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RCI Question from a newbie...

Dorian

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It seems that people are practically giving away RCI points in Florida. What's the catch? Why so cheap and nobody interested? I see lots of complaint boards on the internet from people claiming that you can never get access to the nicer resorts with RCI.

Thanks in advance!
 

fishingguy

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just some thoughts

Right now there are ~35 properties listed on eBay that are in RCI Points. That compares to ~850 total eBay timeshare auctions. That's a little low on the RCI Points right now, since it typically runs from 3 to 5%. But there seem to be a lot more properties in Wyndham and Bluegreen points right now, that might be skewing things a bit.

The Orlando area in Florida is known to be overdeveloped, even given the high demand for travel to Disney and other nearby attractions. Vacation Village and a other resort chains in that area, still actively sell conversions of existing weeks into RCI points. [Afterall, this is the latest product being offered by RCI over the past several years.] In addition, II generally tends to have more affiliations with western timeshare resorts; while RCI leans more toward eastern and costal timeshares. Lastly, Florida has the largest number of timeshare resorts; they have ~400 out of ~1700 affiliated with RCI.

Some of the big hotel chains are only affiliated with II and not RCI, and vice versa. But one thing you need to understand is that Timeshares are not like booking a hotel when it comes to exchanges -- doesn't matter if you are talking about weeks or points properties. You just can't pick up the phone and call for a reservation like you can with Hyatt, Motel 6, Days Inn, etc.; since you are actually competing against other exchangers; and getting an exchange is dependent on available inventory; which is a reflection of supply and demand for the resort/specific timeshare/area.

If you really want to go somewhere specific, at a time that is heavily traveled (e.g. ski season during winter or when school is out), that is very popular, etc.; you should plan on doing some serious planning ahead of time -- something a typical timeshare owner doesn't do in my opinion. Of course knowing when to look for an exchange in II/RCI, the best way to get it, what size of unit/view to look for, etc. all take knowledge that you can get by studying the forum archives. If you don't plan ahead [almost like not having a strategy], then you are left with what's left-over.

Lastly, if you bought your timeshare retail instead of resale , who knows what half-truths and other stuff you've been told in the sales presentation. [Many timeshare complaints actually originate from retail sales.] It is not unusual to find out after buying retail:
  • that the exchanges they were promised in the sales pitch can't be always achieved because:
  • they didn't buy the right property [size/time/location/etc.], and only got what the sales person pushed,
  • the exchange program that is affiliated with the property doesn't work the way they were led to believe,
  • there were restrictions on travel put in place by the resort they are trying to get into by the exchange company (e.g 1 in 4 block into Disney, even though Disney trades RCI), or
  • a whole range of other stuff that was said just to make the sale, and that isn't in the contract that was signed by the new owner!

just some thoughts.
 
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fishingguy

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another possibility (into what complaints you are seeing?)

I'm not sure what complaint boards you were referring to in you original post, but there is a scam that has been going around where a company has been misrepresenting themselves for the exchange company [RCI]. Even though they have the same initials, RCI the exchange company does not sell timeshares. Even conversion sales of weeks units into RCI points is done by the sales staff at the resort -- and not RCI.

I only bring this up because there have been several posts on the forum over the past several months, where one company that is buying/selling timeshares is deliberately trying to give the impression that they are someone else when they cold call. This has resulted in a lot of complaints from unsuspecting buyers who were promised things that can't be delivered, didn't get the correct property in the first place, and so on. It would be very easy for someone not familiar with timeshares to fall into this trap.
 

ronparise

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Its not just that RCI points properties being given away on ebay..so are most all timeshares
 

Dorian

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Thanks for the replies

The complaints I am referring to can be found at these links:

http://rci-timeshare.pissedconsumer.com/

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/travel/rci.html

I hope that by posting those links I haven't violated the TOS for the TUG boards. It's just that I have taken the advice of many here and am researching all the different vacation clubs before I narrow down my choices. I can't find positive reviews for RCI and only stumble across reviews like I've posted above. Maybe the sites are bogus but they sure make you think twice.

Also, as mentioned in one reply...I do plan on attending far in advance for my vacations so if I did end up with RCI, I am hopeful that I can get a location that I desire.

Sorry if this thread was inappropriate, just trying to do some homework.

Thanks all -
 

Passepartout

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Dorian, I have RCI- both points and a fixed week resort. My feelings are that RCI- basically their website- SUX! That said, I have always been able to book an acceptable resort for 2-3 weeks a year using my Points ownership. We are flexible, time-wise and can travel shoulder and off-season.

My points are based on a 2BR/2BA unit not in an overbuilt area. I have only used my own unit once since I bought it 7-8 years ago. If I wanted to use ALL the points I have available I can stay in a 1BR in a 1st class resort. Since this level of luxury is of secondary importance to location, we take last calls and 'instant vacations' (7500ish point cost) to go to places we wouldn't go otherwise.

