RCI Platinum Membership - Is It Worth It? | TImeshare Tips

RCI Platinum Membership - Is It Worth It?

If you're a timeshare owner who's part of RCI (the largest exchange company), then you've undoubtedly seen promotions from them pushing the Platinum membership upgrades. RCI gives you a long list of benefits you can get, but most people will never use most of them.

Unless the prestige of having a Platinum logo beside your name is enough to sway you, you're probably wondering "Is it worth it?" We've been platinum for a couple of years now, and here's my evaluation.

Platinum and diamond ring Is it worth it to go Platinum?

RCI Platinum costs and benefits

The cost of upgrading to RCI Platinum membership depends on how long you sign up for. Note that these costs are ON TOP OF your normal RCI membership.

  • 1 year = $55
  • 2 years = $100 ($50/year)
  • 3 years = $140 ($47/year)
  • 4 years = $180 ($45/year)
  • 5 years = $215 ($43/year)

NOTE: You can upgrade to Platinum any time, which means that the schedule for your RCI membership does not have to align with your Platinum membership. For instance, your RCI membership may be annual starting on March 1, while your Platinum membership starts Sept 1. But don't worry - you'll get plenty of renewal reminders from RCI. 🙂

Here's an overview of the benefits RCI offers with their Platinum membership, ordered in my own subjective ranking. Each is covered more below.

  1. Platinum rebates - Get money back on specific types of RCI transactions.
  2. Restaurant discounts - Each month, you can get a $25 coupon for dining discounts.
  3. Priority access - You get special access to higher-demand properties.
  4. Unit upgrades - Complimentary upgrades when available.
  5. Lifestyle benefits & Travel rewards - Buy products online and earn travel reward points.
  6. Experiential vacations - Access various land-based trips like tours and safaris.

Now let's look at the real value of these in detail.

1. RCI Platinum rebates

Platinum lets you save money on the following transactions:

  • Book an Extra Vacation - $25 rebate
  • Combine multiple deposits - $25 rebate
  • Get a Guest Certificate - $20 rebate
  • Cruise exchanges - $25 off per cabin

You don't get a cash rebate, but you get a credit to your account that can be applied against other transactions like exchange fees (or Platinum membership renewals)! 😉

How much is this worth to you? It depends on how you use your RCI account. For us, this single category easily pays for the Platinum membership, as we typically do several Extra Vacation and Combination transactions each year.

2. Restaurant discounts

Dining al fresco in Italy Good food is one of the joys of travel

Each month, you're eligible for a $25 dining coupon from Restaurants.com.

Here's how it works. You need to log into your RCI Platinum membership area each month, then you get a $25 credit that you can use on coupons from Restaurants.com. The coupons don't need to be used in that month, but you do need to log on and get them that month, or you lose that month's credit.

You pick the specific restaurant you want (from a sizable list), then print out the certificate to take to the restaurant. There are always certain conditions - something like "Get $25 off with a minimum purchase of $50, not including alcohol".

How much is this worth to you? Theoretically, it could save you $25/month for 12 months = $300/year. In reality, it all depends.

  • Are you organized and disciplined enough to get online every month and get them? If not, you could find month after month going unclaimed.
  • Are there restaurants on the list where you live / travel? Most timeshare owners will find options nearby, but if you live and vacation in remote areas, there might not be much for you.
  • Do you dine out enough to save money with these, or would you end up spending more on restaurants than normal just to fulfill the conditions for the discounts?

3. Priority access

Some special properties are made available to Platinum members early, before they're released to the rest of the RCI members. These are typically higher end properties, or premium timeshare destinations.

Priority luggage tag RCI Platinum offers priority access - is it worth it?

This sounds great, but I've found pretty slim pickings here. A quick search right now as I'm writing this yields 9 Platinum Priority selections: 3 Hyatt hotels (with very limited dates), and 6 beach resorts in Florida. I've never actually booked anything via this Platinum Priority list, but perhaps your luck will be better than mine.

Platinum also gives you priority access to some RCI sales. A recent sale gave Platinum members one day advance access to the sale inventory (see RCI $199 Deals and Platinum Advantage).

If you're able to make use of sale vacations (generally off-season travel), then this could be a nice perk. It gives you the cream of the sale crop, but of course the "sale crop" is really the leftovers after everything else is booked. Don't expect to find a cheap Maui week here, even with that platinum priority!

