When you have to cancel a vacation due to health, work, family or any other reason, it's always a bummer. Vacations are some of the best times in life, and missing out on a trip you've been looking forward to is always hard.
If you also suffer financially as a result of the cancellation, then it's even worse.
When you get a timeshare exchange vacation through RCI, you have the option of getting Trading Power Protection. What does this do, and is it worth the price? Read on to find out...Is RCI Trading Power Protection worthwhile?
What happens in a normal cancellation
- Some trading power is returned. When you book your exchange, you use a certain amount of your trading power for that. If you cancel the exchange, then the trading power of the deposit you used is recalculated as though you're just depositing it now.
- Example calculation. Let's say you deposit your timeshare with RCI more than 9 months in advance. This gives you a deposit with the maximum trading power - say 35 TPUs for this example. You then use this deposit to book an exchange vacation.
If you cancel this exchange 21 days before your trip, the 35 TPUs from your deposit is recalculated, as though you only deposited that timeshare 21 days before its start date. That means you get 60% of the maximum value. 35 TPUs max * 60% = 21 TPUs.
Original deposit = 35 TPUs
Returned after cancellation = 21 TPUs
Lost in the transaction = 14 TPUs.
- Exchange fee is lost. When you cancel the exchange, your exchange fee is lost. Right now, the normal fee is $209.
What does RCI Trading Power Protection do?
- All trading power returned. Instead of getting back the 21 TPUs in our example, you'd get back the full 35 TPUs when you cancel.
- Exchange fee still lost. Your exchange fee is not covered by Trading Power Protection. It's still lost, and when you use that deposit to book another exchange, you'll need to pay another exchange fee.
How much does Trading Power Protection cost?
For normal US members, the current prices are:
- Within 30 days after booking, $59.
- More than 30 days after booking, $99.
- Within 14 days of travel date, $99.
Standard RCI fees for US members are here...Do you need to cancel a vacation?
When can you get Trading Power Protection?
The latest information is that you can purchase Trading Power Protection right up to the date of your vacation, but there is conflicting information listed on the RCI website, so it is possible that this is going to change.
From the RCI website, Why should I protect my vacation?
"You can add Trading Power Protection right up to your date of travel! You'll find it as an option when booking a new Exchange vacation reservation, or if you want to add it to an existing vacation, you'll find it in the "Confirmed Vacations" section of the My Account section on RCI.com."
From the RCI website, What is Trading Power Protection?
The cost of Trading Power Protection is $49 USD/$53 CAD if purchased within 30 days or $89 USD/$97 CAD if purchased 31 days or more after booking the exchange vacation, and it will apply to cancellations made for any reason for exchange vacations. Trading Power Protection cannot be purchased within 14 days of the check-in date.
The latter quote above still has old prices for Trading Power Protection ($49/89 instead of current $59/99), so it appears that this is outdated information. However, it's also possible that they're in the process of changing the policy on this, and haven't gotten things updated consistently yet.
Is Trading Power Protection worth it?
- Usually at cancel date. Since you can add this protection right up to the travel date, it's really a nice failsafe. If you discover 3 days before your trip that you need to cancel, just buy the Trading Power Protection first, then when you cancel, you get back your full TP. Unless the difference in your trading power is negligible, this can easily be worth the $99 fee.
- Perhaps with early purchase. The TP protection is cheaper if you buy it early, but then you may end up paying for protection that you don't need. If you think there's a good chance that you'll need to cancel, this could be worth it, but otherwise I'd usually wait and see if I need it.
- Doing the calculation. Depending on when you deposit your timeshare and when you cancel, the amount of trading power you lose on cancellation will vary. If these two dates are close together, then the amount you would lose could be small, making it not economical to protect that difference. You can use the RCI Deposit Calculator to see what your deposit would be worth on a different date, and see how much you'd be losing when you cancel. Based on that, you can decide about purchasing the protection.
- Too good to be true? It almost seems too good to be true that you can buy the protection just a day before your trip, and then cancel. I can't say for sure how long this policy will continue, but it can be a good deal when you have to cancel unexpectedly.
- So why would they allow this? It seems like this benefits RCI as well as benefiting timeshare owners. By giving you trading power back, you're more likely to book another exchange with it. That means RCI gets your original exchange fee + trading power protection fee + new exchange fee ($209 + $99 + $209 = $517 in fees) Yikes! 🙁
Nevertheless, if your alternative is to lose hundreds of dollars worth of trading power when you cancel, this can be worthwhile for you, too. The original $209 is gone no matter what you do, and at least you can salvage your trading power and plan another vacation with it.
* Without it: You lose $209 original fee + lose trading power + lose vacation OR take lesser vacation for $209 (new exchange fee).
* With it: You lose $209 original fee + save trading power + get same level of vacation by paying $308 in added fees.
Have you had to cancel a timeshare vacation, and had either good or bad experiences? I'd love to hear about it in the Reply section below, so please leave a comment. Thanks!