Best Timeshares to Buy

In the market for a timeshare resale? You might be wondering what the best timeshare to buy is? Well, the answer isn’t an ‘either this one or that one’ sort of thing. I do have my favorite timeshare systems and resorts, but they aren’t always the best answer for everyone. So before I even talk about specifics like resort chains and which are the best timeshare points, let me mention a few tips for buying timeshares.

Buy a Timeshare You Will Use

First off, most people who own multiple vacation properties agree that the best timeshares to own are timeshares that you are going to use. While the exchange programs such as RCItravel and Interval International (and all the independent ones) are great, buying a timeshare to exchange isn’t usually the most cost effective way of using timeshares to vacation. By the time you add up the membership fees and exchange fees, it can cost you quite a bit more than you were expecting to take advantage of your exchange opportunities.

Buy Close to Home

So the best bet is to buy a timeshare that you will want to visit. Related to that tip is the idea that you should buy a timeshare that’s within a day’s drive of your own home. And I’m not talking a 16 hour day here or a marathon 24 hour drive with no sleep. Nope! I think you should plan on an eight hour drive at most. Even that is a long day for most people, but with breaks at is quite manageable and safe.

The reason other owners recommend that the best timeshare to own is within an eight hour drive is so that you still have a way to take a vacation even if airfares go up, or if you find you suddenly can’t take a whole week off work. You should still be able to get away at least for a few days around the weekend.

Also, you are just more likely to use a timeshare close to home and it is a great way to force yourself to take a vacation every year if you are the Type A kinda personality that things all work and no play is an okay way to live. It isn’t! Everyone needs a break and some time for themselves and their family and timeshares offer a great way to provide that for yourself. While timeshares are not a financial investment, they are an investment in your leisure time and I think its worth it, especially when you can pick up a great deal at a timeshare auction.

Do you never vacation close to home? If you live in New England, but never visit Cape Cod, the White Mountains and/or the New Hampshire beaches, then it really does make no sense to buy in those locations, even if they are close to home. So get ready for the next piece of advice.

Buy where you usually vacation

If you make a point of going to Disney World or Hawaii every year, then buying a Disney timeshare, or a timeshare in Hawaii probably makes a lot of sense. What doesn’t make sense is buying a timeshare in Hawaii on that once in a lifetime trip. So be careful at any timeshare presentations you attend on your magical vacation. If you don’t think you’ll be returning next year, the year after that and the year after that, and so on for the next 10 years at least, then please think twice about buying at timeshare in Hawaii, unless you LIVE in Hawaii. Since you can’t fly there from the continental US, it doesn’t meet our 8 hour drive criteria for most people.

The same goes for if you only visit Disney World every several years, or if this is your first trip there. I wouldn’t buy at timeshare in a particular location unless I had already been there a few years in a row, just so I would know I was committed to that destination and unlikely to get bored with it.

Yes, you can use the exchange companies to exchange to different destinations, and everyone should be able to take advantage of that opportunity occasionally. But if you find yourself having to exchange your one and only timeshare every year because you have no plans to go to Hawaii, then it is likely that you will soon get tired of the hassle and may even stop taking your vacations because exchanging consumes both time and money. And that will mean your timeshare purchase has simply gone to waste.

What if you travel to different destinations every year?

Okay, so let’s say you like to travel and see different places. For the most part, you don’t like to go to the same resort every year. You want to experience something new. In that case, then I think your best bet will be to consider one of the timeshare points programs.

In fact, I think this is a great option even if you do vacation at the same destination each year because most of these programs allow you the flexibility of varying your destination and travel dates without having to join an exchange program.

There are several timeshare points programs — Wyndham, Worldmark, RCI, Bluegreen and Marriott all offer ways in which you can travel to different destinations.

Worldmark is a pure points program, which means that your Worldmark credits are not tied to a particular resort. But for the most part, the other programs do have a “home resort” preference which you will want to take advantage of if you have a preferred vacation spot.

For instance, if you do go to Disney World every year, you might want to look at buying Wyndham’s Bonnet Creek Resort, which is actually located on Disney property. That way you can use the advance reservation priority to book your vacation 13 months in advance, or you can use your Wyndham points to travel anywhere else you like in Wyndham’s resort inventory at the 10 month reservation window.

Wyndham timeshares also happen to be a great resale deal as well, so if you take a look at the resort locations and see that they have resorts in destinations you’d like to visit, then I think you should put them near the top of your list.

The other timeshare points programs all work pretty well too, but before deciding which one to plunk down your money on, it is a very good idea to check their destinations. Worldmark is strong in the Pacific region, particularly California. Bluegreen resorts are mostly located in the southeast. In a few days I’ll put together an overview of the different points programs so you can figure out what is going to be the best points timeshare for you.

