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Former RCI Employee Willing to CANDIDLY Help

Cynic

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Hello everyone,

I'm a veteran RCI employee, no longer with the company. I'm willing to answer any and all questions you may have about exchanging your timeshare.

Much of how the system works is simply not disclosed to consumers, and I'd like to be instrumental in changing that.

I'm going to start a YouTube channel on this topic, and your questions will help me focus on issues most relevant to you.

I never signed a non-disclosure agreement with RCI, and own no stock in any timeshare developer or exchange.

My one and only goal is giving you the most accurate, helpful, and honest information possible.

Ask away, and you will be answered.

EDIT TO ADD: I know most about weeks, and my explanations of value and trading power are likely to be based on RW value, reflected in weeksexchanges and aftermarket purchases. A 90k timeshare may sell for 1k or less aftermarket. It's the nature of the beast.
 
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melissy123

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what is the best time of day or night to run a manual search?
Are the ongoing searches really only prioritized by the date the search started?
 

Cynic

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@melissy123: 1) Depends on what's being searched for, as different resorts have different banking practices. Manual searches are most effectively used when searching less than 14 days in advance, honestly...other than that ongoing is your best friend; put it in as far ahead as possible, and keep in mind you can edit it later.

2) Weeks, I assume? Absolutely not. Trading power, which is largely determined by location, time of year, and how far in advance it was spacebanked, is also a significant factor. Although unit size and strata are also factors, they are far less significant as long as your strata is not too HIGH for what you want.
 
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Jayco29D

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I have trouble finding high quality RCI resorts. Besides Hilton, which RCI resorts would you consider to be at least 4+ star quality equivalent to Disney, Marriott, Westin, and Four Seasons? These are the timeshares I own. I can use RCI and The Registry with my Disney membership but I have only found a couple places on The Registry I would consider. I think The Registry Collection does not have enough properties and they are not as nice as Elite Alliance, in general, which I can use with the Four Seasons. I can’t find anywhere I would want to stay at within RCI. I think Interval has an overall better mix of high quality properties.
 

Cynic

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@Jayco29D Have you looked at the Manhattan Club? Your question is basically about what's high in strata, and that honestly means far less than location and time of year as far as exchanging.

Non-Disney McFivestars are a dime a dozen on the resale market, but still high in cost of ownership and risky in that they can change how your points work if/when they feel like it; I'd personally take a total dive small unit with very high trading power, as there is no real limit in trading up in strata... more flexibility and bang for buck.
 
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Jayco29D

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@Jayco29D Have you looked at the Manhattan Club? Your question is basically about what's high in strata, and that honestly means far less than location and time of year as far as exchanging.

Non-Disney points are basically worthless as far as real-world value, although many people love the McFivestars as far as their personal use. You're talking to the guy who goes for low MF dives as I'm all about trading power or rentability.
I guess what you are saying is RCI does not have equivalent level accommodations to the typical Disney, Westin, Hyatt or Marriott. Manhattan Club would not interest me in terms of location. We do not do big city vacations like NYC or Las Vegas. I used to live in Manhattan in my 20s so I love NYC but too hectic for me now. I have never traded my timeshares. I buy to use but I will probably eventually consider purchasing some Getaways at Marriott (II has many for purchase without exchanging) as well as doing internal exchanging with my Westin StarOptions and using Elite Alliance with my Four Seasons. I just can’t find anything on RCI to use my Disney Vacation Club points for if we decide some years not to go to WDW, Disneyland or Aulani. I wish DVC would move to Interval or elsewhere.
 

Cynic

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@Jayco29D Let me clarify: RCI gets you a lot of high quality stuff, but it's mostly stuff you already have access to, as most McFivestars are compatible with both II and RCI. The primary advantage of RCI is far more total locations, many of which will be unavailable/ VEP down for you (but in locations that are more appealing to more users). II has less total, but almost as many in your range. I'm not convinced RCI will give you much more than what you already have, as strata is your thing (and your high srata is not as important as trading power in RCI, which you may or may not have) . Disney chooses RCI for reasons that appeal to a larger number of users than users such as yourself, which I realize does you no good. Why they don't do II too is anyone's guess.
 
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Cynic

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This brings up something many people don't understand: having the nicest five-star, gold crown will NOT necessarily open up the most stuff for you in RCI. I could likely get more with any unit, any size, at the place in Hershey, PA than a 2/2 Embassy Suites owner in Hawaii could. Why? Supply and demand.
 
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alwysonvac

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What’s the deal with Disney? Years ago it was easy to book a two or three bedroom unit. I would get multiple matches. Now you’re lucky if you’re able to book a one bedroom.

