RCI.com 101: Free Tutorial by an Owner for Other Owners

What the heck is this whole RCI.com thing?

#NotanAd #JustHeretoHelp #FellowOwner

So….. you’ve got a timeshare or someone in your family does and you’re going to be using it to trade for a timeshare vacation at a different resort?   Yay!! Vacations!!  This is a whole new world (Cue Aladdin song) that can be overwhelming, confusing, and hard to figure out at first. That’s why I developed these RCI.com tutorials for my fellow owners. 

If you don’t know where to start on RCI.com you’ve come to the right place! We strive to #BeTheLight here, so I’m going to share all I’ve learned about having a timeshare and trading it through the leading exchange company so you can take the timeshare vacations you are looking forward to! 

This article is the first in a series of posts designed by an owner for owners to get the most for their RCI subscribing membership and timeshare vacations! If you want to browse feel free:

NOTE: We are going to pick up here and leave everything in the past in the past about how you came to your vacation ownership a timeshare resort. Some have shared that their purchase experience wasn’t the best it could have been. Some of you might be thinking about getting rid of your timeshare cause you’re aren’t using it.  I know that includes some of you, but, here, we are going to look forward. I’m here to help you make the most of your vacation ownership by learning about an exchange company so you can do exchanges on RCI.com to a wide range of timeshare resorts all around the world. 

Rci.com thoughts 

How Does RCI.com Work for Exchanges?

There is a short answer and a very, very long answer! Let’s start with the short one in this 101 article.  RCI (Resorts Community International)  is one of the two largest exchange companies that allow members to exchange their week for one at another timeshare property. I can’t talk to the other trading companies  (Interval International, DAE, etc) because our home resort only trades with RCI so that’s the one I use.  Don’t worry, if like me you can only use one exchange company there are a wide range of timeshare resorts to choose from on RCI.com

So, say you’re looking to exchange a week at your resort for a a timeshare family vacation in Hawaii. In order for you get one, another owner would have to decide to not use their Hawaii timeshare week, not let family/friends use it, not rent it out AND decide to put their week specifically into the RCI system.  A lot of people want to go to Hawaii, but a lot of those owners use and/or rent their units to pay their maintenance fees.

You can see how supply and demand definitely play into the RCI Exchange dynamics. Don’t fret about getting the RCI Resorts you want, it just takes some planning! 

That being said, the supply and demand dynamics can also aid in your planning! Towns with TONS of timeshare resorts like Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach and Orlando ( Home of so many theme parks and attractions) are regularly available in the system – even sometimes are the last minute!



Hold up, tho!!! Before you can start planning an exchange vacation via your online account, understanding how RCI.com works, exactly what your ownership is and how your home resort works is crucial.



RCI.com: Start Here

I feel like you could earn a degree in RCI.com, because it is complicated to get your head around at first! There are a lot of great resources out there to learn from, and before you know it you’ll be going on timeshare vacations like the rest us members. 

RCI has a YouTube page with videos on their programs and partner timeshare resorts. There are a lot of different timeshare brands like Wyndham Destination Resorts, Westgate Resorts, Holiday Inn Club Vacations and so so many more!  These videos aren’t in-depth but they do provide some basic information for those looking to get started with an exchange company.

RCI Brand Introduction Video outlines the concept of timeshare trading and introduces some details on how RCI exchange works. It also mentions their history and the large number of RCI resorts in their trading system. 

 

RCI Weeks and RCI Points

You might remember the video saying something about rci weeks® and rci points®  programs. If you decide to join,  will become part of one of these two programs to exchange your week.  With our timeshare resort in the Catskills, we are rci weeks® members. Check out the two RCI videos below that describe the two “sides” of RCI Membership.

 

 

If you watched them both you’ll see that the overall concept of trading for timeshare vacations is the same. The main difference is the trading “currency” that you’ll receive for your week from RCI.

