As timeshare has evolved over the years, there have been many innovations and new programs from various companies. This has created what is now called the “Vacation ownership industry,” which provides vacation plans from all the major developers in the world.
Most of these companies own hotel chains as well as ownership resorts. The vacation ownership industry is now a $6 billion industry with over six million owners worldwide. What kind of program you buy and with which company is completely up to you and what you are looking for in your life.
There are traditional timeshares, fractional, point systems, and travel clubs, all of which have certain benefits for different types of people. The most popular timeshares in the early days were deeded fixed weeks in high (popular) destination areas. As needs advanced, companies came up with floating time, you can use your unit anytime throughout the year.
Eventually, the points program revolutionized the industry. Nowadays, you can utilize your credits over and over for all forms of vacations, from houseboats to country cottages, cruises, all-inclusive packages, adventure packages, private yachts, five star resorts, and everything in between. Due to the ever changing needs of vacationers and the need to increase business revenue, developers have made changes to their programs, allowing owners to access nearly anything they want.
These innovations in ownership programs Tony Avitia 2 allow timeshare owners to spend their money once and redeem the benefits year after year, saving thousands and thousands of dollars.
If you are reading this book, then most likely you have a timeshare of some kind. Each kind has different rules for booking and renting as well as which types of tax deductions you are eligible to take. In traditional timeshare, you are buying a certain deeded week at a resort for a definite time of the year. While these weeks provide advantages for people looking to stay at the same place every year at the same time, it can be a little restrictive compared to the points programs. The benefits of deeded timeshares are that there are a few tax deductions you can take as well as guarantee yourself a reservation for the week you own every year. These types of ownerships have evolved by allowing you to use floating time anytime of the year as well as lock off the units or split the week up in some cases. Most likely if you are a timeshare owner you know what type of ownership you have; however, after being in the business, I realize there are still a lot of people that don’t know what they own or how much of it they do own. So, for the sake of the book, and in case you have questions about the programs, I will give a brief explanation of the different types of programs now available.
One of the most popular program Timeshare Simplified 3 and a few extra tax benefits that the other timeshares owners do not get. For the purpose of this book, I will refer to these as “traditional” weeks or units. There are also leasehold deeded weeks, which you typically find in other countries. These have the same rights as a deeded week.
However, after a period of time usually thirty years–the rights revert back to the developer. Occasionally, these are offered in perpetuity, but many do not convey ownership of the land, merely the apartment or unit of the accommodation. With right to use, you can use the timeshare in accordance with the contract, but at some point the contract ends and all rights revert back to the property owner or developer.
Most people who own units in Mexico have this type of program. The only downside to leases is that a company owns the reservation system, and the owners are not in control. In these cases, the rights of use may be lost by the demise of the company or at the whim of a foreign government. In this book we will consider these as “traditional” timeshares as well. Within the deeded weeks there are fixed weeks as well as, floating weeks. The fixed weeks are great if you bought a good week, but not so good if you did not. Floating weeks are good because even if you did not buy a great week, you still have the ability to get one if you put in for it early enough. In most cases, the holiday weeks are sold as fixed weeks. Floating weeks give owners a chance for a good week but not much flexibility for anything else. I will still refer to all of these weeks above as traditional weeks.
The fastest growing and most popular vacation ownership programs are vacation clubs. These programs are typically Tony Avitia 4 sold as either non-deeded or with rights in perpetuity. With some of these vacation clubs, you may own units in multiple resorts in different locations. A few of these clubs consist only of a few individual weeks at other developers’ resorts. This allows the companies to offer many locations, but you really do not own anything except for time. These club developers can lose inventory at resorts you bought into in the blink of an eye. Developers like GEO Holiday have this particular type of system, which gives you many properties to choose from, but they can lose the properties and leave you with nowhere to go.
One of the newest and most innovative ways of selling ownership is a points system. Most Americans unfortunately do not travel as much as they do in Europe and while working hard is not a bad thing and we are by far extremely productive, we all would benefit from more travel.