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26 Responses to Best Timeshares to Buy

  1. Christy Schulze says:

    I am looking into info on timeshares…what can you tell me?? I am looking at costs here in the U.S. and Hawaii or even the islands/caribbean….in the U.S., what places allow pets?? Thanks…we are military…so any info is appreciated.

    • admin says:

      Christy, some Vacation Village resorts allow pets, but overall it is pretty rare for any timeshare to do that. If that is important to you though, you may want to look into Vacation Village resorts.

  2. Ed Jeige says:

    Hello,
    I Live in Toronto Canada. You did not mention Intrawest. How strong financially are they now? For that matter how strong are the rest? We live in uncertain times. Which timeshares could fall by the wayside in a economic collapse? Collingwood is one hour drive for me. I like Montreal…Mt. Tremblant too. But I love safe Caribbean countries.
    Its only a 4 hour flight . No need for 12 hours to Hawaii. Or Florida. I may do Disney occasionally….but prefer the white sands of Sarasota, or into the Keys. With the Canadian dollar at $1.05 and the Florida real estate market hitting near bottom, I feel this is the best place to invest into a timeshare. Its only a two day drive and flights are always cheap.
    Which one would you recommend that is a good safe buy at this time?
    thanks Ed

    • admin says:

      Ed, I haven’t researched Intrawest at all, but I will soon. As far as how strong any of these companies are financially, I couldn’t honestly say. I’m not a financial analyst and you’d have to wade through their stock reports to really determine that. That’s not really an interest of mine. And to be frank, except for my Disney timeshares, I bought my other ones very cheap — so if they go out of business a few years from now it won’t harm me at all. It just means I don’t have to bother reselling them in future lol That said, I can’t imagine most of the major companies going out of business anytime soon.

      Florida has a glut of timeshares and you can pick up one very cheaply if you go resale, but just keep in mind that this makes them difficult to get rid of later. So if you really think you’ll vacation in Florida quite a bit, go for it, but otherwise I would think twice.

  3. Javonne Turner says:

    Hi. The information that you provided was very educational. My husband and I recently purchased a time share in Clermont, Florida from Summer Bay Resort. How well do you know the company and was paying 8650K for a 2 bedroom/ 2 bath villa reasonable? We are also on a point system and we decided on a every other year plan. We receive 66,500 points every other year. Thanks for your help!!!!!!!!!!

    • admin says:

      Hi Javonne, I’ve stayed at Summer Bay before and it is a very nice resort. I have never priced it, but you probably could have gotten it a bit cheaper on the resale market. Still, less than $9K isn’t horrible for a developers price, by any means. If you get lots of great vacations I’m sure you will be very happy. What’s your maintenance fee?

  4. Terry Harrison says:

    Hi,
    My wife and I just purchased a Monarch Grand Vacations points timeshare (72). And we are unsure of our decision. Are timeshares that offer points a good buy? We would like to visit different places each year and we know that 72 points will not provide a full week vacation, however we plan on banking the points with interval international. What do you suggest?

    Thanks,

    Terry

    • admin says:

      Hi Terry, in my opinion points programs are the most flexible so that would make Monarch a good buy if they have resorts where you want to travel. When I bought my Wyndham points, the first thing I regretted was not buying enough points. Eventually I will probably add more, but I make do for now :)

      You will find it more flexible to have more points, I think. However, if you can lump your points together for two years (assuming that makes up a full week) that will make things more convenient for you. I would try to deposit two years worth of points to Interval International. I think you will have a hard time getting exchanges through them if you can’t deposit a full week.

  5. Monica says:

    Hi there,
    Just wondering, you mention it costs time and money to exchange, what types of costs are associated with exchanging? We just purchased a timeshare in Grandview Las Vegas that included weeks and points. I admit it felt like if we had not purchased, we would have missed out. We do travel quite a bit but like to go to different places. We are thinking of revoking our contract and doing a bit more research as we are still within our time frame of canceling. Please tell me any tips you can – thanks and much appreciated!

    • admin says:

      If you are within the rescission period, I would recommend that you just go ahead and revoke. That way you don’t have to worry about the deal and you can take your time doing research and finding the right timeshare for you.

      Thanks for the questions about exchanges. I really need to right up an article about this topic. I believe Grandview is affiliated with RCI, which is one of the companies ( the largest) that handles exchanges. If you want to exchange your timeshare so you can travel to other destinations, then you would pay an annual membership fee to RCI. Right now that is $89 a year if you pay annually. There’s a discount if you buy three or five years at once. In addition to that, each time you do an exchange, you will pay $199 if you call RCI to do it, or you can do it on their website and it will cost $179. There are also fees for guest certificates if you want to give the exchange to friends or family. That’s $59.00.

      The best way to save money on exchange fees is to join a points program that has more properties where you want to typically travel. For example, Bluegreen is strong on the East Coast, Worldmark is strong on the West Coast and Wyndham has properties throughout the US. These options will usually work out much less expensive. Another thing you may want to look at if you really liked Grandview — they have multiple resorts. Are you able to trade internally at low cost??

