We have smartphone apps for just about everything these days, from maps, to movies, to meditation. You can add timeshares to the list too, because the big exchange companies are also in the app market now.
Both II and RCI have apps that let you access some of their features while you're on the go. What do they offer, and how do they compare? Here's a feature by feature showdown between the two.Timeshare app showdown! Who will win - Interval or RCI?
Getaways and Extra Vacations
- Interval's Getaways - You can search for getaways by destination or resort, "Check in closest to" date, and unit size. If it finds anything relevant, it shows a screen with your selected check-in date at the top, and available resorts for that day at the bottom.
You can scroll horizontally through different dates. Each day will show green ("Exact match found. Exactly what you are looking for"), blue ("Not exact match. However in the area...") or grey ("No match found"). If you find something you want, you can book it through the app.
My thoughts? I wish I could enter a date range and see everything available, rather than showing me just a single day at a time. This design works if I'm looking for something specifically for Jan 26, but my more normal situation is something like "I'd like to go skiing in Colorado in Jan or Feb." Showing me one day at a time and making me scroll to every other day is cumbersome.
- RCI's Extra Vacations and Last Calls - Enter a geographic area, date range, and unit size. It shows you a maximum of 200 results, and prompts you to refine your search if there are more than that. All resorts are shown on one list, then you click through to each one to see the availability and prices. You can put a vacation on Hold, or Confirm and book it.
My thoughts? You don't get the wide range of search criteria that you have on the RCI website, but overall it's pretty fast and easy to use. The design is more user-friendly for my style of searching than on Interval's app, since I don't need to page through day by day.
- Interval's Resort directory - You can browse through the resort directory, either narrowing it down geographically, or searching for resorts you want. For each resort, you can view the description, photos, amenities, and map. You can mark one as a favorite, or book a Getaway at that resort.
My thoughts? This can be useful if you're just browsing through places while you're waiting for lunch, researching where you could go on a future vacation. There's a good amount of info on each resort, and I like being able to mark favorites.
- RCI's Resort Directory - This lets you search by search term or resort ID, which works well. You can also browse the directory, narrowing it down by geography. Each resort has photos, description, amenities, unit types, and directions. You can click the Share icon for a resort to Save to my resorts, Compare this resort, or share via Facebook or email.
My thoughts? This works well. Comparing 3 resorts side by side is very helpful on a small device, when clicking back & forth can be slow and awkward. Unfortunately, I don't see a way to do this comparison on vacation searches, only from the resort directory.
- Exchanges on II - There aren't any!
My thoughts? Coming from a major timeshare exchange company, it's astonishing that the app has nothing to do with their core business. It seems like this app is just designed to sell Getaways. What would make this app most useful would be giving me access to exchanges. It's been a few years since the app was first released, so it doesn't seem they're in any hurry to add this capability.
- RCI Exchanges - This is similar to searching for Extra Vacations, but with the addition of specifying the deposit you're searching with. It returns a list of resorts, and you can click through to each one, to see when it's available and the required trading power. You can hold or confirm any vacation you want.
My thoughts? Yay! An exchange company app that lets me exchange my timeshare! 🙂
Video LibraryInterval HD videos
- Interval HD - The app gives you access to a bunch of videos, categorized into Destinations, Resorts, and Helpful Videos. I counted 23 destinations, 112 resorts, and 13 helpful videos (covering topics such as Interval Platinum Membership and How to Exchange Your Points).
My thoughts? The concept is good, but it would be nice to have some way of searching or sorting the resorts. Right now, I can't tell how they're organized, and just have to page through to see what's there. It's not too bad when there are 100 resorts, but with 1,000, this would be a pain.
- RCI TV - You can view resort reviews, and they're organized geographically. Click on the continent / region / state / you're interested in, to find the available videos. Some places have Destination videos as well as resorts.
My thoughts? There aren't a ton of videos here right now, for instance, California has 2 Destination videos and 5 Resort videos. However, it's a lot easier to find what I want rather than paging through an unorganized list. I expect that both companies are working on expanding their number of videos, and the more you have, the more important that organization is.
- My Account on RCI - This section lets you see when your account expires, and gives you options to renew it. It also gives you a few recommendations on resorts or destinations you might like, as well as showing you the latest promotions.
My thoughts? It's pretty bare bones, but at least it covers the basics of my account status and renewals.
- My account on Interval - If you have more than one membership, you can select the account you want to use. I haven't found a way to do anything besides selecting it.
My thoughts? This is disappointing. I would like to see account info like the membership level, expiration date, renewal options, etc.
- Getaway alerts - If you want a getaway to a certain place that's not immediately available, you can set up an alert to let you know if and when it shows up.
You enter the destination or resorts you're interested in, date range, and unit size. When a matching getaway is available, you'll get a notification on your device. You can have up to 15 alerts running at any given time.
My thoughts? It's a good concept, and useful if you're an avid user of Getaways. As a person who likes getting a bargain, I'd also love to see the ability to enter a price range. I'm not interested in a top-dollar getaway, but if you could notify me when a bargain is available, I'd love it! 🙂
- Magazines - You can see the covers of 3 issues. Once you click on an issue, you can page through it on your device. You can also download the issue (pretty big) or a single page, or share the issue or page.
My thoughts? I like the ability to read the magazine on my mobile device, though this is easier on a tablet than on a phone.
- My Vacation Plans - Here, you can see trips that you have on hold, your ongoing searches for exchanges, confirmed vacations, and your vacation history.
My thoughts? Good! This is information that is useful and related to my future, current, and past vacation plans. It's exactly what I'd expect to find here, and something that's missing on the Interval side.
- My Deposits - This gives me selections to deposit my timeshare with RCI, or extend my deposit. The capabilities within the app seem limited, and it refers me to the call center or the full website for more.
My thoughts? It's on the right track, but does not have all the features yet to be fully functional.
- Vacation albums - This is a feature where you upload your photos to one of the social media sites, and from there the system automatically adds them into your RCI "Share your vacation" album. Then they say you can share that album anytime you wish.
My thoughts? I haven't used this, and I'm not sure why I would. If I'm already uploading my pix to Facebook, I share them with whomever I want on Facebook, and I don't really see the point of also putting them on RCI to share. After all, far more of my family and friends are on Facebook than RCI. If you have any other insights on this, please let me know!
Your mileage may vary
- RCI crashes. I've read a bunch of reviews from people who say the RCI app no longer works on their device after the latest release. I haven't had any crashing problems myself, but you may.
- Different devices. All of my testing was done on the iOS apps. If you're an Android user, you may find that the apps are a bit different on that operating system.
Do you use either of these apps? Do you have any tips to share? Is there anything you particularly like or don't like about them? Please leave a comment in the Reply section below. Thanks!