Most of the larger companies such as Wyndham, Starwood, Hilton, Marriott, and several others, have switched their programs to the points system to give added value to their programs as well as give owners the ability to have maximum flexibility. Points systems allow owners to call anywhere from two years in advance down to the day before check-in. Points allow you the ability to stay in any size room, from a studio to a penthouse, on any day of the week for any length of time. Points memberships allow owners maximum savings by allowing you to travel in off times of the year as well as during the week, giving you the ability to increase your number of vacation days. You have the ability to book multiple units simultaneously at multiple locations in various rooms for as long as you have credits or points. This provides a tre Timeshare Simplified 5 Points systems are for busy people who cannot go on vacation for long periods of time. They are also great for people who like to do different things, as well as stay in different resorts. Points owners are issued the number of credits they buy annually and can use them any way they would like inside the resort group.
Most points programs are associated with large resort groups offering a broad selection of options for destinations. These systems also give you the ability to use your points for airlines, car rentals, tour packages, house-boats, RV parks, cruises, activities, and even gift cards.
While I personally believe these are the best way to go, it is up to you to make that decision. In subsequent chapters I will give you more of my thoughts on which types of programs you should buy and which ones to stay away from. Points programs offer maximum flexibility, as you can stay at any resort in the inventory without an external exchange fee. With points, you can stay as long as you want, when you want, in whatever size accommodations you want, provided you have enough points and the reservations are available. Some of these things are possible with deeded weeks, but they are more difficult to do and take expertise. The only things that affect points owners are the popularity of the resort, size of the room, number of nights, season, and the specific nights needed. With a points system, you have the ability to work the system to your advantage and maximize your vacation time.
For the purpose of this book, I will refer to the points system as point’s week. If you know what you are doing, you can potentially get up to four weeks of time out of one week’s worth of points, compared to a maximum of two weeks with a deeded property. Whatever type of property you own or are thinking of buying, you really can get a lot of use and value out of it if Tony Avitia 6 you understand how to use it correctly.
If you do not take advantage of the timeshare benefits on a continuous basis, then a timeshare is a big waste of money, especially if you financed it for a long period of time. Timeshare is not the cheapest way to vacation by any means, especially with all of the travel websites available. You absolutely must know how to utilize your program properly. If you have $50,000 to $100,000 cash to buy a timeshare, most likely you are better off putting that money into a great investment and putting the maintenance money you would spend into the same account so you can compound the interest. If you do this, I am sure that when you retire you will have enough money to go wherever you want to go. However, most people do not have that luxury of initial investment capital. For the rest of us, utilizing a vacation ownership package to stay at nice resorts is a more feasible option. As for staying at hotels off internet travel sites, that’s all well and good as well as very reasonably priced. I even do that from time to time.
However, many people have families and are past the college phase of sleeping six to a room and leaving the next morning. Many people would like to stay in a wonderful five-star resort; but, do not have the money to do so. I hear these excuses all the time: “I do not go on vacation to stay in the room.” “We are always out doing things on our trip.” “It’s just the two of us; we do not need much room.” “We are only staying for a few days.” “I don’t care about having a nice room.” Timeshare Simplified 7 “I don’t feel comfortable at a nice place. I am just a simple person.” “Those places cost too much.” “It’s not worth the extra money to stay in a nice place.” “I never travel with friends or family.”
Now, money is not everything, and you do not have to stay at the Four Seasons to have a great time. I know that full well; however, I also know if you won the lottery you would not be staying at a Super 8 hotel off of the side of the freeway, either. If you inherited money, you would not be taking a two-day cruise to Mexico in a room next to the broiler room or staying at the La Quinta. Just this year, I stayed at the Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas–one of the best resorts in Las Vegas–as well as the Best Western in Lone Pine California. The difference in cost was very small compared to a timeshare. Let me tell you, the trip to the Ritz was a lot more memorable than the one to the Best Western. So, for all of you who use these excuses now, I will teach you how to stay at five-star resorts for the same price as that Super 8 motel every year. I know that, yes, you are out on the town a lot on vacation, but you are still sleeping in the room, showering, resting and everything else. So, no matter what your status in life, the poor Mexican writing this book is going to show you how to expand your horizons, increase your quality of vacations, and make a better life for yourself.
Ninety percent of your memories come from ten percent of your experiences. I am going to teach you how you and your family can have an above-average vacation for pennies on the dollar for the rest of your life. If you see a chubby Mexican on the beach writing a book at the Four Seasons, stop and say hi, because it will most likely be me.