Have you ever been in a situation where you realized your timeshare points were about to expire at the end of the month? Panic start to set in? Phone lines to owner services have long wait times and put you on hold?
We have all been there at one time or another!
Let’s face it, the point-based timeshare programs are fantastic for flexibility, but spending the exact amount of points you earn yearly can be difficult. There always seems to be at least some “loose change” at the end of the year and if you are just letting those extra points expire, it can add up to a lot in maintenance fee expense for points you didn’t even use.
Here are a few tips on what you can do with points going unused:
- Use Them – Many developers offer incentives for taking last minute trips if you can get away. For example, Marriott Vacation Club and Club Wyndham both offer certain owners reservations at a discounted point cost if you book them within 60 days of check-in. Bluegreen owners can use “Hot Weeks” through their Traveler Plus accounts to get week long stays using about half their normal points. These are great for last minute trips!
- Roll Them Over – Some companies allow you to save, roll over or extend the life of your points past their expiration date. Typically there is a nominal fee involved or slight limitations on the use of those points. Point in case: Bluegreen owners can “save” points for a full year with the limitation of only being able to use them for lower seasons.
- Exchange Them – Exchanging your points outside of your timeshare network can extend the use of your points beyond their expiration date and you can use them at resorts around the world. RCI, the world’s largest exchange group, has over 7,000 resorts in over a hundred countries. This is a great way to explore resorts outside of your timeshare program or to travel internationally. Other options include Interval International or Dial an Exchange depending on your timeshare company. Some exchange fees may apply.
- Rewards Programs – Programs like Wyndham Rewards, Plus Partners and Bluegreen Choices allow owners to use points towards travel-related expenses. Many large point-based timeshare brands position themselves to be “travel currencies”, with the idea that you can use your points for everything from booking your flight to getting a rental car and a place to stay. Even going so far as to allow you to book theme park tickets or tee times while you are on vacation using them.
- Convert Points to Maintenance Fees – Most major developers will give you a credit towards your annual maintenance fees when you turn over unused points by a certain deadline. While this won’t cover all your maintenance fees, it’s better than nothing. Depending on your specific program benefits, this can sometimes be done all the way through the day your points expire.
- Rent Them – Of course, if you know in advance that you won’t be using some or all of your points, you can always rent them out to friends and family as a way to offset the maintenance fees – plus they get to experience the same great vacations you know and love! If you want more information on how to do this on your own, we have an article that will walk you through the process step-by-step.
Every developer has different rules and timeframes for the various programs. Your best resource for information is to call the Owner Services line for your timeshare and ask what your options are.
Have questions about your options? Reach out to us, we’re here to help.