We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Is RCI worth it?

Brattleboro, Vermont
posts: 14
reviews: 21
Is RCI worth it?

20 years ago we had a condo at a Utah ski area that was in RCI. We'd put a week into RCI and get a week somewhere else. We went to Mexico, Hawaii, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, Stowe, VT and the Berkshires.

I'm thinking of buying a quarterly timeshare (we'd own 13 weeks) and putting it into RCI.

So if I got a place through RCI, I'd still have to get airfare.

It seems that these days I can get a week at an all inclusive resort for the same price as just the airfare alone.

So is RCI the deal it used to be?

258 replies to this topic
Toronto, Canada
posts: 422
reviews: 153
1. Re: Is RCI worth it?

Curious where you are buying the quartershare? My own experience with RCI is this: At one time it was great. Timeshare owners would deposit their weeks and other owners would pick those weeks up as an exchange. This how we were told timesharing worked. Then it seemed to me that once Wyndham took over RCI it all changed. It became harder and harder to find a resort to exchange to. What Wyndham started doing was taking all those weeks that had been deposited and instead of putting them in the exchange pool they put them in their rental pool. Because it was better to get a full weekly rental fee than just an exchange fee. The same has happened with points resorts-maybe even worse. At least with a weekly timeshare if you did not use it or deposit it, no one could use it. But with points you essentially own nothing. You are at the mercy of the company you own with to make some space available to you. Why would they when they already have your money and they can rent these units to non-owners essentially doubling their $ intake? Not sure if I answered your question but I assume if you are buying a 1/4 share your intent is to go there, so why the need for RCI? If you want to take additional vacaton, just rent like we do now. We used to own multiple weeks but no longer. And now we spend less to stay in the same resorts as we did when we were owners. Go figure.

Central Maine
Destination Expert
for Maine
posts: 5,986
reviews: 131
2. Re: Is RCI worth it?

RCI now operates two different programs and which one you're part of is determined primarily by your resort's relationship with RCI. The RCI Weeks program is the more traditional arrangement you describe above -- you use your own week at your home resort, or deposit it with RCI for an exchange at another Weeks resort (assuming availability during the time(s) you want to go, etc.... The other program is the RCI Points program, where ownership weeks are assigned a points value depending on variables like the location of the resort, the level of resort ammenities, the demand for exchanges into the resort, etc. Under the Points program you can still use the week you one at your home resort by reserving it ahead of time and surrendering its Points value for use of that week. Or, you can surrender it to RCI and use the Points assigned to it for exchanges at other RCI Points or Weeks resorts. One huge difference between the Weeks and Points program is that, under the Points program, you can book less than a week at a time for an exchange.... and you can also turn your one-week ownership into more than a one-week vacation by judicious use of your Points. For example, we own a one-bedroom unit during prime ski season in a popular New Hampshire destination....meaning it has great Points value. We sometimes trade it for a one-week stay at other, highly desireable destinations. But sometimes we exchange it for a studio-sized unit during a non-prime season, and the resulting Points-value difference is enough that we can take a second shoulder-season vacation that same year!

So, the first thing to do would be to see if the resort where you're planning to buy is a Weeks or Points resort. Then, I'd think about the fact that with multiple-weeks ownership comes the opportunity for more exchanges -- but each exchange, in addition to the airfare costs, will have its own "exchange fee", which RCI charges every time you make an exchange.

Over the years we've owned our unit, our general impression is that the quality and availability of some RCI exchanges, especially the very most popular ones, has declined... prompting them to institute a value-added-for-extra-cost Program whereby for an additional fee you can buy improved access to high-demand locations.

All that said, my general advice would be: RCI is definitely a different operation today than it was 20 years ago. I'd investigate thoroughly and carefully before making a multi-week purchase like the one you're contemplating. Be sure you're completely comfortable that you know exactly what you're buying and exactly how you can use it through RCI -- including limitations on use and additional exchange and service fees.... RCI just ain't what it used to be...

