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Exchanging Your Timeshare

Current data shows that the majority of people who purchase a timeshare do so because of the ability to trade or exchange to other locations. The timeshare resort (or group of resorts) that you have ownership at will be affiliated with one primary exchange company; either RCI or Interval International (II).

While the ability to exchange or trade timeshares is highly regarded by consumers, it can be a source of great aggravation due to misinformation. For example: In most cases a week in Alabama will not trade for a week in Hawaii, nor can you ignore your timeshare all year and expect to simply pick up the phone July 1st and get an exchange for the following month.

Both RCI and Interval International have great resources online to help you maximize your exchange options and you owe it to yourself to read these resources. Here are some helpful links to get you started:

Additionally, here are some general tips to guide you:

  • The rules for exchanging weeks are different than the rules for exchanging or using points. When exchanging weeks, the location of the resort plays a large part into the “value” of the exchange. For instance, due to its popularity, New York City has more value than the Wisconsin Dells. With points, it’s the number of points that counts more than anything.
  • Be flexible when requesting an exchange, both in terms of when you want to travel and where you want to travel to.
  • Unless you own a pure fixed week timeshare, you will need to request an exchange even if you are using your home resort.
  • Request an exchange as early as possible. In some cases you can do this up to two (2) years in advance.
  • Both RCI and Interval International are continually adding new resorts and new options to their (your) portfolio of options, so stay informed for new vacation opportunities.
  • To learn more about membership benefits and costs be sure to visit RCI and Interval International’s respective websites for the most up-to-date information.
  • In addition to your basic or standard membership with either RCI or Interval International, both companies offer an upgraded membership level for an additional fee. Generally speaking, it’s best to begin with the standard level of membership to until you gain a deeper understanding of exactly how exchanging works.

Secondary Exchange Companies

There are a number of secondary exchange companies, some of which are well established, others relatively new that may be able to offer you some flexibility and some different exchange options.

Some caveats to using secondary exchange companies are as follows:

  • Not all of secondary exchange companies will accept or work with all timeshares. particular timeshare for one reason or another. As an example, SFX tends to work with the upper echelon of timeshare resorts, while Hawaii Timeshare Exchange only with timeshares in Hawaii.
  • It is nearly impossible to use one of these exchange companies when you own RCI Point timeshares. This is because of restrictions placed on usage by RCI, not the secondary exchange company.
  • This guide cannot tell you which exchange company is better or worse. Because of the sheer variety of timeshare properties, the sizing and ratings of those properties and the vast differences in what an individual owner may want out of an exchange, different companies offer different benefits. The important thing to remember is that you have choices and owe it to yourself to investigate all you options.

The benefits of using secondary exchange companies include:

  • Lower priced or no annual dues.
  • Pay only if you get the exchange that you want.
  • Gives you access to different inventory than you might find through RCI or II.

Directory of Secondary Exchange Companies

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