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.

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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.


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!

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  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! 🙂

  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.

  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.

    • 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

    • Peter


      I’m curious which way you went and why. I think I have the same resort.

  4. Paul(Wendy)

    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.

  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.

  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.

    • 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

      • Hi Katy –
        Thanks for your comment, and good luck getting the vacations you want!
        – Deanna.

  7. Hiedi


    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.

  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.

  10. Iva Girtman


    You seem very knowledgable about this timeshare game. I had 2 2 bedroom units in Vacation Village at Parkway in Orlando. Each had 92,500 points per year with RCI. I went to a “owners meeting” about how things are changing, etc. It was about the RCI Pure Points Program. You avoid maintenance and taxes and they get you out of your ownership of the timeshares. Then you can buy points at 1.5 cents each. You can buy up to 500,000 points at a time ($7,500) and have 3 years to use them. The price was pretty high in my opinion. What do you know about this Pure Points Program? Is it a good deal or is it just a way to get my money? I may try to get out of it.

    Thanks for any enlightement you can give me.

  11. Hi Iva –

    Thanks for your message! There’s always something new they’re selling, isn’t there? (-; Here are a few observations on this deal…
    (a) When they say you avoid maintenance and taxes, it’s a smoke screen. Of course the people who buy the points pay for the fees — maintenance costs and taxes aren’t going to disappear, and the company isn’t going to just swallow those costs. They’re going to pass the costs on to the people who buy points, they’ll just package the costs differently and avoid using those terms.
    (b) Have you compared the costs of booking the same vacation you have now vs. going through their new system? E.g. you have 92,500 per week * 2 = 185,000 points with your current ownership. If you wanted to book those same exact vacations through the Pure Points, you’d be paying 185,000 * $0.015 = $2,775. How does that compare to what you’re paying now?
    (c) You didn’t mention what the “upgrade” price was, but you need to figure that into your calculations, too. Between the cost per point + the upgrade cost, does it make sense financially? Existing RCI points are still good, it’s not like they’re disappearing and losing their value.
    (d) If your goal is to get out of your timeshare, you can always look into selling it. Then you may be able to get some $ back instead of paying more for an upgrade.
    Best of luck with it! – Deanna.

  12. S. Brooks

    Hi. Great article comparing the two companies. Was an RCI member back in the 90s till about 2005 and exchanged 1-2 weeks each year while the kids were younger. Stopped using and let membership lapse when kids started high school and travel needs changed. Now we’re empty nesters and rejoined RCI this year, although my timeshare went from a weekly system to points system. Still getting used to point system and have only been on RCI’s new website a few times looking around. Anyway, with a recent upgraded club membership we received a 2-year paid membership to Interval International and I was all excited to check out their offerings. Since we’re now members on both, I can do an actual side by side comparison (using very same timeshare exchange) and having just done some preliminary searches on II I must say that I am not at all impressed. I found the website very basic, the flexibility in search criteria limited, and the website itself very lackluster. It did not inspire me at all or give me any ideas like RCI’s did. In addition, for what may be comparable exhanges on each (although it’s hard to tell because I barely could get 1 or 2 properties returned from my search on II whereas there was so much more available on RCI), II was significantly more expensive than RCI. In addition, I like knowing that I have the flexibility to see all that is available to me, even if it costs me more. So between the two, I am definitely going to be using the RCI exchanges over the II. For me, there really was no comparison and I was very disappointed with II. I am so glad I did not personally pay for that 2-year membership as it would have been a waste of money.

    • Hi S –
      Thanks for your message! I appreciate your input on the two companies. I agree with you that I really like RCI’s ability to see everything, even if it’s beyond what you can get right now.
      Happy exchanging! – Deanna.

  13. Brenda

    Hello….I hope my question is simple. Is leaving RCI after 5 years with no complaints and switching to II to be able to use Marriotts a good reason. I also want to ask if you know of a way to sell or trademy timeshare to someone with a Marriot property?

    • Hi Brenda –
      Unless you own a Marriott, or are looking for off-season vacations and studios, your chances of trading for a Marriott via II are not very good. They have a system where Marriott owners get a preference period. All new Marriott vacations that enter the system can go only to Marriott owners for 21 days, before they’re opened up to everyone else in II. Needless to say, that means that the desirable Marriott timeshares are snapped up before “normal” II members have a chance at them.
      If you want to vacation at Marriott’s, your chances are better if you just buy a Marriott yourself. But if you’re interested in off-season, you might be able to find something on II.
      Hope that helps! – Deanna.