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 7,967
reviews: 29
3. Re: Is RCI worth it?

The key is to find a way to make it work for you.

We have owned many, and also sold off most. The couple we have kept served two distinct purposes. One is for mostly exchanging in RCI's "new" TPU system.

For our $455/year maintenance fee, we are able to secure enough TPU points to get at least three and sometimes four weeks of exchanges through RCI. That works out to $1055 for three weeks ($1255 for four) of vacationing.

I really do not believe we could rent at the places we want to go for anything less than twice those amounts . . . so yes, for us, the way we're using our TS ownership, RCI is still worth it.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 422
reviews: 153
4. Re: Is RCI worth it?

You can also purchase Resort Vacation Certificates online for $269 each (sometimes they are on sale for $199) and use these for a week long stay in resorts worldwide. You can get studios, one, two and sometimes three bedroom units are available. I am on my way home right now from 2 weeks at Star Island in Kissimmee Florida. Had 1 bedroom deluxe there. Back down south again in 2 weeks to Hilton Head in a 3 bedroom Gold Crown-all down with these certificates. No capital purchase, no maintenance fees, no exchange fees. No commitments or strings attached. Just want to share this with people so they don't get conned by a slick salesman who tells them the only way to get in is by purchasing a timeshare

posts: 1,176
reviews: 30
5. Re: Is RCI worth it?

We had a two-year membership with RCI. As part of the package, we received vouchers for 2 $299 "special getaways" and a $299 cruise.

For the first year, once a week, I went online and tried to book usng the special getaways. Of all the places that RCI operates, the ONLY plces conisistenly available were a cabin outside Branson Mo., seaside resorts in Sharm al Sheikh, Egypt (couldn't afford the airfare) or All inclusives (and the fee defeated the purpose of the certificate). Never used any.

The first year, I tried to exchange our week, but because we had a set time when we could go, nothing we were interested in became available in time.

So, in Jan. of 2011, I put my name on the waiting list for 120 different places ANY time in June or July. In April, we finally got a call that our names had come up on one place. We took it, it was fine, but not worth the stress.

If you are retired and very flexible with your dates, RCI might work. But if you want to have a say in where and when you can go, I wouldn't bother. Packaging air and hotel can save you more money.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 422
reviews: 153
6. Re: Is RCI worth it?

I agree. We dumped our timeshares because we were finding we could go to an all-inclusive for not much more than some people were paying just to use their timeshare for a week. They still have to pay to get there and pay for food and drink.

Erith, Kent
Destination Expert
for Mijas, Sitio de Calahonda
posts: 9,764
reviews: 60
7. Re: Is RCI worth it?

We only own 1 week timeshare and although the costs continue to rise with the maintenance fees we do bank our week and have two weeks away every other year but we gave up with RCI several years ago because they became too pricey. We now exchange through Dialanexchange.com, its free to belong and you only pay for the exchange. Its worth looking at.

Gloucester, United...
posts: 2,949
reviews: 46
8. Re: Is RCI worth it?

My experience of RCI matches precisely with that of Ceejayblue. Availability with RCI fell off a cliff some years ago and the combined membership and exchange fees made membership worthless to me.

Wellington, New...
Destination Expert
for Wellington, Bay of Islands
posts: 9,466
reviews: 120
9. Re: Is RCI worth it?

Exchanging is frought with problems unless you are as flexible as the Indian rubberman. If considering buying new units consider Do I want to holiday here? If the answer is no then I wouldn't buy.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 422
reviews: 153
10. Re: Is RCI worth it?

RCI members have access to many last minute weekly stays for as little as $200. Maybe less. Pretty hard to beat. We have used these many times. Yes not likely prime season, but compared to staying in a hotel for a week? YES RCI is worth belonging to as long as you do it right and take advantage of the deals. If you only travel once a year or bought a $30,000 timeshare to join you probably won't see the benefit. But as beanb41 says, if you are flexible there is no better way to travel. I will never stay in a hotel if I can help it.

Reply to: Is RCI worth it?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted