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Points Clubs: Why choose Timeshare Points over Weeks?

...what makes a good holiday?

We all have different perceptions of what makes a good holiday.  There is no one-holiday system that suits everyone.  This general article on Points will help you assess in the privacy of your home if the Points system may be worthy of further investigation and better suited to you and the way you holiday.

This article will be followed by a more in-depth article on RCI Points.  Most other Points systems follow a similar format so the RCI Points article will be of benefit to members of most other Points Clubs.  The article on RCI Points will not only help educate those considering a Points Club but also those existing inexperienced RCI Points members may find the article will help them make more effective use of their RCI Points membership.

Traditional timeshare owners have made the following comments to me about Points Clubs:

  • I went to a Points presentation and it just seemed too confusing.
  • I can’t see how this could benefit me.
  • I have always owned traditional timeshare.  I’m not interested and don’t want to be sold to but leave me with some information.
  • I am interested but I don’t want to sit down with a salesperson and be sold something that I only want information on.  I want to consider this myself in my own time.

This article will enable you to consider the pros and cons of a points system in general terms.  If curiosity gets the better of you beyond the information here then make sure you read the article on RCI Points.

Points’ members access holiday time by using their points to pay for the type of holiday accommodation they require. 

Let’s start with what is a Points System or Points Club?

A Points System or Club consists of a number of Timeshare Resorts and Hotels that have grouped together to provide a range of accommodation in different destinations around the world.  Every resort that joins a Points System has its weeks valued and expressed in a common currency (Points).

Points’ members access holiday time by using their points to pay for the type of holiday accommodation they require.  So, rather than just owning a specific week at a specific resort, in a specific season and specific accommodation size, Points Club members are instead issued Points annually and they use these to spend as they please.  The members have a Points brochure, which shows them the cost in points of the accommodation at the time of the year they require.

There are some Points Clubs that include cruises and car hire for example that can be accessed with your points.

How do Timeshare Points Work?

Each owner ideally obtains a certain number of points according to their holiday needs. The type of Points ownership depends on the Points Club.  They may be pure stand alone points that you can purchase or you may be able to obtain a points value for a timeshare week that you own or will purchase. There will be  an administration and conversion fee for the week(s) you own that are accepted by a Points Club.

The allocation of points you receive for your week will primarily depend on the size of your unit, the resort rating and the time of year you own. Points can be added to at any time with further points purchases. 

Every year that you don’t plan ahead and book your own week you get allocated points to use on other accommodation.

The principal difference when comparing this with traditional timeshare is that you give up the use of your week automatically EVERY year without having to deposit it with an exchange company.  No more banking or depositing, you get points each year, the Points Club places your week in its pool of accommodation and club members select the holiday(s) that they require.

This diffuses the frustration felt by some weeks owners wishing to exchange the week they own, sometimes waiting for other traditional timeshare owners to deposit their week(s). This is no longer an issue in a Points Club as everyone’s weeks are automatically deposited every year into the system.

If you have a Points Club that enables you to convert (cede) your timeshare week into their points programme and this is a prime week in school holiday time it will have a high value in points.  It is possible that you could trade those points for 3-4 holidays in low season.

A common question asked is, if I convert (cede) my traditional timeshare week into the points system who now owns the week?  The answer is you do.  This is still your week.  You retain your deed and you will still pay maintenance on the week that you own.

Do I pay maintenances on Points?

If your points club allows you to convert your traditional week to points there would be no new maintenance to pay on Points that are relative to the timeshare week you own. As you will continue to pay the maintenance to your resort for that week. You will only pay maintenance to your Points Club on Pure Points you may purchase.

How many Points will I need?

Timeshare offers many opportunities...If you take a lot of holidays a year you might want to own more points.  If you only holiday once a year you don’t need to own so many points.  These points can be used at different timeshare resorts during different seasons.  The amount of points that you use when staying at a resort varies.  Depending on the season a two-bedroom unit may cost more than a one-bedroom or studio.  If you are holidaying during the resort's high-demand season you're also looking at using more points.  Staying at smaller units or holidaying at mid and low-demand seasons will allow you to use fewer points on your accommodation.  All this is shown and will be illustrated in your Points Club guide.

Points Clubs generally also have discounted accommodation with up to 50% off the usual points’ value for late bookings.  This is great for folks who can be flexible or are retired and don’t need to plan ahead.

How would I calculate the number of points I require?

