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Exchanging into All-Inclusive resorts

Rush

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I'm a relative newbie to TS'g / Xchg'g, and am wondering how it typically works when you xchg - in my case, one of the Florida Marriott weeks I own, through II, into a resort, for example, in the Caribbean, which is typically an all-inclusive resort if you were, say, staying there through a tour company.

Are you normally given the option to purchase the food and drink component - either through II, or directly w the resort?

If the latter, does that normally involve hassles?

And does it tend to be cost-effective to do so?

Kindest thanks, in advance, for any guidance you can provide in navigating these waters...
 
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laura1957

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I have done this through RCI only, but I imagine it works the same way :)

You pay your exchange fee to your exchange company, and the AI fee directly to the resort. Whether it is cost effective or not depends on what you get for your AI fee. I have traded into Palace Resorts, which while some people say is much too expensive - was worth every penny. The tours were included, transportation from and to airport, many onsite restaurants, bars, and activities, visiting the other Palaces, 24 hour room service....

It depends on what is included and how much time you are going to spend AT the resort itself.

There was absolutely NO hassle involved - I just called the rep for the Palace and gave him our info 30 days prior to our trip. They took care of everything else. It was really nice not having to worry about money each day :) we walked all around the resort, hung around the pools and just stopped for a snack or drink whenever we wanted without worrying about wallets/purses.

If you do not drink, and are planning on going out shopping every day all day offsite then it probably would not be worth it.

I wish more places had AI - I would never travel any other way if I could help it!!
 

jstapleton

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I'm a relative newbie to TS'g / Xchg'g, and am wondering how it typically works when you xchg - in my case, one of the Florida Marriott weeks I own, through II, into a resort, for example, in the Caribbean, which is typically an all-inclusive resort if you were, say, staying there through a tour company.

Are you normally given the option to purchase the food and drink component - either through II, or directly w the resort?

If the latter, does that normally involve hassles?

And does it tend to be cost-effective to do so?

Kindest thanks, in advance, for any guidance you can provide in navigating these waters...

Sorry, I do not have an answer but I look forward to hearing the responses too. I would like to do this possibly in the DR.

Is it any harder or easier trading into an AI? There always seems to be so many in the DR. Really considering doing this but will have to wait after January to try to trade for July. I know very close but it will be with another couple and they must wait until the husband picks his vacation for the year in January. Thank you.
 
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Rush

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Very helpful, Laura, thanks!

I had no idea that this would also include the airport transfers.

And yes, as you say, having had been to several AI's b/f I began TS'g a couple of years ago, I too would really appreciate not having to worry about carrying money around....

The reason for the apprehension evident in my OP was that, as you are no doubt aware, often times English is not the first language at these Caribbean resorts, and from my past experience, getting what you paid extra for [whether it's room upgrades or whatever] can turn into a nightmare.

Anyway, your helpful response has not only reassured me, but given me faith to consider going down this road, so thanks again, and if you don't mind, I'll keep you as a resource on this issue when it comes time for me to do the deed...
 

laura1957

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I do notice on the RCI listings that MOST resorts only supply transpo FROM the airport - not the return. Some do not mention transortthat at all. PALACE RESORTS do provide transpo both ways for RCI guests. We did not pay "extra" for anything - so I am not sure how easily we would have gotten anything upgraded understood/handled. There was no option to purchase the AI - it was mandatory. I do see some listed that are optional AI.

The only problem we almost had was at the airport when we were not on their list of guests to pick up - but since we had our confirmation letter from RCI and from the resort they realized it was their error.

People at front desk certainly understood all our requests and took care of them. Room service people (maids/bar stockers/fridge stockers - not sure how many different people involved) we left a note (in my VERY limited spanish) and had whatever we asked. Once it took 2 days since our maid was Mayan and did not understand my spanish.

I would research whatever resorts you are considering very carefully to see just what IS included. For us the Palaces were fantastic the 2 years we have gone (Moon and Aventura) - definately going again - hopefully to the new one in DR this coming year.
 

dukebigtom

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I used to run group travel programs and have extensive experience with All-Inclusives. My take is that trading your week into an AI while enjoyable is wasting the week. You can get pretty much the same deal through a travel agent purchasing a charter vacation package like Apple or Go Go tours.

