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Timeshare Points Systems Demystified

Timeshare Points Systems Demystified

Points-based timeshare ownership offers owners more flexibility, but there are some things about points systems that any timeshare owner should know.

The concept of points-based vacation ownership is one of the most significant innovations within the timeshare industry in recent years. The goal of this article is to illuminate some of the pros and cons frequently encountered by timeshare owners who buy into a points-based system of timeshare ownership.

First of all, timeshare owners who buy points often do not own them. Most resort chains/exchange companies hold these points in trust. This can pose advantages and disadvantages depending on the owner’s particular needs and preferences. There are some exceptions to this statement, but by and large this is the case.

Points can be redeemable for a number of things, including airfare, hotels, and car rentals. Whereas this is an obvious convenience, points owners can expect to pay fees each time they use their points. For example, using points for plane tickets, renting a car at the airport, and staying overnight at a hotel could cost about $100.00 in accumulated fees.

Possibly worst of all, inflation often occurs with timeshare points. For example, if you have 150,000 points, you might be able to exchange these for a particular resort this year, but what about next year, when the resort you want suddenly costs 200,000 points?

Also, there may be additional restrictions imposed on the transfer of points between owners. This might make things difficult on the resale market. It is best to ask the timeshare seller or the home resort about any restrictions regarding the sale of timeshare points.

Though some difficulties arise, a points-based timeshare allows very flexible vacationing. Herein lies the real beauty of this type of ownership. Stay for as little or as long as you want! Points allow much greater freedom in determining a vacation itinerary.

Again, timeshare points can also be redeemed for a number of important vacation necessities, like hotel rooms, auto rentals, and airfare. Some theme parks even accept points toward tickets to their attractions.

Like everything else in the world of timeshare, a shrewd timeshare owner will learn how to benefit from these opportunities.

New Timeshare Taxes on Hawaii’s Big Island

New Timeshare Taxes on Hawaii’s Big Island

Thanks to Honolulu city and county officials, timeshare owners on Hawaii could experience as much as a 50% increase in yearly costs.

Hawaii has long been considered the Holy Grail of vacation destinations. With everything that these islands offer, it’s no surprise. However, some recent changes to the Big Island’s tax laws are leaving a bad taste in the mouth of many timeshare owners.

Following last year’s decision by Maui to create a new category of taxable property called “timeshare”, the Big Island’s local government recently announced its decision to follow in Maui’s footsteps by unveiling a new tax on timeshare property. This new tax, known as the TAT, for Transient Accomodations Tax, is assessed based on the “fair market value” of a timeshare property. Strangely, “fair market value” is determined in this case NOT by the price a timeshare property could fairly command on the market, but rather by “an amount equal to one-half the gross daily maintenance fees that are paid by the owner.” However, if the timeshare is rented out on a nightly basis by the owner, the tax on the timeshare is assessed based on the value of the gross income of the rental unit. Timeshare units, categorized as such, are taxed differently than hotel property. But what happens to a hotel that offers some of its units on a time-sharing basis?

Reportedly, local lawmakers have earmarked a share of the revenue produced by this tax for the purpose of marketing Hawaii as a vacation destination. Granted, much of this tax goes toward the upkeep of public facilities used by timeshare owners, but one is forced to wonder why a timeshare owner ought to pay for marketing and promotions when he/she already owns at least one timeshare in Hawaii.

These new laws are raising some eyebrows in the timeshare-owning community. Many people feel that Honolulu city and county legislators ought to reconsider some of the ramifications of this new legislation.

If you own timeshare in Hawaii, you are strongly encouraged to contact your home resort or the appropriate local government agency for more information about these changes, and how they will affect you or your timeshare.

(More information on this subject and other news from Hawaii’s Big Island can be found at the Hawaii Reporter. Here is a link to their article.

Timeshare Industry Insiders Help Repair Timeshare’s Image

Timeshare Industry Insiders Help Repair Timeshare’s Image

By educating consumers, a timeshare organization seeks to make an industry-wide difference.

