Welcome to Exchange CompaniesWhy Exchange Companies? 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. Third Home is a relatively new option many Estates and Luxxe owners use frequently for variety. Third Home offers exchange options with properties that are relatively comparable to the floor plans being used as exchange "currency".
The Good News/Bad News of Grand Luxxe Residence Club PropertiesWe all love our Grand Luxxe facilities. They are luxurious; spacious; open; well served; well maintained; and located on properties with beaches, golf courses and restaurants.
How do we match these in an exchange? We focus on companies that offer comparable properties.
How Do Eschanges Work?Basically, exchange companies establish relationships with developers to perform several functions, the most important of which is to offer options to developers' clients. They charge an exchange fee for concluding a transaction that takes place between the "home resort" and the "destination resort". The fees could range from as low as $100 US per exchange to over $300 US per exchange, depending on the company and destination.
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 $300 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 had 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. It is not clear whether or not the relationship continues.
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:
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