Published on June 27th, 2017 | by William Charles37
Benefits Of Owning A Timeshare
This is a guest post written by The Timeshare Guru. He has previously written ‘Complete Guide To Renting Timeshare Properties On The Cheap‘ & ‘An Introduction To Timeshare Offers‘. If you like those posts or this post please check out his site.
In my previous guest post , I discussed various ways to rent timeshares for some pretty incredible deals. Renting timeshares can be a fantastic way to travel while saving money and getting spacious accommodations.
In this post, I wanted to explain some benefits to actually owning a timeshare as opposed to strictly renting timeshares. Purchasing and owning a timeshare is definitely a controversial topic so I do not want to go into detail about whether you should purchase one, whether you should buy strictly resale, which timeshare or timeshare affiliation to buy or any further details on purchasing. If readers are interested, I can post additional articles on these subjects.
The intent of this post is simply to explain why renting timeshares may not always be the most beneficial strategy. Owning a timeshare, despite many negatives, can provide you with the following benefits as opposed to renting:
- Owning can be less expensive than renting;
- Better availability for desirable weeks or resorts;
- Access to Interval International;
- Ability to do ongoing requests for weeks and specific resorts;
- Use of internal exchanges;
- Less than one week stays; and
- Discounts on hotel reservations.
I am a big fan of renting timeshare weeks. There are some fantastic deals to be found. However, most of the cheap weeks tend to be in low season or low demand resorts. While there are diamonds in the rough to be found, many of the prime weeks (Christmas week, ski weeks, Hawaii weeks during the summer) are difficult to find for renting and even if available, they could cost $1,000-$2,000 for a week. While they may still a bargain compared to hotel rates, they can be expensive as compared to owning and exchanging your weeks/points.
If you own a timeshare, the basic idea is that you can exchange a week in a 2-bedroom unit for three weeks in a studio unit. This isn’t always true but I find that it is generally applicable. If you own with a points system or with a hybrid system (weeks/points), you could be able to exchange to a 2 bedroom to 4 or more weeks in a studio, depending on the system and the amount of points and your use of the points.
I use studio units as the point of reference since these are the closest to a hotel unit even though they are generally larger than hotel units and closer to “suites” found in hotels. As an example, one of my 2-bedroom units can be exchanged for 4+ weeks in a studio. If you are able to reserve prime weeks, it is definitely possible to get a tremendous amount of value for your one existing week.
One of the most important benefits to owning a timeshare is seeing available weeks. There are internal exchanges where you can see weeks offered by the same developer (Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, etc.) and there are the external exchanges. Usually, weeks are offered internally first and then are offered to the external exchange companies (RCI and Internal International).
Both RCI and Interval International have separate inventories, one for renting and one for exchanging. It is not always the case, but exchanging tends to have better availability since you need to give up your week or points to exchange into something else so they tend to want to encourage the increase in inventory through exchanges.
Access to Interval International
As I mentioned in my article on renting, Interval International requires you to own a timeshare to get access. There are some loopholes to maintain access if you sell your timeshare but they are strict on verifying ownership before giving you access.
I personally prefer Interval International over RCI since Interval International is associated with many of the higher quality timeshares (Marriott, Vistana (formerly Starwood), Hyatt and Four Seasons). The ability to exchange into these timeshares can be very worthwhile since the nightly rental rates, even if offered through the exchange companies, are generally the ones that cost the most.
As stated earlier, by owning a timeshare, you generally get access to inventory earlier than what is offered in the rental pool. Inventory changes by the minute and getting good weeks is difficult but generally, most if not all timeshare systems allow owners to put in ongoing search requests. Reservation windows differ per program but some programs allow you to request a specific week at a specific resort 2 years in advance.
For some people, planning for 2 years in advance is a difficult if not impossible task, but for others who know that they will be traveling for Christmas, Spring Break, Summer vacation, etc. it is not that cumbersome. Basically, by owning, I can put in a request, either internally or externally, for a specific week and resort and if and when it becomes available, it will be automatically reserved before anyone can even see it through any of these systems. Getting good weeks can be difficult but I have had great success as long as I planned early and put in a request.
As briefly discussed, most timeshare systems allow internal exchanges. If you own a Hyatt, I can reserve other Hyatts through their internal system. The same is true with Marriott, Four Seasons, Hilton, Wyndham, etc. If you do not own, you do not get access to this inventory. Timeshare systems that are points systems or have point components can have very favorable exchange rates. Like hotel points, you can reserve nights using points at various different levels depending on the resort, season, demand, and unit size.
For example, Hyatt, has a category called Mountain time where you can reserve weeks for extremely small amount of Hyatt timeshare points (called Hyatt Residence Club Points). Granted that this is during very off season, but you can reserve almost 2 months in a five star Hyatt property in exchange for a 2 bedroom / one week ownership.
Less than one week stays
If you do not like to travel for less than 7 nights in one location, timeshares are probably not for you but the internal exchange programs and external exchange companies allow you to exchange your week / points for less than seven nights. Some allow exchanges for as little as one night while others have 2, 3, 4, or 7 night stays. Each system has its own rules for the length of stays available.
Discounts on hotel reservations
Most of the major timeshare systems give owners the ability to book hotel reservations with their branded hotel properties at various discounts. You generally need to sign on to the owner portal and you can search availability at their hotel counterparts and see various discounted rates. This varies in terms of the amount of the discount and can vary depending on the level of ownership but I believe that these discounts range somewhere between 10-40% off advertised nightly rates. The discount is not always offered for all resorts or all nights but when it is, I have seen some meaningful discounts.
Timeshare ownership is not for everyone! While I really enjoy our timeshares, I fully understand their limitations, issues, grievances, complaints and hatred towards them.
I personally think that the strong loathing of timeshares is due to the horrible sales system, the misinformation being told by the salespeople simply to make a sale, the tremendous differential in price when comparing developer purchases versus resale, the difficulty or complete inability to sell the timeshare when you want, the ongoing increase in maintenance fees and lack of desirable exchanges – Just to name a few of the many issues!
Despite these real issues, I believe that if you purchase a timeshare with a reputable company at a decent entry price, a lot of the above issues are lessened and it can be a great tool for traveling well. If you understand their limitations, ownership can actually make sense for certain people with certain vacation styles. I am sure that I left out many benefits and I know that I left out more of the negatives but the intent of this article was to address the benefits of owning as compared to renting.
Based on comments from previous posts, there are timeshare owners that are readers so I am interested to hear their thoughts. Make sure to share in the comments below. Reach out if you have any questions and thanks again to Doctor of Credit for their continued support.
Note from Will: Big thanks again to The Time Share Guru for this series of posts. If you haven’t already, check out their site.