Recently, while browsing an online news page, I found an article about an independent company that is promoting seminars and books about the resort timeshare industry. The goal of this company is to educate consumers about the world of timeshare, and raise public awareness about some of the duplicitous hard-sell techniques used by timeshare salespeople. According to this company, Timeshare Insights, when people become more educated about timeshare, it will force the timeshare industry to discard outdated and unethical sales practices. As someone familiar with the timeshare industry, this made a lot of sense to me. I checked out the Timeshare Insights site and found that it offered a lot of good advice to timeshare buyers, so I decided to link to it and mention this site in today’s post.

This made me think about the state of the timeshare industry and how it has changed in recent years. In the beginning, blatant timeshare rip-offs were commonplace, and some people paid lots of money for timeshares that didn’t exist. When major hotel chains began investing in timeshares, they brought respectability to an industry suffering from negative public perception. Resort developers realized that, in order to compete with these hotel giants, they would have to treat their clientele better.

The industry has been improving steadily in this area, but the sales and marketing divisions of a lot of resort development companies are still holding on to the old-fashioned idea that a timeshare buyer has to be suckered into making a purchase.

It sounds crazy, but maybe people would buy timeshare directly from the resort company if they didn’t have to sit through a questionable sales presentation, and then pay the ridiculous marketing expenses included in the original purchase price of any new timeshare offering.

I think one of the core concepts here is that given more education on the subject, timeshare buyers and owners have the power to change the entire timeshare industry from the ground up.

Be sure and check out Timeshare Insights. There’s plenty of good information there. When we find more online timeshare resources, I’ll link to them from this blog.

Insiders Predict Strong Growth for Middle East Timeshare Industry.

Insiders Predict Strong Growth for Middle East Timeshare Industry.

Ever get the urge to travel to Dubai? Thanks to Interval International, you just might get your chance.

According to this recent article, industry analysts are bringing more and more attention to the Middle East’s timeshare industry. Political changes, plus the involvement of a major timeshare exchange company, may spell revitalization for the region’s resorts. Interval International, the second-largest timeshare exchange company in the world , has opened talks with legislators from several countries in the region. Their goal is to establish legislation that provides consumer protection as well as growth opportunities for legitimate timeshare businesses (and hopefully to make life difficult for dishonest timeshare businesses). II has opened a sales office in Dubai, and is making its presence known through seminars and conferences in the area.

Most Americans, when asked if they would like to buy timeshare in the Middle East, would react with incredulity. This region’s image has been tarnshed by years of conflict and certain countries -like Lebanon- are still cleaning up the deadly detritus of war. How could a place like this translate into an appealing vacation spot? Furthermore, how could this part of the world successfully support a timeshare industry of its own?

It may sound far-fetched, but the concept of timeshare in the Middle East is predicted to become more popular in coming years. Consider Lebanon in the early 1970s, before the Lebanese Civil War. Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast was once considered a chic travel destination by Europeans and residents of bordering countries. Recently, with radical political reform sweeping through Lebanon, the groundwork has been laid for rebuilding of infrastructure on a massive scale. Despite Lebanon’s challenges, some say the future looks bright for this country in transition.

Earlier this year, a non-profit group called Time4Sharing finished planting over 3,000 trees on a significant acreage of land designated as a children’s park. Time4Sharing, an organization composed of timeshare professionals all over the world who donate their time for worthy causes, accomplished this project for the comparatively small sum of $50,000 (about the same cost as a red week in Hawaii bought directly from a resort). This park was constructed in an area that, devastated by war and riddled with land mines, was formerly considered uninhabitable.

Dubai, long considered a playground for wealthy sheikhs and jet-set Europeans, is now receiving some attention from Americans and other adventurous types from all over the globe. Recognizing the potential of this area, Kerzner International is developing a huge resort on Dubai. Similar to Kerzner’s colossal Atlantis complex on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Atlantis Dubai is scheduled to open in 2007 and will feature an aquarium, a water park, and countless other attractions. The cost of developing this resort is estimated at 1.1 billion dollars.

Anyone willing to make this kind of investment would have to be extremely confident about the long-term returns.