If you're a member of Interval International, chances are that you recently received your 2014-15 II Resort Directory. It's always tempting to skip right past all the info pages and head for the good stuff. You've seen it all before, right?
This year, however, there's an important change in there. Interval has changed the timeline for exchanges. This can make a difference for you in planning your optimal timeshare usage.Changes are afoot for 2014
What's changed with the Interval timeline
For Deposit First exchanges:
- Deposit up to 2 years ahead. You can now deposit your week with Interval and place an associated exchange request up to 2 years before the start date of your week. This used to be up to 1 year, unless your resort participated in the Early Deposit program. The 2 year timeframe is now open to all II members.
- Travel window up to 4 years. The earlier deposit availability now gives you a full travel window up to 4 years (from 2 years before your week up to 2 years after it).
For Request First exchanges:
- Request up to 2 years ahead. You can now place an exchange request with II up to 2 years ahead of start date of the week you're exchanging. This used to be up to 1 year, unless your resort participated in the Early Request program. The 2-year option is now open to all II members.
- Travel window up to 2 years. Being able to place a request earlier now gives you a full travel window up to 2 years (from 2 years before your week up to that week).
How this affects you for Deposit First
So you can deposit your timeshare week up to 2 years in advance now. Why does this really matter, and how can you use it?
We ran into this exact limitation last year. Here's how it affected us then, and how this new change will be a benefit now.
- It was March 2013. We were planning a trip to the east coast for later in 2013, and wanted to deposit one of our 2014 weeks and use that for a search in II.
- We own a 52-week float. The timeshare we wanted to deposit is one with a "full year float", where every week is classified as a red week. We can book whatever week we want to deposit with the exchange companies.
- Our best deposit was July. In order to maximize the trading power of our deposited week, we wanted to book the highest value week we could. In this case, that meant booking a July week.
- We couldn't do it. Interval's rule prevented us from depositing a July 2014 week in March 2013. Our choices (neither of them great) were to reserve a lower value March week to deposit, or to wait until July to deposit the higher value week and start our search then.
- New rule? No problem. Given the new extended II timeline, we would be able to reserve the higher value week, deposit it, and begin our search earlier, just like we wanted.
All in all, it's a good change. This gives timeshare owners more flexibility with planning their exchanges. You are better able to maximize your value and get the most out of your ownership.
How this affects you for Request First
With Request First (which is used for all points-based timeshares), this updated exchange timeline seems like it will have even more of a benefit.
- Request first was a 1-year window. Previously, Request-first exchanges (except those in the special program) were limited to a 1-year window. You could request a trip up to 1 year before your week, and obviously the request could not go past that week, so your total travel window was only 1 year.
- Deposit first had 2-year requests. Even though deposit-first exchanges were only deposited 1 year before the week, they could travel for a full 2 years after the week. They could request any exchange up to 2 years before the travel date.
- Deposit first had an advantage. Let's say you want to get a certain vacation in August 2015. Deposit first people could request that as early as August 2013, while Request first people couldn't make the request until August 2014. Deposit first was always first in line, which is one of the factors that determines who gets the reservation when a match is found.
- Now both can request 2 years ahead. With the new rules, the playing field is leveled, and both deposit-first and request-first exchanges can be requested up to 2 years ahead of the travel date.
Of course, there are caveats
Surprise, surprise. Unfortunately, these new changes may not work for everyone. In the fine print, the II guide says
The 24-month timeframe described ... may not be compatible with the use rules of the Home Resort. Members should refer to their Home Resort's use rules for additional information.
This means you'll need to check with your own timeshare company or resort and see whether their rules are as flexible as Interval's when it comes to the timing of your reservations, deposits and exchanges. Hopefully you will be able to take advantage of the improved exchange abilities offered by the updated 2014 II exchange timeline.