Timeshare A-Z index

Complete Guide to understanding Timeshare and its terminology

Accelerated Use is a Right-to-Use Programme that allows members to accelerate usage of the time purchased. Example, you have a 15-years right to use one week per year at Resort offering accelerated use. If you don’t wish to use One Week per year, you may choose to two weeks per year or 5 weeks for 3 years until fully used.

Accrued Weeks are Timeshare Weeks that you have banked from the previous year which can be used for the current calendar year.

Amenities or Facilities are value-added features of the property such as swimming pools, tennis courts, spa, fishing, golf courses, gymnasium, etc. With more amenities offered by the resort, the value of the resort will increase.

ARDA is the main trade association in the United States and for the Timeshare Industry. They provide lobbying and other services supporting the industry.

Abstract of Title varies from state to state but usually recorded in the county clerk’s official records office.

Ad Valorem is the legal term that refers to the assessment of property tax. In relations to Timeshare, it means the dollar amount in taxes you will pay on your property based on the assessment of its value.

All – inclusive is when the resort offers all items such as meals, drinks, accommodations, taxes and tips covered in a single up-front fee. Be sure to check again on the fine prints to see what it includes.

Banking or Depositing a week of timeshare into an exchange system of inventory pool. The owner can use at a later time. However, there is an expiry date. Do check with the Exchange Company for this.

Biennial is the use of timeshare week every other year. This could be every ODD or every EVEN years.

Bonus Weeks are addition towards your entitlement. You can get this from the Exchange Company or from the Timeshare resort. These are usually unsold weeks that you can get a cheap price.

In Timeshare, the check-in day is Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Upon check-in, it begins the seven-day accommodation. So, if you check-in on Friday, you check-out the next Friday.

The normal check-in time is 3pm to 4pm, sometimes 5pm. Do check with the individual resort for this.

Closing Costs are fees associated with the closing of the sale process. This covers the deed preparation or transfer of equity for the right-to-use properties, recording cost, escrow fees and administration cost.

Cooling-Off is the duration where the Purchaser can cancel their purchase after signing the agreement without a penalty. Different countries have a different duration. In Europe it’s 14 days and Mexico it’s 5 days. Ask about the cooling-off period before signing.

Club Membership is like a holiday membership, usually shorter terms. They also call this Vacation or Holiday Club.

Deed is a legal document providing title to your timeshare property to prove your ownership rights. However, different countries have a different system. Do check with the Timeshare Company first.

Deeded property are true property ownership with deed recorded in the country where the property exists. The owner has the full rights to sell, rent or bequeath.

Developer are company owning the resort. They are responsible for constructing and selling the product on-site.

Developer’s Price is referred to the current market price for a timeshare inventory / interval. This is the full retail price inclusive of marketing and other costs.

Depreciation is the loss value of the timeshare as they hardly regard it as a property ownership. Because of its nature of being divided by multiple owners, it is rare to see appreciation in value.

Default happens when there is a breach of contract. This normally happens for non-payment of Maintenance Fees.

Deposit is also called Banking. If you do not use your week, you can deposit with the Resort or Exchange Company and use it later.

DAE is a Global Exchange system for timeshare and club members to maximize their vacation ownership. Some of their benefits involves no annual fees, low exchange rates and you can bank up to three years.

Exchange happens when an interval week at one resort is traded for another interval week at another resort. With this exchange system, this allows an interval owner to exchange their week with other interval owners allowing each owner to travel globally.

Exchange Company allows timeshare owners to trade their accommodation for comparable accommodation or travel-related services. Timeshare companies are associated with at least one exchange company. They also offer an in-house exchange within their own brand group.

Exchange companies use a low, medium to high method to determine the demand for a certain week at a certain resort. They use this as trading power when you deposit your week. Different exchange companies use different terms for this.

Exchange confirmation is the document issued to both owner and resort saying that exchange request confirmed with details of the booking.

Even Year Usage is a form of biennial ownership. They can use weeks with even year usage during those years ending with even numbers.

EOY is the term for biennial ownership. This refers to alternate membership where entitlement is Every Even Year or Every Odd Year.

Escrow is a special secured account to hold funds related to the sale of timeshares. Once the paperwork complete, funds are released to the seller.

A fixed Unit ensures that you can stay in the same unit at the same location. This can be beneficial when you prefer a specific room type like a balcony with an ocean view.

Fixed Week are ownership where your usage rights are attached to a specific week of the year each in perpetuity. This will work if you know are looking for a specific week to travel every year, e.g. week 51 or 52 – Christmas and New Year week. However, this timeshare may come at a higher price.

Floating Week is the opposite of Fixed Week where the usage rights are subject to the owner reserving based on availability.

Fractional Ownership is Leisure top-end real estate sold in more than one-week intervals. However, this will not sum up to the whole ownership.  This comes at a high-end price and also high-end accommodation exchange.

Fee Simple is the opposite right-to-use or lease ownership and it continues forever. This is another term to say that the timeshare property is deeded. The timeshare owners who hold the deed can bequeath to their heirs.

Fly Buy is a marketing tool for timeshare company to give you a mini-vacation package which involves the accommodation. In return, you have to attend a sales presentation during your holiday.

One of the many benefits of owning a timeshare is that your friends or family can make use of it. Members can purchase a Guest Certificate so their guest can travel without the member. A fee will apply.