How common are these exclusive exchange agreements? We’ve noticed that Wyndham owners have access to more Disney inventory than the general RCI public. For example, they were the only ones getting matches at Disney’s Aulani resorts. How much of the Disney exchange inventory is going to these exclusive agreements?

On the flip side as a Disney timeshare owner, I see RCI exchange inventory that my other timeshare resorts (HGVC and WorldMark) don’t see. It’s more than just Wyndham inventory. Does the exclusive inventory that is held back for DVC owners ever become available to the RCI general public? For example if an ongoing search is setup by a non-Disney owner for inventory that is currently being held, will RCI pull the inventory for the non-Disney to satisfy the ongoing search request?

Thanks and Welcome to TUG.
 

heathpack

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I own a Sheraton Broadway Plantation unit, summer season, although I don’t believe I can book a specific week to deposit.

I usually trade with this in II but wonder sometimes what could be done with it in RCI. I have been reluctant to pay an RCI membership fee to find out, that just another expense that I don’t need, being an II member already with other weeks I own.

Say I prepaid my MF, joined RCI, and deposited the week, do you have a sense for what I might have better access to in RCI that I couldn’t get in II?

Our priorities: We like resorts where we can get some serious mountain biking in. We’d love to drive (from LA) and be able to bring two small dogs (I heard RCI has some pet-friendly timeshares.). We would also consider a big trip to Europe or the South Pacific. How about good city based timeshares? Can I easily upgrade in unit size? We are sailors, I know one can trade into Tradewinds with RCI, are there other boat based trades of good quality?

Basically: is there good stuff in RCI that RCI employees know to be very different from IIs inventory?

Some specific questions:
1. What could I expect trying to trade in to Hilton’s like those on Oahu, the Big Island or Scotland?
2. What boat-based timeshares are available?
3. What are the gem locations that RCI covers but II does not?
4. Are there great pet-friendly units to be had?

We own Hyatt, Disney, Marriott and Starwood, so our tastes run towards the upscale. But we don’t typically care about elaborate resorts (just want a pool and hot tub) and clean/not totally outdated are fine by us.
 

Cynic

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@alwysonvac There's a learning curve with timeshare. If I owned Disney, I'd deposit studios into weeks, as far in advance as possible. I'd attempt to get the most valuable time available to deposit. When a property or chain opens, newbie owners will be learning things. They will be putting large units in, and you'll see a lot more availability than you will once they learn the ropes. Yes, the larger unit may pull a bit more... but rule of thumb is, better to have the ability to get two smaller units at a resort, even if they aren't right next to eachother, if it's where you really want to go, than trade your whole 2-3 bedroom for a hotel room or studio and have nothing left to be playing with for that year.

I once saw a couple, both school teachers with zero flexibility on dates, trade a whole free-standing 2-bedroom house in the FL keys for a hotel room right on the Vegas strip during Easter... had they locked that house off, they likely could have gotten two hotel rooms at the same property, or two separate weeks of vacation. I doubt half the house (as they owned a holiday or summer week themselves, fixed, and the keys is one of the more valuable locations per lack of deposits) would have failed to pull that hotel room.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "exclusive exchange agreement". Wyndham properties vary widely in real value. The one in San Antonio, TX (not what you'd think of as a highly sought-after vacation destination, I know) is worth far more than the one in Hawaii or Orlando, for instance, all other factors being equal. Supply and demand. Look at the basic lack of RCI properties in San Antonio.

Worldmark and HGVC are older and more common than Disney. Beyond that, it's largely where and when. Once again, location and time of year trump strata.

RCI shouldn't pull property off hold for any non-VIP or non-comp user under ordinary circumstances. Things are generally only pulled off hold by advisors fixing problems behind the scenes, under 14 days, or by the special VIP team (if that's still around, I've heard conflicting things from resort employees). Being VIP has/had nothing to do with buying a timeshare; it's who you are (read manager at a resort, Chrystal's friend, etc). The people that did the RCI employee vacations could also pull stuff off hold under 14 days; all bets are off at that point, and true insanity can happen. I once saw Lehigh Acres get Manhatten Club this way.

Thanks for the welcome:)
 

Cynic

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@heathpack You have a very good trader @ SBP. It's nice, but not so nice as to greatly limit where you can trade into. You may discover a lot if you decide to test. With RCI, flexibility is huge. I don't recommend shopping specific properties; rather shop an experience. RCI guides are trained to find you the TYPE of vacation you want.