4. Unit upgrades

You can receive a free unit size upgrade whenever one is available. Just check the little box to say you'd like an upgrade if possible. It's simple as pie.

The problem is that out of all our RCI vacations, we've never gotten an upgrade - they always say nothing is available. I've heard tales of people who have gotten upgrades, so perhaps you'll be luckier than us.

5. Lifestyle benefits & Travel rewards

WOW! I just ran the Platinum Savings Calculator on the RCI website, and it tells me that this category will save me $3,840 per year!!

Let's just say you need to take this with a whole shaker of salt.

This is basically an online shopping site that gives you reward points you can use for booking travel through RCI. You can buy wine, chocolate, electronics, spa treatments, theater tickets, golf packages and more. In return, you earn travel reward points you can use when booking your travel plans on RCI.

So is it really worth $3,840?

Here's a simple example from their calculator. One question asks "How many bottles of wine per year does your family enjoy?" If I put in a nice round number of 100 (about 2 bottles a week), it tells me that this option will save me $1,200/year.

Of course, I'd have to be spending a lot on wine in order to get back that $12/bottle in travel rewards. Personally, I'd rather just watch for deals locally and save my money up front, rather than pay higher prices and then get a rebate.

Shelves of wine bottles You've got to buy a lot of wine to save that $1200

6. Experiential vacations

Now don't get me wrong - I'm all in favor of experiential vacations. In fact, I used to run a tour company that took people ballooning in Napa Valley, watching rainforest wildlife in Costa Rica, and sailing in the Greek Islands (among many other things). Experiential vacations are awesome!

But as far as Platinum benefits go, I don't see the value in this one. In fact, I don't even see how I could use it, since whenever I click on the link to "see the list of stunning destinations", it just gives an error. 🙁

So is RCI Platinum worth the cost?

RCI has given us many cool vacations over the years, and this platinum membership makes a lot of sense for us. Here's how it adds up for us.

  1. Platinum rebates - 4 Extra Vacations & Combinations = $100
  2. Restaurant discounts - 8 months @ $25 = $200
  3. Priority access - $0
  4. Unit upgrades - $0
  5. Lifestyle benefits & Travel rewards - $0
  6. Experiential vacations - $0
  7. Total value received = $300

Your results will vary, and hopefully the info above will help you figure it out for your own situation.

NOTE: RCI changed some of the rules after this blog post was published, and they reserve the right to do so again at any time. For an update, see RCI Platinum - Still worth it in 2014?

Comments? Questions?

Do you have the RCI Platinum membership? Do you find that your usage makes it worthwhile? I'd love to hear how it's working for you - drop a note in the comments below.

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We love our timeshares, and are always looking for ways to make the most of them. I write about timeshare tips like this to help you get the most value from yours, too. If you're thinking about buying a timeshare, check out this timeshare book 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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PHOTO CREDITS:  Ring - Rose Robinson, Restaurant - Richard Whitaker, Priority - Robert S. Donovan, Wine - Jacopo AKA Bracco

32 Comments

  1. suzette greep

    For the last 12 days I have tried to redeem my restaurant certificates but am told there is an error and rci is looking into it.....Please resolve

    • Hi Suzette - How frustrating! I wish I could help you, but I do not work for RCI, and there's nothing I can do. I hope they have their problem fixed for you soon - 12 days is a long time to be out of service.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...RCI Platinum - Still worth it in 2014?

  2. george

    Just purchased Marriott timeshare a few days ago. Lots of angry owners out there. I have six days to cancel
    sounds like I should. We already have 500 RCI weeks through ownership in Mexico. Do you think I should back out of Marriott?

    • Hi George -
      Thanks for your message! I can't really say whether a Marriott timeshare is right for you or not. However, what I can say is that I don't think it's good to purchase something in the high-pressure timeshare sales presentation. The problem is that they put on the pressure, and try to make you come to a rush decision without giving you time for careful fact finding and deliberation.
      My recommendation would be to cancel your current purchase while you can. Then you have all the time you want to research what you would want (if anything) to get as another timeshare. Do the research first, think it over so you're sure what you want, and then make a purchase if you decide to. IMHO that's a safer way to get a timeshare than letting somebody pressure and rush you into something. At that point, you may decide you want Marriott, something else, or nothing else. Whatever your choice, you can proceed with more confidence, knowing that you've already done the research and know exactly what you want.
      Hope that helps! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Lawsuit leaves timeshare owners big losers

  3. I would like to know if having platinum plus is worth it. ? And if so why?

    • Hi Diane -
      There's no simple answer to that question, because it depends on how you use your RCI membership. For us, it is worthwhile, especially because of the rebates on Extra Vacations and combining deposits. You could make more or less use than we do of these and other Platinum features, which will change the value for you. That's why I tried to outline all the benefits in this post - so you can figure it out for your own situation.
      Hope that helps! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Do timeshare owners get ripped off on cruises?