  • If you are a rci points® member you’ll get something in the 10,000’s of points depending on your unit size, season of your week, and location of your timeshare resort. It ranges from 7,000 to 185,000. (With a  Disney Vacation Club Aulani Hawaii 3 bedroom suite receiving tons of RCI points). Talk about a bucket list family vacation!
  • If you are an rci weeks® member you’ll be given between 4-60 TPUs (trading power units) to trade for your deposited week.  Our 2 bedroom ski-in-ski-out condo gives us up to 23 TPUs in the RCI system. 

RCI Exchange Trading Power

 



Manage your RCI.com Exchange Currency Like Real Money

Yup, I said it, and it is worth repeating: Manage your RCI.com Exchange Currency Like Real Money.   You (or someone in your family) paid hard earned money for your timeshare resort and its yearly maintenance fees. Make sure you get every single point/TPU that you can from your week to put towards your RCI exchange vacation.

 

Did you know that the RCI Exchange trading power you receive depends on how far in advance you deposit it into the RCI system?

In their Welcome Brochure, RCI mentions their Trading Power timeline, with the 9 month mark being a key deadline.  Here’s the catch – – some timeshare resorts don’t send their maintenance bills out in time for owners to meet this key date from the exchange company.  That means that if you pay your maintenance fee “ on-time” you might be losing out on some of your RCI exchange trading power. Not every timeshare resort requires that you pay your maintenance fees before you can deposit next year’s week with an exchange company but a lot do.  The savvy RCI members are pre-paying their maintenance fees so that they can get 100% of the points possible for their week in RCI.    

RCI.com Exchange Trading Power Adjustment Timeline
Make sure you get every point you can for trades on RCI.com!

Did this post and information create more questions than answers? 

Now might be a time to email your home timeshare resort and ask for the following information on your ownership. There might be some terms I mention below that are new to you, but getting all of this information at once will save you time when we get to the next planning step in my 201 article.  Feel free to copy and paste the below email template, I don’t mind. Planner At Heart is here to help! 



Hello Owner Services, 

My name is {Planner at Heart} an owner at {Timeshare Resort Name} and I am looking to learn more about my ownership as well as trading it for a timeshare vacation with an exchange company.  Could you provide the following information? Thank you! 

  • In a couple of sentences, can you summarize what I own with {Timeshare Resort Name}?
  • Can you list the names of all the owners on my account? Would both of these names automatically transfer to RCI.com or an Interval International account should I choose to join one?
  • Do you have any owner programs with sister resorts outside of RCI/II?
  • Do you have an owner’s space available program? For example, if the resort is under 80% capacity can an owner access the available rooms at the last minute, complimentary?
  • Do I have a fixed week or a floating week? 
  • What weeks and dates do I own this year and the next 2 years? Are my dates considered prime season or non-prime season?
  • Do you have an owner’s rental program? Can you provide all the details of participating?
  • Can I deposit my week with RCI.com,  Interval International, DAE or only certain ones?
  • Am I eligible for the RCI Weeks or RCI Points Program?
  • How far in advance can I deposit my week with an exchange company? Are there any requirements for depositing years in advance? For example, would I need to pay my maintenance fees in advance? Could you provide the timeline?
  • If I deposit my week at the furthest out point, how many Trading Power Units ( RCI Weeks Program) or Points (RCI Points Program) would I receive? 
  • In order to initiate a deposit, do I reach out to you first or to RCI.com?

Feeling like you are starting to understand this RCI.com thing? Head on over to my RCI 201 post where I’ll illustrate how to plan better RCI Vacations by working with the RCI.com Resort Directory. 

While you’re waiting for the email replay, join an RCI Members facebook group such as RCI Members for Members.

If you have a question for RCI, don’t hesitate to contact them and ask all your questions. While I personally like the online chat feature the best, here are a variety of phone number for them:

  • 1.800.338.7777
  • 1.877.968.7475
  • 1.317.805.8000 (RCI Weeks)
  • 1.317.805. 9941 (RCI Points)

 

To view the Google Web Stories version of this article click here

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