Q. What is the difference between buying directly from Wyndham versus resale points on a third party market like eBay?
A. If you are asking this question, you already know that Wyndham points can be purchased on a third-party market such as eBay, RedWeek, TUG, Timeshare Nation, etc. Maybe you already know they can be found for pennies on the dollar, and in some cases, free. You are probably here, wondering what the catch is. There are some catches, but depending on what it is you want from your timeshare, it may not matter. Wyndham does have some limits on resale bought points. For a good number of owners, they won’t miss the “perks” they lose, from buying resale.
VIP – Resale points do not count towards VIP status, nor will they take you to the next level if you are already VIP. If you’re not already VIP, this means no 60-day discount on all new bookings. Nor will they be eligible for an upgrade. No unlimited housekeeping, no extra time to roll points forward. No extra guest certificates. While some might consider this a minor inconvenience, a fair number don’t miss them at all. If you travel once or twice a year, you likely will never miss these benefits. As far as discounts, Wyndham offers specials on certain resorts, that are available to everyone. You can get anywhere 15% to 50% off at select locations. In some cases, those are limited to certain unit sizes. If you do have to pay for housekeeping, it’s usually a nominal fee. The costs of housekeeping are a small cost, compared to the upfront costs of VIP. The extra costs for fees you might incur by not being VIP are small compared to the upfront costs of VIP. You will not see a monetary gain with VIP. If you go VIP Silver with the PIC program (and you do it the right way), you’ll save on maintenance fees. That will help get your upfront costs back over time. Even then, it will take about 10 – 15 years to make up for the upfront costs. See my article on “Should I go VIP?” to see if VIP benefits will be beneficial to you.
Club Pass – Club Pass is the exchange program that allows you to book WorldMark resorts with your points, for a $99 fee, 9 months from check-in. Resale points cannot be used for Club Pass bookings. If you want to book WorldMark, but don’t want to buy retail points, you have three options. First, you can try booking WorldMark through RCI. There is limited inventory in RCI, so you will likely have to set up an ongoing search, and you’ll want to do that as far out as you can. You can set up the ongoing search as far as two years out. Even though you can only book 9 months out, setting up an ongoing search two years out, puts you to the front of the line if something becomes available at the nine months mark or later. There is no guarantee you will get it. Your second option is to buy a resale contract on eBay (or another third-party market). I would consider this option if you want to go to a WorldMark resort at least once a year. Buying a resale contract will give you better booking benefits. You can book up 13 months out at WorldMark resorts. Booking at 13 months, is four months sooner than Club Wyndham owners, which means better availability, and more likely the chances you’ll get what you want. Finally, your last option is to pay cash for your stay. The cheapest cash option is usually to rent from another owner. RedWeek is a good place to do that. If you go with RedWeek, stick with the “RedWeek Verified” listings. Those bookings and the identity of the seller is verified by RedWeek. If the idea of trusting a stranger makes you queasy, you can use one of those hotel booking sites to book. Those are significantly more expensive, but a safer option.
Plus Partners – If you already have one purchase, you’re likely already enrolled in Plus partners, so this does not pertain to you. Plus Partners is a program that allows you to use your points to book airfare, car rentals, attractions tickets, etc. The return is not the greatest. Your better option would be to take those points you would use for Plus Partners and book a reservation for a friend. (1) You can charge them $6 per 1,000 points and get a much bigger return on those points. One owner told me he got two round airfare tickets and a compact SUV rental for a week for 300,000 points. I did the math. If those were CWA points, the maintenance fees on those points were over $1,900. I priced out the airfare and car rental and came in $700 cheaper when you paid cash. If he would have rented those points to a friend, he would have the cash to pay for airfare and rental and have $700 leftover for fun stuff. I would not recommend using your points for anything other than booking resorts.
