Before I talk about the secondary market I should mention the maintenance fees. These fees are based on your home club and the number of points you hold. The formula used to calculate this cost varies between clubs so suffice to say it would be complicated to get into a lot of details. We were shown the formula at the time of our purchase so it isn't something that catches owners unawares. It does add to the cost of the overall vacations and if you purchased that 7500 points those costs add up to some fairly steep fees annually.
Since I buy many things off eBay I thought I would look at time share opportunities there before spending $5.00 a point through the retail sales of the vacation club. I guess I wasn't surprised to find large numbers of offers through escrow companies for various clubs. I discovered through watching these auctions that the average price at that time was around $1.00 a point. I must confess this put a smile on my face. If there were no catch 22s this was going to be the way to get us into that one bedroom condo. In looking for things that could go wrong I contacted the vacation club and asked questions on buying outside their plan. Interestingly, the things that the secondary market points wouldn't cover, was trading points for RCI timeshares in their network. Everything within the club was covered and I had 1500 points that I could trade each year if that was what we wanted.
Now I'm living on eBay looking for a comfortable amount of points to get us to that one bedroom condo. I have finally found a listing for 3500 points in the club I am interested in. Someone had already bid on the auction, but the price is still well below $1.00 per point. I am willing to spend one dollar per point to attempt to win this auction. I place my bid of $3,500.00 and now all I can do is just sit and wait. A week later the auction closes and I find I have won and luckily not at the maximum bid; we actually got those points for $0.80 a point.
I called the vacation company to notify them of my new title holding and they offered to sync the dues payment dates to make it easy for me and told me the points for that year were unused and had been added to my current points. My escrow costs were about $200.00 and the fees had been paid for that year by the previous owner so my costs were under $3,000.00.
Dana and I had started cruising (perhaps another blog topic) so we had our vacations covered for that year and decided to save our points for the next year.
Saving points is a good way to upgrade your vacation or do more than one in a year. Now two vacations in one year is a little difficult while working so we now had around 10,000 points sitting in our account. The trick with saving points to the next year is that those saved points will expire on your dues date the following year; hence we would be taking a vacation club vacation the next year. Overall I was very pleased to have upgraded for significantly less than if I had succumbed to the member upgrade offer of $5.00 a point and to think that we discussed paying that amount.
Visiting another location, Part 5 in this series is the last on the topic of Vacation Clubs.