Timeshare points are a type of vacation currency. They give the owner or member the ability to stay at a timeshare resort for a certain amount of time each year. However, timeshare points can expire if they are not used within a certain timeframe. If you don’t use your timeshare points before they expire, you may be charged extra fees to keep them. To avoid this, check your contract and clearly understand the expiration date of your points and make sure to use them in time.
What Are Timeshare Points?
Timeshare developers sell points based vacation programs in two categories
Timeshare Ownership: Timeshare owners hold physical real estate interests located at one particular resort property called a home resort. The number of points a timeshare owner gets is based on the specific property, unit size, week(s), type of contract purchased and how often they can visit.
Vacation Membership: Points are issued through a multi-site vacation program with no designated home resort. Instead, this type of timeshare has its own points pool through a trust. Vacation clubs may have restricted reservation windows rules and guidelines or none at all. Therefore, it’s important for members to familiarize themselves with their membership rules regarding expiration in order to reserve bookings for future desired trips.
When Do Timeshare Points Expire?
Timeshare points generally expire at the end of the use year. However, the expiration date may be different depending on the timeshare company. Be sure to check with your timeshare developer to find out when your points will expire. If you have annual use points you may be able to “save” them by placing them into an internal deposit system with the developer for a fee.
What Happens if My Timeshare Points Expire?
If your timeshare points expire, you will no longer be able to use them to stay at a timeshare resort. You may be able to extend the expiration date however by transferring the points into an external exchange bank with RCI or Interval International depending on the resort’s affiliation and your own membership with the exchange program. There are additional fees associated with these options but it can keep your points from expiring for up to several years.
Alternative Ways To Preserve Points
Timeshare points can also be converted or redeemed for travel credits or certificates with certain companies. This may give you more flexibility in how and when you use your points. Check with your exchange company to see if these opportunities exist. As a side note, understand that once you take your timeshare points outside the developer’s network of resorts, you may not have the same trade power to use credits or certificates. This will again will require more fees to be paid for an upgrade to preserve your points.
Another way that some owners use their timeshare points is by renting them out and obtaining “guest confirmations” or “guest certificates” directly from the developer. Depending however on the Club tier or level of membership, these may be highly restricted and are subject to cancellation if the points are being used for what the developer deems as “commercial use.” If this happens, your reservations could be cancelled and those points may or may not be usable with an account suspension.
Getting the Benefit of the Bargain
When you purchased your timeshare, you made a legal binding contract with the developers. Part of that contract included an understanding of how the points system worked and when those points would expire. In some cases, particularly with older contracts, the expiration date may have been ambiguous or not clearly defined. If this is the case, you may have some legal recourse to get the benefit of the bargain you thought you were getting when you purchased your timeshare.
It is always a good idea to talk with your developer to help resolve any disputes that arise from your points expiring or being cancelled but if they will not assist you, an experienced timeshare attorney can help review your contract and give you specific advice on how to proceed.
This article is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. Speak with an attorney to get specific answers to your timeshare questions.
Led by timeshare attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer, with 75 years experience. The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm that specializes in timeshare related matters. For a free consultation, please contact our office to speak with us at no cost. Call 855-346-6529
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