If you're a member of Interval International, you've surely seen promotions for their Gold and Platinum membership upgrades. They have a list of nice, shiny benefits that you can only get with these higher level memberships, but of course there's also a cost.
The question is -- are these upgraded memberships worth it? Here's my take on it...Interval Gold membership - Is it worth it?
Interval Gold and Platinum - What's the cost?
- Gold = $64
- Platinum = $139
These costs are on top of your normal $89 membership fee. That means for a year, you'd be paying a total of $153 (gold) or $228 (platinum).
There are discounted rates available for multi-year upgrades, but I think it makes sense to try it out for a year first, before laying out more money for a 3 or 5 year upgrade.
Now let's see the benefits!
Core Monetary Benefits
These are the things that can actually save you money. Perhaps they can make the membership upgrade pay for itself? It all depends on how you travel, so here's the scoop...
1. Getaway Discounts (Gold & Platinum levels)
This is one benefit that can easily make an upgrade worthwhile -- IF you purchase Interval's Getaway vacations.
- Gold: $25 off Getaways. If you book 3 Getaways in a year, it will cover your $64 membership upgrade and leave you $11 ahead.
- Platinum: $50 off Getaways. If you book 3 Getaways in a year, it will cover your $139 membership upgrade and leave you $11 ahead.
2. Hotel savings (Gold & Platinum levels)
If you make your hotel reservations through the Hotels page on Interval's website, then you can save money.
- Gold: Get 5% off hotel bookings
- Platinum: Get 10% off hotel bookings
How it works
Interval International works with Orbitz to handle hotel bookings on their site. Any Interval member can book hotels this way, and Gold & Platinum members get a rebate on the cost of their hotels.
You must book through the Hotels section on IntervalWorld.com. You pay the normal price, then get your rebate automatically within 10 days after checking out of the hotel.
How do the prices on Interval compare to other hotel booking sites? I did a quick spot check for 5 hotels in Denver for the same dates.
- 3 hotels had same price on Interval and Hotels.com
- 1 hotel was cheaper on Interval
- 1 hotel was cheaper on Hotels.com
So the Interval rates are competitive, and you can probably save money with their discounts. However, it's still a good idea to comparison shop, since you might be able to get a better rate elsewhere, even counting the discount.Get money back on hotel bookings around the world
3. Free Guest Certificates (Platinum only)
Platinum members can give either exchange vacations or Getaways to somebody else, without paying the normal fee for a guest certificate (currently $59).
Vacation flexibility benefits
These benefits aren't going to give you cash in your pocket, but they may enable you to take vacations that you wouldn't get otherwise. You'll need to decide what that's worth to you.
4. ShortStay Exchanges (Gold & Platinum)
Gold and Platinum members can book ShortStay Exchanges, which let you trade one timeshare week for two separate vacations, each of which could be 1 to 6 nights. Of course, if you own Interval points, you can just book short stays with your points.
For owners of timeshare weeks, this has the potential to be a nice benefit, if you don't always want to travel a week at a time. There are a couple of caveats here, though...
- Availability for short stays is pretty limited. You can't really count on them having what you want, but on the other hand, if you want what they have this can be nice.
- You'll pay more in fees. (E.g. booking a 1-week exchange online has a $179 fee, while booking 2 x 4-night stays would cost you $149 each, or $298 total. Of course, you get two trips out of that!)
5. Interval Options & Interval Experiences (Gold & Platinum)
Interval Options lets you exchange your timeshare for a cruise, golf, or spa vacation. Interval Experiences adds a selection of unique adventures you can also book using your timeshare.
For instance, here's one that just caught my eye:
- 3-night stay at a fancy igloo in Finland (complete with fireplace, sauna, and glass roof to watch the northern lights), along with a private Reindeer Safari. Now that sounds super cool to me! 🙂
Here's how it works
- You can request cruise exchanges online, but to book anything else you need to call in and speak with a representative.
- Exchange requests are handled as a "Request first", which means that you don't have to give Interval your timeshare until after they find something for you. However, you do need to pay an exchange fee at the time the request is created.
- When they find a product that fits what you're looking for, they will confirm your exchange. At this time, you give your timeshare to Interval, and pay whatever "supplemental fee" is required.
- What's this supplemental fee? Here's what Interval has to say about it:
"Unlike exchanging for resort accommodations through Interval’s exchange program, Interval Options exchanges require additional fees because tour, golf and spa vacations are typically customized packages. Payment of the Interval Options transaction fee is required, as is a supplemental fee that varies based on many factors, including the Interval Options vacation selected, the itinerary, travel dates, the accommodations selected, and the Home Resort unit relinquished."
6. Platinum Escapes (Platinum only)
These are super-discounted vacation weeks that are available only for Platinum members. These limited time offers are published a few times per year, and include vacations as low as $49 per week. The downside is that there's not a lot of inventory available for these deals.
7. Priority Getaway Viewing (Platinum only)
Platinum members get early access to Getaways, before they're made available to other members.
There are also a whole range of other side benefits - little perks that some people may enjoy, while many owners will get no value from them.Just drive your rental car right up by the pool
8. Hertz Gold Plus rewards (Gold & Platinum)
You can enroll in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards for free on the Hertz website, so the special offer here is that going through this II program gets you bonus points. You get 550 Hertz points after your first "qualifying rental" and 550 after your 2nd, which could get you 2 free weekend rental days.
So, I did a little check on prices for a 3-day car rental in Denver. Right now, for my selected dates, I could get an Economy car from Hertz for $216. I could also get a full size SUV from Fox Rent a Car for $97, or a Mustang Convertible from Avis for $103.
9. Dining Connection and Golf Connection (Gold & Platinum)
- Dining Connection gives you special perks like kitchen tours, free appetizers, or a table visit from the chef, when you reserve at one of their partner restaurants. They cover about 170 restaurants.
- Golf Connection gives you access to about 900 private courses in North America. You can also search for tee times online, and get a 15% discount on golf equipment that you buy through them.
10. City guides & VIP Concierge (Gold & Platinum)
- City Guides help you find out the best shopping, coolest sights, latest hot restaurants, and nightlife locations, for an assortment of popular destinations. They also provide travel tips and advice.
- VIP Concierge helps you with all sorts of things - you can get their assistance with travel planning, gift ideas, restaurant reservations, and more.
11. Assorted other discounts (Gold & Platinum)
- Cruise discounts. You can get up to $100 cash back on a cruise booked through Interval. Sadly, you need to book a $4,000+ cruise to get that amount. Cruises up to $1,999 will only get you $25.
- Miscellaneous discounts. There are lots of discounts available for shops and restaurants in different locations. This looks like the standard Entertainment coupon books I used to get, which are now available as a mobile app too. There are discount coupons or 2-for-1 offers.
12. Airport Lounge Membership (Platinum only)
This gets you a free standard membership in Priority Pass, which lets you access more than 800 airline lounges in over 400 different cities.
The membership is free, but the lounge visits aren't. You'll need to pay a $27 fee per person for each visit.
Do you have a Gold or Platinum membership with Interval? Which of the benefits do you get the most use from, and do you think the membership upgrade is a good value for you? Please share your insights in the Reply section below.