  6. Jeff says:

    Hi. What do you think about Hilton Grand Vacations timeshares. I have done the Hilton presentation and like the product. I think I can buy a package I like for about 75% less than they charge on the resale market.

  7. Jeffrey Stockton (honolulu) says:

    I was wondering what you think about Diamond Resorts. I have a friend who works there and she offered me 3500 points for $9500 plus 9000 bonus points. The deed would be on their Kauai resort. I think this works out to one to two weeks in a one bedroom. They seem to have a good program with Interval World. I was reading you can buy the points cheaply on the resale market but then they wont transfer to Interval World unless you are able to get them to actually agree to do it. I was thinking of buying 4000-5000 point on the resale market and getting the absolute minimum points from the developer on the condition that they roll the resale points over. Thanks for your informative article. I really enjoyed it.

    • admin says:

      Jeffrey, I think Diamond used to be Sunterra. They have some very nice resorts. But I think there will be cheaper ways for you to get access to Interval International so I would not buy Diamond Resorts just for that access. You may want to look at Worldmark resales instead. I would do a little more research on transfer rights for Diamond. I, unfortunately, don’t know how their program works.

  8. Doreen says:

    I just bought Grand Pacific Monarch. I really don’t know much about them but it all seemed nice. Is there any other that you might recommend other than GPM? They let me try it out for 24 months for $2495. I like Disney but you don’t get to keep at the end of your term (50 years).

    • admin says:

      Doreen, the great thing about Disney and other right to use timeshares is the fact that you automatically get rid of it in 50 years LOL. Timeshare are hard to sell and passing them on to your relatives when you die is just creating a burden for them. Seriously, ask yourself, what will you be doing in 50 years? Do you think you’ll still be going to Disney World? Then why worry about it. If you like it, buy it.

      I’m not that familiar with Grand Pacific Monarch, but the two year deal sounds okay. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could actually buy one of their timeshares for less than that though ;)

  9. Doreen says:

    Also, do you recommmend resale? I’ve heard resale is not good because some people get stuck with the maintenance fees that haven’t been paid for by the previous owner. What website would you recommend to buy resale timeshare? Thank you :)

    • admin says:

      Doreen, resale timeshares are fine and if you do your due diligence you should not get stuck with anyone’s previous maintenance fees. I have bought timeshares from Ebay and also from Holiday Group. You can also try sites like Redweek.

  10. Sara says:

    Hello their,

    Have you ever hear of The San Francisco Exchange company and HSI ?

  11. Maggie says:

    I travel to Asia most often. Is there a timeshare that’s best for travels to Asia?

    • admin says:

      Maggie, I’m not too sure. I know there are a few different brands there. There is Club Mahindra who are strong in India. There is FVC in China. I know that Wyndham has some affiliated resorts there too. Your best bet might be to buy a timeshare that is affliated with RCI Points as that would probably get you the best access into Asian resorts.

  12. Dazz says:

    Hello there,

    I just purchased a timeshare from Silverleaf Resorts. I live in Lousiana but the resort I bought was previously owned to a couple in Branson, MO at Holiday Hills. I have week 2 in January every other year with a connection to RCI and i have bonus time. I’m new to this and have 2 days to cancel the contract. Have you heard anything about this resort? I know they have 13 properties. I do travel alot to different locations about 5 times a year for 2-3 days at a time but i’m very thrifty and can usually get a room for 60-70 a night with no strings and can go where i want to go when i want to go. Is there really a right off for timeshare on for your taxes if you have a deed like that of a purchase of a home?

    • admin says:

      Dazz, what you want to be looking at is whether their properties work for you and what their terms are for making short 2-3 day stays. I don’t own SIlverleaf and don’t really know enough about them to advise, but I can tell you that Wyndham charges “reservation points” for each transaction you make and there are housekeeping points as well. This can add up if you are doing a series of short stays rather than one long stay so you might want to check and see if SIlverleaf has something similiar or if it is more like Disney Vacation Club where you just book the number of days you want and don’t have to worry about extra expenses.

      If you currently itemize your taxes, you may save a bit. If you don’t itemize (or are unable to do so because you don’t have enough appropriate expenses, it won’t save you anything. I would not factor any tax savings into a decision to buy. Honestly, if you are questioning whether you have made the right choice, I think your best bet is to just CANCEL. You can always purchase it again later if you decide it is really want you want, but once you own a timeshare it is not easy to get rid of, so tread cautiously.

  13. Vanjie Garcia says:

    We recently bought a timeshare located inWestgate Town Center, Florida. What can you say about Westgate, is it a good timeshare compnay?

    thanks,
    Vanjie

    • Jenn says:

      It’s a big well known timeshare company with a reputation for being a bit aggressive about sales. I don’t own there though so I don’t know what it is like for owners.

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