Types of Timeshares: Choosing the Right Type for Your Family

Want to buy a timeshare? Before you buy, it’s important to do your research. Timeshares come in many types, and choosing the right type of timeshare is just as important as choosing the right brand, resort, location, or accommodation. For first-time timeshare buyers, navigating the complexities of timeshare types can be daunting. That’s where we come in. With 30 years of experience in the timeshare industry, Timeshares Only is your go-to source for all things timeshare, from the information you need to make an informed decision to quality resales once you do. So, read on to learn everything you need to know about the different types of timeshares and how to choose the best type for your needs. Then, head to our resale marketplace and put your newfound knowledge to use to find the perfect timeshare for your family.

Different Types of Timeshares

Did you know that there are several types of timeshare contracts and even more types of timeshare sub-types? Not to mention the wide array of timeshare accommodations available. Timeshares tend to be a lifetime product, and you can’t just walk away from a timeshare contract. Therefore, familiarizing yourself with the various types of timeshares is essential before you buy. Feeling overwhelmed? No need to panic! We’ll break down the different types of timeshare ownership and timeshare contracts step by step. So stick around and become a timeshare expert in no time!

Types of Timeshare Contracts

There are three main types of timeshare contracts: deeded, right to use, and leasehold. Let’s break down these types of contracts and look at some of the pros and cons you should know before you buy.

Deeded Timeshare

With a deeded timeshare contract, owners enjoy usage rights at their timeshare during a specific week. Deeded timeshare owners own their week outright and, therefore, are free to sell, rent, or gift their ownership. Until relatively recently, deeded weeks dominated the timeshare market. These days, though, deeded weeks have begun to be phased out in favor of more flexible types of contracts. However, this type of timeshare can still be found for sale, especially on the resale market, and may be suitable for vacationers who like to travel at the same time every year.

Right to Use (RTU) Timeshare

A right-to-use (RTU) timeshare does not involve a deeded contract and, thus, is not owned outright. As with a deeded timeshare, however, a right-to-use timeshare contract does specify when your ownership expires. Generally speaking, the terms of a right-to-use contract last from 30 to 99 years. While the contract can’t be broken before the expiration date, right-to-use owners can still sell their timeshare on the resale market. However, since they are not owned outright, they are not eligible for a timeshare donation.

Leasehold Timeshare

A leasehold is a type of timeshare in which the timeshare developer leases land from a land developer and builds their resort on the leased land. Thus, when the timeshare developer’s lease expires for a particular timeshare property, every owner’s contract expires, as well. Leasehold contracts do, however, grant the same benefits and usage rights as other types of timeshare contracts. The most famous example of a timeshare company that uses leasehold contracts is Disney Vacation Club.

Timeshare Sub-Types

In addition to timeshare types, there can be sub-types as well. So, while the three categories listed above refer to what you own, those below relate to how, when, and for how long you can use it. Now, let’s take a look at the different timeshare sub-types and how they might rise to or fall short of your needs.

Points-Based Timeshare Ownership

These days, the most common timeshare subtype is the points-based timeshare. This subtype has gained popularity due to its flexibility. With a points-based timeshare, owners join a points club and purchase a home timeshare in the form of vacation points. The number of points they receive is determined by the value of the home timeshare, and the points act as vacation currency. When the owner wants to take a vacation, they can choose to stay at their home resort. Or, they can exchange their points for other timeshare properties within their brand’s network. If their home timeshare is more or less valuable than the timeshare they want to stay at, they can usually bank or borrow points accordingly.

As mentioned, this timeshare subtype offers the most flexibility. However, as weeks are not determined in advance, vacations must be planned for ahead of time, and owners run the risk of not reserving the time they want. Wyndham, Marriott, and Disney Vacation Club are all timeshare companies that offer points-based ownership.

Want to learn more about how timeshare points work? Check out our blog!

Boardwalk Villas

Biennial Timeshare Purchases

As the name implies, a biennial timeshare confers usage rights every other year. Depending on the last digit of the year, biennial timeshares can either be classified as even or odd. A biennial timeshare is a great option for owners who don’t travel every year. They may also be cheaper than timeshare sub-types that grant more frequent usage. Keep in mind, however, that it may not always be possible to travel during the years in which your timeshare is available. Moreover, it’s often very difficult, if downright impossible, to switch years.

Floating Week Timeshare Ownership

A floating week is a usage subtype in which the owner can choose which week to visit the timeshare within a particular season. For example, an owner who buys a summer floating week can use their timeshare during any available week that falls during the summer season. Floating timeshares give owners the flexibility to choose when they want to travel every year, letting them plan around their whims and other commitments. On the downside, this timeshare subtype restricts your usage to one season and can’t be rented out.

Solara Surfside, a Bluegreen Resort

Read more about floating week timeshares at our blog!

Fixed-Week Timeshare Purchases

The fixed-week timeshare subtype is what most people think of when they think of timeshares. In this traditional subtype, owners have the right to use their vacation property for an interval of usually one week, falling on the same week every year. Fixed-week timeshares are ideal if you prefer to travel at the same time each year and/or want to create an annual vacation tradition. However, unforeseen life events can sometimes cause fixed-week owners to have to forfeit a year’s vacation.

Fractional Ownership

Fractional ownership is the rarest timeshare subtype. Whereas usage rights at fixed-week timeshare units are divided into 52 weekly intervals, fractional owners enjoy rights to a much larger fraction of the timeshare. These fractions can total anywhere from a thirteenth to an eighth to as much as a fourth of the year. The obvious benefit of fractional ownership is getting to spend more time at the vacation property. However, since the owner owns a larger portion of the timeshare, they are usually more expensive than other timeshare sub-types.

Which Combination of Timeshare Ownership and Subtype is the Best?

Determining which combination of timeshare ownership and subtype is best is entirely subjective. In short, it all comes down to your personal needs. For example, if you like to travel at the same time every year and don’t foresee major lifestyle changes on the horizon, then a deeded fixed-week timeshare could be right for you. Want to pass down your timeshare to your descendants? A right-to-use timeshare wouldn’t be a good fit, as they aren’t eligible for timeshare donation. Some questions you should ask yourself before you buy include:

  • How often do I travel?
  • How long are my typical vacations?
  • What is my budget?
  • How stable are my job and home life?
  • How many years of traveling do I have ahead of me?

Browse Different Types of Timeshare Resales

As ARDA’s Recommended Resale Marketplace, with over 30 years of experience and an A+ rating by the BBB, Timeshares Only is the go-to outlet for owners looking to advertise their timeshares on the resale market. Thus, you’ll find timeshares of every type and subtype in our marketplace, from deeded fixed-week timeshares to leasehold points-based timeshares and everything in between. Check out our inventory of timeshare resales today and find the best type of timeshare for you and your family!

Rent a Timeshare and Experience the Ultimate Vacation Freedom

Points-based ownership is a great way to timeshare without tying yourself down. But for the ultimate vacation freedom, there’s nothing quite like a vacation rental. By renting a timeshare, you can get almost all the vacation ownership perks without the actual ownership, allowing you to experience different locations, avoid maintenance fees, and try before you buy. If, after your vacation, you decide that ownership is right for you, you can check our resale marketplace for timeshares for sale at the same resort you stayed at! So, click the link below to browse our selection of timeshare rentals now. Or, email us at [email protected] or call 1-800-610-2734 and let one of our timeshare rental experts answer all your questions.

Join The Discussion

Compare listings