The word ‘timeshare’ comes from the concept of holding shares in time. Instead of buying a holiday home outright, or paying over $1,000 for a week’s stay in a hotel somewhere, timeshare lets multiple people purchase part of a timeshare property in exchange for a fixed period of annual usage time.
For example, under a traditional timeshare model, you might purchase one week from 1 March to 7 March at a Fijian resort every year. You could then stay at that resort, for free, every year between 1 March and 7 March for the lifespan of that particular timeshare programme. The cost of owning that resort is shared between other Owners, who have their own annual holiday periods. Your only ongoing expense is an annual maintenance fee, which helps keep your timeshare property clean, modern and beautiful.
Before you read any further, it’s important to realise that timeshare has evolved a lot since its inception in the 1970s. Holidaying in the same place at the same time every year isn’t particularly appealing for modern travellers, so most timeshare ownership programmes sold now use a Points-based system.
You purchase a set amount of Points when you become an Owner, which can then be redeemed each year at any accommodation owned by that programme. The amount of Points each stay costs is determined by factors like room type, location, day and time of year.
Think of Points like timeshare currency – you can spend them on whatever holiday you like every year. Three separate week-long stays in Bali? A month in Greece? Christmas in Tasmania? It’s completely up to you how you want to holiday.