To begin with work out how many holiday weeks you usually take each year, what size apartments you require and what countries you generally tend to holiday at.  The most important criteria being what time of the year you usually holiday.  Ask to be shown a points chart or brochure containing the Clubs points’ values so you can work out an approximate guide of what your requirement is likely to be.

Points Clubs generally also have discounted accommodation with up to 50% off the usual points’ value for late bookings.  This is great for folks who can be flexible or are retired and don’t need to plan ahead.

In my next article I shall supply an online RCI Points chart that will break down the points’ values of accommodation weeks at countries worldwide as an example.

The most important difference when comparing Points membership with normal timeshare is that you know in advance how many points you 'own' and the points values of all of the holidays in the club's programme.  You can then choose to spend your points how you like, on the holidays that you want, provided of course that you have a sufficient number of points to pay for them.

If you don't use all of your points in any one year, you can save your unused points to the following year.  You can also borrow points from the following year

This is made all the more flexible as with most Points Clubs you do not have to travel for a week at a time.  If you prefer to holiday for a few days at a time or even a few weeks, that is entirely possible.  The choice is yours when using timeshare points.

The key benefit of a points based club system is flexibility.

What is the downside to Timeshare Points?

With traditional timeshare you will usually have a fixed date that you access your own timeshare if you have not exchanged this.  As a Timeshare Points owner as opposed to a week’s owner you do not have a set holiday period each year.

As Points members you need to plan and make holiday arrangements.  If you would like to visit your own resort and access your own week that you have converted to points then you need to request ahead and book this – as explained in your club rules.

If you use the Points system, you cannot rent out the weeks you have booked.

Be aware of new start-up Points Clubs.  Few will have anything near the range and diversity needed to offer true flexibility at the start-up stage unless they affiliate and work with one of the larger established Points Clubs.  The next most important factor is for the club to have a thoroughly tested infrastructure in order to maintain control over all the accommodation and provide reservation services.

The Points System as a first review may seem confusing

This is only a generic guide to Points Clubs.  Points Clubs may have slightly different rules but what can appear on the surface as more confusing is that most Points Clubs have a different points weighting.  One hundred points with one resort club may be expressed with more than a hundred thousand points with another. They still access the same week at the same resort but have different points’ valuations to access the same week.  When you think of any point’s system think currency.  That’s currency you can use to pay for accommodation within a resort clubs programme.  This is a similar concept to understand with countries that have different monetary systems, different Points Clubs have different points valuations that in the end will simply enable you to pay for a week’s accommodation of your choice.

There are some Points Clubs who are affiliated to a larger club like RCI, as some of those clubs, on their own, would not be as attractive as they only have a finite number of resorts you could access.  So the majority affiliates with RCI as they can offer a greater choice with access to over 4,000 resorts in approximately 100 countries.

This has the advantage for the smaller Points Clubs as they can seamlessly link into the RCI system.  This may mean that you have to phone your club direct with your holiday requests and they will arrange your holiday at one of the RCI affiliated resorts.  There are some clubs that have an arrangement with RCI to have a dedicated telephone number for their members that enables them to phone RCI direct.

Your Points Club may offer an incentive to access one of their own resorts within the clubs portfolio for example with no exchange fee charged.

Which Points Club would be best for me?

This is the same as asking me what car should you buy without knowing how important for you miles per litre is.  I don’t know what available budget you have to purchase your car.  What about how much mileage you are likely to use each year?  You get the idea that this is a personal decision based on how you holiday.  As time progresses we will be producing articles on the more popular Points Clubs.  The largest Points Club is RCI and this will be the first of our articles on Points Clubs.

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Authors Comments

Points Clubs provide more flexibility than conventional traditional timeshare.  At first a points system may seem confusing but so did traditional timeshare when it was first introduced.

As mentioned there is no one timeshare company or system that’s right for everyone but it’s in everyone’s interests to explore what options there are without feeling pressured.  Traditional timeshare works very well for a high percentage of timeshare owners and there will be future articles covering this.

As with anything you need to do your homework, hopefully this article has laid the foundations for that.  Your holiday style will dictate to a large degree what is right for you. 

In my opinion it is better to own a timeshare week that can be ceded to points. That way you can always convert back to your origional week. 

The forth coming articles RCI Points and RCI Weeks may provide you with further clarity and understanding than this generalisation.  If you have any questions please feel free to email Timeshare Weekly.

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Note: Any typos, grammar and spelling mistakes are deliberate and free as my gift to you.

Kind regards and happy holidays