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Thread: Is RCI (or II) a must for East Coasters who want cheap vacations?

  1. #1

    Is RCI (or II) a must for East Coasters who want cheap vacations?

    Last week I said four words to my wife that I never imagined I would say - 'We joined RCI again'. When we lived in AZ and finally bought a timeshare where we wanted to be when we wanted to be there, RCI became obsolete for us. Owning at Carlsbad Inn gave us access to GPX internal trades and bonus weeks for almost all of the SoCal resorts we were interested in and we could drive to most of them. They also had agreements with Diamond and Bluegreen for limited inventory outside of Grand Pacific resorts in places like Hawaii, Florida, Myrtle Beach and even spring weeks in Cape Cod.

    Now we live in Georgia. The expense of trips to SoCal means that we will likely only go once a year and maybe less. I've been searching HomeAway/VRBO for reasonable prices for drivable locations like Hilton Head, Panama City, Daytona, etc and it seems the times of good deals there are gone forever. Since Carlsbad Inn is an RCI resort, the answer for cheap(er) rentals seems to be Extra vacations or exchanges. I found a promotional code for 2 years for $100 so I said the unthinkable four words and ponied up the cash. I am seeing what I expected. I expect to save $200 to $500 a week on comparable rentals when I have to plan in advance. For last minute inventory, the savings will be small but the choices will be different than what I see elsewhere so that is enough to make it worth the small membership cost. We can get 40 tpus for our deposit next year which will be almost enough to get two exchanges in smaller peak season units or larger shoulder season units making the mf+exchange fee math sort of work if we want to go that route.

    Hard to believe but here I am, an RCIer again.

  2. #2
    We're in NJ. RCI is basically it if you want to travel in the Northeast and you're not too picky. II has many fewer resorts within driving distance.

  3. #3
    You can get lucky with DAE for early and late prime season on the East Coast but you may end up having to take Williamsburg for the times you don't get lucky.
    RCI with an early request gives you the most choices. If you are open to beach locations from Maryland to South Carolina and in between you don't even have to take the first thing that comes your way if it isn't what you want and you are likely to be able to find a two bedroom. The two bedrooms may not be ocean front (although you could get lucky) but they are often walkable to the ocean.

    You might want to join DAE if you haven't already and put in a request first and have a deposit available if something worthwhile comes up. Last year I got a 2 BR Ocean City in late August as a bonus rental week for $199. This year I had in a request for Ocean City as well and a July week came up just under 60 days from check in. Since it was inside that window, I had a choice of deposit and exchange fee or the straight up rental fee of $500. I decided to keep my deposit and pay the rental because the MF and exchange fee would be higher than the rental.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by SallyHoover View Post
    You can get lucky with DAE for early and late prime season on the East Coast but you may end up having to take Williamsburg for the times you don't get lucky.
    RCI with an early request gives you the most choices. If you are open to beach locations from Maryland to South Carolina and in between you don't even have to take the first thing that comes your way if it isn't what you want and you are likely to be able to find a two bedroom. The two bedrooms may not be ocean front (although you could get lucky) but they are often walkable to the ocean.

    You might want to join DAE if you haven't already and put in a request first and have a deposit available if something worthwhile comes up. Last year I got a 2 BR Ocean City in late August as a bonus rental week for $199. This year I had in a request for Ocean City as well and a July week came up just under 60 days from check in. Since it was inside that window, I had a choice of deposit and exchange fee or the straight up rental fee of $500. I decided to keep my deposit and pay the rental because the MF and exchange fee would be higher than the rental.
    Thanks, I have been a DAE member for a long time but I never used them. GPX has a relationship with DAE too, but I don't see things like that Ocean City week. I will check DAE more often now.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by wackymother View Post
    We're in NJ. RCI is basically it if you want to travel in the Northeast and you're not too picky. II has many fewer resorts within driving distance.
    Our best timeshare years and RCI years were when we were living in NJ. We stayed from Maine to Hilton Head and places in between along with 10 trips to Hawaii. Gettin old sucks. It would take me half a week to recover from a flight to Hawaii from Atlanta these days.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator chriskre's Avatar
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    I just got a rental for a 2 bedroom at BG the Fountains in Orlando for August.
    It was only $250 from RCI on sale.
    It wasn't worth exchanging cause it was going to be 10 TPUs plus $239.
    For $11 more I just rented it.

    I'm finding RCI is only going to be for rentals going forward for me.
    II is getting my exchange money.
    With the e-trade and the nicer resorts that I like, i'm pretty much done with RCI.
    I have a free account so I'll rent from them, but they have ruined the exchanges for me.

  7. #7
    Goomba & Super Moderator tonyg's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
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    Southern New England
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    I dumped RCI around 2007 after they drove me nuts with an exchange cancellation 2 weeks prior to occupancy. Seems like there is only 2 places I go to anymore with a 3rd from time to time. My exchanges (II) are down to 1 or 2 per year. I haven't flown anywhere since 2003- never cared for it and it seems to be getting worse every year.

  8. #8
    I can't be bothered with RCI anymore and haven't belonged in years, but I have 2 fixed weeks and a floater in New England that we always use. The rare occasions we do exchange we use the free memberships at all the small independents like Trading Places, Platinum Interchange and DAE and RTX, etc. Usually we exchange for a better off-season week than we have- often times into the resorts we already own at.

    We have an exchange through Trading Places for Cape Cod for Sept. 2018 and a Home Away rental for a small cottage on Lake Champlain for June 2018.

    We just came back from a rental at Rams Horn Village Resort in Colorado. We ponied up the big bucks for it. I never see private rentals listed anywhere for the place and it was too late (last minute change of vacation plans) to try to get the Wyndham one booked through a private owner (though I tried), so we just went for it.

    For extra vacations we just rent- either directly from a resort or privately from another timeshare owner or from Home Away. Sure- it costs more money, but no hassles with TPUs or availability issues or being saddled with more owner maintenance fees and worrying about getting rid of another timeshare when we get older.

  9. #9
    And definitely a lot less work. Just call and reserve or go on line and reserve. The small independent exchange companies- don't even have to deposit my week first with some of them.

    Oh- and there is the Endless Vacations website, and Sky auction and Travel Zoo and Expedia and Booking.com and Hotels.com and Orbitz and hometogo.com, etc etc etc.

    One thing- I do like being at a resort much better than in being in a single house rental. More going on and the amenities and so forth.

  10. #10
    We belong to RCI, II, SFX and DAE, but RCI works the best for me since I am on the east coast and also I have units that convert to a lot of TPUs for the maintenance fees. So I can get a lot of bang for the buck. I will let my II membership expire after my next trade. I will miss the Marriotts but I can probably get them through SFX with advance planning.
    Jacki

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