Q: What is the PIC Program and how can it save me money on VIP?
PIC stands for Personal Interval Choice. The PIC Plus section of the directory (Page 292 in the 2018-2019 directory) explains more, but this is the nutshell version. If you have a qualifying fixed non-Wyndham week timeshare, you can enroll up to two of them in PIC. There are two flavors of PIC. PIC Express which is good for five years. Then there is PIC Plus which is permanent for as long as you own both the fixed week and points contract. Each fixed week as a fixed-point value:
one bedroom 105,000 points
two bedrooms 154,000 points
three (or more) bedrooms 254,000 points.
With PIC Plus, you can use those points towards VIP status and make reservations. With PIC Express, it only counts towards VIP status. You cannot use those points to make bookings. To enroll a fixed week into either PIC program, you need to make a point purchase. The minimum purchase is 49,000 points per PIC week you wish to enroll if you buy through corporate (aka telesales). You have to enroll them at the time of purchase. If you buy points through the resorts, you will likely have to buy more than 49,000 points each. You can enroll up to two fixed weeks for a maximum of 508,000 points (two 3 bedrooms). PIC enrollment status is non-transferable in the resale market. So, if you sell your points contract, the PIC enrollment doesn’t go with it. You can only add a PIC to your account if you buy points directly from Wyndham.
If you enroll (2) three-bedroom fix/float weeks, and buy a 105,000 point package, it will run you in the neighborhood of $16k – $17k if you buy CWA, but you will have 613,000 VIP eligible points for bookings (with PIC Plus), which puts you at Silver and if you decide to go gold later, you only need to buy 87,000 points to do it.
A couple catches. First, as with any timeshare, those fixed/float weeks come with maintenance fees. For a three-bedroom, try to keep it below $800 and you’ll MF cost will be lower than most point contracts. Also, you still have to pay the Wyndham program fee on those points of 60 cents per 1,000 points. For 254,000 points, that’s $152.40 per year or $12.70 a month. Finally, if you convert those weeks to points, there is an $89 fee per week you do it. You only pay the $89 fee is you do the exchange. If you use your week as is, or exchange it within RCI, you do not have to pay the $89 fee. The points will still count towards VIP, even if you do not do the exchange.
Think of PIC as just another exchange program. It will save you 10’s of thousands of dollars on VIP. If you keep the maintenance fees low on the fixed weeks, your overall maintenance costs PIC weeks, CWA points, program fees, exchange fee), will be cheaper than if you owned 613,000 CWA points. Let’s look at the scenarios I laid out on the chart. Scenario one (left) is an owner who owns 613,000 CWA points bought on eBay. Scenarios 2, is an owner who owns 105,000 CWA points (retail), and two PIC weeks they exchange every year for points.
|Scenario 1||Scenario 2|
|613,000 CWA points (resale or retail)||105,000 CWA with 2 PIC weeks (508,000 points)|
|Maintenance Fees: $3,671.87||CWA maintenance fees: $628.95|
|Program fee (60 cents per 1,000): $367.80||PIC week Maintenance fees: $1,500|
|Program fee (60 cents per 1,000): $367.80|
|(2) PIC exchange fees: $178|
|Total yearly: $4,039.67||Total yearly costs: $2,674.75|
As you can see from the chart, scenario 2 with (PIC) saves $1,364.92 a year or $113.74 per month, over scenario 1 (straight points). That’s because the maintenance fees on the PIC points are cheaper than CWA. As I mentioned earlier, enrolling a PIC requires a retail purchase. If you went with straight points on eBay, you’re looking at about $1,500 after transfer fees and closing costs. $1,500 is a lot cheaper than $16,000. Still, if you look at the long-term costs, the PIC scenario wins. Let’s do a little more math.
|Scenario 1||Scenario 2|
|613,000 CWA points (resale)||105,000 CWA with 2 PIC weeks (508,000 points)|
|Purchase cost on eBay: $1,000||CWA points cost: $16,500|
|Closing fees: $200||(2) PIC weeks cost on ebay: $50|
|Transfer Fee: $299||Closing costs for CWA points: $395|
|Closing cost on PIC weeks: $0|
|Total: $1,499||Total yearly costs: $16,945|
Resale is cheaper by $15,446. Sounds great right? Remember how I said that buying 613,000 CWA points costs $1,364.92 a year more than the PIC scenario above? The same amount of points, but the long-term costs are $1,364.92 cheaper per year. That’s just this year. Let’s say when the maintenance fees rise, the gap remains the same. It’s always $1,364.92 cheaper with PIC. In 11 years, those savings would have made up for the upfront cost you paid from buying retail. After year 11, you still have fees lower than CWA, and you still have VIP benefits. So, if you’re in this for the long haul, and you can use the points and VIP benefits, I would consider going VIP using PIC.
Word of caution, not all salespeople understand the PIC program. It’s not a widely discussed program. Telesales is a little more knowledgeable and has its in-house PIC experts. Do not get PIC Plus confused with PIC Express. PIC express is temporary, and you do not get points that you can use for reservations. They are just symbolic. Make sure when you are looking for fixed or floating weeks, you confirm with telesales, that it qualifies for PIC Plus. You cannot enroll weeks at resorts owned by Wyndham. The weeks cannot be tied to any points system (RCI points, DVC, etc). They cannot be Diamond, Blue Green, Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, of DVC resorts. I recommend picking an RCI gold crown resort since they are nicer. For PIC, crown status is not a requirement.
PIC Exchange Process
There is a process to exchange your points for PIC. It has to be completed by 9 months from the start of your week. So, if the check-in date for your week is on October, 1, you will want to complete the PIC exchange by January 1. I would recommend you do it 12 months out the first time, in case something goes wrong. If you have a float week, you have to “book” your week. Make sure they choose a date that is more than 9 months away. So, if you’re depositing 2020, have the resort “book” the week between October 15th and December 31st. That should give you plenty of time to complete the process. Your maintenance fees for the year you are depositing must be paid in full before you can deposit it.
Once the week is in your name, call the resort to find out what the deposit process is. Do NOT mention anything about PIC. You will just confuse them. Those resorts are independently owned, and normally have no knowledge of Wyndham or the PIC program. The ones that do may have limited experience with it. They will not be able to answer your questions about PIC. When you call them, they will either deposit the week for you or tell you to call RCI. If anyone asks for your RCI number, log onto the My Club Wyndham website, and go to “My Ownership” On that page, you will see the words “World Wide Exchange” Below it, you will see your RCI number. That is the RCI number you give to RCI or the resort your week is deeded to. That is the number you use, even if you already have an RCI account. You need the RCI account you got with your Wyndham ownership since the two are tied to each other. Once the RCI deposit is done, wait for the second email from RCI. The first will tell you that the process is started. The second will tell you it’s confirmed and has all the details you need. Make sure RCI and the resorts have your correct email address. Once you receive that final confirmation email, call Wyndham’s main reservation line. Tell them you want to do the PIC exchange. Make sure you have that email handy because it will have all the details they need. It will cost you $89 per exchange. You will get another email from Wyndham a few days after the exchange, saying everything was verified and the points are in your account. Then you can book your trip through My Club Wyndham. The points will be in your regular use year pool. You can use them like normal points, except you cannot use them for ARP bookings (13 months out).
You are not required to exchange every year. If you want to use the week or use the deposit for yourself, you can. Your PICs will still count towards VIP. However, if you do decide to use the week or the deposit, you will not get to use those PIC points. You can only choose one option every year.