      • brenda

        I have had the Platinum membership for 3 years now and never ever received anything goof from it. They now want me to renew, sounds like I should forget about it. I live in Canada and none of the benefits seem to be worth it for us..

        • Hi Brenda -
          Thanks for sharing your experience with it. Sounds like pulling the plug on it is the right decision for you. Did you pay for 3 years up front? It seems to me that there's definitely an issue with the multi-year memberships. You can pay for Platinum for 3 years, but what you get for that keeps changing year by year. What you think you're buying isn't the same thing you end up with...
          Thanks for stopping by! - Deanna.
          Deanna Keahey recently posted...How RCI Trading Power Protection works

  4. If you want to buy a timeshare go to the secondary market on Ebay. You may find a Marriott property for a few cents on the dollar. So many timeshare owners are tired of paying yearly fees that increase every year that they are trying to sell and timeshares are difficult to get out of ownership. I purchased a Shereton propery for $i.00 plus the current year maintenance fee. The delux unit I purchased is currently selling for $12,000.. The only disadvantage is you do not get the Starpoint trade. You have to trade through one of the exchange Companies like RCI, Platinum and II.' happy shopping.

  5. D Ohanian

    When RCI says you can receive a larger unit, if its available - what exactly does that mean? Available to RCI or available to the resort? I have been to many time share locations where no one is there, yet the RCI availability is 0. Owners rent them for cash, the resort itself has units, developer kept his own, etc. If the unit is not in the RCI pool, is it given to me?

    I used to think RCI owned every unit in every resort. Id love to find out the actual %. Very little is available to use in Cape cod & FL keys & Tybee island, GA - for example.

    Another problem - I travel w 3 adult kids plus their girlfriends. I own a 3 bedroom bought on ebay for $1000. I have never found a 3 bedroom to trade available on ocean anywhere from Maine to FL. I barely find 2 bedroom units.
    RCI also has an issue calling pull out couches beds. Just came back from Grandview in Vegas where couch mattress was 2.5" thick. You fell into the holes in metal frame.

    Will platinum membership help any of these issues?

    • Hi D -
      Thanks for your comment! RCI can only give you units that are in RCI's pool, not anything at the resort For instance, one resort where we own is dual-affiliated with RCI and II. Obviously RCI couldn't hand out inventory that had been deposited with II. Same for inventory that was being rented out by owners, etc.

      As far as what percentage of inventory is held in RCI, that would vary from place to place, and even season to season. E.g. when peak season is more profitable for owners to rent directly, they are less likely to give that to RCI.

      3-bedrooms aren't as common as other unit sizes, which is probably part of your problem with finding one. You'd have better odds if you look for a 2-BR + 1-BR. And as for the mattresses, all I can suggest is that you read the reviews (both on RCI and TripAdvisor), to see if other people have reported on the quality.

      Will Platinum help? It should make it possible for you to trade up in unit size when something is available, but I haven't had any success getting such an upgrade. Your mileage may vary.
      Good luck with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Should I cancel my timeshare purchase?

  6. Melissa

    I'm looking into getting a timeshare off the eBay marketplace.

    I'm new to timeshares and not sure what questions to ask.

    I was looking at 2-3 bedrooms (I have a family of 7). I wanted a smaller resort in the orlando area as big is non-appealing. I looked into RCI to try and understand it but don't fully get the point system. If I buy a fixed week am I stuck using it just then? Or is it flexible with RCI points? Points vs week? Lock off (lockout?) or not?

    We just stayed at Orange Lake Resort Orlando and liked it somewhat and are contemplating purchasing elsewhere (smaller) for future vacations.