There are so many places with mountain biking I can't began to list them.

My only experience with II is staying in their resorts as a guest. Overall, I noticed they have less stuff, better consumer disclosures, and search first... RCI search first is very limited.

1) I recall easily sending many with lower TP than you to Hilton properties in Hawaii, especially on Big Island. I don't recall specifics. Oahu was the most sought-after island by RCI members, but you own something more valuable as far as trading than the majority of them. Largely how far in advance you do it, and what gets put in. I didn't have enough people looking for Scotland to really remember anything at all there, besides the fact that people generally had specific resorts, and I often had stuff bigger/ better than what they thought they could get at places very different from what they were thinking. With RCI it's often best to have an experience in mind vs a specific destination or resort.
2) I generally liked sending people to Tradewinds. Which one was up to their dates. It's different, intimate, and reasonably nice. People generally raved about those.
3) I don't know enough about II inventory and actual swaps. Gem locations in RCI are your cities, your USA summer beaches, your big international stuff, etc. I've sent people to palaces in turkey, apartments and hotel rooms from Sanfran to New Orleans to Prague, French, Italian and Swiss Alps, beaches all over the world, odd parts of Latin America, etc, but the bread and butter was stuff I don't know if you'd want. We had a LOT of people wanting things like Orlando, Vegas, Hawaii, Branson, Cancun, etc.
4) I don't recall offhand what RCI resorts accommodate pets, it was not a commonly requested thing.
 

paxsarah

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There's a learning curve with timeshare. If I owned Disney, I'd deposit studios into weeks, as far in advance as possible. I'd attempt to get the most valuable time available to deposit. When a property or chain opens, newbie owners will be learning things. They will be putting large units in, and you'll see a lot more availability than you will once they learn the ropes. Yes, the larger unit may pull a bit more... but rule of thumb is, better to have the ability to get two smaller units at a resort, even if they aren't right next to eachother, if it's where you really want to go, than trade your whole 2-3 bedroom for a hotel room or studio and have nothing left to be playing with for that year.
This doesn't really make any sense to me in terms of what I've learned/experienced about RCI exchanges into Disney (using my Wyndham points). I thought Disney centrally decided what to deposit to RCI, not individual owners choosing particular units. And in recent years, it's clear DVC has decided to deposit almost exclusively 1 bedrooms, and the vast majority at SSR.
 

tschwa2

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@alwysonvac There's a learning curve with timeshare. If I owned Disney, I'd deposit studios into weeks, as far in advance as possible. I'd attempt to get the most valuable time available to deposit. When a property or chain opens, newbie owners will be learning things. They will be putting large units in, and you'll see a lot more availability than you will once they learn the ropes. Yes, the larger unit may pull a bit more... but rule of thumb is, better to have the ability to get two smaller units at a resort, even if they aren't right next to eachother, if it's where you really want to go, than trade your whole 2-3 bedroom for a hotel room or studio and have nothing left to be playing with for that year.

I once saw a couple, both school teachers with zero flexibility on dates, trade a whole free-standing 2-bedroom house in the FL keys for a hotel room right on the Vegas strip during Easter... had they locked that house off, they likely could have gotten two hotel rooms at the same property, or two separate weeks of vacation. I doubt half the house (as they owned a holiday or summer week themselves, fixed, and the keys is one of the more valuable locations per lack of deposits) would have failed to pull that hotel room.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "exclusive exchange agreement". Wyndham properties vary widely in real value. The one in San Antonio, TX (not what you'd think of as a highly sought-after vacation destination, I know) is worth far more than the one in Hawaii or Orlando, for instance, all other factors being equal. Supply and demand. Look at the basic lack of RCI properties in San Antonio.

Worldmark and HGVC are older and more common than Disney. Beyond that, it's largely where and when. Once again, location and time of year trump strata.

RCI shouldn't pull property off hold for any non-VIP or non-comp user under ordinary circumstances. Things are generally only pulled off hold by advisors fixing problems behind the scenes, under 14 days, or by the special VIP team (if that's still around, I've heard conflicting things from resort employees). Being VIP has/had nothing to do with buying a timeshare; it's who you are (read manager at a resort, Chrystal's friend, etc). The people that did the RCI employee vacations could also pull stuff off hold under 14 days; all bets are off at that point, and true insanity can happen. I once saw Lehigh Acres get Manhatten Club this way.

Thanks for the welcome:)
I would think you realize this but you don't seem to from this post- Many owners in systems with points can not reserve and deposit a specific unit. There are crossover grids and they can only deposit points and then the developer picks the specific unit. They are not given a trading value. The points required are based on size and season. It shouldn't matter whether what Hilton or Wyndham or Bluegreen deposits because they do bulk deposits as required by their contract and the members are given the credit based on the grids.

