How to Get Bonus Timeshare Weeks on Interval International

How to Get Bonus Timeshare Weeks on II

If you are a member of II (timeshare exchange company Interval International), you may have seen something about getting a Bonus Week. In addition to exchanging your timeshare like normal, this lets you use a bonus certificate to book another week for little more than a service charge. An extra week of vacation nearly free? Pretty cool! 🙂

As you might guess, there are some complications and limitations you need to know about. Here's the scoop...

Get a bonus week from II A bonus week from II can give you an inexpensive extra vacation

What exactly is a bonus week?

Bonus Weeks are special giveaways from Interval International that give you an an extra week of vacation in addition to any timeshare exchanges you do through II.

When you qualify for the bonus, you get a Bonus Certificate (also called an Accommodation Certificate or AC for short) that you use to book the extra week.



How do you get a bonus week?

  • First of all you'll need to be a timeshare owner.
  • Secondly, you need to be a member of II. This means your imeshare must be affiliated with Interval International, and you need to purchase a membership in II. (Depending on what you own, this may be included with your timeshare, or you may need to sign up separately.)
  • With these basic requirements covered, watch for a promotion. II typically offers bonus weeks as part of a special deal. In the past, Interval has given bonuses for the following:
  • To encourage you to deposit your timeshare week early.
  • To reward you for depositing an in-demand week.
  • For booking a Getaway during a special promotion.
  • For extending your II membership.
  • For being a valued member. (I'm not sure what the criteria is on this one!) 🙂

What's the catch?

Well, the catch is that there are a lot of limitations on when and where you can use your bonus week. The specific restrictions vary on different bonus offers, but here are some that you can expect to see.

  • Use by date. Each bonus certificate (aka accommodation certificate) will need to be used by a certain date. You might have up to a year to use it, or only a few months.
  • Last minute planning. Many bonus certificates restrict you to booking fairly short notice vacations. For instance, some recent AC's have been limited to use within 59 days of the check-in date. This means that high-demand destinations and time slots will have already been snapped up - the bonus week is eligible for what's left over.
  • Black out dates. Don't expect to use a bonus over Christmas week or at other holiday times. These will probably be listed on the terms of your accommodation certificate as unavailable black out dates.
  • Resort exclusions. Certain resorts will probably be excluded from participating in the bonus week. If you want to stay at the Four Seasons, don't expect to get this with an AC.
  • Grid restrictions. Many (but not all) II bonus certificates are restricted to a certain "grid". This is a table that shows which destinations you can book during which months of the year. There are many locations to choose from, but the most popular places and times are excluded.

    For instance, the grid could show Orlando as available most months of the year, though not during July and August. On the other hand, you won't find Hawaii on the grid, ever. That means that even if there happened to be a last-minute Hawaii unit available in II, you couldn't get it with your AC.

You'll need to verify the fine print details for a particular bonus offer in order to know which restrictions apply to it.

Sample grid for bonus restrictions Some II bonus weeks are restricted with a grid similar to this

How much does a bonus week cost?

Just like the restrictions listed above, the cost of using an II bonus certificate varies with the specific deal. There are a couple of different pricing plans that you may see.

  • Tiered pricing. With these accommodation certificates, you pay a different price based on the size unit you want to book. A studio costs less than a 1-bedroom, which costs less than a 2-bedroom. In some cases, you might find that it costs $299 to book the week you want.
  • Exchange pricing. With these AC's, you pay the II exchange fee to make your booking, regardless of the size unit you get. At the current price, this would end up costing you $184, whether you get a studio or a 2BR.

It's hard to know...

It's hard to know exactly what you can get when you see an offer of a bonus week. What you see on the website or on a mailer from Interval promoting the deal is usually very vague, and doesn't explain the costs or restrictions.

If you want to know the details before making a decision with an attached bonus (such as depositing a week or extending your membership), you can call II and speak with a representative to find out more.

