As a general rule, one timeshare point is not equal to another. This is especially true when you compare points from different resorts or vacation club programs. Even within the same resort or program, the value of your points can vary greatly depending on how and when you use them.
If that’s confusing, let’s look at some factors that contribute to the available use of your timeshare points. The most important factor is usually the demand for the particular resort or program in which your points are connected to. If there is high demand for a particular resort, your timeshare points may provide more usage or trading options and thus more usability.
On the other hand, if there is low demand for a particular resort or even destination, your timeshare points may become more difficult to use and may not have as much benefit. Another important factor that contributes to the use of your timeshare points is the amount of maintenance fees you pay annually and which resort will be your home resort. As an example, points for an Orlando or Las Vegas timeshare as opposed to a Branson or Hot Springs vacation club membership in a multi-site development.
Timeshare Points Are A Form Of Currency
While most people think of timeshare points as a vacation ownership, it’s important to understand that timeshare points are actually a type of currency. This currency is based on the ability to access a shared reservation system. Just like any other currency, your annual timeshare points allotment may or may not not go far enough to book a resort stay outside of a group of properties.
Don’t have enough points? Well some owners have to get more and have of turned to the secondary market. Remember above when we said not all points are equal? That’s especially true when you buy timeshare points on the resale market.
Resale or Used Points
When you hear the term “resale points” this usually refers to points that have been purchased on the secondary market and by a third party resale provider or resale company. Because these points were not originally purchased from the timeshare developer or vacation club, they are not always equal to other points in the system. In some cases, resale points are very restricted as to how and when they can be used.
It’s important that you understand the restrictions of your resale points before making a purchase as in many situations, points may not be combined or pooled together. These restrictions may limit your ability to book preferable vacations or make exchanges outside the resort system without paying additional fees.
Restrictions On Resale Points
Developers do not want owners buying resale points in the secondary market because they cannot control the sale or the low pricing of these points. Usually, these points are sold at a fraction of their original cost. For this reason, many developers often place restrictions on how resale points can be used inside and outside of their system. In some cases, you may only be able to use your resale points during specific times of year or you may have limited options for booking vacation stays.
Take a look at some of the most common restrictions on resale points that owners have shared:
– Blackout Dates: This is when the resort or vacation club will not allow you to use your points to book a stay. Blackout dates are usually during high demand times such as holidays or school breaks.
– Home Resort Priority: In some cases, you may only be able to use your resale points to book a stay at your home resort. This means that you won’t likely be able to use those points to book a stay at another resort within the same reservation system.
– Exchange Fees: If you’re looking to exchange your points for a stay at another resort, you may be required to pay an exchange fee for conversion. Cost of the exchange will vary.
– Maintenance Fees: As previously mentioned, your annual maintenance fees will have an impact on the use of your points. In some cases, you may be required to pay additional fees to use your resale points.
– Minimum Use: In some situations, you may be required to use a certain number of points per year in order to maintain them in a bank or pool. If you don’t use the minimum number of points, your account may be subject loss of some or all points left in the member account.
If you’re considering purchasing resale points, be sure to do your research and understand all of the restrictions before making a purchase. Used or resale points can still offer a great vacation experience, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into before making a purchase. Another way to make the most of your points is by renting them from another owner at a greatly reduced price, and at the specific resort or destination of your choice. If this seems like something that you might be interested in, you can check out websites like Redweek.com or eBay.com for resale points starting as low as $1.
A warning for timeshare owners renting out their points to third parties: you may be in violation of commercial use policies, and your rental reservations could be cancelled. Be sure to read all terms and conditions about resale points.
Finally, if you feel the developer is not being truthful about the restrictions placed on your timeshare points, you may want to consult an attorney. A timeshare attorney can review your contract and help you understand your rights as an owner. Of course it’s always good to seek out proper legal advice before taking any actions with your vacation membership.
This article is for educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. A timeshare attorney may be best suited to provide you with specific legal advice for your situation.
Led by attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer with over 75 years experience. The Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm that specializes in consumer timeshare matters. If you feel you need a timeshare attorney, contact us today for a free consultation. Follow us on Twitter.