Should I buy a timeshare to get a certain exchange?

Should I buy a timeshare to get a certain exchange?

I’m frequently asked whether it’s a good idea to buy a timeshare for some specific purpose. For instance, “Should I buy timeshare A so that I can use it to exchange into timeshare B?” If you’ve ever thought about a strategy like this, here’s what you need to know…

“I was wondering if you could give me some input about my plan to sell my current timeshare and purchase a new timeshare.

I am thinking about selling or getting rid of my {current timeshare} that’s in RCI, to buy {new timeshare} in Interval International, so that I can exchange this through II for {desired resort}. I don’t have experience with using II before, so what do you think would be my chances to get the vacation exchange I want?”

Here’s the way I see this situation, and the advice I would give somebody with a similar question.

Is this timeshare your best buy? Is this timeshare really your best buy?

It’s difficult to predict exchange success

In this case, the question was about selling an RCI timeshare, so that the person could buy something to exchange through II. Interval does have some nice properties available for exchange, and there was one in particular that they hoped to trade into.

  • Unfortunately, there is no easy or sure way in II to know how much trading power the {new timeshare} would have, vs. how much it would take to get into the {desired resort}. In RCI, you can see the trading power that your timeshare gets, and the trading power that it takes to get an exchange. In Interval this is all behind-the-scenes, and you cannot see those values anywhere.

  • You can ask around and search the forums to see if anybody else has had success exchanging {new timeshare} for {desired resort}. If you find somebody else who has done this successfully, it is a good sign, but not a guarantee that you will be successful.
  • There are other variables that can change things. Is their unit size and season at {new timeshare} the same as yours would be? Did they exchange for the same unit size and season at {desired resort} that you’d want? Do you know how to deposit your timeshare to maximize your trading power in II? These could all cause your results to be different than somebody else’s.
Risks painted in graffiti What are the risks of this strategy?

Why this is a risky proposition

Here are some of the factors that make this a risky way to proceed.

  • As mentioned above, you don’t know whether the timeshare you’re thinking of buying will have the necessary trading power in II to pull the exchange that you want to get.
  • Trying to exchange for a single resort is always more difficult to get (and therefore a more risky strategy) than having a selection of resorts you’d be happy with. In fact, on a pending exchange request, II requires you to list at least 3 different resorts and/or time periods you’re interested in. There’s a way around this (more in another post), but trying to exchange for a single resort has a lower chance of success.
  • Some resorts are extremely difficult to get into. It would be a shame to spend a bunch of money buying {new timeshare}, only to find out that you can’t get into {desired resort}, either because it’s never available for exchange, or because there is too much competition from people who have more trading power than you do.

Advice and other possible approaches

Here’s my two cents if you’re in a similar situation…

The great Zoltar knows all Only Zoltar can see the future
  • If you’re looking to exchange just to that specific {desired resort}, this is a risky way to go, and you need to consider that you might not get the exchanges you want. I don’t know for sure if you would or wouldn’t, but looking for a single property is always riskier, and this could lead to a big disappointment.
  • If there is a wide range of II properties where you’d be happy exchanging, then this is more likely to work out well for you, since you’re more apt to get an exchange that you’ll be happy with.
  • If you’re looking generally for more upscale resorts, you can also search on RCI, but look only for gold crown, or for specific companies like Hilton. If you find something you like, this route could save you the money and time involved in selling one timeshare and buying another.
  • If you really only want to stay at that one property, you could look at purchasing a timeshare directly from your {desired resort} or the timeshare company that operates it. Your chances of staying there will be higher if you’re an owner than if you’re trying to exchange into it.
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  • You could also look into renting a unit at {desired resort}. You can rent from another owner, or check sites like or travelocity to see if you find it there. If you want, you could then rent out your own timeshare to help offset the costs.

Comments? Questions?

Consumer Awareness Guide to TimesharesHave you tried a strategy like this yourself? If so, what was your experience with it? Or are you thinking of buying a timeshare to use for exchange? I’d love to hear what you think, so please leave your input and questions in the Reply section below.

Timeshares can be wonderful, but there are many considerations when it comes to buying a timeshare, and many different strategies for how you can use them. Before you go any further, check out this free Consumer Awareness Guide to Timeshares. It could save you a bunch of money, time, and headaches.

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PHOTO CREDITS:  Best buy - Mike Mozart, Risks - A Syn, Zoltar - Jennifer Dawson


  1. This may work for some people, however most timeshare owners consider getting into another timeshare a bad idea.

    If you do a lot of vacationing, this maybe viable. However, as someone straddled with a timeshare I do not want recommend this method.

    • Hi Ditch –
      Thanks for your comment! I think there are situations where buying another timeshare can work well, but getting it for a specific exchange like this is not the best plan. Renting out a unit at the desired resort could be a more reliable way to get what they want.
      Thanks, – Deanna.

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