Of the 3 resort weeks I own, if I divested one, it would be the RCI Points one. Just because I perceive better customer care from the other management companies.

You are doing fine with the research. Keep it up, but get away and use some of your knowledge on a vacation before you get bogged down with the 'which ONE is BEST' conundrum. What's best for me isn't necessarily best for you.

Best!

Jim
 

ampaholic

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Learning to maximise RCI Points is ....

... well, it less difficult than learning to fly a twin engine aircraft ...

... it's more difficult than learning to use an ipad ...

Start here ... http://app.rci.com/landing/ptr/whatis/index.html

learn about reservation windows here ...
http://app.rci.com/landing/ptr/reservation/index.html

Overall I find RCI Points adequate for some of my needs:
1. Last minute "wanderlust" vacations (were location is less important).
2. LONG vacations (the fee is $139 for 7 days or 15 days).
3. Weekend getaways (or even midweek)

Mainly because of their reservation windows they are NOT so good for:
1. Hard to book locations/times - Crimson RED weeks (summer coast of Oregon - summer Yellowstone - whale watching season Maui)
2. Vacations that require a lot of planning (foreign mostly).
3. Very high end spots (little luck getting the Hiltons and WKORV type joints).

As always YMMV:cheer:
 

ampaholic

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The reason many RCI Points timeshares are so cheap is that all timeshares are cheap and they can be hard for some people to utilize/understand.

I like them just fine. :p
 

Dorian

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Thanks ampaholic...

Thanks for the info. It was very helpful. Just a couple of things:

1. You say that it's very difficult to get into a Hilton? Even if you try to reserve say, like a year in advance? For example, I love Valdoro in Breck. If I were an RCI member I'd hope to get to stay there again someday.

2. I guess what I mean when I refer to RCI points being given away versus others is that I see people giving away their RCI package but I don't see the HGVC member giving away their packages for free. I an finding HGVC resales for like 5000-7000 points for around six or seven thousand dollars. It must be due to them not relying so much on trading to get the resorts of your choice?

Again, thanks. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.
 

fishingguy

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yes YMMV

Dorian,
Yes mileage will vary, and that's why I.I. and several other exchange companies are in the mix. All will have their own rules, quirks, upsides and downsides that you have to know about and accomodate in order to get to where you want to go. About the only way you can insure you will get to a high-end property you want to go to routinely, is to buy at it -- and that may be a good a reason as any, for the adage to buy at a resort you want and can travel to. ...but then you'll have to follow the rules/quirks peculiar to that resort or resort group.

Far be it from me to defend RCI, especially in light of this latest "enhancement" that involves their website. I guess I am less forgiving and have higher expectations than RCI's management when it comes to info tech, web support, customer service, etc. -- since after all, they are the direct links and lifeline to their customer base.

Now having said all the previous, we've always been able to exchange into where we wanted to go; even if we had to jump through RCI's website shortcomings (i.e. hoops), to do it. We've got numerous weeks scheduled out over the next 2 years, and plan on a couple last-calls over the holidays. [We plan our weeks and points vacations well ahead for serious stuff, and less for not so important trips. We are also very flexible in where/how/when we can travel.]

By the way, I'm very familiar with the Hastings, MN and Prescot, WI area. My wife and I spent several years growing up there, especially on the St. Croix and Kinnikinnick Rivers.

Keep doing the homework!
 

Dorian

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fishingguy -

I am fairly determined to get my vacation spots whichever vacation club I join. I don't mind doing a little extra work and planning to hit my spots. Your sharing your knowledge has been very helpful.

Yes, I've been in Prescott for about 15 years now since moving here from Chicago 15 years ago for my job. It's a great little town right on the Mississippi and St. Croix rovers. The Kinnikinnick is right up the raod. Do all of our local shopping in Hastings and Cottage grove.

Thanks for the info!
 

ampaholic

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Thanks for the info. It was very helpful. Just a couple of things:

1. You say that it's very difficult to get into a Hilton? Even if you try to reserve say, like a year in advance? For example, I love Valdoro in Breck. If I were an RCI member I'd hope to get to stay there again someday.
Unless you "own" at Valdoro Mountain Lodge (#6388) you will be in line behind all the A: owners at Valdoro and B: other Hilton group owners - and you won't get even a look at Valdoro weeks until 10 months.

2. I guess what I mean when I refer to RCI points being given away versus others is that I see people giving away their RCI package but I don't see the HGVC member giving away their packages for free. I an finding HGVC resales for like 5000-7000 points for around six or seven thousand dollars. It must be due to them not relying so much on trading to get the resorts of your choice?
At least part of why Hiltons are not as often (if ever) "free" is sheer numbers - there are hundreds of thousands of RCI Points timeshares, some will have owners who want out. Hilton has a lot less units and so less owners in distress.

