Fuck A Fucking Timeshare

Quite a few years ago, I bought a timeshare. Ex number three (aka ExRoomie) loved to travel. A timeshare seemed like a good way to increase the quality of the places where we would stay without significantly increasing the cost. Don’t look at me like that. I believed the sales pitch.

The resort where I bought was a member of the RCI exchange system. As it turns out, there are two distinct sides of the RCI program: weeks and points. Weeks members, which is what all owners at my resort were, exchange one week for one week within the system after paying an exchange fee, based on availability and trading power. Don’t get me started on trading power, but it’s supposed to keep people from buying a winter week in Nowhere, Minnesota for two thousand dollars, and exchange it for a holiday week on Maui that sells for fifty thousand.

RCI’s points system is much more flexible. Owners exchange their week for a specific number of points, which they can then use as they choose. For example, the aforementioned Maui owner could bank his single week for enough points to stay in Nowhere for six weeks. Furthermore, weeks in the week system are assigned a point value, and points members can exchange into these weeks as available. However, weeks members are locked into the weeks system only.

It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I’d gotten fucked. All the newest and best resorts were choosing to participate in the points system, leaving weeks members with the oldest, fewest, and least desirable options.

All was not lost, though. If you also own a week at a points resort, RCI will let you do a Points for Deposit conversation (for a nominal fee, of course) and will add the point value of your weeks week to your points membership balance. As much as she liked to travel, we decided it would be worth buying the cheapest available points week that we could find in order to open that door to us. A few thousand dollars later, we were set. All worked well. For a few years.

I just tried to convert my next occupancy year to points. RCI told me that I am no longer eligible to use the Points for Deposit program, because current sales at my home resort are in the points system. That makes no fucking sense whatsoever to me, but I’m stuck following their rules. They mentioned something about contacting my home resort, so I did.

They can fix it. But it’s going to cost me $5,500. If I understand correctly, that will also upgrade me from tri-annual occupancy to annual. In any case, it is the only way they offer to get off of the weeks system. I presented the option to ExRoomie, since she’s the only one who has been using it for the last five years or so. She doesn’t want it either, at least not at that price.

Since I’ve already paid all the fees associated with the 2017 occupancy, we’re going to try to get a final exchange out of it. After that, I’m going to donate it. Someone will take it. Grass Roots North Carolina. Second Amendment Foundation. Air Safety Foundation. NRA. Any other suggestions of worthy causes who might have the resources to turn it into cash are welcome. I just don’t want the hassle.

Timeshares are a poor choice anyway. The initial capital investment is almost nothing, although it is thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. The taxes and maintenance fees are astronomical, as a percentage of the initial investment. Both of mine are two bedroom units, and one costs $6XX, the other $8XX. Even a studio or one bedroom is $500 average. Then there’s the RCI membership fee, which is $129 per year for the lowest level. Add another $179-229 exchange fee, and you just spent almost $900 for a week at a place that you probably could have rented a comparable unit for $150 per night, and you could have picked your check-in date and exactly how long you wanted to stay, rather than being stuck with the seven days and specific day of the week dictated by the resort. And that price doesn’t count a single penny of your capital investment.

It worked for us because we traveled a lot at the time, were given a bonus week for each owned week every year for just the exchange fee, and with the flexibility and our astute management of the points system, our cost per week was in the ~$400 range plus whatever percentage of the initial investment you add back in, and we got four or more every year despite owning two tri-annual (one residency week every three years) units.

Although she still travels, it’s usually only two or three weeks per year. The second year that we bought to get into the points system is hers, and should meet her needs. I don’t travel, so I’m done playing the timeshare game.

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