On the other hand, if you're going to make the deposit or extend your membership anyway, then this can be a nice extra, no matter which set of prices and restrictions you end up with.

Tips for maximizing your AC vacation success

  • Know your options before deciding. If II offers you a bonus certificate for depositing your week, this may not always be your best deal. For instance, we got a bonus offer that was good for depositing a 2-bedroom lock-off we own. On the other hand, if we split the lock-off and deposited it as 2 separate units, we would lose the bonus but get 2 separate deposits and exchanges. The second approach worked better for us.
  • Learn the rules for your offer. Since rules on accommodation certificates can vary so much, you need to find out the specifics for the one you receive. Note the expiration date on your calendar, so you make sure to use your bonus before you lose it. If there's a grid restriction, check it out and see which options might work for you.
  • Plan for off-season or shoulder season. If your travel schedule is limited to summers and school vacations, you are unlikely to find much available. If your AC is grid restricted, your options are even fewer. The last grid I saw, the only US destination available during July and August was Phoenix, where it could be 115 degrees at that time.
    .
    On the other hand, for travel in November, there were a lot more options. While Cape Cod may be cold and blustery that late in the year, the weather is often very pleasant in Phoenix, Palm Springs, or Orlando (a few of the places that were available on the grid).
  • Can you travel on short notice? Some accommodation certificates let you book months in the future, but others could be restricted to booking less than 59 days before check-in, or even 45 days. If you can travel on fairly short notice, your chances of making use of these are substantially higher.
  • Driving distance makes long weekends worthwhile. If you get a short-notice bonus week at a place in easy driving distance from your home, then this can make for a very inexpensive vacation. If you pay under $300 for a week in a timeshare, with low-cost transportation to get there, then it may be worthwhile to book it even if you only spend a few nights there instead of the whole week.
  • Flying distance may yield cool options. Short notice airfare can raise the cost of transportation, and lots of people know that. That means that you can sometimes find AC opportunities at destinations everyone would need to fly to, like St. Maarten or the Bahamas. You may be able to score a great bonus week in a fun place, which would offset the higher cost of airfare.
  • Check other prices first. Let's say you find that you could book a 2BR unit in Orlando with your bonus certificate for $299. Check the prices for the same thing as an Interval Getaway. Sometimes locations with lots of timeshares (like Orlando) have Getaway prices that might be cheaper than the fee to use the AC. If you're also a member of RCI, do a comparison of RCI and II costs, too - sometimes there's a significant difference.
  • If you work the system and play the game, and you've got some flexibility with your travel schedule, then getting a bonus week from Interval International can be a nice little perk that yields a cheap extra vacation. It doesn't work every time for everyone, but when it does, it's pretty sweet! 🙂

    Comments? Questions?

    Guide to Buying a TimeshareHave you gotten any bonus certificates from Interval International? Have you been able to put them to good use, or not? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Timeshares can provide wonderful vacations for reasonable costs, as long as you buy smart and learn how to use them to best advantage. We provide tips like this to help you get the most value from a timeshare. If you're thinking about buying a timeshare, check out our timeshare buyer's guide first. It could save you a lot of money!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    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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25 Comments

  1. RITA RYAN

    I AM TRYING TO GET A BONUS WEEK FOR 219$-HAVE COME ON LINE BUT DON'T KNOW HOW TO GET IT-WE WANT LAKE TAHOE IN SEPT

    • Hi Rita - Thanks for your comment. Did you receive a notice from II that you got a bonus week? If so, you go through an Exchange to use it. If you didn't get a notice from II that they gave you a bonus week, you can go into Getaways, and see what they have for Tahoe. You can usually find good prices for September there, so good luck with it!
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...All About Interval International Points

      • Why does my accommodations certificate say i owe 284...i thought the price was lower than that

        • Hi Dawn -
          Different bonus week offers have different pricing structures. Sometimes it's a flat fee, and other times it depend son what size unit you get. There's no standard price for all bonus weeks -- it just depends.
          Hope that helps! - Deanna.
          Deanna Keahey recently posted...Are timeshares still about timeshares?

