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RCI Points and RCI Weeks Timeshares - Are They Scam or Not?

Resort Condominium International, or RCI, timeshare company claims to be the largest timeshare vacation exchange network in the world. In the 70s they started the idea of trading property time shares among the RCI members. According to the RCI Timeshare company, there are over 3 million members, from around the world, which have a choice of quality timeshare vacations from over 3,700 RCI related resorts in over 100 countries. They're claiming they are the world's experts in exchange vacations.
They basically have two major programs - RCI Weeks and RCI Points programs. The RCI Weeks is the RCI's traditional exchange system which allows owners to trade their vacation week for another similar unit. Timeshare owners first deposit their vacation week into the RCI's system. Then they request a vacation week exchange at a comparable resort for the same week. Once found, RCI confirms the exchange.
RCI Points is their younger program and is more flexible than the RCI Weeks program. RCI Points members automatically get access to the RCI Weeks resorts. Also, according to RCI, the program lets you us your points toward airline tickets, hotels, and even cruises. With this program you get to choose the length of your stay as well as the place of your stay (all RCI affiliated resorts). They let you save or borrow points to create your dream vacation.
However, there are many RCI Weeks program members who are not happy with RCI. Many unhappy RCI exchange members speculate that the company does not really deposit the owner's timeshares into the pool to make them available for other members. They believe that RCI simply rents out those units themselves for higher profits instead of depositing them into the common timeshare unit pool or database knows as the RCI Spacebank ® system. At the time, there even was an open Class Action Law Suit against RCI regarding this issue. The law suit is only for the RCI Weeks exchange program.
Other consumer complaints about one or the other RCI exchange system are about the lack of availability of timeshares in the common pool. "After several hopeful years and convincing myself I am probably wrong, I am now convinced more than ever before that RCI is a big SCAM!" - claims thecypher, one of the Timeshare User Group member, at the Timeshare User Group forum.
Some members also complain about numerous extra costs involved in the RCI Points timeshare exchange process. For example, Frances of West Des Moines complains about her experience with RCI Points program. When trying to use the RCI points for airline travel, she quickly learned that they are limited to 60,000 points per year (probably what they own), there is a booking free starting from $50 and that she had to pay for the cost of the airline ticket not covered with her points (apparently, 60,000 points didn't cover her entire ticket cost). Frances was also disappointed that she had to pay a booking fee and another $189 to use a "weeks" resort instead of the "points" resort. She also complained about quality of the RCI's customer service.
But many RCI members have been enjoying their vacation experience with RCI for decades and find the current RCI timeshare exchange system very useful "I would be the first to say that RCI is far from perfect, but I find many great weeks there. Keep reading here and you'll learn more about maximizing your membership." -says sfwilshire, the TUG member. "I don't agree that RCI is a scam. I have found wonderful exchanges through weeks, and I think the points system is just a matter of learning the tricks." - adds rickandcindy23.
You need to start your process way ahead in order to trade for a top valued resort during the red week. Sometimes you need to start the process a year or more earlier if you are looking for a "hot" vacation spot and time.
According to RCI, the average timeshare now sells for around $15,000. Is this a scam? Not, if you can easily afford it and don't care about spending your money wisely. But for most of us, that's a good chunk of money. Why waste your money if you can buy a cheap timeshare resale on eBay?
Are there any glitches in the system? Definitely! system sometimes is slow, down or not responsive; RCI customer support person is sometimes rude and not helpful; members often do not find what they're looking for in the RCI database of available units.
So, is the RCI exchange system a scam? I don't believe so. While it is far from being perfect, it has been working fine for many of its members who have been benefiting from it for years after years after years.
Here are some cheap RCI timeshares available right now on eBay:
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