Smaller Exchange Companies
While Resort Condominiums International and Interval International dominate the worldwide timeshare exchange marketplace — and while brand-name developers are working hard to get in on the game by affiliating with those two key players — there are also some smaller exchange companies worth considering if you plan to trade your timeshare unit usage for another person's.
These smaller exchange companies, in some cases, have been created by timeshare owners who want to do direct exchanges themselves without having to pay the larger exchange companies' fees. Sometimes, this means that the smaller exchange company simply charges a smaller fee, while at other times, it means that the smaller company merely connects you to other timeshare owners with whom you can make exchanges however you wish.
In still other cases, these smaller exchange companies are merely smaller versions of the larger companies, charging lower prices to undercut their mega-competition and even offering some of the same benefits that the larger companies do. These can include bonus time that you can buy in addition to the time you already own, and banking of weeks so that you can use two or three weeks' worth of time during one long vacation.
If you want to try to save a few bucks making timeshare unit exchanges and are not put off by what is perhaps a smaller selection of resorts or a bit more legwork on your part toward making an exchange, you may want to look into one of these smaller exchange firms. Keep in mind that because they have a smaller number of members than the larger exchange companies, they execute far fewer timeshare exchanges each year (sometimes one-tenth or less the amount of a company like Resort Condominiums International). For you, this may translate into some difficulties finding a taker for the timeshare unit you own, while in other cases, it may help you find a suitable trade for yourself much faster because you will have far fewer resorts to search among.
When comparing smaller timeshare exchange companies with industry leaders, remember to take into account not just the per-exchange fees, but also the membership fees and any annual dues you will be asked to pay. If bonus time and banking of weeks is important to you, ensure that those services are available, as well.
Dial an Exchange
Dial an Exchange is a member of the American Resort Development Association, along with similar industry groups in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Europe, Canada, and Mexico. The company says its goal is to provide timeshare exchanges at a low cost with a minimum of aggravation, and it operates from offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
The company charges no membership fee, and its exchange fees are based on your country of residence. If you live in the United States or Canada, for instance, you can make a domestic timeshare exchange for $99 or an international exchange for $125. Do note, though, that Hawaii — a popular U.S. exchange destination — is considered international under the Dial an Exchange program. Bonus time is available with this company, and you can bank your weeks for future use. The Dial an Exchange resorts are listed online at the company's Web site,
Hawaii Timeshare Exchange
Though this company's name hints at its geographical base, it does offer timeshare exchanges on the mainland United States and in international locations, as well. Joining is free, though you will be required to pay an annual membership fee. You can pay $50 per year, $125 for three years, or $199 for five years (if you pay the entire multiyear sums in advance).
You are allowed to bank your weeks for future use with Hawaii Timeshare Exchange, and upgrades are available for $175 plus the price of exchange. As of early 2006, internal exchanges — trading your week at your home resort for a different week at your home resort — cost $69, while external exchanges to other resorts cost $89. For a look at the resorts in the company's directory, log on to the Hawaii Timeshare Exchange Web site,
Interchange Timeshare has been operating since 1988 and promotes itself as Australia's largest independent timeshare exchange company — though it does offer timeshare exchanges all over the world. The company charges no membership fee, no registration fee, and no other up-front fees except the cost of your exchange, which depends on your country of residence.
If you live in the United States or Canada, you would pay the same fees that Australian members did as of early 2006: $97 Australian dollars (about $71 U.S.) for exchanges in Australia, $132 Australian dollars (about $97 U.S.) for exchanges in New Zealand, and $143 Australian dollars (about $105 U.S.) for international exchanges. Bonus weeks are available for an additional fee of $100 to $350 Australian dollars per week (about $75 to $257 U.S.). To check out the timeshare resorts in the Interchange Timeshare directory, go to the company's Web site,
Internet Exchange Services
Operating since 1996, Internet Exchange Services promotes itself as offering not just good deals on timeshare exchanges, but on buying and selling timeshare units on the resale market, as well. You are allowed to bank your weeks for future use with this company, and bonus weeks are available for as little as $79 per night. As of early 2006, exchange fees were $99 for domestic exchanges and $109 for international exchanges.
The company's Web site resort directory does not list any international properties, but you can search to see what resorts are available in the United States. The site also will allow you to see the company's simple exchange-request form, so you will understand how the process works before becoming a member. To learn more about Internet Exchange Services, log on to the company's Web site at
Intervac is not a timeshare exchange company per se, but it has been helping people from different nations to exchange homes worldwide since 1953. There is no reason you cannot use it as a timeshare exchange network, even though it is set up differently than most of the others that are described in this chapter. In fact, if you try Intervac with your timeshare unit and enjoy the experience, you can add your personal home or additional vacation property into its system, as well, for different levels of trades.
