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Should I trade my Timeshare for a Cruise?
Been presented with an offer to trade in your Timeshare Exchange week for a Cruise?  Might want to read this first!

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Should I trade my Timeshare for a Cruise?

If you own a Timeshare and have even dipped your toes into the Exchange Pool, you have likely encountered an option to trade your week in on a Cruise!  This sounds like a great trade for a week of use that might otherwise go unused. In any case, you should definitely look very closely at the deal you are getting prior to making this trade!  

This trade sounds like a great deal!

Trading a "worthless" timeshare week you are not even going to use for a cruise?  How could anyone in their right mind pass up such a great sounding deal?  The problem with such a transaction is that it is filled with hidden costs that generally do not factor into the "pitch".  These factors include:

1. Your annual Maintenance Fee
2. The cost of the Trade itself (II/RCI exchange fee)
3. The cost of the Exchange company membership
4. The inflated cost of the Cruise itself, vs what you can book it for through most discount travel sites!
5. The lost potential revenue if you chose to rent the week out yourself.

This is all stacked up against the approximate amount that the Exchange company "values" your week is worth to use to trade towards their inflated cost of the cruise itself!  (note in nearly every case, this value is just at, or below what your annual MF cost is)

Not quite sounding like the easy "even trade" you originally thought it was aye?

Well some of those costs I have to pay anyway?

Absolutely, you have to pay your annual MF every year regardless of what you do with your Timeshare, and you have to pay the Exchange company membership every year as well! Even if you wanted to eliminate those from the formula to determine if the trade is a good idea or not, it still leaves you with the cost of making the trade, and the difference in cost of booking the cruise through the Exchange company at an inflated price vs booking the cruise yourself through a discount travel site or through the cruise site directly.

But if I book it myself, now I spend even more money!

Yes, it will require you to purchase the cruise yourself but now you have the following options that work to your advantage:

1. You still have ownership of your Timeshare week which you can use to rent out yourself to a private party to cover the costs of your annual MF!  How to Rent your Timeshare

2. You have saved (although you don't see the money directly) the difference in cost between what the Exchange company values the cruise vacation at, and what you were able to book the same cruise for through the discount travel site.

When it is all said and done, you will find that you are getting only a few hundred dollars worth of value for your Timeshare week when trading in this way, and with this information we suggest that this only be a valid course of action if you truly are not able to use your Timeshare week in any other way shape or form, and at least in this way you get SOME value out of it vs letting it expire.

Surely there are deals to be made on this type of trade?!

There are certainly exceptions to every rule, and even in this situation we can find examples of where a TUGGER got a great deal trading his timeshare in on a cruise, but it all comes down to the numbers!  You simply cannot look at these transactions as 1 for 1 trades because they always neglect to include the fees you have to pay for your week, and the potential lost rental opportunity (and lost personal vacation opportunity using your own week).

Here is an example of a TUGGER who saved money using their Timeshare on Trade for a NCL cruise!

Timeshare Exchange for Cruise discussion

The Final Word!

If one could truly trade your Timeshare exchange week for a Full cruise without any additional costs (e.g. a 1 for 1 trade), this would be a more appealing transaction, however in nearly every case when you do the math it is just a poor value!  We at TUG suggest using your Timeshare, or renting it out to a 3rd party, and then booking the cruise yourself through any reputable discount travel site as the best way to maximize your vacation dollar!

This is all of course dependent on you doing the research and the math to find out what its actually costing you to do this trade, but as long as you know up front what all the costs involved are, you can make an educated decision and that is what TUG is all about!

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page updated Jan 2014  by B Rogers - Send email regarding this page to tug@tug2.net