RCI vs. Interval - Filtering and transparency

RCI vs. Interval - Filtering and transparency

A lot of the questions I get are about RCI vs. Interval International, so I decided to do a series of blog posts discussing some key differences between the two. This post starts with the fundamental difference in how they filter your search results. When you're trying to find an exchange you want, this is important to know. Upcoming posts will discuss other differences between the companies.

Search results are filtered on II Filters prevent you from seeing all of the available exchanges

What you can "afford" on your exchange

When you have a timeshare week that you want to exchange, it has a certain value, or trading power. Both II and RCI assign a value to your week. With either company, your trading power is based on numerous factors, including the demand for that destination, the quality of your timeshare resort, the size of the unit you are exchanging, the season you own, and more. For instance, all else being equal, a 2-bedroom unit will have more trading power than a 1-bedroom, and a week in high season will have more value than one in low season.

Every week in the system is assigned a value. You can only exchange for something that has the same or lower value than what you are exchanging. In essence, you can only "afford" certain exchanges, based on the value of the week you own.

RCI search results show trading power RCI results show the trading power needed for different exchanges

In RCI, the trading power assigned to your week and that required for an exchange are both shown on the system. In II, you can never see this value - it just exists behind the scenes.

Viewing everything available (RCI only)

In RCI, when you search for an exchange on their website, you can see all of the available exchanges that fit your search criteria, whether or not you can "afford" them based on what you have deposited. This is the default setting when you search for an exchange.

Search options on RCI RCI defaults to showing everything, with an option for you to filter

The search results will show you the trading power required for each possibility, and you can do a mental comparison yourself to see which would work with the trading power of the week you have deposited for exchange.

  • Advantage RCI. I really like being able to see everything out there, whether I can get it right now or not. At least that way I know whether there simply isn't anything available for exchange, or there are plenty available but they're just worth more than what I have deposited. Although I can't get them right now, this knowledge could make a difference for my future exchange planning.

Upward filtering (II and RCI)

Interval International has no option of viewing everything available for exchange. Instead, what you see is always filtered on the upward side. Anything above your exchange value (i.e. those things "too expensive" for what you have deposited), will not be shown. You only see the weeks that are available and that you can afford based on your exchange.

Search results on Interval International Search results on Interval show only weeks you could get for your exchange

Tip: If you own multiple timeshares that are enrolled in Interval, you can try the same search with each of them, to see what different results you get. This is a way to see some things that may have been filtered out of your first search.

In RCI, you can do the same thing, by selecting the search option "Show vacations that match my deposit" at the top of the screen. Just like Interval does, this will filter out the items that require more trading power than what you have.

  • Draw. Both companies have the same ability on this one.

Downward filtering (II only)

Interval also filters out things that it feels aren't good enough for what you are exchanging. The logic is that they do not want people to be disappointed by depositing a wonderful high-value timeshare, and then discovering that they have exchanged it for something worth much less.

RCI has no equivalent filter. Even if your deposit is worth 52 trading power, you can still see exchange weeks worth just 4.

  • Advantage RCI. I can understand the logic behind why Interval does this, but personally I'd rather be able to see everything myself, and decide which places do not meet my standards. Another potential problem is that if you want to stay somewhere without many timeshares, it is possible that this filter could remove your only options.

Company filtering (II only)

Some timeshare companies on II (notably Marriott and Starwood) have a company priority. When a Marriott unit is deposited, for example, there is a time period where it will only be displayed for people exchanging other Marriotts. Only once it passes that period will it appear for everybody else who is searching for exchanges.

RCI has no corresponding function.

  • It depends. This is neither a pro nor a con for Interval as a whole. It works to the benefit of people who own in these companies, and against the rest of the people wanting to exchange.

Conclusion

Interval International filters everything for you, whether you want them to or not. They filter out places that are worth too much for your exchange, places that it thinks you won't like, and resorts with company priority. Their goal is to show you only the best exchanges for you. This could be a good approach for some people, since it is simple for the user.

RCI has a different approach, with greater transparency. They show you everything, and leave it up to you to figure out what you want and can get. You know how much trading power you have to work with, and you read the resort reviews yourself to see if it's a place you want to go or not. This is the approach that I prefer, since I like having all the information, and making my own decisions.

