|Your Location: Timeshare Users Group Advice: RCI Points FAQ |updated: 5/23/08|
long-time TUG member Larry Hayden, President and founder of Timeshare Resales
Last update: 28-March-2006
What is new in the world of timeshare? RCI Points!
But it is not really new since RCI Points has been around for several years now, but to many timeshare owners it is little understood, if understood at all.
I am a timeshare broker with a signed agreement with an RCI Points resort to sell RCI Points and I own RCI Points myself.
While I don't believe that the RCI Points product is the cure all or answer all for every single timeshare owner's needs, it is the primary product being offered at new RCI resorts today, so it is certainly something every timeshare owner should at least know something about to see if it is of interest. I offer this article to help you understand RCI Points.
We have a great example scenario on our website so you can easily visualize how you can use the points for various functions. The RCI Points values chart for the world is on our RCI Points main page.
All timeshares involve ownership and therefore maintenance costs for upkeep. The good news about RCI Points though, is that unlike the older timeshare product where you only get one week for that annual maintenance fee, with RCI Points it is very easy to get more than one week or even several weeks of vacation, still for only that one annual maintenance fee. This is done by using the RCI Points for short notice "Last Call" vacations which require only 9,000 points for a full week in any size unit worldwide.
Since you can get so much time out of your RCI Points for just one maintenance fee, your expense is far lower, only a small fraction of what it would cost you to rent a comparable accommodation. I own RCI Points and I am very happy with them. I have been watching and studying RCI Points for years, and while I believe it is an excellent product, I really believe that there is a good reason and a good argument for ownership of both types of vacation timeshare, RCI Points as well as the traditional one-week type of timeshare.
What one has to understand about RCI Points is that unless you use your points in your home resort, you are relying on being able to confirm an exchange into the resorts you request. RCI owns no resorts, it is merely an exchange company, and an excellent one at that, but I seem to have better luck in exchanging, using my RCI Points. But for certain locations where someone wants absolute 100% assurance of staying in a particular resort at a particular time, that person can only achieve that 100% guarantee by owning in that resort during the week(s) desired. On the other hand, there is a very sizable number of timeshare owners who desire to go somewhere different each year, for one of two day stays, in various size units, and for varying times of the year. For those people, RCI Points is an excellent choice.
Probably the least known thing about RCI Points is that traditional timeshare "weeks" owners may have the opportunity to use what they already own, not as weeks, but as RCI Points, by using the RCI Points For Deposit program. I use this program myself to be able to use RCI Points with my ownerships in non-points resorts.
If you would like to be emailed information about how you might be able to use your non-points ownership as RCI Points, just send me an email, and I will explain how I go about it myself.
Some TUG Member questions which have come up in the past:
1. What are RCI points?
Answer: RCI Points is a type of timeshare ownership in an RCI affiliated resort, where RCI has assigned a point value for all RCI resorts, assigning a certain number of points for a vacation stay of one night or more, for any size unit and any time of the year.
The points can be exchanged through RCI for shorter or longer vacations in any unit size desired, as well as for travel-related products, including airfare, cruises, car rental, and hotel reservations. If you want to stay somewhere there is no timeshare, you can use your points for hotels. Or, maybe you just want to use your points for cruises or airline tickets, or car rentals, or any combination thereof. The flexibility is really pretty exciting. The points can be spent just like dollars and every year you get your new annual allotment of points to spend.
Let's say you own 36,000 points a year If you use your points on RCI Instant exchange (45 days of less in advance of travel date), it only takes 9,000 points to stay a full week in a two or three bedroom condo with full kitchen. If you used all of your points on instant exchange, you could take FOUR WEEKS of vacation accommodations. If your maintenance fee is $400 for the year that means your cost for the four weeks vacation is $100 per week. ($400 divided by 4). Now you know why RCI Points are so popular.
2. How do I use them?
Answer: To use your points, you simply call the RCI Points toll free number and tell the RCI Guide what you want to do.
3. What if I want to stay at my own resort?
Answer: Any use of RCI Points involves being able to confirm an exchange EXCEPT for use in your own resort. In your own resort you can make reservations 12 months in advance, whereas anyone not owning in your resort can only make an exchange request 10 months in advance.
4. How do I use Points for non-timeshare products?
Answer: A simple phone call to the RCI Points toll free number.
The term for non-timeshare products is RCI Points "Partners". The Partners charts and all RCI Points fees are displayed here.
5. What fees do I pay if I am a Points member?
Answer: See RCI Points Fees Chart which has all RCI Points fees.
6. What happens if I own both Points weeks and non-Points weeks?
Answer: You will have two RCI accounts but only one annual membership fee. One RCI weeks account and one RCI Points account.
You can use your weeks account and your points account as separate transactions. Also if you own your weeks in certain resorts that qualify, you may be able to deposit your weeks and use them as RCI Points.
7. What if I want to drop out of RCI Points and return to my old membership?
Answer: This question makes an invalid assumption that the only way to own RCI Points is to "convert" a weeks ownership to a points ownership.
For ownerships and resorts that qualify, another way is to keep your weeks ownership and simply become an owner of a small RCI Points account, and then you can take advantage of RCI's points for deposit program and obtain RCI Points for your RCI Weeks deposit. As I explained earlier in this article, I believe it is wise to own both RCI Weeks AND RCI Points for the reasons already stated.
RCI Points is a very broad and involved topic. This article barely touches the surface, but hopefully it helps, and my guess is that many more questions will come up, so it will probably be necessary to answer more questions as they come up and add them here-in.
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