Q. How do you rent points or reservations?
A. Before we begin, I would like to stress that this is not a guide on how to rent points so that you can start a rental business. Wyndham frowns deeply on using their resorts for commercial purposes. Page 254 of the directory states that ”The Program is for a Member’s own personal use and enjoyment and not for commercial purposes.” Commercial meaning business. If you are trying to make a profit with your timeshare, it’s a rental business. Don’t do it. Wyndham will eventually shut you down. This article is to give you tips on how to rent your unused points or reservations to offset your maintenance fee costs.
For starters, I would not recommend newbies try to rent to strangers on the internet. That includes craigslist, eBay, Redweek, etc. If you’re new to the program or new to renting, it would be best to start with friends and family. These are the safest to rent to because you know them. You know if they are honest or shady. You know their likes, dislikes, and limitations. Having that background information will make it easier to determine what and how to rent to them. Strangers on the internet are wild cards. Most are honest, but there is no shortage of scam artists. We will go over a few common scams and how to avoid them later. Even if you’re not new to the program, always start with friends or family before taking a risk with strangers. It’s often the easier path to take. Along with friends and family, consider renting to co-workers, teachers, friends of friends, and anyone else you might come into contact with often and trust.
It is easier to rent points, then to rent a reservation. Many people try to figure out what an easy rental would be. Popular prime season reservations are usually your best option, but the competition is pretty fierce because everyone is renting out Bonnet Creek at Christmas. It has gotten to the point where even in prime season, you have a hard time charging enough to cover your costs. So instead of trying to figure out what people want, let them tell you what they want.
Before you book anything though you’ll want to decide how much you want to charge. The average is $6 to $8 per 1,000. Whatever you choose, you want your costs to be covered. Those costs include, the maintenance fees on those points, guest certificate fee, housekeeping credits, reservation transaction credits, and points renting. The last three may not apply depending on your membership. VIP owners, for example, have no housekeeping credit fees because they have unlimited housekeeping credits. Gold and Platinum VIP have unlimited reservation transaction credits, so they don’t have to charge for those. Points renting applies if you were short on points, and needed to buy more to complete the reservation*. Except for the maintenance fees, all the charges will be listed when you try to book the reservation, so you will know what you are paying. After all those costs are calculated, you know what you charge. If you are a CWA owner who incurred no extra fees, you’ll want to charge a minimum of $6.92 per 1,000 to break even. That’s assuming you have additional guest certificates you have no intention of using. For a reservation that costs 100,000 points, that owner would charge a minimum of $692. If you have to pay a $19 booking fee and $129 for the guest certificate, that owner would want to charge $840 for that reservation. One last cost to consider is payment fees. If you use a service like Paypal to exchange payment, you’ll want to account for that fee. At last check, the PayPal fee was 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction if the buyer uses a credit card and/or chooses “Good and Services” instead of “Friends an Family”. So if someone breaks it up into multiple payments, you’ll be paying multiple fees.
Unfortunately, there are bad people out there — ones who have no problem taking advantage of you. So you have to be familiar with common scams out there. The bottom line is if something seems off, or they are asking something you don’t feel comfortable with, don’t do business with that person. Renting to strangers has risks. Knowing what steps to take, will help you reduce the risks, however, there is no guarantee you won’t get taken. That’s why I recommend you always start with people you know before renting to strangers.
One scam is the one where they check-in, and later in file a dispute. Either with the credit card company, Paypal, eBay, etc. A lot of times they will say they never got their booking, or that you disappeared. The easiest way to avoid this is to document everything. Keep written records of conversations. If you speak over the phone, send an email summarizing the discussion. In it, ask questions that will encourage engagement. Preferably something that will confirm that they are who they say they are. Ask them to email you a copy of their ID that will be used at check-in, so you are 100% sure there are no typos. When you get it, type out the name, and address, and ask them to confirm that’s their current address. Or ask them to remind you about something you talked about, ”Can you remind me what we decided on with…”. Anything that will show as proof that the person you spoke to on the phone is the same person you are emailing. Make sure, when you accept payment that the name in the credit card matches the name on the reservation. If they are paying for someone else, make sure you have that person’s email address and ID. The next step is after they have checked in, send them a quick email or message thru Facebook messenger. Ask them if everything went smoothly at check-in. Did anyone give you any problems, did they give you the right room type, etc. Anything to get them to confirm they checked in. Since Wyndham will only allow the person who is on the reservation to check-in, and they have to show their ID that matches the reservation, they cannot say they did not get their room, and they cannot say someone pretended to be them.
Another common scam is the buyer saying they will pay after they check-in. They will say they don’t feel comfortable paying a stranger until they are checked in and have the room. Don’t buy it. If they don’t trust you, you have no reason to trust them. You can send them a screenshot proving you have the reservation (block out the member number and email address). That’s all that’s needed until money changes hands. Do NOT put it in their name until you have full payment and they agree to no refunds, in writing. If you use a guest certificate to put it in their name, you don’t get it back if you cancel it. You’re out of a guest certificate that you cannot use for anyone else. If you need to rent to someone else and you’re out of them, you have to spend $99 to buy another ($129 over the phone). So don’t waste those on a buyer before they make the full commitment.
Another scam is them asking to put payment in an escrow until after they have checked in. It sounds innocent until they insist that you use a specific company. It’s hard to verify the company is legit. You could be sending money to a fake company. Just because they have a website, doesn’t mean they are legit. Again, if the buyer doesn’t trust you, you don’t have to trust them.
Another common scam is them saying they are in dire straits. Maybe a natural disaster or their house burned down. They swear they will pay you after they check-in but cannot pay you until the next day. Your generous side wants to help, but there are too many scam artists out there that ruin it for the real victims. Do not feel bad telling them no. There are shelters they can go to, while they get funds together for a reservation. It sounds heartless, but there are people who abuse people’s generous natures. Those are the heartless ones.
Finally, Wyndham does have their own rental program called Extra Holidays. You basically give them your reservations and they try to book it. It has some risks, and they take a 40% cut but reduces the risk of getting scammed by a buyer. They do not rent points. They only rent reservations that are already booked. They do not help you decide what will rent. It’s a shot in the dark in a lot of cases.
* There was a glitch where people with multiple use years were being told they were short on points because it was overlooking an allotment. So if you have a use year that starts October 1st, and January first, it might overlook October 1st. If you try to book s reservation in November, it might tell you that you are short on points, because it doesn’t see the October allotment. This is a known glitch that will hopefully be fixed soon. If you believe that you’re not short on points, call the vacation planning line to report the issue.