It also depends on where you are traveling. For instance, I'd always go All-Inclusive in Jamaica and the Dominican because of safety issues if you have to leave the complex for meals. In downtown Cancun where hotels, restaurants, etc. are plentiful and of all varieties, I'd opt not to do AI. I also do not drink alcohol which can make a huge difference if you drink alot.

I do find that there are always lots of AI options to trade into. I think that is because the prices are usually pretty high and compare to charter deals without having to exchange your week.

Good luck.

BigTom
 

Rush

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I used to run group travel programs and have extensive experience with All-Inclusives. My take is that trading your week into an AI while enjoyable is wasting the week. You can get pretty much the same deal through a travel agent purchasing a charter vacation package like Apple or Go Go tours.

...

I do find that there are always lots of AI options to trade into. I think that is because the prices are usually pretty high and compare to charter deals without having to exchange your week.

Good luck.

BigTom
Very helpful, Tom, thanks, and yes, you have addressed one of my main Q's on this issue.

One reason I got into TS'g a couple of years ago was b/c my wife and our 7 ear old son spent ~$8K Canadian to go to an admittedly nice, 5 star resort in the Mayan Riviera.

A few months later that winter, we went to Orlando, and by pure koinkadink, stayed at Marriott's Cypress Harbour, through the tour operator.

Of course, the phone started ringing the next day w invitations to go across the street to Horizons for a TS presentation.

Even the developer prices looked good compared to the $8K I spent for one week in the Mayan Riviera, for which I had nothing to show but the memories...

[Fortunately I didn't sign w the developer until the last day of our week down there, so it gave me time to fly home, do my research, rescind the contract, and buy the exact same 2 weeks resale for over $20K USD less...]

We have very much enjoyed our TS vacations in Orlando, but as our son gets older, I'm starting to look at xchg'g more, and while the $$ I spent on that 1 week was significant, we did have a great time, hence my wondering aloud about the logistics of going back to a resort like that, but via an xchg.

Your insights have helped me to realize that there may not be much value in approaching it this way, and I suppose what I can try to do is determine whether we could xchg into any of these AI resorts w/o buying into the AI package, and then, as you say, wandering over to e.g. Playa Del Carmen for dinner, and use our kitchenette during the day.

Anyway, thanks again, and it looks like I have some more research to do...
 

lprstn

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Personally I try not to trade into a AI since I have to pay fees while there...

I use my weeks to trade into places without AI's and get my AI's through extra vacations or Last Chance.
 

tombo

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I constantly see AI's available for extra vacations and Last Chance vacations through RCI. Why pay $169 exchange fee to exchange a week you already paid $500 to $700 MF's on when you can stay at the resort for $199 while using your home resort week yourself, or using it to trade for a hard to get location?

If you drink a lot of alcohol and like to eat a lot of food, then AI can be a good deal money wise. If you eat like a bird or don't drink many adult beverages, then it usually costs a lot more money to have an AI than you would spend eating out on your own. Also many times the food is only fair to decent at the resort, but you feel trapped to eat every meal there since you spent $1000's to get the AI. It prevents you from eating at other (probably better) local restaurants and you end up spending the whole week in the resort missing many local gems.

Depending on your spending habits it might be a deal for you, however myself and my wife can eat all we want and drink all we want in 7 days for a lot less than $2400.
 

Jbart74

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I just want to weigh in on this as I recently booked our first AI vacation through RCI for 2010. I had a weak trader that was deposited long ago and about to expire that I used to book Casa Velas Boutique Hotel AI in Puerto Vallarta. If I hadn't used it I would have lost it. We paid the fees years ago so I wanted to do something with it. I think, after reading many reviews here and on other sites, that the trade was worth it, even after the mandatory $150 p/person p/day fees. Of course, we do drink like fishies and the food has been raved about on many websites. Also, we tend to be homebodies at whichever TS we end up, so I'm happy to pay for the convenience of not worrying about any cash while on vacation, 24 hour room service, etc... Pamper me, pamper me, pamper me!

JMHO
 
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