Memberships cost $50 per year for access to the Intervac United States directory and $70 for access to the company's international directory. If you join for two years and pay up front, you receive a 10 percent discount. With a three-year membership purchase, you will receive a 20 percent discount. The price of exchanges is determined by the people listing the properties, but the company claims you will save far more than you would by paying hotel rates (the same sales pitch given by timeshare developers). For more information about Intervac, log on to
OwnerTrades.com is exclusively for owners of Marriott Vacation Club timeshare units. The Web site promotes itself not just for exchanges, but also for resale and rental services. If you own a Marriott Vacation Club timeshare, you can list it for free on this Web site and have other owners contact you, but it will cost you $10 per year in membership fees if you want to be able to search the online database to find a resort at which you would like to take your vacation.
The Web site itself does not handle the exchange process; it merely puts two Marriott timeshare owners in touch with each other. It is then up to you, the timeshare owners, to make the trade yourselves — ensuring that all legal and other considerations are handled appropriately. To learn more, log on to the company's Web site at
Platinum Interchange charges no membership fees or annual dues, and it is one of the bigger smaller exchange companies, doing tens of thousands of timeshare trades each year. The company charges $99 for domestic timeshare exchanges and $119 for international exchanges, with an upgrade fee of $87 if you want to trade your unit for one that is bigger or more in demand.
This company allows you the option of depositing the week you own into its system first, or requesting the timeshare resort you want to exchange for first. For more information, log on to the Platinum Interchange Web site,
San Francisco Exchange Company
Known as SFX, the San Francisco Exchange Company focuses on timeshare unit exchanges in the United States, Europe, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. Platinum-level memberships cost $199 for three years, or $299 for five years, and entitle you to make exchanges at a rate of $129 — no matter whether your trade is domestic or international. Platinum-level members also are entitled to a free upgrade in unit size, as well as a bonus week that can be requested from two years to just one week in advance.
There is no membership fee if you want to join at the gold level, but domestic and international exchanges are charged at a higher rate of $149. In addition, gold-level members do not get the additional benefits that platinum members receive. To learn more about the San Francisco Exchange Company, check out its Web site,
Timex Direct Exchange System
This company's Internet tagline is eye-catching: The site where timeshare owners can arrange exchanges themselves for about the cost of a cup of coffee. Membership is just $10, and it is good for three years' worth of exchanging any number of timeshare weeks that you own at your home resort. (Two weeks' worth of time exchanged over the course of three years amounts to $1.67 per exchange, or about the cost of that aforementioned cup of java.)
There are no additional membership fees. The company was created by a timeshare owner for use by other timeshare owners, and it has no brick-and-mortar offices. It is simply an Internet meeting place for timeshare owners from around the world — who arrange the exchanges themselves, including all the legal paperwork.
For more information about the Timex Direct Exchange System, go to the company's Web site,
Trading Places International
This is another one of those bigger smaller exchange companies, arranging tens of thousands of timeshare exchanges each year (and claiming to be the third-largest timeshare exchange company in the world). The business is based in California. It began operating more than thirty years ago as a full-service travel agency and now specializes in everything from timeshare exchanges to timeshare resort management, rentals, and resale.
The company's philosophy is that 80 percent of timeshare owners want to exchange their units for the same 20 percent of other resorts in Hawaii, Mexico, and the United States, and so it focuses on servicing the resorts in those areas that it sees as high demand — as well as in exchanges for cruise-ship vacations. There is no mandatory membership fee to join, but you can receive a $30-per-week-traded discount, along with other discounts including unit upgrades, if you are willing to pay the $79 membership fee. If you sign up for a five-year membership, the cost is $314, an $81 savings over the year-to-year fee. The exchange fees themselves vary widely, from about $110 to $160. Learn more about Trading Places International by logging on to its Web site,
TUG Direct Exchange
This Internet-based service is provided by the highly popular Timeshare User's Group, or TUG. It is exactly as its name explains: a direct-exchange service that brings together timeshare owners who wish to arrange exchanges among themselves. Timeshare units are available all over the world, and people are able to list their units on this Web site for free. If you want to enjoy the full benefits of the TUG Web site (and there are many, especially for first-time timeshare unit owners), you need to pay a $15 membership fee.
You can browse the direct exchange directory by logging on to the group's Web site,
The VacationEarth marketing message is that by using its services, you can exchange your timeshare unit for prime weeks that are unavailable through the “big two” exchange companies, Resort Condominiums International and Interval International. These weeks include yet-to-be-sold units in new timeshare resorts, foreclosed timeshare units, redline weeks (during which owners cannot use their units because of unpaid maintenance fees), and more.
VacationEarth, based in South Florida, charges $99 per week exchanged. The company does not list any membership fees. To find out more, check out the VacationEarth Web site at