In the timeshare resort industry, increasingly memberships and developers are moving toward the timeshare points system. Earning or paying for the privilege of using a timeshare gets far more complicated, when you have to deal with a point system, but it is a lucrative way for timeshare companies to make more money. How many timeshares do you own?
Each timeshare club or developer manages their individual point system, and it varies from one company to the next. But one of the ways that timeshare developers differentiate themselves from real estate ownership, is to refer to themselves as a ‘vacation club’.
Timeshare points are like a private, member exclusive type of currency. Every time you pay your monthly payment and associated fees, you earn more points that can then be spent, when you book time at your timeshare resort.
Another buy-in for customers is that for some vacation clubs, your earned timeshare points can also be applied for airline tickets, tours or entertainment, or even other trips. A frequent problem with timeshare booking is availability and peak demand periods. This method of allowing members to use their points for other things, instead of their timeshare accommodation, helps timeshare companies deal with demand, and frees up more weeks as members opt to spend their accumulated points in other ways.
On the surface, the timeshare point system sounds pretty fair, until owners begin to realize the cost and limitation of using their points. If you currently own a timeshare that operates on a point system, have you calculated what each point is really costing you?
How the Point System Increases Expenses for Timeshare Owners
Whether you bought into a timeshare that already operated on a membership point system, or a timeshare that has changed, and moved to this method for its members, the first surprise comes when you try to book your vacation time. While you have been diligently paying according to the terms of your timeshare contract, you can be told that you do not have ‘enough points’ to be able to book the vacation time you need.
Isn’t owning a timeshare about having guaranteed vacation time? That is the single, most beneficial aspect of the otherwise predatory contract terms of the average timeshare. Only now, with the point system, you are not even guaranteed that time? Feeling disgruntled about timeshares? We don’t blame you.
A shady side to the point system is legal, but we don’t think it demonstrates business integrity or the timeshare contract owner’s best interests. The first suggestion your vacation club or membership customer service will suggest, is that you “buy more points” in order to afford the vacation destination or length of stay that you want for your family.
That’s right. They are asking you to pay more for something you thought you were already entitled to. A look through many of the marketing materials provided by timeshare sales teams fails to demonstrate that the majority of peak periods require additional points; sometimes double or triple the points required in off seasons. Beware the fine print; regular points tend to apply in off tourist season times, like hurricane or rainy season, when just about everyone would rather stay home than enjoy a tropical trip. They aren’t lying to you, but they are leaving out some important details deliberately, and if you don’t ask your timeshare sales professional, you can be left feeling very disappointed with the amount of vacation time, locations and the seasonal booking ability your points have earned you.
Timeshare companies do want to keep you as a customer however, and so their suggestion is that you simply purchase more points. Many consumers do so, because they feel compelled to the long-term nature of their timeshare contract; they don’t think they can cancel their timeshare, and feel they have few alternatives. This is how timeshare owners inadvertently end up with two or even more contract payments per month, when they agree to a schedule that helps them purchase more points. Unfortunately, in many cases, this also means that their name may have been added to additional deeds, making them the owner of two or three different timeshares, and accountable contractually, to two or three deeds leaving them with no idea.
If you are making more than one timeshare payment monthly, contact us for a consultation. As part of our legal support services, we can conduct a deed search to identify which properties you are currently contracted to. In addition, our team of industry experts can provide a plan to help you exit your timeshare for good, with a proven, legal method that protects your credit, and provides freedom from monthly timeshare expenses.