The term timeshare is actually much broader than you probably think. If you have ever been to a timeshare presentation or some such vacation club sales talk, then your idea of timeshare most probably relates to the program you were being sold at the time. Likewise, if you own a timeshare, then your impression of timeshare will reflect the kind of membership that you own. In actual fact, there are a number of variations of timeshare, such as fixed week timeshare, deeded ownership, right to use timeshare, vacation clubs, points schemes etc, which I will discuss below.
Fixed Week Timeshare
Fixed week timeshare refers to vacation purchases whereby you pay for a fixed week at a resort around the same time of year every year for the length of your contractual agreement, which is usually between 25 and 30 years. Often, these fixed weeks are in the exact same unit in the same resort, while other fixed week timeshares may guaranteed you the same week at the resort in a similar room.
Deeded ownership refers to full and fractional ownership. Full means buying the whole property outright like a second home, while fractional is similar to timeshare in that you only pay for a share of the property, which translates into a set period of time every year. Deeded or titled fractional ownership means that you actually own a bricks and mortar investment that will never expire. You can sell, bequeath or rent your property as you wish.
Right to Use Timeshare
Most timeshares these days work on a right to use basis. This means that you buy the right to access your property during a particular period of time every year. You are not an owner of a property or unit, but an owner of a membership. This kind of scheme is common in residence clubs and vacation clubs. The practicalities are very similar to fixed week timeshares but give you greater flexibility to choose other destinations, bigger or smaller suites or alternative dates for your vacations.
Some timeshares are large vacation clubs where you essentially buy membership rather than a particular unit at a home resort. Your membership may afford you highly discounted rates on vacation accommodation or points, depending on the vacation club. Some international vacation clubs allow you to swap timeshare weeks for alternative destinations, no matter what kind of timeshare scheme you belong to.
Points shames are highly versatile and allow you to use your membership to suit your needs. Timeshare points are common when buying a timeshare from a timeshare operator who has more than one property to offer, or who is planning on extending the itinerary of resorts for members. You purchase points that can then be used towards any of the resorts managed under your membership as well as towards a variety of accommodations. You can also spend the points that you need to stay in different categories of suites. The advantage of timeshare points schemes is that you can often spend points to pay for all inclusive meal plans and other services.
Being armed with this kind of information before you buy a timeshare is important. Timeshares can open the doors to amazing vacation opportunities if you choose the right company for you.