The problem is that where RCI may boast several thousand timeshare resorts in its exchange system, in reality a timeshare owner can only exchange their holiday time for accommodation of equal or lesser value. Still, this is what makes the RCI Weeks exchange system work so well… it is based on fair exchange.
Anyway, for many timeshare owners having been sold on the premise of being able to go anywhere at any time, many resorts in the system are simply inaccessible to them. In addition, the RCI Weeks program does not cater for non timeshare owners, does not address the growth in demand for 10 day vacations, short breaks, luxury hotel stays, cottage rentals, city breaks or cruise vacations.
In summary, the RCI Weeks exchange, designed and launched in 1974 for timeshare owners often proves inflexible and restrictive for the needs of the modern tourist.
We should also consider how the RCI Weeks system actually calculates trading power. Say you own a studio apartment in blue time (off-peak season) and the system assigns a trading power to your week of (say) 16000 points. If you swapped your week for another studio apartment in blue time, perhaps in a different country, you might well be satisfied that you were getting what you have paid for. But what if you then discovered that RCI has assigned a trading power to that resort of only 8000 points. In effect, you have been short-changed by 8000 points. Surely a truly fair exchange system would have enabled you to get two weeks in the foreign resort in exchange for your one week of timeshare? Of course, being a member of RCI Weeks you will never know the true trading powers of each week involved, or you may not even care.
Enter RCI Points… launched a decade ago the RCI Points membership passed the 1 Million members mark only eight years later, making it the fastest growing vacation system ever. Today the membership continues to grow at an astonishing rate and has attracted many big name players into the system too. The RCI Points system is in fact the only truly global vacation network and it is NOT just a system for timeshare owners and companies to exchange accommodation time.
Here are the basics of how it works: Rather than deposit our timeshare week into a ‘bank’ of accommodation (the RCI Spacebank), now let us imagine that we are given a certain amount of points to spend, just as though this was currency. So, using the example above, let´s say we are issued with 16,000 points to spend each and every year for the rest of our lives, even though we only paid for the points ONCE in a lump sum payment. We could use all 16000 points to pay for one single vacation of seven days. We could use the points to pay for 2 weeks accommodation in a resort valued at 8000 points per week. Or perhaps we could spend 10000 points on a ten day vacation somewhere, 2000 points on a weekend break and carry the unused 4000 points over to the following year. We could even borrow points forward from next year to make up any shortfall in the number of points needed. If we want to holiday in a 1 bedroom timeshare apartment in peak season, a two bedroom unit in low season, a city break in a luxury hotel, whatever, the idea is that points are just as flexible as cash: If we own the points, we can spend them as we please.
Just like selecting a vacation from a major tour operator like TUI (Thompsons) or Kuoni, just like visiting the website of a major hotel group like Sheraton, Hyatt or Hilton, we can pick and choose from the very best if only we have the currency to pay for it. Only rather than paying a published price per person, we now spend the number of points required per night or week, regardless of the number of people staying. We are paying per unit of accommodation so kiss goodbye to unfair supplements and surcharges.
This may sound like an ideal world but it is in fact a reality for RCI Points members. Of course the major benefit of RCI Points ownership is that the range and standard of accommocation: the places that you can stay in and the facilities offered, not to mention the level of service given by resort staff, is simply superb. Think about this: imagine planning a shopping trip to New York. Now think ‘Waldorf Astoria’ rather than Holiday Inn. Believe it or not, you can spend your RCI Points to stay there!
Suddenly, the entire RCI Vacations network is available to us. Every type of holiday, all sized accommodation, any time of year… even cruise holidays. You are only restricted by the number of points that you own, nothing else.
Let me be totally clear on this point, your RCI Points cannot just be used to pay for accommodation in timeshare resorts. RCI have partnered with over 50 of the worlds top brand vacation providers and services. Timeshare owners can use their time to swap for time somewhere else, RCI Points owners can use their points to pay for EVERYTHING. Want to use your RCI Points to pay for flights?… American Airlines, Continental, Lufthansa, the list goes on. Want to use your RCI Points to pay for car hire?…Avis, Budget and many more will accept your points. How about a cruise?… RCI Points partners include Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruising to name a few. How about Disney Tickets, Seaworld Tickets, Universal Studios or even a Helicopter Ride in New Zealand?… yes, yes, yes and yes.
Then there are the 1300 country cottages throughout Europe and to top it all, the 42,000 or so luxury hotels throughout 8700 cities owned by such industry giants as Sheraton, Hyatt, Radisson, Westin, Marriot… the list goes on.
Compare this to the standard RCI Weeks system and you can probably now see why it is not just timeshare owners that are converting to RCI Points, it is also those that appreciate flexibility, choice and value, regardless of how they purchased vacation time previously
Naturally, if you like going to the same timeshare unit each year or you are satisfied with how the RCI Weeks system works for you, then you might just stay with what you have. But if you wish to access all of the additional benefits offered by the RCI Points system, then you will need to convert youtimeshare to RCI Points, purchase just RCI Points from an approved retailer or, both.
To convert your timeshare weeks into RCI Points, you will need to ‘cede’ the rights to use your timeshare and will receive a number of RCI Points to spend in return. It is that simple. You will continue to pay maintenance to your home resort and naturally, you can still visit your home resort any year, rather than use your points allocation.
For most people, the most important difference to owning timeshare weeks is that you know exactly what you can get each year: it simply depends on the number of points that you own.
No more banking, depositing or exchanging your timeshare week. Your Points are automatically given to you each year, ready to spend as you choose.
If you do not own a timeshare, do not wish to own a timeshare week, own a timeshare week and need more points to obtain the sort of dream vacations that you want, then you can just buy pure RCI Points.
“People that would never dream of buying a timeshare now finally have a holiday system that offers true flexibility, choice and serious value for money. RCI Points is not just the future for timeshare owners, it is a system that may very well be the future for the entire vacation industry”.
Naturally RCI have realised that a rapidly growing number of us prefer to reasearch and book our vacations via the internet. RCI.Com allows points owners to view every resort destination and accommodation offer, even giving video tours and member feedback, not to mention plenty of ideas on what to see and do and special promotional offers all year round.
What is happening with the normal RCI Weeks exchange for timeshare owners?
It is still operating, it still works and still continues to grow, so if RCI Points is not for you, don’t worry.
For more information on RCI Points you can visit the RCI.COM website or contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org