If you buy into a specific property or holiday apartment complex, you will get access there for a particular length of time each year. If you buy into a points scheme, you will gain access to different locations instead.
Background of timeshare points schemes
In the early days of timeshares, people would buy a specific time of the year, sometimes up to a month. Over time, they would swap their timeshare slots with others in the same property so they could get the times they wanted that year. Timeshare companies then worked on systems where everyone could book in for different times each year.
After a while, this meant that more popular times could be oversubscribed, so large complexes were built to deal with this summer-time rush. Timeshare companies then started to offer people systems where they could use any of their different facilities each year. This is where the idea of a points system came from.
What is a timeshare point system?
Timeshare points are like a permission slip to use properties of different values for different lengths of time each year.
Simply put, more expensive properties at busier times will cost you more of your annual points. Staying in them for longer will cost you more points too. Cheaper properties for short stays out of the peak season will be fewer points.
At the end of each year, the points you spent will be returned to your account. So unless you buy or sell them, you will always have the same amount of points.
The organiser of your points scheme will send you a brochure or a website with the prices of each timeshare as a number of points. The more points you have, the more freedom you have to go to different venues. Having more points can be risky though if there aren’t many destinations you want to go to you might end up with timeshare points you don’t want.
What is the value of timeshare points?
Different timeshare points are worth different amounts, and you can measure their value in two different ways.
The first way you can measure their value is what accommodation and holidays you can get with them. These hotel rooms and apartments will usually have a market value, so you can measure the value of the points you have to those, multiplied by how long you think you will have them for.
It also depends on what you can sell the points at. Often, points have a low cash value and are sold at a price much less than timeshare owners paid for them.
Timeshare Point System: Pros and Cons
The benefits of a timeshare points system are that you will have the freedom to choose exactly what holidays you go on, provided the hotels, bedroom units, or apartments are part of the same scheme. Also, if you are an existing timeshare owner, you might want to change to a points system as these systems often have a lower annual maintenance fee.
However, to keep using your clubs points, you might need to pay a membership fee. This cost can often not be adequately explained to points owners when they buy theirs. This is a hidden fee and can be grounds for a mis-selling.
Also when you buy points, you are never guaranteed to have access to the properties you want. While regular timeshare ownership gets you into a house or apartment you like each year; points mean you have to book early or miss out.
Because some points owners will book their stays years in advance, this can cause lots of problems for points owners who were not made aware of this before they bought theirs.
Mis-Sold Timeshare Points and Credits Scheme
Points schemes, like other timeshares, are often mis-sold to consumers. Pushy sales tactics and hidden fees can often drive customers into debt. They are also often told that they will be able to book holidays whenever they want, but this is not the case.
If a points-based timeshare company uses pushy sales tactics or misleading information to get you to buy sooner than you might have done, there is always a chance you can claim against them.
Hidden costs, such as membership fees or admin fees that were not explained before the contract was signed, can also be sources of mis-selling timeshare points. If the salesperson didn’t tell you about what you agreed to pay, then these hidden fees might be a reason that you have mis-sold a timeshare.
If they told you that you would be able to book any accommodation at any times, as long as you had the points for it, they might have mis-sold it. Often points club hotels and apartments are booked long in advance, and this can sometimes not be adequately explained when buying a timeshare.
If there was deceit, misleading statements or high-pressure sales tactics in the sale, then you might be wise trying to get your money back. If you are seeking to get out of a timeshare points system legally, our experienced timeshare claims team can give you advice and guidance on the best ways forward.
Other names for timeshare points systems
Some timeshare points systems will call themselves different things to avoid the word timeshare, or just for branding purposes. Some of the most common names for a timeshare points system are:
• Vacation ownership
• Timeshare ownership
• Holiday programme
• Resort club
All of these things are generally different names for timeshares or are very similar in how they work. Different timeshare companies will have different rules and restrictions. For example, some high-cost accommodations might only be available to premium members; even others have enough points.