  2. I want to use my bonus week - Certificate 139576775. Please tell me how I find the locations available & where I find information on the internet?

    • Hi Nancy - Thanks for your comment! To use your bonus week, log onto your II account, and go into Exchanges. When you click on My Units, you should see your bonus week listed. Select that for your unit, and then you can see where you can use it. Best of luck with it! (-:
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...RCI Platinum - Still worth it in 2014?

  3. Hi
    I have just brought my maint. current on two weeks. I am going to renew my membership and deposit both
    weeks. Will i receive a bonus week for each week deposited?
    Thanks

    • Hi Mike -
      Thanks for your comment!
      Did you receive anything in the mail from Interval saying you'd get a bonus week for depositing your timeshares? Another thing to check is to go into Interval - Exchanges - My Units. Sometimes you'll see a notice next to one of your units that if you deposit it by a certain date you can get a bonus week. If you have either of these things, it should be a safe bet that you'll get your bonus weeks.
      If you don't have either of these, then it's possible you may not get a bonus week - I can't say for sure.
      Best of luck with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...RCI vs. Interval - Filtering and transparency

  4. Roger Duke

    I have several bonus weeks that will soon expire. I wonder if I can give them as gifts , paying the exchange fee and guest fee?

    • Hi Roger -
      That is an excellent plan! You make use of bonus weeks that would otherwise expire, and get to give a fabulous gift, as well. You just book the vacation yourself, picking a place and date that works for your recipient. Then get a guest certificate in their name, and they can use the vacation. I'm sure they will be happy to get a gift like that!
      - Deanna
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Should I cancel my timeshare purchase?

  5. hi, i just bought 1 week (1200 points a by yearly) with villa vacation club villa del arco cabo san lucas , they gave me 12 weeks per year of getaways gold member with interval international, how do these getaways work?

    • Hi Nick -
      "Getaways" is Interval's term for timeshare vacations that you simply purchase with a credit card, rather than getting them by exchanging your timeshare. There are a wide variety available, and you can find them on the Interval website. You'll need to check your documentation, though, to find out exactly what you got. I doubt they gave you a dozen weeks of unrestricted getaways, since that could be quite expensive. A lot of getaway weeks cost over $1,000, so that would be huge. Gold members in Interval get a discount on getaways. Maybe they gave you the gold member discount on 12 getaways? I'd say you should dig through everything you got, and look for the details on this deal.
      Wishing you all the best with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Should I cancel my timeshare purchase?

  6. Karen Carnes

    Is upgrading to Platinum really worth it and if I do this how are you able to receive all the benefits, such as the airport lounge, reduced prices on rental cars and travel tickets etc..........

  7. Hi Karen -
    A lot of the benefits you get with II Platinum are hard to quantify, as to whether they're worth the price. For instance, you get a free Priority Pass airport lounge membership, which lets you in, but you still have to pay $27 for each time you use an airport lounge. How much is that worth to you? You get a special deal on Hertz car rentals, which could be good if you use a lot of Hertz rentals, but you could also find that you save more $ overall by going with a lower-priced rental company.

    The part where Platinum is easy to justify (or not) is the $50 discount on each Getaway you purchase, and free guest certificates (normally $59). If you use enough getaways and guest certificates each year, this can cover the cost of the Platinum membership. It all depend son how you use it.
    Good luck with it! - Deanna.
    Deanna Keahey recently posted...What is Flexchange, and how can it help you?

  8. Andy

    Hi, we own with Starwood and included in the purchase was 12 bonus weeks thru II. We were contacted by Resort Property Management and asked if we would be interested in paying them to rent 3 of those bonus weeks. Sounds funny right? There were 2 fee structures, every year and lifetime. Now in his sales pitch we were guaranteed that they would rent for a minimum amount of approximately 3 times the fee we pay them to do this for us. Have you had any dealings with them or similar companies?

