Before learning about RCI renewal, it is important to get a detailed understanding of what the RCI Points program is all about and how it works. Also, RCI Points are not the same as RCI CRE points, which are related to the Rehabilitation Center of India, a different institution altogether. So, what exactly is the RCI Points program?
What Is the RCI Points Program?
RCI is a timeshare exchange company. A timeshare is also known as vacation ownership and is basically a piece of property or real estate that is owned or used by multiple people via divided ownership or divided usage rights, including condos and resort cottages. Many parties own or use the properties according to a timeshare program, where each owner gets a share of time in which to use the property. Generally, the minimum amount of time you can purchase the property for is one week, with the weeks located in the high season having the highest demand and therefore price.
Timeshare properties can be sold on this basis with potential buyers getting a “right to use” purchase, which gives them no claim to ownership, a lease or a partial ownership basis. The way timeshare programs work is slightly different around the world and has gone through constant evolution since the inception of the idea in the UK in the early 1960s.
The idea of exchanging timeshares has been used as a way to attract mass buyers to purchasing timeshares. Owners of timeshares can exchange their time in units of weeks, either through agencies or independently. There are many timeshare exchange agencies around the world, and RCI is one of the largest, with thousands of participating resorts around the world.
A timeshare exchange company has a resort affiliate program, and members are able to exchange timeshare slots with these affiliate resorts. The fact that owners can exchange their timeshares leads to high liquidity in this market, with most timeshares selling regardless of where a resort is located. The main disclosure on a timeshare agreement is the trading power of the resort in question, depending on the season in which the timeshare is owned and the location of the resort. For example, a resort in Hawaii will be very marketable on the exchange market, depending on the week and season over which the owner has claim. The most expensive timeshares, of course, will be those attached to the most desirable locations in the world during the high season. This depends on the demand patterns that are typical of any vacation area with heavy traffic. Even a timeshare in Palm Springs, California will have a lesser trading power in the middle of August as opposed to sometime in December. The reason is simple: Many people want to go to Palm Springs, California, but they would rather not do it when the temperature is in excess of 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
The RCI Points program is a vacation ownership system that is based on points. Basically, you get points for the timeshare weeks that you own. When you first join the program, you deposit the timeshare weeks you would like to be able to exchange with the program. You will get points based on the value of your timeshare weeks. These points can then be used to stay at any participating property, resort, cruise or hotel on the system regardless of who owns them. You can even book airline tickets on the system. You will have to pay an annual fee as well, which you pay whenever you would like to renew.
The Main Benefit is Flexibility
The beauty of the whole RCI Points system is its flexibility. You can access accommodations of any size or type. The only limit, generally, is the number of points you have. You can also stay for as long as you want, including weekends and midweek. You can also extend the use of your points to travel, such as flights and most other services related to travel.
Members of the program will receive a directory that lists all the resorts in the RCI Points program along with the number of points required to access them and their rating in quality. Every unit, no matter its size and time frame, has a point value. This is true for the 4,000 affiliate resorts in the program worldwide.
As an RCI member, you can plan your vacations well in advance, knowing the exact cost of your vacation in terms of points by accessing a grid that’s easy to understand, either online or within the brochure provided by RCI. The brochure shows you how much your vacation will cost and the standard of quality of the different accommodation units. However, instead of the cost being outlined in terms of currency, it is outlined in terms of points.
Types of Points You Can Own
There are three types of points in the system: fixed points, floating points and pure points.
Fixed Points: Fixed ownership means you own the same apartment number and the same week from one year to the next for your timeshare property. These points are different in terms of the time of the year and the size of the unit involved. It also varies within the key ratings of the points. For example, you may be an owner of fixed time and have red, white and blue sections of the week, so named because of the relative demand of the time of the week. However, you may find that your red, white and blue sections are different from those of other timeshares with different levels of demand.
Floating Points: If you own some time – say, a week – in a given resort that doesn’t fall on the exact same week from one year to the next, then what you have is a floating ownership. You will basically have weeks in each of the three color bands – red, white and blue – and the value will be the same based on the size of the unit. This is because an average is taken.
Pure Points: You may own RCI points that aren’t attached to a specific timeshare week. In this case, you are said to have pure points ownership. This is a special form of floating time.
The kind of points you book for a vacation depends on the type of points you own. You have a massive advantage over independent timeshare owners, however, because of the amount of choice you have. You can access resorts in both the RCI Points system and the separate RCI Week system. Over 4,000 resorts are open to you.
As an RCI Points member, you also get to enjoy many different types of accommodation for your vacations. You can access resorts, boats, hotels, Winnebagos, cottages, cruises, stately homes and villas, among many other options.
You first need to note how many weeks of vacation you want to take in a year. You should also note the times of the year that you would like to travel, as well as have a good idea of where you are most likely to go for vacation over the next 12 months. It could be the Canary Islands, the UK, Florida or pretty much anywhere.
The number of RCI Points you would need to travel to these places will be determined by a number of factors:
- The size of the unit you will occupy
- The number of weeks in a year that you would like to travel
- The time of year that you would like to go on vacation. This will determine a large percentage of the number of points that you will need.
- The country where you would like to go
- The key rating of the particular resource at which you are interested in spending your vacation
- Your willingness to take a last-minute vacation
Usually, these points work on the basis of a percentage discount., depending how close to the starting date you book. For example, if you book 45 days prior to the start date, you will get a 10 percent reduction in points. This reduction increases the closer to the start date that you book. The maximum reduction is 50 percent, which happens when you book 14 days before the start date.
You can also enjoy the services of RCI Points partners when you’re a member of the program according to the company. You can exchange your points for various leisure and travel services, including country cottages, golf activities, theme parks, hotels, cruises and car rentals.
You can save on maintenance costs with RCI Points. All timeshare programs charge annual maintenance fees as part of ownership. With most timeshare programs, you only get one week for the annual maintenance fee that you pay. With RCI Points, however, you can get more than one week. In fact, you can get up to four weeks of vacation for the single annual maintenance fee that you pay, especially if you are willing to go on vacation in the low season. Since you are able to get so much out of your points, your maintenance expenses are much lower than what you would have paid had you rented a comparable unit for accommodation.
RCI Renewal Instructions
There isn’t a special RCI application form for the points renewal. Instead, you will go through a simple process. Go to the RCI member sign-in area on the website. There you will have to enter your username and your password and click the “Points Sign In” button. Assuming you entered the correct login information, you should be able to access your member page.
Once in your account, click the tab labeled “My Account” from your home page and scroll down to find out if your membership term has reached its expiration date. You will find the expiration date to the right of the section labeled “Membership Term Expiration Date.” You should make sure to pay your membership renewal fee before this date, otherwise you will end up paying a penalty fee for being late.
Under the “My Account” tab on your home page, you will find the “Account Information” link. Make sure such things as your billing address and your payment information are all up to date.
If everything is in order, click the option labeled “Renew Membership” under the “My Account” tab. You can pick whichever term you prefer when renewing your membership. Once you’ve picked one, click the button labeled “Submit” and you’re done.
Alternatively, you can renew your RCI Points membership offline by calling the customer service number at 877-968-7476.
Nicky is a business writer with nearly two decades of hands-on and publishing experience. She's been published in several business publications, including The Employment Times and Business Idea Factory. She also studied business in college.