    Ty

    • Hi Melissa -
      Thanks for your message! I think you're on the right track, looking for a timeshare on eBay. You've got a good start, knowing that you want a smaller resort in the Orlando unit, with a larger 2-3 BR unit. Beyond that, I know it can be confusing, since there is much to consider!

      If you go with a timeshare week, you are not locked into that specific week (whether fixed or floating). You can exchange timeshare weeks on RCI, to stay in different places, and it's quite a flexible system. RCI points lets you stay in a variety of places too. Some places work better in weeks, others work better in points. (See link below about upgrading a week to RCI points for more on that.)

      As for lock-offs, I think they're wonderful. They give you a great deal of flexibility, and can also translate into considerably more trading power in RCI than an equivalent non-lockoff. Before you buy, you can also check out my free Consumer Awareness Guide to buying a timeshare - there are a bunch of other tips in there.
      Good luck with it!
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Should I upgrade my week to RCI points?

  7. Debbie

    Does anyone have the current (December 2015) RCI Platinum Membership where you earn RCI Savings Dollars? If you can log into the "Platinum Store", will you tell me how many Savings Dollars can be applied towards a Fandango gift certificate?

    The RCI documentation states "Savings Dollars may be redeemed as a form of partial payment in a fixed amount at time of checkout on the net amount of products, travel and services purchased through the Platinum Store, including merchandise, vacation packages, hotels, Restaurant.com certificates, Spa Finder certificates and Fandango certificates."

    I tried calling RCI: talked to 5 different agents/departments; on hold over one hour, no answers other than "Sorry, that's not my department". No one has access to tell me exactly WHAT and HOW MANY Savings Dollars are applied to different products or services. It's like an insurance agent tries to sell you a life insurance policy - BUT he won't tell you how much life insurance you're buying - until AFTER you've paid the premium! I can't find out how many savings dollars can be redeemed for any specific item until AFTER I've purchased a Platinum Membership!

    Of course, that's probably their strategy. Tell you how much you'll save and benefit from purchasing a Platinum Membership, but not give you a single "real" example. Therefore, you can't really determine if you'd save any money at all. (i.e. If you bought an Apple iPad mini through the Platinum Store for $400, you could redeem $44 Savings Dollars on your purchase, making it $356. However, if I could buy the same item somewhere else for $268 - it costs me MORE to purchase through the Platinum Store, even with the Savings Dollars discount, than I could just purchase the item somewhere else!)

    Since RCI prevents us from having access to see prices in the Platinum Store until AFTER you have purchased a Platinum Membership, I'm sure it's because if people saw the prices, they decide it wasn't worth a penny.

    • Hi Debbie -
      How frustrating! It's pretty amazing that after talking with 5 different departments, you STILL couldn't get any answers! I haven't looked into the Platinum Store yet, but will see what I can find out. I have a sinking suspicion that you're probably right in your iPad scenario, and that this "benefit" won't really be much benefit at all.
      Thanks for your comment! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Duped timeshare buyers score a victory

  8. Liz Blair

    Just got hood winked into trading my Wyndham vacation deeded property for the Choice Rewards Platinum the GI Getaways and transfer outlet. Just wondering if we have made the right decision. We have 5 days to resend the contract and I am seriously considering doing this. We do not like having deeded property at Wyndham but we do get nice vacations in very nice properties. However we are also fearful that we could get a special assessment for our properties that we would have to pay. Have you heard of this company and are they reputable and can we vacation the way they have promised us. they stated that with the points we acquired with them we can take 3 to 4 vacations a year compared to 1 per year with Wyndham. Any information and advice would be greatly appreciated.
    worried timeshare owner.

    • Hi Liz -
      I don't have any personal knowledge about the Choice Rewards Platinum club, however I am kind of concerned that their website doesn't provide any information at all unless I already have a login. Most companies want to sing their praises on their websites, to encourage new customers. Why doesn't this site provide anything?

      Anyway, although I don't know about this company, and it could be fantastic, I would recommend rescinding your deal if you still have time, based on the following:

      - I'd always be skeptical of sales people's claims, like saying you can get 4 vacations instead of 1. Perhaps it's true, but if so, they're probably talking about 4 off-season, small-unit vacations instead of one prime vacation on your other plan. Take all such claims with a grain of salt, unless they can show you specific details.

      - No matter what you own, you may end up paying special assessments. They just aren't always called the same thing. With points, the cost is spread between all of the owners, and rolled into your normal fees. The company is going to pass those costs on to the owners, no matter what.