    • Hi Andy -
      Thanks for your comment! I don't know about this company specifically, but I have heard of a number of scams out there that follow a similar pattern... The way the scam usually works is that you get a call out of the blue, telling you about a deal that sounds too good to be true, but you have to pay $$ up front. What happens is that you pay your money, and then get nothing in return.

      So, I can't tell you for sure about this specific company. But in general I'd advise that if you get any cold calls asking you to make up front payments for something, be very, very wary. Deals that seem too good to be true usually are.
      Best of luck with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Should I upgrade my week to RCI points?

  9. Diane

    Hi Deanna,
    We just bought a time share with points and wks.
    Not really sure how it works! Ugh! Wanting to book a wk in Manhattan in Dec. If I use the points I have to pay a point fee. If I use one on my wks do I also have to pay a fee?
    Thanks for any advice.
    Diane

    • Hi Diane -
      Thanks for your comment! Unfortunately, there's pretty much no way around fees. )-: If you exchange your week to stay in NYC, you'll still have to pay a fee. About the only time there's no fee is if you want to stay in your own timeshare. If you own a week in NYC and want to stay there, then you can bypass the exchange companies and generally stay in your own week without an additional fee.
      Hope you learn to enjoy your timeshare! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Timeshare owners win this round...

  10. Praneel

    I got a bonus week. Do I have stay or use the entire week. What if I only want 3 days. I don't need the extra days.

    • Hi Praneel -
      You can book a whole week with your bonus, and just not stay there the full time. If you check in on the regular day, then it's easy -- just leave whatever day you want. If you want to arrive on a later date than the normal check-in day, then you'll need to call the resort and make sure they know your plans, and will hold it for you until your arrival. Otherwise when you don't show up on the correct day, they might think you're a no-show and give it to somebody else.
      Have fun! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...How much is my timeshare worth?

  11. went to use a bonus week certificate from II. wanted to book Whistler in oct or nov. certificate was for up to three bedroom unit. it was grid limited and the serch showed limited availability with only studio or hotel room accommodations. When I looked saying I was trading a 1 bedroom unit for the same time period the world opened up in Whisler and I could book 1 2 or 3 bedroom units. Can you tell me whats up. Also the cost to use the bonus week for a studio with a Murphy Bed was 275, I think Im being taken advantage of. Can you tell me whats up

    • Hi Mike -
      Bonus weeks definitely have pretty limited availability. There are usually some resorts that are never available for bonus weeks, so those will only show up in other inventory. As for the rest of the rules about how Interval determines what's available for bonus weeks vs. exchanges, I can't say for sure, but it's definitely true that they're pretty restrictive.

      $275 seems like a lot for a bonus week studio to me. Every bonus week offer has its own pricing arrangement - some are fixed rate, while others vary by unit size. I wouldn't say they're taking advantage of you, since you're under no obligation to use your bonus week, but I would say that may not be the greatest deal. Shop around & see if you could get the same thing cheaper elsewhere.
      Good luck with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Interval Gold and Platinum - Are they worth it?

  12. I am interested in using my Bonus Week for Palm Desert over the Christmas holidays.
    How can I find out if it is available at any of the desert resorts?

    • Hi Barbar -
      Thanks for your message! To see what's available, you need to log into your Interval account, and look for exchanges. Select your bonus week and use that for the search. Palm Desert is sometimes available, but I'm afraid it's very unlikely that you'd find Christmas holidays. The demand for holidays is high, which means they're not available as bonus weeks. Bonus weeks are generally the "leftovers". But it never hurts to take a look and see what you can find. If it doesn't work out for Christmas, maybe you'll see something else that could work for you.
      Good luck with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Interval hits owners with new upgrade fees

  13. There are several Marriott resorts in the desert and any one would be great!

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