RCI (Resort Condominiums International) is not a timeshare company. It is a timeshare exchange broker, which means that it allows members to exchange their usual timeshare for other destinations. A timeshare resort will be affiliated with RCI, giving you the option to add RCI membership to your timeshare membership. This will entitle you to exchange your timeshare with other RCI timeshare members at different resorts and destinations worldwide. RCI is the company that oversees and fulfils the exchange.
The other option for members who are under a points-based system is to book their reservation through RCI with another RCI-affiliated resort and pay a booking fee to RCI. Sounds good in theory, but in practice there are hidden charges lurking beneath the surface, meaning that there could be £100s more to pay in order to use this service.
Though RCI is not a timeshare developer itself, its sister company, Wyndham Worldwide (and its subsidiary, Wyndham Vacation Club) is. Most of the 6,300+ affiliated timeshare resorts worldwide are Wyndham properties. However, there are many other timeshare companies that offer additional RCI membership to their timeshare members.
Buyers of RCI can choose from two types of membership: RCI Points or RCI Weeks. There are different features for each of the two.
Points members have access to both timeshares from other Points owners and banked weeks from other Weeks owners, from any RCI-affiliated resort in the world (usually). The more points you have in your account, the higher the quality of the timeshare unit you can exchange for. You can buy more points direct from RCI, meaning they work as a currency within the system.
An RCI Weeks membership is much less flexible than the Points system. You must ‘bank’ a timeshare week by requesting it from the developer. You then give that week to RCI for you to then request a week from the ‘Weeks Owners Pool’. Your available choice of alternative resorts within that pool is limited to ones that are likely less desirable, and does not include timeshares from Points owners. This option, therefore, is less preferable than the RCI Points system.
RCI is the biggest timeshare exchange company in the world, and has many happy members. It is not without its problems though, and has been the subject of a number of lawsuits in its time. As with any timeshare membership, it’s important to tread carefully and know your rights. There are limitations and hurdles to be negotiated throughout your membership, so being aware of these and how they will affect you is key to making the right choice.