Timeshare Exchange
The exchange system of timeshare holidays is regarded highly by the timeshare industry as it facilitates choice in destinations which some consumers enjoy.

The principle is that a consumer deposits the week(s) they own, into a ‘bank’ for one year. The bank exchange company then takes out of the bank another week, in another resort, worldwide. There is potentially a great degree of flexibility in the system – you can for example bank a June week in a resort in England and take out of the bank a March week in a resort in another part of the world, in another year.

There are four timeshare exchange companies currently serving the UK:

The ‘big’ two: Resorts Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II)

and two smaller ones: Dial an Exchange (DaE) and United Kingdom Resort Exchange (UKRE). More details

Buying a Timeshare with the main purpose of mainly using it for exchange purposes – seeing the world in quality accommodation

Both RCI and II operate their systems on the basis of ‘Trading Power’. This means they measure the qualities of the week offered by you against the qualities of the week you are looking for.

To make this comparison they use various criteria to grade the relative trading power of the week you own and the weeks that you will be offered for exchange. Essentially a comparison of supply and demand. The key factors in assessing the supply and demand are:

This is a major factor. It is a measure of the level of demand for exchanges into a region in comparison to the availability of accommodation in that region. If a holiday area has few resorts, and a great many owners wanting to visit, then the region has a high rating. For example, the UK and Ireland are high demand/low supply areas. On the other hand areas such as the Canaries, with numerous resorts, have a low rating because of the ready availability of accommodation for exchange.

Resort Quality
Three basic grades:

The top grade: Gold Crown (RCI) or Five Star (Interval)
Medium Grade: Resort of International Distinction – RID (RCI)
Lower grade: Affiliate

Apartment size
Apartments are generally measured by their sleeping capacity

Studio (sleeping 2 or perhaps 4)
1 Bedroom (sleeping 2 or 4)
2 Bedroom (sleeping 4 or 6)
3 Bedroom (sleeping 6 or 8)

The ‘Colour’ of Your Week
The timeshare year is divided into three seasonal bands:

High Season: Red
Medium Season: White (RCI) or Yellow (Interval)
Low Season: Blue (RCI) or Green (Interval)

Unfortunately this seasonal banding system does not provide the buyer with much help to the trading power of a week. With only three bands the grading is too coarse to identify actual demand for weeks. For example, all weeks in the Canaries are High season, including January and November, whereas the main holiday demand for exchanges in the Canaries is during the summer months and demand during the winter is much lower.

So, a buyer of timeshare looking to get the best choice of exchange should look for:

–  a larger apartment (most important if a school holiday period, less important if outside this peak period)

–  a resort of high(er) quality grade

–  a region/month combination which has a high ratio of demand to supply

The timeshare exchange system is not perfect – exchange companies cannot guarantee the ownership of a peak week, in a top quality resort in the high demand region will get the exact exchange which you want. But the greater your ‘Trading Power’, the better chance of getting the exchange you really desire.


Last modified: March 11, 2016