RCI Points timeshares are popular and quite well known. In comparison, Interval International's point system (aka "Club Interval Points") has been flying under the radar. It has been around for a while, but it's not widely used, and most people know little about it. There are some key differences between the Interval and RCI timeshare points systems. Here's how Interval points work.Split your timeshare week into points
The basics of Interval's points program
- Terminology. When you join this program, you become a member of "Club Interval Gold", which lets you use "Club Interval Points" for timeshare exchanges.
- Membership types. "Club Interval Gold" is different than the normal "Interval Gold" membership, which is merely the upgraded individual membership (along with "Interval Platinum", the highest membership level). I know, it's confusing!
- Specific resorts. Only certain resorts participate in this program. If you own a timeshare, or are buying a timeshare, at one of these resorts, you may be offered a chance to join the program.
- Joining the points program. If you already own a week at a participating resort, and want to join the points program, you need to pay an additional fee to do that. If you are buying a timeshare from the resort, this membership may be included in your price.
- It's optional. Participation in the points program is optional, and if you own a timeshare week, you can choose to just keep it as-is.
How exchanges work with Club Interval Points
- Getting points. If you own a timeshare week which has been enrolled in this program, then when you deposit this week with II, you can get a certain number of Club Interval Points placed in your account. You can then use these points to book vacations.
- The grid. Interval International publishes a grid called "Club Interval Weekly Points Values", which is the key to this system. This grid determines how many points you get when you deposit your week. Here is a snippet of the grid to illustrate how it works. The full grid is much larger.
78,750 - 115,500
65,625 - 96,250
52,500 - 77,000
67,500 - 99,000
56,250 - 82,500
45,000 - 66,000
- How the grid works. As you can see, two major factors that determine your points are your unit size and the TDI (Travel Demand Index) for the week you’re depositing. These two factors narrow it down to a range. For instance, if you deposit a 2-bedroom with TDI 115-130, you get 65,625 to 87,500 interval points.
- How TDI works. TDI shows the demand for your specific week. High season and holiday weeks have a higher TDI than mid or low season weeks.
- Other factors. Within a range, the actual points you receive will vary based on the demand for your destination, and the quality of the timeshare resort accommodations you’re depositing.
- Lose points if you wait. If you deposit at least 120 days before the check-in date of your week, you will get the full amount of points that your week is worth. As you get closer to the start of your week, depositing it will get you fewer and fewer points. You cannot deposit your timeshare week less than 2 weeks before the start date.
- 2-year expiration. Your Club Interval Points are good up to two years after the check-in date of the week that you deposited. This is the same time period you’d have if you deposited a normal timeshare week. The difference is that you can extend weeks, but you cannot extend points.
- Booking a vacation. The same grid controls what you spend to book a vacation using your points. When you want to book a full week at some resort, the unit size and TDI you want determine the range, and then the points for that specific resort will fall somewhere within that range.
- Short stays. You can book short stay trips of 1 to 6 nights if you don't want to spend a full week. Week nights (Sunday to Thursday) cost 10% of the weekly points. Weekend nights (Friday and Saturday) cost 25% of the weekly points.
- Multiple vacations. You can book as many vacations as you have points for. If you're booking a timeshare that is comparable to the week you own, that will probably be one vacation. If you want to book smaller units, off-season stays, or short stay vacations, then you could end up with multiple vacations from your deposit of a single week.
Differences between Interval Points and RCI Points
- No separate membership. RCI has separate accounts and logins for RCI Weeks vs. RCI Points. For Interval International, this is not the case. Once you belong to Club Interval Gold, all of your II timeshares (except any in a separate corporate account) will be part of the same account. Some may be part of the points system, while others are not.
- No separate inventory. RCI keeps weeks and points inventory separate. With Interval ponts, there is not a separate set of inventory.
- No use years. RCI points has the concept of a "use year". You get your points at the beginning of the use year, and expiration dates are counted from that date. With Club Interval Points, you get your points when you deposit your week, and the expiration date is counted from that week's check-in date.
- Different booking windows. With RCI points, there is a somewhat complicated system of when you can book a vacation. To stay at most RCI points resorts, you can book your vacation 10 months in advance. With Club Interval Points, you can book a vacation up to 2 years in advance.
- No borrowing, renting, or transferring points. RCI points lets you borrow points from a future year, rent additional points from the company, or transfer points to another members. Interval does not currently have these options.
- You can't sell the points membership. If you look at eBay or anywhere else that timeshares are sold, you will find many RCI Points timeshares for sale. If you upgrade your RCI week to RCI points, then you can almost always sell your timeshare as RCI points, and a new owner gets the benefit of that upgrade. On the other hand, the Club Interval Gold membership which lets you use Club Interval Points does NOT transfer to a new owner. If you sell the timeshare, you are just selling the underlying week. If the new owner wants to use it as points, they would need to pay to upgrade that membership again.
Conclusion - Are Interval Points worth the upgrade?
Since you cannot sell the Club Interval Gold points membership when you sell your timeshare, you need to consider the cost of the upgrade as a sunk cost. You cannot recoup this value when you sell.
- Think about how many years you anticipate using your timeshare, and divide the upgrade cost by that number of years. It will cost you that much per year to get the extra flexibility of using Interval points.
Is it worth that much more per year? This will depend on your situation.How much is greater flexibility worth to you?
- If you normally vacation a week at a time, and you have been happy with the timeshare exchanges that you have gotten through Interval International, then it is probably not worth the cost for you to get into the points program.
- On the other hand, if you think you would make a lot of use of short stay vacations, or want to use one high-value timeshare week to get several smaller or off-season vacations, then this could make sense for you.
- One other advantage to enrolling your timeshare week in Club Interval Points is that you can tell exactly how much it's worth, compared to what you want in exchange. As mentioned in a recent post RCI vs. Interval - Filtering and transparency, that's not so easy otherwise. Personally, I wouldn't pay extra just for this, but you could view it as a side benefit.