Exchanging Hawaiian Time
Even Hawaii residents are looking into timeshares in the Islands as a new way to travel. But are they right for you?
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Photo by Robert Sheetz/Courtesy of All Island Timeshare Rentals
Along Ko Olina’s beachside, visitors can enjoy private cabanas, grassy areas and shade.
The Different Types of Timeshares
Deeds, Leaseholds and Right-to-UseThere are three major types of timeshare ownership—deeded, leasehold deeded and right-to-use contracts. A deeded timeshare is true property ownership, with the deed recorded with the county. You may sell, rent or will the property. A deeded timeshare functions just like a home. You own the property forever.
Leasehold deeds are common and offer ownership for a fixed period of time, after which the ownership reverts to the property owner. Occasionally, leasehold deeds are offered in perpetuity; however, many do not convey ownership of the land but merely the unit.
With right-to-use, you have the right to use the property, but at some point the contract ends and all rights revert to the property owner.
Fixed-Week OwnershipThe most basic timeshare unit is a fixed week; the resort has a calendar enumerating each week of the year. Your deed will allow you to use a unit for a single specified week. For example, week 26 normally includes the Fourth of July holiday. If you owned week 26, you would use that week every year.
FloatingFloating weeks are more flexible than fixed weeks, as they normally “float” through an entire season. For example, you might purchase a floating summer week that allows you to request any week during weeks 22 through 36. Some floating contracts exclude weeks with major holidays, which are instead sold as fixed weeks.
RotatingIn an attempt to give all owners a chance for the best times of the year, the weeks are rotated through the calendar. One year you may have use of week 35, then week 36 the next year and week 37 the year after that. This method gives each owner a fair opportunity for prime weeks, but it is not flexible.
Vacation ClubsVacation clubs often own timeshare units in multiple resorts in different locations. They cater toa wide range of economic backgrounds and income levels. Club members may reserve vacation time at any of the club’s resorts, based on availability.
“Most clubs sell you a right-to-use, not a deeded interest in the real estate,” Lupton says. “Your name is not on the trust in any way; you just have a right to use the development entity’s owned timeshare units.”
Points ProgramsIf your timeshare runs on a points-based program, every year you’ll receive a number of points equal to the value of your timeshare ownership. You can use the point “currency” to make travel arrangements within, and sometimes outside of, the resort group. Most point programs are affiliated with large resort groups, offering a wide selection of destination options. Many resort point programs provide flexibility from the traditional week’s stay.
You can request fractional weeks as well as full or multiple-week stays. The number of points required to stay at the resort varies based on the following factors:
The two major international exchange companies—Interval International and Resort Condominiums International (RCI)—have more than 7,000 resorts.