About Timeshares

What is a Timeshare?

A timeshare is when a group of people buy into a resort for a specific time period, usually in weekly intervals. The most common types of Timeshare are condominium or hotel-style developments. Developers have applied the concept to many other properties or assets such as houseboats, campgrounds, and RV Parks. However, the condominium is still the most popular choice.

The Timeshare developer builds the property and divides the units into equal time intervals. The units are then marketed and sold to buyers who purchase a specific time of year to occupy the resort. The ownership of this unit gives the buyer access to accommodations in the property for their given week, without the financial burden of owning a Vacation Property year-round. The resort takes care of all property management costs, thereby ensuring that the timeshare owner will have a perfect week at the resort.

A Points Programs is great because it allows the freedom to enjoy an extensive list of resorts. However the amount of points you own in the program will determine what resorts you can and cannot visit. There are many factors that influence the amount of points needed to get accommodations in a particular resort some of those include.

•        Popularity of Resort

•        Size of the accommodation

•        The length of stay at the resort

•        The specific nights requested. (weekends and holidays usually require more points)

•        Season of the year

There are Points Programs available that offer more valuable points with a higher priority in reserving accommodations during peak demand seasons. Most point programs allow you to save your points for a 2 year period of time.  This allows you to acquire larger accommodations or stay at more popular resorts. Some programs allow you to stay for a fraction of a week for a reduced amount of points.

Point programs have recently started to allow members to exchange points toward travel related services, such as airline tickets and automobile rentals. Over time, more Point programs will add similar features.  Point Programs work on either a deeded ownership or a direct “buy-in” that is not linked to the ownership of a specific week or resort. If your program is linked to a week, the amount of points will depend on the week, size of unit, season, resort popularity, and supply/demand balance.

One major concern with point programs is the long-term value of your points. If the program operator is able to increase the number of points required to reserve units at participating resorts or to obtain other services, the value of your points will erode. This would force you to purchase more points at the resort to continue your stay. You should check your program documents to determine what protection you might have against such losses in exchange power.

One feature associated with timesharing is the ability to exchange your vacation property with someone else’s. This allows you to obtain vacation accommodations in locations throughout the world. There are typically 3 ways you can exchange your timeshare.

1.      Direct Exchange

The most basic way of exchanging your timeshare is through an owner-to-owner swap. This requires finding another timeshare owner willing to exchange their week for yours. Each owner would contact the respected resort and notify them of the other owner using their week.

2.      Exchange through the Resort

Some resorts offer an exchange program. Your resort may give you the option to exchange your week for another week at a different location within the resort’s group of properties. Many timeshare management companies will offer this benefit as part of their management services.

3.      Timeshare Exchange Company

Timeshare exchange companies allow you to “bank” your week with them. In exchange for your “banked” week, you get to choose from their inventory of weeks that other timeshare owners have banked. Also, resorts will bank their unsold timeshare weeks with Exchange companies to increase their inventory. Your week and room size will determine your trading power within the exchange company.

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