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What is a Timeshare Travel Club?

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Posted on March 24, 2023

The Difference Between a Timeshare Travel Club and a Vacation Club

With the explosion of internet-based travel options, numerous new ways to plan a vacation have emerged, and with it, new momentum for programs that barely existed prior to the web. While timeshare has been around since the 1960s, vacation clubs and travel clubs seem to have overtaken the traditional timeshare model. So, what exactly is the difference between a timeshare travel club and a vacation club?

Timeshare Travel Club – The Basics

couple on beach using their timeshare travel club

The term timeshare travel club really means a travel club with timeshares. In this club model, the travel club relies mainly on timeshare resorts to fulfil the accommodation needs of its members.

Members buy into the club with a membership fee that provides them with access to discounted travel products and accommodation stays. Travel club members pay for access to an exclusive system in which they can book rental cars, cruises, guided tours and stays in timeshare resorts, among other travel products. There is no actual product owned, just access to the program.

Because most timeshare resorts now have rental programs, the resorts can make their unused rooms available to these clubs as a way to generate additional revenue for the resort.

The theory is that the cost of membership is outweighed by the savings the member can accumulate through the discounts. However, most memberships also come with an ongoing annual fee, albeit a relatively minimal one, so members who do not use their travel club membership often reconsider keeping it active because of the ongoing payments. Others just don’t see the value if the discounts are not worth it.

Now, the Vacation Club

Even the term vacation club can cause confusion, since many vacationers presume a vacation club is the same as a travel club. They may share some similarities, but today’s vacation club system is different than the normal travel club model in one important way – deeded ownership.

Most vacation clubs are extensions of timeshare programs. Beginning with Marriott’s entry into the timeshare space in 1984, hospitality companies like Hilton, Disney and Wyndham joined Marriott to create the vacation club label to deflect from the traditional timeshare model.

Clubs, or networks of branded resorts, were developed and owners with deeded timeshare interests could vacation at resorts within the brand’s network.

Instead of selling timeshare solely as fixed weeks at a specific resort, points could be assigned to owners so they could use their points to book accommodations across the network.

In the case of Disney Vacation Club, points ownership began in 1991 with points deeded to a specific resort, providing the owner with home resort benefits with the option of using their points to book at other Disney timeshare resorts.

Disney Vacation Club Grand Floridian Resort timeshare

Other brands such as Marriott and Wyndham continued to sell fixed week timeshare, but also developed points programs that allowed owners to buy a non-deeded membership into their program and choose from a selection of resorts within their network.

Even purely non-deeded vacation club programs like WorldMark have a value assigned to their ownership, with ownership recorded in a Trust that can be resold.

Now, all of the major hospitality companies with vacation clubs sell points products and have pivoted away from selling week ownership, creating products that hold value on the resale market.

Selling Vacation Club vs Travel Club Memberships

couple looking for ways to sell timeshare travel club memberships

Because vacation club ownership involves a product that can be objectively assessed a resale value, it is vastly different than a travel club membership.

In many cases, travel club members can still sell their memberships on the resale market, but members should refer to their original documents to see if there are any limitations to selling their travel club membership. Some limitations include transfer restrictions, so it's best to make sure.

Travel club members also have difficulty determining a resale asking price, often using their original purchase price as a guide. The problem with using the original price is that almost every product on the resale market is discounted, and because a travel club is really a service rather than a product, it is tough to objectively assess the value of the service.

Members would have to make a significant case as to the value of the savings, but even the value is subjective depending on the travel products booked and destinations visited.

On the other hand, vacation club ownership has distinct value that can be assessed by a licensed timeshare agent such as the agents at Timeshare Broker Associates. Deeded points ownership can be recorded in a similar way that real estate is recorded, depending on the location of the resort and the way the local authorities handle real estate transactions.

While there is no MLS listing service for timeshares or vacation club products, there is enough data in the marketplace for an experienced agent to assess the value of a vacation club ownership and price it to sell on the resale market. Whether it is deeded or non-deeded, there is an established market of buyers looking for vacation club products. 

Advice for Selling a Timeshare Travel Club

couple on computer deciding to sell a timeshare travel club

If you are a timeshare owner, your ownership may actually appear to function as a type of timeshare travel club in the sense that you can vacation in multiple locations using your deeded ownership.

Exchange companies can give the impression that their systems act as a type of timeshare travel club, such as with the RCI points program. Many owners think they own an RCI timeshare when, in fact, RCI doesn’t own or operate timeshare resorts.

Companies like RCI and Interval International have done a remarkable job of establishing programs that allow deeded timeshare owners to travel the world using their single-site timeshare ownership.    

If you think you may own a timeshare travel club membership and are considering selling, refer to your original purchase agreement to see what you actually own. If those documents have been misplaced, check your annual fee statement to see where you are paying your annual dues or maintenance fees. Then contact the company to confirm your type of ownership.

Chances are, you own either a timeshare (whether a fixed or floating week) or a travel club membership. In either case, we can help you sort through the confusion.

Reach out to us by clicking onto our Contact Us page or give us a call at 877-624-6889 so we can help you find a buyer for your timeshare or travel club membership.


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Steve Luba
Chief Communications Officer

Steve manages the public relations and content creation efforts of the company. Previously the Chief Operating Officer for Perspective Magazine, he provided oversight and contributed articles for the five regional vacation ownership trade magazines under the Perspective Magazine banner. 

A contributor for industry publications such as Resort Trades and Developments Magazine, Steve Luba has 36 years of experience in various roles in radio and television, sales and marketing, public relations, media and government liaison initiatives. 

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