade fee.

    Using my Hyatt, the equivalent cost factoring in purchase price, MF, Hyatt reservation fee, would be more like $2000.

    Besides, I don’t have any Hyatt points until next June. I have an SBP deposit (which I used to book) in II, a prime Marriott reservation that could be an II deposit but a relative may want to rent, and an SFX deposit that’s due to expire soon.

    I’d *really* like to use that SFX deposit which is why I’d love to be @johncummings right now. It sounds like it if I were him, it would have happened already! ;)
     
  20. Vacationsarefun

    Vacationsarefun TUG Member

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    I only own one timeshare and have only had it for a couple of years so my only experiences are with RCI and SFX.

    I have to agree with heathpack - SFX's format doesn't work so well for me. They did get me two nice exchanges in the past but this year they completely struck out. I realize that I was quite particular in my wishes - I gave them a very limited number of weeks and resorts. I am sure I looked like a very difficult customer. On the other hand I am not really wanting to give up my Southern California summer week for a third tier resort in Orlando at the end of August or a no name Spain resort in May.

    With RCI I can see what is on offer and maybe something I haven't even thought about shows up. I can then check on travel options, research flights etc. E.g. if a week in Portugal showed up during school vacation time in May it might be of interest IF there are good flights available. But I can't ask SFX for everything that might work as there are just too many options.

    The second advantage RCI has for me is that I can split my TPUs in several weeks. I just exchanged about one third of the TPUs I got for my week for a (last minute) DVC week. I am hoping to get a second one out of it. Alternatively, I could have gotten two weeks in a two bedroom at a second/third tier Orlando report during the time I plan to travel. With SFX I could probably have gotten one week AND would have likely had to pay an upgrade charge for the second bedroom.

    I do still have my deposit with SFX and really hope I can get a decent exchange out of it next year before it expires.
     
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  21. hurnik

    hurnik TUG Member

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    As an HGVC (las vegas) owner, I only have access to RCI via HGVC (so no TPU's involved, no Platinum, etc.)
    I really wish I had II access, but would have to buy another timeshare to do that.

    I've used RCI successfully along with SFX. For *me* SFX works out much better as generally we like to go someplace warm and tropical in the winter and Mexico fits the bill (too expensive to fly to Caribbean from ALB). I've had many successful trades. RCI has worked out as well when I've either needed multiple rooms and could only get X quantity via SFX, or it was a really tough place to get into (Key West).

    Unfortunately RCI quality isn't there, IMO, a lot of times. (Maui).
    And their fees are atrocious.
    I got a 3 BR Hacienda del mar via SFX for $100 cheaper than what a studio will run via RCI. (again, keeping in mind I'm in RCI by virtue of HGVC so there's no "free" unit upgrades, etc.). Oh, and that's WITH the 25% discount RCI exchange fee promo they're running. I should also say I'm an SFX Diamond Lifetime member, so it's no charge for guest certs and free next size unit upgrades if available.

    I have not used DAE or Trading Places yet, but I might.

    If we traveled more to the Caribbean, then I think II would be a much better fit. Especially with a Marriott membership.

    Good thing is that there's lots of choices out there, IMO. You have the two "big" guns: RCI and II, and then a lot of smaller ones: SFX, DAE, Trading Places (there's probably others).

    I think "success" varies a lot by where you want to go, when you want to go, and what you want to stay in. I don't do AI resorts as they tend to work out more expensive vs. booking directly with the resort. RCI's non-gold crown resorts usually have horrendous reviews in TA (IMO). And of course, we always want to travel during high season, so expecting readily-available stuff almost never happens (once I've found something in RCI, the rest of the time it's always had to be an OGS at least a year in advance).
     
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  22. coachBoris

    coachBoris TUG Member

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    I guess I am not as familiar with the issues of RCI, I have a direct link through my HGVC ownership. We have two properties which puts 15400 points in the RCI bank for use per year; since RCI allows booking up to two years we have 30800 points to use. When we book with HGVC, the point used reduce what's in RCI. I don't pay a membership for RCI but do pay an exchange fee. Booked a 1 BR Divi Phoenix Beach Villas for a 6 days, cost 2720 points and 82.00. I thought that was a good deal. We have never had any issues getting what we want with an RCI exchange.

    We just bought a resale at the Marriott Surf Club and now exploring whether to purchase a II membership. Any thoughts?
     
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  23. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    I've been surprisingly happy with RCI lately. Their fees are high, but I've gotten exactly the trades I wanted at some pretty specific places. The two weeks (one for us, one for grandparents) at HGVC Marbrisa (only resort with private legoland entrance) for the exact week I requested (my wife is a teacher, it's her spring break).

    Hard to beat that, and I still had TPU left over that I can combine later and use for something else.
     
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  24. Former Cruiser

    Former Cruiser TUG Member

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    We are members of II. We own a Marriott at Myrtle Beach timeshare (Platinum season) and one at The Royal Sands through The Royal Resorts in Cancun. We bought the Myrtle Beach timeshare in 2009. Since then we have had trades to Marriott's St. Thomas timeshare, St. Kitts timeshare, Kauai timeshare, Aruba timeshare, Marco Island timeshare, Maui timeshare, West Palm Beach timeshare, and a non-Marriott in Cabo San Lucas. We actually went to Myrtle Beach last year. It's not our kind of place. We bought Myrtle Beach for the trades that we were promised, and they delivered. We've also gotten great II Getaways and Accommodation Certificates. We actually get more Accomodation Certificates then we can use. Right now we have 2 we can't use because of commitments.

    We've traded our 2019 Myrtle Beach for a 14 day Scandinavian & Russia cruise. We checked prices on all cruise deal sites for the same cruise, but none could beat the $2000 discount II offered.

    We couldn't be more satisfied with II.
     
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  25. Panina

    Panina TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Nice to hear RCI is working for you.
     
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