|A point system provides no shortage|
of travel opportunities!
be savvy to the unique way in which point systems work - let us help with this primer on points!
What is a Point System?
When we think of timeshares, we often think of an ownership where an individual owns a given week at a particular resort. Eventually, however, owners sought a bit more flexibility and the industry delivered in the form of point systems. Instead of a single week at a particular resort, owners now owned a certain amount of "points" annually or biannually to be spent at resorts within that developer's system. Instead of being locked into a set week at a resort, owners had the freedom to spend their points on as many nights as they'd prefer at a range of different locations.
To add another layer of flexibility, many systems allow their owners to "bank" their points when not of them will be used within their points period. An annual point owner, for instance, can bank their leftover 2014 for use in 2015 which can equate to another day added to their trip, a bigger unit or a stay at a more desirable resort. Banked points do, however, tend to expire after a set period of time (typically one or two years), so don't plan on hoarding your points for a mega-vacation!
Not All Points are the Same
For the most part, point systems are pretty straightforward at their core; owners receives a set number of points, points are then spent for a resort stay. These standard, annually/biannually-issued points we've discussed so far as referred to use as "regular use points". Owners can also receive "bonus points" that are issued through various promotions. These points are not listed on the deed, but are pooled and treated as regular use points when added to the owner's account. Depending on the developer, bonus points may or may not transfer upon resale.
Researching ResalesIf points are sounding pretty good, you might be interested in purchasing some of your own. Resales are often a fantastic way to get started with a timeshare of your own, due to a much lower price - often just a fraction of buying direct from the resort! Point system resales can be a bit iffy however, and you'll want to be sure that you're aware of the potential changes that might happen when buying points from owners.
Disney Vacation Club resales, for instance, lose some of their benefits in comparison to buying from the resort. The new owners are unable to use their points to book cruises and stays at non-Vacation Club resorts, so if this is a big "must" for you, you might want to consider looking into buying straight from Disney.
Club Wyndham point resales work in a similar manner. When buying straight from Wyndham, owners are assigned a status - such as VIP, Gold VIP or Platinum VIP. If the owner sells these points, the new buyer will not receive the status and any associated perks.
Marriott Vacation Club Destinations have another sort of restriction in place. Marriott had previously allowed owners with deeded weeks to switch to the points system for a fee. If the owner seeks to sell their ownership, however, it must be sold as the deed is written - meaning the deeded week is sold instead of a number of points, which can be a sour surprise for the seller and buyer alike. When looking at Marriott Vacation Club Destinations point resale, be sure the owner originally bought into the point system and did not convert their week to the point system.
Regardless of which system you're looking at, it will only benefit you to do research beforehand. Point systems are amazing for allowing owners plenty of flexibility and less rigid constraints than typical deeded weeks, but they're also a fair deal more confusing. Don't hesitate to ask the owner or the sales rep questions - you'll enter into the industry a more informed consumer for the effort!