Also are you saying a 50 tpu (trading power units) whether from a combined deposit is not the same as 50 tpu from Orlando or from Hershey. Once they are points int the tpu system, matching should be based on the date of the OGS as long as you have enough trading power units for the desired exchange.
 

tschwa2

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How common are these exclusive exchange agreements? We’ve noticed that Wyndham owners have access to more Disney inventory than the general RCI public. For example, they were the only ones getting matches at Disney’s Aulani resorts. How much of the Disney exchange inventory is going to these exclusive agreements?
I think the reason you saw more Aulani go to Wyndham (and Hilton too and RCI points) is they put in their OGS 2-4 years in advance. Points owners that don't actually have to deposit points at the time the request is made can set up an OGS 2 years in advance and keep adding time onto the request. A weeks owner has to use a specific deposit and that specific deposit expires. If they use a different deposit they need to set up a new OGS. They get the match because they have the oldest searches going for the few units that are deposited.
 

alwysonvac

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Hi Cynic,

Let me try asking my questions again. I don't think I was clear.

I'm trying to understand what has changed on the RCI side with respect to exchanges into Disney. I'm not trying to trade my Disney timeshare. If you don't know the answer to any of my questions, just say so. It's fine.

Thanks again for taking the time to share.

Question #1
What’s the deal with exchanges into Disney Vacation Club (DVC)? Years ago it was easy to get a two or three bedroom DVC Orlando resort via an RCI exchange. I would get multiple DVC exchange matches using my WorldMark and HGVC timeshares. Now you’re lucky if you’re able to exchange into a one bedroom at a DVC Orlando resort. The TUG community has noticed the dramatic change in exchange availability but we don't know why. Do you?

Question #2
We’ve noticed that Wyndham owners have access to more DVC inventory than the general RCI public. For example, Wyndham owners were the only ones getting confirmed exchanges into Disney’s Aulani resorts. There were other TUG members such as mysellf that had very old ongoing search requests using our WorldMark and HGVC timeshares however our searches were not getting matches. I was specifically told that there is an existing private agreement between Wyndham and Disney that allows Disney to give inventory directly to Wyndham Vacation owners. This inventory is separate and not part of RCI’s Deposit Inventory. Wyndham’s RCI members are having their ongoing search requests fulfilled through this exclusive pool of Disney inventory. How common are these RCI Private Exchange agreements? How much of the Disney exchange inventory is going to these separate agreements?

Question #3

On the flip side as a Disney timeshare owner, I see online RCI exchange inventory that my other timeshare resorts (HGVC and WorldMark) don’t see. It’s more than just online Wyndham inventory. I've logged into RCI using via my DVC timeshare and compared it to what I see when I log into RCI using my HGVC timeshare. RCI is displaying more desireable online RCI resorts & weeks to Disney owners than to HGVC and WorldMark owners. Does the online RCI inventory that is shown to DVC owners ever become available to the RCI general public? For example, if I see online inventory that is displayed to DVC owners only and I setup an ongoing search using my HGVC or WorldMark timeshare would RCI satisfy my ongoing search request. Or is the online inventory shown to DVC owners, only available to DVC members.

Thanks Again
 

alwysonvac

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I think the reason you saw more Aulani go to Wyndham (and Hilton too and RCI points) is they put in their OGS 2-4 years in advance. Points owners that don't actually have to deposit points at the time the request is made can set up an OGS 2 years in advance and keep adding time onto the request. A weeks owner has to use a specific deposit and that specific deposit expires. If they use a different deposit they need to set up a new OGS. They get the match because they have the oldest searches going for the few units that are deposited.
This is not true for my case. With help from my fellow TUG members, we were able to compare the original date of request.

NOTE: Both HGVC and WorldMark don’t require a deposit and can extend their RCI search requests beyond two years.
 
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tschwa2

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This is not true for my case. With help from my fellow TUG members, we were able to compare the original date of request.