  14. Rosanne

    I have Palace Resort weeks. Any idea of their trading power and are they considered weeks although no specific week is assigned?

    • Hi Rosanne –

      It sounds like you own a floating week, where you’re allowed to use it for any week within a designated season (sometimes the full year). If that’s the case, then it would still count as a week in RCI.

      There are many variables that would affect your trading power, including the size of your unit and which week you deposit. One question – is yours an all-inclusive mandatory? If so, then I’m sorry to say that the trading power probably will not be that high. The reason is that a lot of people don’t want to pay the big all-inclusive fees, which lowers the demand for these on exchanges.

      Good luck with it! – Deanna.

  15. Laurie

    Hi Deanna,

    We are familiar with RCI, but have recently been setup with SFX. What tips can you provide for working with this company?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Laurie –

      Some people have great success with SFX, others not so much. They specialize in the higher quality resorts, but like any company, it will depend on what you have and what you’re looking for. I think a good starting point would be to call one of their representatives, and have a conversation with them about the type of places you want to go. Hopefully they will be able to give you some honest feedback about what you can reasonably hope to get matching your timeshare vs. what you want to get.

      Good luck with it! – Deanna.

  16. Matthew

    Good evening Deanna, We were just informed that our resort just became affiliated with RCI. I am pretty new to the timeshare scene and was wondering are you able to be in both RCI and II with only one timeshare? Or do you have to switch memberships? Also, how do you determine what your value would be in RCI? Thanks

    • Timeshare Game

      Hi Matthew –
      Yes, you can be part of both RCI and II with just one timeshare, as long as that timeshare is affiliated with both companies. The. you could choose year by year which you want to deposit with. You’d be paying double fees, but have access to more inventory of rentals (last calls, extra vacations etc.), as well as more exchange options. To see your value in RCI, you need to log in & use their deposit calculator.
      Good ,ickes with it! – Deanna

  17. harry

    Hi Deanna,
    We’ve owned a timeshare in Florida (Vacation Village at Bonaventure) for over 20 years. They are affiliated with RCI so we’ve been members of them since. Have gone on many vacations and have enjoyed being time share owners. Plan to continue too. RCI does nickel and dime you, but service is pretty good. We’re giving platinum membership a try this year too.

    Questions to you are: 1) Maintenance Fees-we understand maintenance fees go up year after year, but what irritates us is having part of our fees being from bad debts from owners that have dropped their timeshares and don’t pay the fees. I called and asked a Vacation Village Agent about this and they said it’s comparable to co-signing for a loan. That was certainly never explained to us when we purchased the timeshare originally. We’d never co-sign for friend or family member much less complete strangers. The Vacation Village suggested we write a letter to the Board asking about this. We wrote one in January and still have never received reply. Seems to us if we are taking on bad debt we know Vacation Village is renting out those units that were forfeited. Shouldn’t we get some of that money reimbursed to us or at the very least be given some extra trading points?

    2) Do you think being an RCI Platinum members have it’s advantages? If so, how to do feel best way to use the membership. Sorry this is so long. Thanks much, Harry/Cathy

  18. Dave

    I have a Summer Suite at Iron Blossam in Snowbird (Utah)that sleeps 8. Im looking to join an exchange. Which would give me better trading power?

  19. Kim

    We have been II users for 20+ years. Never stayed at our own resorts, always traded. Our resorts are now part of RCI too, which has led me to search out which program would be the best fit for our family. Does RCI offer GETAWAY WEEKS like II does? Is trading with Disney EVER a possibility?

  20. Justin D Mitchell

    We own (resale purchases of 6k, 6k, and 10k points) a 20,000 point membership (since 2002) through Worldmark. Wondering if you would lean one way or the other with regard to RCI or II in getting a points based exchange membership? We tried II for a year back in 2006. We utilized the Getaway (?) feature where it cost a couple thousand points and $199 to go to Villa Del Palmar in PV. Back then, Worldmark “pushed’ II. Now it appears that they push RCI, due to the fact there is a direct link from the website, whereas nothing regarding II. Thank you for the time and help.


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