5 Ways to Avoid Getting the Timeshare Exchange You Want

5 Ways to Avoid Getting the Exchange You Want

Some timeshare owners love to stay at their own resort every year, but many others dream of exchanging their timeshare to stay at idyllic spots around the world. That's part of the sales pitch - showing you the gorgeous places you can go. Whether you dream of the beaches on Maui or skiing in the Alps, the idea is the same. If you don't want to use your own timeshare, just exchange it for some other fabulous place.

There's definitely some truth to this sales pitch. Legions of timeshare owners do in fact exchange what they own to travel to exotic destinations each year. However, other legions of timeshare owners can't seem to ever get the exchanges they want. What's the difference? Here are 5 of the most common ways to avoid getting the exchange you want.

Follow these tips to avoid getting an exchangeFollow these simple tips to avoid getting an exchange you want

1. Wait until the last minute

  • If the weather at the beach looks perfect next weekend, it's a pretty safe bet that you won't get an exchange there starting Saturday.
  • If the kids are getting out of school in a few days, you'll probably miss out on most of the summer vacation exchanges you want.

There are exceptions, of course. Every once in awhile, somebody can score a fantastic exchange on short notice. In general, however, waiting until the last minute to think about exchanging your timeshare is an excellent way to avoid getting the exchange you want.



The more popular the destination and time slot you want, the more true this is. If you want an off-season trip, then last minute can work out fine, but if you want a prime season vacation, then you need to plan further ahead.

Hour glass with time running out Avoid an exchange by waiting until the last minute

2. Give up when you don't find something online

A lot of people go through the online listings, to see what they can get for an exchange. This can be fun, and it may turn up some interesting trip ideas, but if you have a specific vacation in mind, this often will not show what you want. If you don't see anything you like, then giving up now is a sure way to avoid getting the exchange you want.

The thing is that what you're seeing online is just the "leftovers". Both of the major exchange companies (RCI and II) give priority to searches that run in the background. In RCI, this is called an on-going search. In II, they call the same thing a pending exchange request.

When a new timeshare is deposited with one of these companies, they check to see if it matches a search that's already set up in their system. If and only if it passes all of those and is still unclaimed, will it show up in the online results for you to browse. As you'd expect, the most popular things will rarely make it that far.

Leftovers An online search shows only the leftovers nobody claimed

3. Expect too much

You've probably heard stories of how some lucky guy exchanged his mid-level studio for a 2-bedroom luxury timeshare in the Caribbean. Yes, things like this do happen sometimes, but not very often. In general, if you enter parameters for your search that are considerably above what you have available for exchanging, then it's a good way to ensure you don't find a match.

Think about it realistically when you're setting up your search. It would be lovely to get something much more valuable than what you are exchanging, but there's a trade-off to consider. If you set up your search that way, perhaps you'll get what you want, but there's a strong possibility the search will never yield a match.

4. Make your search too narrow

Another excellent way to avoid getting an exchange is to make your request extremely narrow. If you search for just one resort and one week* (especially if this is a sought-after place and time), then your chances of getting an exchange are slim.

If you're searching for only a 2-bedroom at "Splendid Resort", arriving August 2, then you're guaranteed to miss out on anything the weeks before or after, as well as any other resorts in the area for that particular week. It's a great way to wind up without an exchange.

*Note - Interval won't let you be quite that specific, but you can achieve a similar lack of results by looking for only 1 resort for 3 weeks, or 3 resorts for the same week.

Dart hitting the bulls eye The smaller your target, the harder it is to hit

5. Make your search too broad

What? This doesn't sound logical after the last one, but this can be another good way to avoid the exchange you want.

  • With Interval International, they will automatically confirm your request when it matches. You have 24 hours to cancel it, or it's yours. Was your search too broad? Did you select something like "Anywhere in Florida" without verifying exactly what that includes? If so, then you could be the proud winner of an exchange to somewhere you don't really want to go.
  • In RCI, you can set your search so nothing is auto-confirmed and they contact you when there's a match, giving you 24 hours to confirm it. If you don't like the match they find for you, you don't need to accept it. Then you go back into your search request and change the parameters, so it finds something better next time. While this is all going on, a timeshare you *really* want could have gone to somebody else.

Comments? Questions?

Do you have any questions about getting (or not getting) a timeshare exchange you want? Do you have any tips or suggestions for other people? Please leave comments, questions and tips in the Reply section below.

Timeshare Owner's Guide to Winning the Timeshare Game~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Exchanges are one of the big benefits of timeshares, allowing you to expand your usage far beyond the timeshare you own. It takes some time to figure out the best (and worst) ways to use the exchange systems, but it's great when you score a wonderful exchange! My new Timeshare Owner's Guide has lots of tips and tricks to help you improve your timeshare trade results. If you'd like to get more from your timeshare, check it out!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi! I’m Deanna, founder of Winning the Timeshare Game, and author of the books. After running an international tour company, I’m now into the fascinating world of timeshares. I enjoy sharing all the tips I discover, and I’d love to see everyone have as much fun with their timeshares as we do!

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PHOTO CREDITS:  Hourglass - openDemocracy, Leftovers - Thomas Leth-Olsen, Target - viZZZual.com

2 Comments

  1. Are you saying it's better to put a request with auto or not?
    "In RCI, you can set your search so nothing is auto-confirmed and they contact you when there's a match, giving you 24 hours to confirm it. If you don't like the match they find for you, you don't need to accept it. Then you go back into your search request and change the parameters, so it finds something better next time. While this is all going on, a timeshare you *really* want could have gone to somebody else."

    • Hi Darlene -
      Thanks for your comment! I think auto-confirm is usually a good thing. For me, it's necessary. I travel a lot, and am frequently not available for email or phone calls. If I didn't use auto-confirm, I might miss my 24-hour window to get the exchange, and lose out. If you're sure you'll always be around, you could turn auto-confirm off so you have more control, but you need to be there.

      The point I was really trying to make is that it's best to make sure up front that the search won't include something you don't want, so that you don't waste time on a trade you don't want.
      Thanks, and good luck with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Should I upgrade my week to RCI points?

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