Comments? Questions?

Are you part of RCI, Interval International or both? What do you think about the different ways that they filter your search results? Which do you prefer? I'd love to hear from you in the Reply section below.

Timeshare Owner's Guide to Winning the Timeshare Game~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The differences between RCI and Interval can be confusing, but both companies offer a valuable service to timeshare owners, letting you exchange for resorts around the world. If you want to get the best exchanges, it's important to know how to work the system and maximize your trades. You'll find a ton of tips and tactics for both RCI and Interval in my new Timeshare Owner's Guide to Winning the Timeshare Game. If you'd like to boost your timeshare results, check it out!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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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19 Comments

  1. With II can you exchange 2 of your weeks (in different seasons) for 1 nice week somewhere else or 2 weeks at one time, or is it straight exchange week for week?

    • Hi Lori - With II, there is no way to add two of your deposits together to get 1 nicer week somewhere else. RCI has the "combine deposits" feature to do that, but there is no corresponding feature in II. You could exchange your 2 weeks in different seasons for 2 weeks at one time, but just by using a week-for-week exchange. Good luck with it! 🙂
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...RCI Platinum - Still worth it in 2014?

  2. RCI does let you combine your "points" if you have more than one timeshare. This way you can buy up. We have one unit that is worth 60 points and often are able to get three or more trades with it.

    • Hi Terry -
      You're right! That ability to combine trading power from more than one deposit, or to split one valuable deposit to get multiple vacations with it, is a great feature of RCI. Glad to hear you're doing so well with it! 🙂
      Thanks! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...How to use the RCI Deposit Calculator, and why

  3. Chrystal

    Hi! Thank you for your article!

    We currently own one week in a timeshare in Vegas, and trade through II. However, we were just informed that our resort will be "dual affiliated" and we'll have the choice to switch to RCI if we want.

    Is there any way to tell how much "value" our week has in RCI, before we deposit with them?

    Thanks again!

    • Hi Chrystal -
      Thanks for your comment. That is an excellent question! Of course you want to know how much value you could get in a different system before you make the switch. If you have an RCI account, then you can definitely look up how much your resort would be worth. For a timeshare week, you can use the RCI deposit calculator and see what trading power you'd get for a deposit, with different dates selected. You could then do some sample searches for exchanges to see how that compares with the trading power required for exchange vacations you might want. If you don't have an RCI account, then hopefully you have a friend who does, who would be willing to let you borrow their account to do a bit of investigation.
      Good luck with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...How to use the RCI Deposit Calculator, and why

    • Wendy

      Hi Crystal,
      I can help you with understanding your trade value with RCI versus II. I own 4 weeks of timeshare (long time owner and RCI Member). I am very educated how the systems work and happy to help you.
      How do I get in touch with you directly? Wendy

  4. Paul(Wendy)

    Deanna,
    Can you please put Crystal in touch with me? I have the same issues (I am a long term RCI Member and very educated in getting the most from them / years of research and practice) but I am looking into II and would like to exchange info/usage of memberships. I can help her in determining their II worth in RCI and maybe they can help me determine my RCI worth in an II System. They can contact me directly on my email and then we can get in touch personally via phone.

    • Hi Wendy -
      Thanks for your message! I appreciate your desire to help out Chrystal, and I think it's always good for timeshare owners to share information. I cannot give out Chrystal's email address, but since you have requested, I will forward your request to her and see if she wants to contact you back.
      Thanks again! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...Should I upgrade my week to RCI points?

  5. Is there an advantage being a member in both I I & RCI?

    • Hi Rick -
      Thanks for your comment. If you're very active in timesharing, it can be an advantage to belong to both, since that gives you the best selection, both for exchanges and getaway vacations. However, you do have to pay for 2 memberships this way, so you need to use it enough to make that worthwhile.
      - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...How to use the RCI Deposit Calculator, and why

  6. Hi, was just a little confused (normal I think). We own rci and II. II seems so easy to use. We have a 1 bedroom that we can trade with anything that comes up on II weather it is 0-3 bedrooms. Super easy. I was told II just trades week for week and doesn't care about number of bedrooms. Been trading from Az to Hawaii for years. RCI we trade a 2 bedroom and can also do the same, although seems most of the property's on RCI are not high quality. We own Hilton with that one.

