How To Use Timeshares To Make Money And Still Take Low-Cost Vacations

Many of us have purchased and used timeshares for affordable vacations. A great investment for some, an albatross for others. However, timeshares are no longer “buy a week at a particular resort and either use it or trade it for another resort or week.” They are now a side business where you can make thousands of dollars every year and still use the investment to enjoy great vacations at little or no cost.

Let’s look at a retired couple who own 3 traditional timeshares in the Marriott system. For years, they used them themselves as part of their so-called “ski and sea” vacations, where they skied in Park City, UT for a week and then flew to Aruba for a week’s relaxation in the sun. Since they don’t ski anymore, they use them differently now. You book attractive weeks and rent them out. For example, they reserved Sundance Festival week at their Park City, UT resort, listed it with a real estate company, and made a net profit of $3,500. They did something similar with their other two timeshares. The three traditional timeshares earned them $9,000 that year. The maintenance cost for these weeks is $5500. So that made a profit of $3500. All they had to do was reserve the weeks and let the real estate company know the details.

They also own 8,500 Marriott Trust points, which are registered properties similar to timeshares but not tied to specific resorts or weeks. With the profit from the traditional weeks, they paid most of the Trust Points management fee, so they could use all the points for other occasions or vacations.

Recently, they used some of those points to book a studio unit in Palm Desert, California for the weekend that coincides with the Coachella Festival, rented the unit, and made another $1,000 in profit.

And they still have almost 8,000 points that they can use to either make more profit or take a vacation. In recent years, they’ve used their points to spend 6 nights in a 2-bedroom unit at the Ritz Carlton in St. Thomas (and brought friends for free); staying at the Pulse in NYC and Washington DC (Mayflower Hotel); trade for thousands of air miles; and exchange them for hundreds of thousands of Marriott Bonvoy points. With Bonvoy points, they’ve stayed for free at incredible hotels around the world including Athens, Paris, Bordeaux, Doha, Istanbul, Milan, Nairobi, Zagreb, Phnom Penh and Saigon. Marriott, like other hotel and timeshare companies, now offers the ability to use points towards vacations such as wildlife safaris, expeditions or cruises and participation in special events such as Hamilton on Broadway or the Miami Beach Culinary Extravaganza. There are also holiday homes that you can rent with points. The points are very flexible and you can collect them for later use or draw next year’s points for use in the current year. While it does require considerable organizational skills to keep track of and manage all the items, the wins have been so lucrative that as semi-retirees they have no problem managing the details.

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