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How does timeshare work?

The flexibility of timeshare, much valued by timeshare buyers, has led to increased innovation within the industry as resort developers and exchange companies work together to deliver a greater variety of holiday choice and increased flexibility to owners and members.

The original fixed week, which was the purchase of a week’s use in a resort to be used at the same time each year at a home resort, was quickly joined by the floating week allowing for the week’s holiday to be taken at any time of year and in any resort. As floating weeks can be used to exchange home resort stays with those in other resorts around the world, exchange companies generally allocate a trading power to each week’s use period to ensure a fair and equitable exchange.

Timeshare in weeks and points

In 2000, timeshare exchange network RCI launched the points system, whereby buyers could purchase a number of points which they could then use to ‘buy’ time in a resort of the same value as the points available on their account. Many exchange companies now offer a points system and, as well as resort accommodation, points can be used to buy a selection of travel services such as car hire and flights, cruises and hotel stays from the exchange companies.

Points can be purchased as pure points, and weeks ownerships can, with an administration and conversion fee, be converted into points. Points can be added to at any time with further points purchases. To increase their flexibility, many exchange providers allow points members to carry points forward from one year to the next or to borrow from the forthcoming year to add to the current year’s points value allowing owners to access a higher quality resort or for a longer stay.

Category: Timeshare and fractional guides


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3 Responses to How does timeshare work?

    • Glad you found it interesting. We don’t own timeshare, but have worked in/with the industry (producing editorial on it) for many years. Have also stayed at many timeshare resorts around the world – the interesting thing is that a huge number of hotel companies including lots of the big brands like Hilton and Marriott have timeshare in their hotels, but you don’t often realise it is. Timeshares can be great for families, first of all you don’t have to pay any more to visit during school holidays (it is likely that the initial purchase price will be higher if you buy at that time of year due to seasonality, but this depends on where you buy). But once you own timeshare you don’t pay any more to visit it each year. There are annual maintenance fees however, which everyone pays. Also if you’re exchanging during the holidays you might find choice a little more limited as everyone wants to travel then, but you don’t pay any more to exchange during school holidays than the rest of the year – the exchange companies generally have a set fee. Parents I’ve spoken to love their timeshare because they often have plenty of facilities for kids and a family community (timeshares really do seem to have a great sense of community with people returning there year after year to meet with friends they’ve made). You’ll also find that one, two or three bedroom apartments are the norm (rather than just a hotel room or studio) so kids can have their own room, and it’s usually good quality self catering accommodation, with a fully supplied kitchen, so you can cook and don’t have to spend on eating out all the time.

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