Let’s be frank, timeshares are nothing new – they’ve been around for decades. Something that is somewhat modern in the industry are timeshare points schemes though and with more and more companies jumping in on the act, we’re about to ask whether or not they really offer considerable advantages over the “traditional” options.
At this point (pardon the pun), it’s probably worth swatting up on exactly what timeshare point schemes are. To give a very brief overview; customers buy points, which can then be “spent” on holidays throughout the twelve month period. In essence, the points act as a currency.
While the above paragraph is probably the shortest ever overview you’ll ever see on timeshare points schemes, it immediately gives the impression that they are a superb concept. However, does this prove to be the case from a practical sense?
If we hone in on the benefits of these point schemes, the immediate one is that they are incredibly flexible. Fancy a trip to Paris one year? Sure thing. How about a visit to the Algarve next time? It’s a done deal. If you opt for an established broker like Travel and Leisure, you will be paired up with a points scheme which has hordes of resorts in their arsenal. As long as you have the points balance to cover it, you’ll be able to travel to any destination.
There is also another benefit in relation to the flexibility; the duration of your stays. Naturally, the more points you spend, the longer your holiday. As such, you could take advantage of a longer holiday in the low season, as it won’t cost you as many points. In short, it’s all about balancing the quality of your resort, the season and the duration up so that you use all of your points across the twelve month period. There’s none of this “two weeks per year” business, you have as much holiday time as your points dictate.
If we also compare the points schemes to your standard timeshare, it should also be noted that some companies will allow you to dedicate some points towards flights and other expenses. If you have decided to just take the one holiday for the year, this can result in huge savings and ones that would not be possible with the traditional timeshare option.
Unfortunately, let’s not forget about the drawbacks that can sometimes be prevalent with these clubs. On the whole, they will work wonders for members, but you’ve also got to consider the fact that this is an option which makes no guarantees and you can’t definitely say, year-on-year, that you are going to be net the holiday of your choice. When it comes to school holidays and other restrictions, this is obviously not an ideal position to be put in.
Another disadvantage revolves around the transparency of these schemes. Most members approach them under the belief that they buy their points, and that’s that. Unfortunately, these timeshares have the habit of being affected by significant maintenance and annual fees. In some cases, it completely blows the effectiveness of the timeshare out of the water – which is again why it is crucial to ensure that you only use a reputable broker.
We should end on another financial issue as well, although this is one that applies to all timeshares. It doesn’t matter whether you purchase one via the traditional model, or one through the points policy as detailed above – they should never be seen as investments. They will depreciate over time, and if anything they can only be referred to as an investment for leisure purposes, if there ever was such a term.