Posted on March 25, 2022
Timeshare points have become the new normal for the vacation ownership industry, as all of the major timeshare companies have long since transitioned to selling timeshare points packages through their sales operations.
Beginning with brands such as WorldMark and Disney Vacation Club in the 1990s, points-based timeshare ownership is the prevalent way that many owners now look to take vacations. Even fixed week timeshare owners have migrated towards using points through their exchange companies with the development of programs such as RCI Points and Club Interval Gold.
So, what’s the deal with timeshare points?
Points work like a type of vacation currency, used to book accommodation or a range of travel-related products depending on the program. It’s important to understand that not all timeshare points programs are alike, which is why consumers can find the programs confusing at times.
For instance, WorldMark is considered a pure points program, meaning that a customer would buy WorldMark points, otherwise referred to as credits, to use for accommodation. These points can be used at any of the WorldMark timeshare resorts in the program and are not deeded to a specific resort.
On the other hand, Disney points are deeded to specific resorts within the Disney timeshare network. This bestows home resort status on these points, giving the owner benefits such as an earlier booking window to get a jump on other DVC points owners when booking accommodation at that resort.
Disney owners can still use their points at other Disney resorts other than their home resort, with a few exceptions, but the deeded status give them priority at their designated resort.
As we touched on, timeshare points programs can differ depending on the program, so below are some of the major timeshare operators and a brief on how their points work:
Club Wyndham – Wyndham Destinations manages a number of timeshare programs, the largest of which is Club Wyndham. Club members have access to a 220+ resort network, with Wyndham points programs basically coming down to deeded points at Club Wyndham resorts and non-deeded points as part of the Club Wyndham Access program.
A number of different levels are associated with each ownership option, and points can be split into smaller increments for short stay getaways in addition to week-long vacations. The Standard Reservation booking window allows owners to book stays on any day of the week regardless of season, and starts 10 months before the requested day of check-in.
Points can also be used in the RCI exchange program for accommodation and travel options outside of the Wyndham network.
Wyndham Rewards is the loyalty program connected to the Club, which gives points owners the option of converting Wyndham points to use at hotels around the world.
Because of the complexity of the various levels of Wyndham points ownership, it’s best to speak to a professional licensed agent who can go over the different options in more detail. Click here to contact a Wyndham specialist who can answer any question you may have.
WorldMark – probably the simplest program on the market, WorldMark credits are non-deeded and can be used for vacations among the nearly 100 resorts in the WorldMark network.
Because of its relationship with Wyndham under the Wyndham Destinations banner, certain WorldMark points owners can also stay at Club Wyndham resorts as well, depending on whether their ownership qualifies.
As with many points programs, resorts are assigned a nightly as well as a weekly point value, with the nightly value changing depending on mid-week or weekend usage. This allows owners to choose the number of nights they want to vacation, up until the limit of their points ownership. Booking window begins as early as 13 months prior to the requested vacation dates.
WorldMark has also removed its two-night minimum stay requirement, allowing owners one-night stays if requested. Owners can also deposit their points with RCI to vacation in resorts beyond the WorldMark network.
Disney Vacation Club – Disney operates a points-based system where points are deeded to a specific resort, as described earlier. This allows for certain home resort benefits, in addition to owners’ ability to use points to stay in other Disney timeshare resorts.
Most Disney timeshares are located at Disney World Resort in Orlando, with other resorts in Anaheim, Hilton Head, Ko Olina Hawaii and Vero Beach. Owners at home resorts have a window of 11 months prior to their requested vacation dates to book those dates, with a window of seven months for booking at other resorts in the network.
Interval International is now the affiliated exchange provider for Disney, so Disney points owners can deposit their points with II to choose from additional vacation destinations. If you can’t find your preferred dates within the Disney booking system, give II a try and see if you can find your resort and preferred dates through them.
Marriott Vacation Club – Marriott began transitioning to a points-based system in 2011 and now sells what they term Vacation Club Points, otherwise known as Marriott Vacation Club Destinations Points. These points can be used to stay in any of the 60+ Marriott timeshare resorts across the U.S., Caribbean, Europe, Australia and Asia.
Marriott timeshare points are some of the most straightforward points to use - bookable anywhere in the timeshare resort network for any number of nights at any time of the year. It is limited only by the number of points owned and selection of unit layout based on those points. Booking window for most levels of ownership begins 10 months prior to your requested check-in date.
They are not deeded to a specific resort, so they operate more like a travel club even though they are deeded to a Trust account based in Florida and considered a type of real estate interest.
The program is also heavily connected to the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, where MVC points can be converted to be used at nearly 7,000 Marriott properties around the world. Exchanging through Interval International is another way to use your timeshare points, as II offers 3,000 affiliated resorts to choose from across the globe.
Hilton Grand Vacations – one of the most popular programs, HGV has over 700,000 members and offers 55+ properties in quality destinations such as New York City, Chicago, Waikiki, Las Vegas, Park City, Charleston, Orlando and Washington D.C.
With Hilton’s acquisition of Diamond Resorts last year, Hilton is busy adding new destinations to its resort portfolio.
Hilton timeshare points are known as Club Points and are deeded to a specific resort, known as a home resort. Like other similar programs, this gives owners priority benefits but also allows for using points at other resorts within the Hilton timeshare network. The Home Resort booking window starts 12 months from the requested check-in date and the non-home resort window begins 9 months out.
The Hilton Honors program is one of the top loyalty programs in the world, and Hilton owners are enrolled into the Honors program. They can convert their Club Points into Hilton Honors points to use from among 6,800 Hilton resorts around the world as well as use Honors points for other travel products.
Hilton is also affiliated with RCI, so owners can join RCI and bank their points for even more vacation choices.
Capital Vacations – Capital manages nearly 60 resorts in its program but operates a type of hybrid mix of fixed and floating weeks along with its Capital Vacations Club program. The Club is the primary points program, where owners purchase points for use across the majority of Capital Resorts in its collection.
The list of eligible resorts shows check marks next to the resort name on the Capital website. Those are the resorts which can be booked as part of the Club program. Points are allocated on an annual basis and can be used in a variety of ways based on the resort, length of vacation time and type and size of accommodation unit.
Capital Vacation Club is also affiliated with RCI, so owners can use their points to travel within the RCI network.
Bluegreen Vacations – Bluegreen sometimes flies under the radar compared to its more well-known counterparts, but with over 220,000 members and 68 resorts in its network, it is a major player in timeshare.
Based on a points system, Bluegreen Vacation Club provides points that are deeded to a specific resort but can be applied to vacations at resorts throughout the Bluegreen resort network. Booking window begins 11 months prior to the requested check-in date.
Points can also be used at Choice Hotels across America by linking a Bluegreen account to a Choice Privileges membership. Affiliation with RCI also means Bluegreen points owners can vacation from the 4,000 resorts in the RCI system.