      - When you want to sell your timeshare, owning a deeded timeshare with a well-known company should make it easier to sell than having points with a relatively little-known company. This could be difficult to sell later on.

      Hope that helps! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Florida bill aims to weaken timeshare protections

  9. Michael Welch

    Enjoyed finding some of the ups and downs of some articles.
    Getting a straight answer is sometimes hard but at least you try and the facts given are helpful

    • Hi Michael -
      Thanks for your comment! It's not a simple answer, because it really depends on everybody's unique situation and how they use their timeshare. I'm hoping the info I provide can help people understand how it would or wouldn't benefit them.
      Thanks for stopping by! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...How much is my timeshare worth?

  10. mario

    How are the exchange rates....are they worth exchanging into or is it not worth it? I have a two bdrm at a westgate property .

    • Hi Mario -
      The RCI fee to exchange a week online is now up to $219. That seems pretty steep to me for an exchange fee, but it can certainly be worth it if it gets you the vacation you want.
      Happy travels! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Should I upgrade my week to RCI points?

  11. Dave

    Can you become a member of Rxi platinum if you work for a company that sales it and do you have to own a timeshare to have Rci

    • Hi Dave -
      You need to own an RCI-affiliated timeshare to become an RCI member, or get RCI platinum. However, if you then sell the timeshare, you can still keep the RCI membership as long as you keep paying the membership fees.
      Hope that helps! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...How RCI Trading Power Protection works

  12. Kay Wacek

    what do you know about Allied Solution Group in Springfield, MO. They offer a "walk away" plan if we transfer our Bluegreen points to RCI. They are an exchange company, so do they have any say in what RCI does?

    • Hi Kay -
      Thanks for your question! First of all, let me say that I have no experience with this company, but here are my 2 cents on it.
      - Did they cold call you? That is ALWAYS a red flag.
      - They charge an up-front fee for their services. That's another big red flag.
      - They say they get people out of their timeshare obligations, but it's not a straightforward sale, like you'd get going through a timeshare broker. They use the term "redemption" -- what exactly does that mean?
      - What does transferring your points to RCI have to do with it? RCI isn't going to buy your timeshare. I'm confused by this "walk away" plan already.

      So... like I said, I don't know about this company for sure, but for me the red flags are up. I'd advise you that before you give them a dime, you examine all the contracts in detail and make sure you know exactly what you're paying for. Or else sell your timeshare through a reputable broker like TimeSharesToGo.com. I'm not affiliated with that company in any way, but would trust them to do business with.
      Good luck with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Is donating your timeshare a scam?

  13. Matt

    My fiance and I just purchased an RCI Platimum Membership that gives us 43,000 annual RCI points. They offered as a bonus 2 FREE (no cost/no points needed) week stays anywhere, anytime. Is that too good to be true? ALso they claim that we will receive $1,500USD in restaurant dollars. Do you know anything about that? My concern is that the price we pay in annual dues, plus the price for the week stay, albeit reasonable, is not worth it once we factor in air fare, etc. The last minute resort bookings are only using 3,000-9,000 points per weekm but my fear is there will be no or limited availability. What do you think.

    • Hi Matt -
      You guessed it - if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is! You can't really get bonus weeks "anywhere, anytime". There will be limited availability. Whether that includes vacations that you really want or not, I can't say. Restaurant dollars will be coupons good for various deals, such as $10 off, or two-for-one offers, at specific locations. As for last-minute bookings, they can be a good deal, IF you can make use of them. If you can travel off season, you'll find a lot more options than if you're trying to get prime vacation times. And if there are last-minute places you can drive to, that's more cost-effective than having to pay for last-minute airfare.
      Is it a good deal overall? I don't know how much you paid, but RCI points memberships are frequently available for pretty cheap prices on the resale market.
      Good luck with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Interval Gold and Platinum - Are they worth it?

  14. bobbi

    You're a very neutral person Deanna, no yea or ney that seems to be frustrating as this isn't really answering the questions people are asking...

    • Hi Bobbi -
      Sorry you feel that way! I did share my own conclusion that it is worth it for us, but everybody's answer is going to be different, depending on how they use RCI features. There's no one answer I can give that is going to be right for everyone.
      Happy trails, - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...RCI Platinum - 2016 Evolution and what's next?

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