    • Hi Katy -
      Thanks for your comment! You're right -- one of the advantages of the II approach is that it's so simple. Whatever you can see, you can book. With RCI, it may show you things that you can't get. The trade-off is that though this may be more confusing, it provides more information. Some people may prefer one way, other people the other.
      Happy timesharing! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...How RCI Trading Power Protection works

    • Biselado pasi

      I own a timeshare in Orlando ,interval is soon easy a they trade rooms soon easy . RCI is new for me and I see price are more expensive like $250 a week in Orlando .I don't like that PP/PN. sorry .but anyway it has a convenio with calypso cay and i think I will try but definitely interval is more easy I agree with you Katy

  7. Hiedi

    Hello,

    I am looking into buying a timeshare, and it's affiliation is with RCI. I know very intricately how interval international works and I like their method. With Interval: You have one exchange fee price, you can book lower quality than your own unit and it does show up in searches if they are available, and you can book higher quality than your own unit, and it also shows up in searches if they are available. Not sure where you got your information from. There are instances where your week's buying power is less....such as extending a deposit that is expiring after 2 years of sitting there unused. Naturally, it does not have quite the same buying power as a deposit that was just done. You can also take your week with II and change it to 2 shorter weeks (1-6 days long) if you are a Gold or Platinum member. You can also take a week you have, but have not deposited, and trade it for a cruise or spa/golf vacation. You can also buy Getaways at discounted prices. Platinum members also get a companion airline voucher to use once a year. And more!

    So....what does RCI offer in comparison? The timeshare I would prefer is a bigger unit but its with RCI.....but I could take the smaller unit and be with II. Nervous about joining RCI though. I know how many points I would be receiving through RCI but not sure how that would work out for me in trading.

  8. Hi Heidi -
    Thanks for your comment! It sounds like you're quite experienced with Interval. About the filtering... Trading power is based on multiple factors, not just the resort quality, and Interval does not show you everything in their system, it only shows you the places that you're able to book with the trading power of your deposit.

    The easiest way to see this for yourself is if you have multiple timeshares in your II account. For example, if you take a Studio and a 2BR from the same resort & dates, and do the same search in Interval using each of those deposits, you will find different results. The 2BR has more trading power, and will show results that do not appear with the Studio. Those items are filtered out because the Studio doesn't have enough trading power to book them.

    If you go with RCI, you'll have a learning curve with that system to get up to the same level that you're at with Interval. Both systems have their advantages, and some people prefer one or the other. Personally, I don't think either one is better than the other, they're just different.
    Deanna Keahey recently posted...How much is my timeshare worth?

  9. Tom Zambrano

    Hi Deanna Need some advice on some timeshares we have. We own 3 weeks in a resort in the Catskills,1 week in Orlando Fla.,and 1week on the West coast of FLA.The maintenance's are getting out of hand.The Catskills and the West coast Fla.are in Intvale,Orlando is in RCI .Catskills are turning over to a point system for a $3100 fee.Trying to figure which to keep,which to selling which to walk away from. Any advise?

    • Hi Tom -
      Thanks for your message! One thing to think about is that you don't HAVE to buy into the points system just because the resort wants you to. You can stay with the week you have, and use it just the same way that you always have, rather than paying the extra $3,100.
      Aside from that note, I'd say think about which you enjoy the most, and which you feel give you the biggest "bang fo your buck" if you use them for exchanging. If there's one where the fees have been going up faster, and you think that's getting out of hand, then sell that one first. If there's one that you enjoy staying at personally, rather than exchanging it, then you might hang onto that one, since that's the most economical way to use your timeshare.
      There are advantages to belonging to both RCI and II, but of course it involves extra fees. If you're looking to lower your costs, then selling with a view to cutting back to just one of the exchange companies could be another plan.
      Best of luck with it! - Deanna.
      Deanna Keahey recently posted...RCI Platinum - 2016 Evolution and what's next?

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