RCI Nightly stays – This program falls under Plus Partners, but I felt it was worth listing separately, because it may matter to some. RCI nightly stays are what allow you to book single nights with your points, at an RCI resort that participates in the RCI Nightly Stay program. There are a fair amount of resorts that participate, but it’s a small fraction compared to how many resorts are within the RCI network of resorts. You can find a list of participating resorts in the directory on pages 263- 279 of the 2019 Club Wyndham directory. For the resorts that do not participate, you have to book full weeks. If an owner does not have Plus Partners, they cannot book RCI Nightly stays, they have to book full weeks at all resorts. The RCI Nightly Stays booking fee is cheaper. Normally the booking fee is $239 a week. With RCI nightly stays, it’s a smaller booking fee. For 1 to 13 nights, the fee can range from $49 to $199. That’s for the full reservation, not per night. So, a one-night stay is $49. A 4-night stay is $129 total, plus points. RCI nightly stays are handy for if you just need a weekend somewhere. Otherwise, you have to book full weeks. You do not have to stay the full week if you do not want to. There are some listings in RCI, that you can book that are specifically 3, 4, or 5-night stays. They are listed separately under a different resort ID. When searching RCI, if you see the same resort listed multiple times, look at the resort name more carefully. There may be something like “(5 days)” listed next to it. If you book one of those, you are booking that many days and not a full week.
Wyndham rewards conversion – Anyone can participate in the Wyndham rewards program and earn points to go towards booking free nights in a hotel. Resale owners cannot convert their future Club Wyndham points to Wyndham rewards points. Retail owners can convert their future years points to Wyndham rewards for a $99 fee. It’s 37,500 points for 15,000 rewards points. If a hotel is 15,000 points per night, and you want to book 2 nights, it will cost you 75,000 Club Wyndham points and a $99 fee. If you own CWA points, book two nights, it’s 75,000 points. The maintenance fees on 75,000 CWA points is $494.25. Add the $99 fee and that booking cost you $593.25, or $296.63 per night. I can get a nice hotel room on Priceline for cheaper than that. Also, you can only use future years’ points. You cannot use leftover points at the end of the year.
That’s it. That’s all you’re missing if you buy resale. Salespeople do not like resale contracts. They don’t make a commission if you buy resale. Rouge salespeople may use the term “dirty points”. Or they will try to tell you that the maintenance fees are higher than if you buy retail. Maybe they will tell you, that you do not see all of the inventory. None of that is true. You pay the same maintenance fees at your resort (or CWA) as retail owners do. If you do not have Plus partners, you pay a slightly cheaper program fee, so it’s cheaper to own all resale. You also have the same booking privileges as retail owners. You have access to the same inventory as well. Retail does not get priority over a resale. They may say other things too. If you are in doubt, call the main number. The person who answers the phone does not make a commission. They have no reason to lie to you. If you buy retail, buy it on your terms and based on your research. Not what a salesperson told you. You will be a much happier owner if you have all the facts before buying.
(1)* Most charge $6-$8 per 1,000 to rent their points. Renting to friends and family is the safest option. If you’re new to the whole renting process, stick with renting to friends and family. At least until you get the hang of it and are willing to trust a stranger. There are very few protections when it comes to selling to strangers. If you have to pay for a guest certificate or any other fee, you want to add that to whatever cost you are charging for the rental. For example, if you book a reservation to a friend that cost you 300,000 points, at $6 per 1,000 points, that’s $1,800 for that booking. If you had to pay $99 for a guest certificate, you would charge $1,899. Do not put the reservation in their name, until you have been paid. You don’t get that guest reservation or fee back if they do not pay you. You also do not get the reservation transaction credit or fee back. Also, I would highly recommend you say upfront that there are no refunds, but it’s up to you. I do not like offering them, because a buyer can choose to cancel if they find a better deal elsewhere, and I lost time I could have been searching for finding a serious buyer. Worse, if they cancel less than 15 days from check-in, you lose all your points. By letting them know upfront, there are no refunds, you weed out the buyers who are not serious or will jump as soon as they find a better deal. Also, make sure all the details of the person checking in are correct. Make sure the name and address match exactly what’s on their driver’s license. If you have to correct the name on the reservation, it will cost another guest certificate or $99. So, make sure it’s right the first time. Finally, the person checking in must be 21 (25 for Emerald Grand) and has a credit card for the deposit. No pets are allowed at any of the resorts.