NOTE: Both HGVC and WorldMark don’t require a deposit and can extend their RCI search requests beyond two years.
Was your unfullfilled requests for the same dates? I have seen Wyndham, RCI points and Hilton posts that have matched with Alunani. I can't recall anyone from WorldMark posting a match. I believe every post that had a match had a 2+ year search going. Unfortunately a single instance could have been a glitch and not a pattern. Although it could be programmed that way. I don't think this particular employee is going to have enough experience in multiple aspects (IT, customer service, management, and resort contracts with RCI ) to answer many or our questions.
 

alwysonvac

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Please allow the OP to respond without speaking on their behalf.
Thanks
 

MIDisfan

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Was your unfullfilled requests for the same dates? I have seen Wyndham, RCI points and Hilton posts that have matched with Alunani. I can't recall anyone from WorldMark posting a match. I believe every post that had a match had a 2+ year search going. Unfortunately a single instance could have been a glitch and not a pattern. Although it could be programmed that way. I don't think this particular employee is going to have enough experience in multiple aspects (IT, customer service, management, and resort contracts with RCI ) to answer many or our questions.
I can confirm the same experience as Alwysonvac. I had a search in on the weeks and points side of RCI for Aulani and I kept moving the dates back which extended them out over 2+ years. A fellow tugger matched for my dates through the Wyndham portal with a search started after both of mine. Since the patterns with the Disney deposits have changed, I have not seen anyone match to Aulani except for Wyndham members. I have not seen a person match on the Points side or through HGVC. I could be wrong. Can you point me to the thread that you saw otherwise since i don't believe it's in the Disney stickies in the sightings board
 

tschwa2

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I can confirm the same experience as Alwysonvac. I had a search in on the weeks and points side of RCI for Aulani and I kept moving the dates back which extended them out over 2+ years. A fellow tugger matched for my dates through the Wyndham portal with a search started after both of mine. Since the patterns with the Disney deposits have changed, I have not seen anyone match to Aulani except for Wyndham members. I have not seen a person match on the Points side or through HGVC. I could be wrong. Can you point me to the thread that you saw otherwise since i don't believe it's in the Disney stickies in the sightings board
I reviewed sightings. There were a few Hilton but they were all 2015 or earlier. I could have sworn I saw an RCI points member -I believe with Grandview points but it might have been Wed101something who has both but actually confirmed with Wyndham points. There was one post that thought perhaps the HGVC long term search portal was broken. There was also one match by a Wyndham owner that saw one in open inventory that did not match to his/her 22 month search.
 

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Aulani was originally available to all RCI members, you can find all of the old Aulani threads on the Sightings forum. But then it suddenly stopped (sometime in 2015?) and only Wyndham owners from that point on reported Aulani matches.
 

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I can confirm the same experience as Alwysonvac. I had a search in on the weeks and points side of RCI for Aulani and I kept moving the dates back which extended them out over 2+ years. A fellow tugger matched for my dates through the Wyndham portal with a search started after both of mine. Since the patterns with the Disney deposits have changed, I have not seen anyone match to Aulani except for Wyndham members. I have not seen a person match on the Points side or through HGVC. I could be wrong. Can you point me to the thread that you saw otherwise since i don't believe it's in the Disney stickies in the sightings board
I went a step further and provided documentation to HGVC for investigation
https://tugbbs.com/forums/index.php?threads/anyone-getting-their-rci-ongoing-search-request-confirmed-via-the-hgvc-portal.237613/#post-1850311

I posted the outcome on the Sighting forum in early 2016 and summarized the response in this thread under “QUESTION #2”
http://tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=237599

There was nothing wrong with the HGVC portal.
 
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MIDisfan

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I reviewed sightings. There were a few Hilton but they were all 2015 or earlier. I could have sworn I saw an RCI points member -I believe with Grandview points but it might have been Wed101something who has both but actually confirmed with Wyndham points. There was one post that thought perhaps the HGVC long term search portal was broken. There was also one match by a Wyndham owner that saw one in open inventory that did not match to his/her 22 month search.
I'll take your word on that because i'm not going to go back through all the Disney threads lol. I just never recall that circumstance and only recall 2 or 3 matches to Aulani after the deposit pattern change. Bnoble and Wed101(?) both matching to 2BD units I recall clearly but never anything sitting in open inventory. The owner of the Grandview points account matched prior to the change I believe.
 

T-Dot-Traveller

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Hello everyone,

I'm a veteran RCI employee, no longer with the company.
I'm going to start a YouTube channel on this topic, and your questions will help me focus on issues most relevant to you.

I never signed a non-disclosure agreement with RCI

Ask away, and you will be answered.
RE : New website - you may wish to do a YouTube lesson on how to use the map section
for both street view and full screen Google map view .
It is a little convoluted - BUT is one of the (few)TRUE UPGRADES and I find it much more useful than the map function on the prior ( 2016 & earlier ) website .

Do you have any insight into the reason for 10 resorts per page / when the prior website allowed 25 per page ?

Thank You -
 
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