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Exchanging Discuss all aspects of exchanging timeshare intervals here including RCI Points, whether through Exchange Companies (RCI, II and Others), or directly with other owners. Please no advertisements which belong elsewhere on TUG. Ads will be deleted.

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Old October 22, 2007, 11:54 AM   #1
charford
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BBS Reg. Date: Jun 6, 05
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Resorts: Smugglers Notch DVC
Question RCI Points for Air Tickets/Car Rentals

I'm looking for feedback on using RCI points for air tickets and/or car rentals. If I decide to convert my weeks to points, I'll have a few hundred thousand points for weeks that would otherwise go unused. I would be giving up potential income when I deposit my points. But, I've calculated that the projected income is less than the value of the points that I'd receive.

I have plenty of vacation accomodation possibilities right now. I don't need another exchange. Even the kids are tiring of Orlando. So, those new points would be used to offset the costs of getting from point A to point B. I generally fly 4-6 times a year, usually purchasing 4 tickets for each flight and the airfare is taking a chunk out of my bank account. So, I'd love to use my week assets, which I'm not using and are not generating much income and convert them into something I can actually use, like airfare and car rentals.

From looking at the info from the RCI website and from talking to a VC, it looks like flights to HI would cost me about 70K points and flights within the continental U.S. would cost about 40K.

If you've used points for airline tickets or car rentals, how easy has it been to get the flights you want? Have you flown to HI or Europe? Can you get, say a minivan or SUV for points? I've been well trained as a weeks owner, so I plan waaay ahead. Is the availability of flights different 11 months/6 months/2 months ahead? Or is it similar to booking through the airlines? Any other feedback for a points newbie?

TIA
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Old October 22, 2007, 12:23 PM   #2
tim
 
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I used RCI points to get one plane ticket from Chicago to Cancun. I had to use 65,000 RCI points. It was really easy to do. I did it about 10 months out and was able to get pretty much what I wanted. Actually, the ticket I got was a nonstop and I really wanted a one-stop to match what the rest of my family is flying. I had to pay an administrative fee of $69 for the ticket.

I have also used RCI Points for hotel rooms in Italy. However, I don't believe the cost/benefit is very good for this type of use.
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Old October 22, 2007, 12:41 PM   #3
JamminJoe
 
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I have used Points for airfare and car rental without any problems. I have not used them in Europe. I booked airfare last month for a trip in January, I would guess the closer you get the less likely you will get the ticket. I do not think it was worth the points for the rental car, I use Priceline and don't think it was cost effective. I also used Points for Disney no expiration pass, it has worked well for me. I guess if I have hundreds of thousands of points I would not be so concerned about the car rental thing and I only use the points for airfare when flying cross country (45,000).
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Old October 22, 2007, 06:42 PM   #4
heather
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I used RCI points for an airline ticket to Barbados and a cruise for us and 3 other couples. Although the cruise offerings since then don't seem to be as good, we saved a bundle. Of course it completely depends on your cost per point. At the rate we pay, RCI points are a good deal, some of the time.
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Old October 22, 2007, 07:17 PM   #5
charford
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Heather, did you get a discount on your cruise cost or were you able to pay completely with points? Thanks.
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Old October 23, 2007, 10:31 AM   #6
Joe M
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I just recently used Points to book air travel to Europe. The itinerary I wanted was the top result on an Expedia search and that is what I got. The cost was 80k points per ticket and the corresponding Expedia fare quote was over $700 per ticket. If your points cost a little less than one cent each to maintain this works out to a good deal.

The point range for tickets to Europe is from 80k to 100k. Since I was on a popular route to Costa del Sol in shoulder season I got the lower rate. The higher rate likely applies for prime season travel or less popular itineraries.
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Old October 25, 2007, 12:19 PM   #7
BillR
 
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I have NEVER seen a good deal on RCI Points for cruising - AAA Travel beats them EVERY time.

Airfare is not bad if you compare . . . but compare!

Car rentals - It sounds like a good deal UNTIL you find out that TAXES are as high as the rentals in some places. I am protesting now as RCI did NOT tell me about taxes etc. being EXTRA. For 2 weeks in Northeast I spent 95,550 points to save $162.00 from RACK RATE! I "believed" that I would save $ 504.00 . . . which I thought fair. $162.00 for 95,500 points is INSANE!
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Old October 25, 2007, 07:26 PM   #8
charford
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Thanks everyone for the replies.

I could see from the car rental charts that these were not a good deal. Even less so if taxes etc aren't included!

The hotel partners don't interest me. I've been spoiled by timesharing too much to stay in Howard Johnson or Days Inn.

I've taken up cruising lately. My favorite line is Royal Caribbean. They don't allow discounting of their rates by travel agents. So, travel agents can give some "throw-ins" but can't discount the cruise cost. I was able to get a $1200 discount off two cabins on one of their 14 day sailings using one of my weeks though, so there is an exception to the barter system I guess. My weeks are worth more converted to points than they are in weeks for this use. Each of them is worth more than the 50K points it takes for an exchange discount.

The one thing that I can see myself using is the airline point partners. It gets expensive flying. My relatives are scattered to the four corners of the country, so I have to make the rounds every year or so. I like cruising... I like Hawaii..... I generally buy 4 tickets at a time for me and the kids, so it does get expensive. The airfare has been kind of the limiting factor in my traveling.


Thanks for the feedback everyone!
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Old December 22, 2007, 01:39 PM   #9
Graybeard
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Points for Air Fares

Quote:
Originally Posted by charford View Post
I'm looking for feedback on using RCI points for air tickets
<Bump>

I have tried three times to exchange points for air fare, booking as far as six months in advance, and have always been told that there is nothing available. "But call again next month, we might have something then." Yeah, right.

For us, this 'points partner' program has been completely useless.
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