Interval International is one of the oldest and highly regarded exchange companies in the industry. Interval essentially created an industry. Its services were beneficial to both developers and owners of shared use of the developers' properties. Essentially, Interval and other exchange companies allowed the developer to offer its clients greater flexibility through the use of properties beyond the scope of the developer's own properties. This is a major service, especially under circumstances when maintenance fees are mandatory.
Why? Early in the evolution of the timeshare industry, timeshare owners paid maintenance fees annually regardless of use. Essentially, use is paid for, so the timeshare owner benefits if he or she can have access to other properties through an exchange program.
There are many exchange companies. RCI is used by Grand Mayan, Mayan Palace and other Vidanta resorts. San Francisco Exchange, Dial and Exchange, many home swap networks and vacation swap networks are examples of companies that provide a valuable service to the timeshare industry.
How do we match these in an exchange? It does not seem possible through the Interval exchange because the value of the Luxxe is so superior to the average timeshare property.
Most exchange companies also charge an annual membership fee, which may or may not have additional benefits associated with the membership. These fees could range upwards of $100 US per year to over $200 per year.
Grupo Vidanta has relationships with at least two exchange companies and affiliations with many more. The exchange relationships we know are in place include:
The Grand Luxxe
The Grand Mayan
The Mayan Palace
The Grand Bliss
The Sea Garden
In addition to the Exchange Companies listed above, Grupo Vidanta has a relationship with a company called Holiday Systems International. This company provides many services that are valuable to both Grupo Vidanta sales personnel and purchasers of Grupo Vidanta products. Some of the services include offering exchanges, selling weeks, purchasing weeks, assisting sales personnel with their presentations and providing closing assistance.
Our goal is to create value from what we own. In this case the value comes from gaining insight to the exchange process to learn how we might benefit and possibly suggest our own improvements.
Have you tried exchanging a week you have reserved in your Luxxe for a week at an Interval International affiliated resort? We have not, but we not long ago did try to exchange our Paradise Village weeks.
First, the process involved fees to participate:
- Interval International membership fees
- Booking fees
- International booking fees
- Don't forget the maintenance fee to Paradise Village
How was our experience? We wound up batting 500 instead of a 1000 for use and 333 instead of 1000 for memorable facilities.
- One great week at the Shadow Ridge Marriott in Palm Springs
- One great week was used by our son's family of four at Villa Palmar in Cabo San Lucas
- One OK week was used by our daughter's family of four for a ski week near Bend Oregon
- Three failed weeks for our daughter and ourselves
Today's travel world is so complex with options, and the ideas behind the options are terrific. They have been created in order to increase the value of shared ownership interests. In our view, it takes discussions like these to gain an understanding of the value offered and actually received.
Following are member's comments about their experiences with Exchange Companies:
According to WorldTimeshareDirectory.com, there are nine primary exchange companies that operate to expand use of shared ownership contracts beyond the options presented by the source of the shared ownership. The source of shared ownership contracts is usually a real estate developer or the timeshare arm of a major hotel chain.|
The nine companies include the following companies:
This information was found in the WorldTimeshareDirectory.com website. It is no longer active.
The current exchange companies do not have inventory to match the Luxxe. It would be smart if the highest quality vacation residences (dare I say timeshares?) would group together for exchanges limited to each other. The Grand Luxxe, the Fairmont, the Four Seasons and a small group of other vacation residences would alone qualify. The Registry Group is an attempt to do this but most of the inventory doesn't make a good exchange for the Grand Luxxe and the two bedroom Grand Luxxe can't trade into it anyway. At least one vacation residence, the Fairmont, have found a partial way around this problem by allowing vacation residences to exchange into suites at their hotels around the world. A couple of years ago I traded my best ski week in the Fairmont Telluride for a penthouse at the New York Plaza in June.The Grand Luxxe does not have that possibility, not yet, but if a number of Mansions of the World are built perhaps this will happen.|
I deposited four weeks of our two bedroom Grand Luxxe suite with Interval back in April, 2010.|
We exchanged two weeks for a trip in Aruba during June, 2010 at the Marriott and Caribana; one week at the Cochas Chinas in Puerto Vallarta as a gift for my sister-in-law and her husband, and just this weekend finally exchanged for a two bedroom suite at the Westin Kierland Villas in Scottsdale, Arizona in September.
With the exception of the Westin Kierland, the Interval exchanges that we transacted didn't compare at all to the excellent quality of the Grand Luxxe. We are travelling to Scottsdale to use the last week exchange deposit, so we don't have to pay to extend one more time. I really like Scottsdale and travel their frequently for golf and sports outings; however, my wife has never been to Scottsdale. We decided to use up our last exchange to travel to Scottsdale, where under normal circumstances we would have stayed at my friend's condo, or purchased a Getaway at a cheaper rate than the Grand Luxxe fee. In fact the Interval Getaways to the Westin Kierland Villas for a two bedroom cost $430/week – so I feel that we didn't get a good deal at the end of the day.
My point of all this is that we really regret having deposited these four weeks with Interval for exchange. It has been very difficult to find a comparable exchange for the Luxxe with Interval, and at locations and times that we were interested in.
I have voiced my displeasure with both our sales rep at Nuevo Vallarta and with Interval. The service and number of high end exchanges with RCI was far superior than Interval. We exchanged our old Grand Mayan suite a number of times for a beautiful timeshare in Tuscany, Italy – which is not a resort registered with Interval. In fact RCI even advised us how to split the Grand Mayan suite in order to exchange for a one bedroom and two bedroom suite, rather than just a straight up two bedroom exchange.
We will never exchange with Interval again due to the poor quality and availability of comparable resorts. We will use Interval's Getaway program in the future as they do have good deals for Getaways from time to time.
Hopefully Grupo Vidanta will reconsider going back to RCI for all the Grand Luxxe members.
We missed it! Registry Collection and Grupo Vidanta announced on April 9, 2012 their new relationship in involving the Residences at the Grand Luxxe and the Grand Luxxe SPA residences. Here is an excerpt of the press release:|
The Registry Collection, the world’s largest luxury exchange network, announced its new affiliation with Grand Luxxe through The Residence at Grand Luxxe and Grand Luxxe Spa Tower.Read the full release at http://www.hotelinteractive.com/article.aspx?articleID=24795