I also think the Hilton ROFR is keeping resale prices up, weather it helps or hurts Hilton owners in the long run remains to be seen.
 

ampaholic

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fishingguy -

I am fairly determined to get my vacation spots whichever vacation club I join. I don't mind doing a little extra work and planning to hit my spots. Your sharing your knowledge has been very helpful.

Yes, I've been in Prescott for about 15 years now since moving here from Chicago 15 years ago for my job. It's a great little town right on the Mississippi and St. Croix rovers. The Kinnikinnick is right up the raod. Do all of our local shopping in Hastings and Cottage grove.

Thanks for the info!

I am an owner at Fox Hills on Lake Michigan, the Plats (1-53) are cheap on eBay and are worth 53,600 RCI POINTS for less than $500 per year MF.

Something to consider for weekends - great golf there.
 

Dorian

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Thanks ampaholic! Your last two replies carry serious weight in my learning and decision making.
 

chriskre

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RCI pts at VVParkway
Enchanted Isle resort.
Thanks for the info. It was very helpful. Just a couple of things:

1. You say that it's very difficult to get into a Hilton? Even if you try to reserve say, like a year in advance? For example, I love Valdoro in Breck. If I were an RCI member I'd hope to get to stay there again someday.

2. I guess what I mean when I refer to RCI points being given away versus others is that I see people giving away their RCI package but I don't see the HGVC member giving away their packages for free. I an finding HGVC resales for like 5000-7000 points for around six or seven thousand dollars. It must be due to them not relying so much on trading to get the resorts of your choice?

.

I've only owned my HGVC points for less than 2 years but in that time can say that I'm very happy with my purchase decision. I find the club to have decent availability but then again I don't ski so don't follow the Colorado inventory. I'd imagine that you'd want to own in that resort to have first dibs on the good stuff.

HGVC treats it's resale owners very well giving them access to both RCI points and RCI weeks inventory thru a corporate portal. That is one way to buy into RCI points without buying RCI points. In many cases it's cheaper than straight RCI points for exchanges especially for high value resorts but sometimes it's not. It depends on the resort and the season.

Trading into HGVC thru RCI will limit you on the exchanges you can make due to RCI imposing a 1 in 4 year rule on exchanges, meaning you can only go one every four years to that resort so that won't work for yearly trips to the same place. If you need Breckenridge you'll probably need to buy in Breckenridge.

As for RCI points, I own them too. I'm not very overly committed to any one TS system so own biennials for the most part except for my true fixed weeks.
I find good value for them if you can plan 10 months ahead. My experience has been with Florida beach weeks though so that might not be true with skiing.

In the past RCI points were a good deal for getting cheap last minute exchanges. That still happens but less often since RCI went to a TPU system for weeks where that inventory used to come from.
 

Dorian

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Thanks chriskre -

Originally I was leaning RCI as it looks like a cheaper investment initially to join but spending a few more bucks may be the better way to go, for me personally. I still have lots of learning to do.
 

ampaholic

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A Valdoro thread?

I just checked Valdoro for availability and there is some available to me at 8,9 and 10 months out (fall 2012).

You might start a thread:

Can I get Breckenridge X units (1 bed, 2 bed) weeks XX to XX (week 07 to 10 or 24 to 28 etc.) with RCI points or do I need to own?

Perhaps a Tugger(s) with more specific knowledge will chime in.
 

Dorian

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That's perfect ampaholic. I would be looking at late September/early October at the start of Blue season. Just before the skiing starts. Week 37-Week 40 are ideal for me.

Thanks for looking that up for me.
 

chriskre

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Enchanted Isle resort.
Thanks chriskre -

Originally I was leaning RCI as it looks like a cheaper investment initially to join but spending a few more bucks may be the better way to go, for me personally. I still have lots of learning to do.

Let me warn you, that's how it happens.;)
You think you want one thing like HGVC and before you know it then you also want RCI points. Then when you're done with mastering that, you want Wyndham and while you're in so deep, what the heck, let's throw Marriott and DVC into the mix. :rofl:

Hanging around here can be hazardous to your wallet but good for your vacation life. :cheer:
 

Dorian

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Let me warn you, that's how it happens.;)
You think you want one thing like HGVC and before you know it then you also want RCI points. Then when you're done with mastering that, you want Wyndham and while you're in so deep, what the heck, let's throw Marriott and DVC into the mix. :rofl:

Hanging around here can be hazardous to your wallet but good for your vacation life. :cheer:

:rofl: You all are TOO knowledgeable on the subject of timeshares! My head is spinning.
 

chriskre

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Enchanted Isle resort.
:rofl: You all are TOO knowledgeable on the subject of timeshares! My head is spinning.

It's fine to spin a little just stay off of ebay. :crash:
 

ampaholic

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:hysterical: I am only allowed to go on eBay to look for amplifiers - no more timeshares :bawl:

Let me tell you the amps I like cost more than many timeshares. :eek:

Domestic tranquility has it's price. :cool:
 
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