What are Timeshare Exchange Programs?
Timeshare exchange programs allow trades with other resort units in different locations for an additional fee. However, these trades usually cannot be guaranteed. There also may be some limits on exchange opportunities. Most developers are affiliated with large exchange companies.
Timeshare Exchange Companies
Two major companies are Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II). When a developer affiliates with the exchange company, the exchange company allows all of the buyers who purchase at that development to be able to join the exchange company. The developer pays an initial fee to the exchange company, and thereafter the individual timeshare owners are usually assessed an annual fee. The exchange company provides owners with a directory of hundreds of resorts. The exchange company is a huge computerized reservation system that is also licensed as a travel agency. An individual can deposit the week that they own and trade it for a week at another resort anywhere in the world, provided that one is available. There is usually a fee for the exchange, and there are also size rules, which allow trades equal or down. In most exchanges, a two bedroom can exchange for a two bedroom, but a three bedroom would likely require additional charges. Both of the major exchange companies rate their resorts. Usually, one needs to be giving up a week at a top resort to get a week at another top resort. In RCI the top rated resorts are called Gold Crown. In II top resorts are known as Five Star. There are a number of smaller exchange companies that are available to timeshare owners. These smaller companies are often regionally based.
Timeshare Sales Incentives
Timeshare resorts sometimes offer free lodging to potential buyers in exchange for their attendance at a presentation about properties the developer has for sale. A free Vacation Certificate may be offered by telephone, mail, or from the Internet. Offers vary, but they are often for a three day, two night stay at the resort itself or a nearby hotel. Nearly all offers are subject to certain conditions, including age and income requirements. Both spouses must usually attend a sales presentation and upon arrival participants are often asked to provide proof of identity. Advance deposits, which may not be refundable, are often required to guarantee the time. Any charge termed a processing fee is probably nonrefundable. If deposit funds are actually called a deposit, refunds may be given at the location or at the end of the stay.