RCI (Resort Condominium International) has 3 award systems and it awards Gold Crown as the highest one. This would mean that the resort would have met or exceeded specific standards in the areas of unit housekeeping, unit maintenance, hospitality and check-in/check-out procedures, and an evaluation of resort facilities, amenities and services.

Home Resort is the actual resort which the owner owns. The owner could have bought from a brand of group but the home resort can only be one.

HOA is a group of owners that administer the rules and regulations of a resort. State Law requires the creation of an HOA. When a resort is sold out or approaching a sell-out, they generally turn ownership over to an HOA.

Holiday Ownership also referred to as Timeshare.

Timeshare is measured by a set number of days and nights of annual use, i.e. one week.

Interval International is an Exchange Company that allows owners to exchange a vacation week at any of the participating resort. This will allow more flexibility in ownership.

Interval Calendar is the annual timeshare weeks calendar that shows the 52 or 53 weeks of each calendar year with check-in days starting Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.

Timeshare generally comes with a kitchen unless it’s a hotel unit. However, the kitchen comes in different categories. This could range from full to partial kitchen.

A lock-off / Lock-Out is a unit that can be divided into two separate sections or more. The owner can rent out the entire unit or just part of the unit. This allows the owner to split into multiple stays and or can bank a part or all into Exchange.

Lease / Leasehold happens when some states and foreign countries do not allow deeded ownership of timeshares. Here, the resort developer or the management company will lease the timeshare property. This is known as RTU (rights-to-use).

Land Titles Office is where the titles are registered. They are also known as Official Records Office.

Listing Agreement is a contract with a company to sell your timeshare. This happens only for Resale Timeshare.

Maintenance Fees are paid by timeshare owners yearly, depending on type of timeshare. This covers the cost of running the resort, upkeep, utilities, insurance and taxes. The fees vary according to the type and size of the unit purchased.

Management Company is engaged usually by the HOA to carry out all day-to-day management of the resort.

Marketing Company engaged by resort developer responsible for the sale and promoting the timeshares.

Maximum Occupancy is the maximum number of people the unit can accommodate. This ranges from 2 to 10 people. When booking check the number of bedroom/s and the “private occupancy”. Timeshare unit usually has a pull-out sofa in the living room that can sleep maximum 2.

This is a form of biennial ownership. You can use weeks with odd year usage during those years ending with odd numbers.

OTE is the European version of ARDA. They are now known as RDO (Resort Development Organisation).

The number of people who can sleep in a unit while maintaining their own privacy.

Points are a “currency” that represents timeshare ownership and is used to establish a value for unit size, season and resorts locations. Points are used by some developer for both internal and external exchange.

Points Club is a system where owners hold points which entitles them to use a period. This can vary from few days to a few weeks in the choice of resorts. This gives them the flexibility to book whatever they like whenever they like. Points Club are sometimes backed by deeding but sometimes not.

Points upgrade is when a timeshare owners change from timeshare into Points Membership but paying an extra fee.

Three-month timeshare ownership with a rotating schedule.

This is a Lease or rights to use ownership allows the lessor the right to use the property for a specified period. The duration can vary but generally from 20 to 99 years. The Ownership is held by either the Resort Developer or the Management Company. During this period, the owner may rent, transfer or bequeath the remaining years of their right to use the property.

Rescission is also sometimes referred to as ‘cancellation’ or ‘cooling-off’. This is the period when the consumer has the rights to cancel the purchase at no penalty. This is an example of strong consumer protection in timeshare.

Resale of timeshare refers to an interval that an owner, resort or agent is selling after being originally sold during the initial sales at that resort.

Resort ratings is a system of comparing resort quality, amenities and location. The two foremost rating systems are Resort Condominiums International (RCI) and Interval International (II). RCI and II rate their affiliated resorts based upon predetermined criteria of exacting standards of quality and services provided by the resort and the availability of amenities at or near the resort. RCI uses the Gold Crown designation for their highest quality resorts and II designates their top resorts as 5-Star resorts.

(Resort Condominium International) – RCI is the largest exchange company in the world with over 4,300 affiliated resorts in 110 countries.

Season is determined for different resorts. This will have a significant impact on desirability and demand. The demand will then affect the price and trading power within the exchange company.

RCI Season

RED           –          High

WHITE       –         Mid

BLUE          –         Low

II Season

RED            –        High

YELLOW    –        Mid

GREEN       –        Low

Sinking Fund is a portion of the Management Fee specifically assigned to ensure that the fundamental structure, fittings and furnishings of the accommodation units are kept in as new condition.

Special Assessment is a fee over and above the annual Maintenance Fees, assigned by the resort pro rate to interval owners. This happens when the fee is assessed to defray expenses related to major repairs and refurbishing of resort equipment, facilities and units. 

Timesharing is a method of using and/or sharing ownership of vacation real estate where purchasers acquire a period of time (often one week) in a condominium, apartment or other types of vacation accommodation.

The trial membership is offered when the potential member cannot afford to buy the full product. This gives the member the opportunity to sample the product and probably could upgrade at a later time.

Trading Power is a term used for the value assigned for exchange purposes. This can be based on several factors; season, week type, usage type, unit type and resort quality.

Trustees for timeshare can be a bank, trust company or a group of individuals who hold timeshare accommodation (and sometimes leisure facilities) in trust on behalf of the owners and grant owners a right to-use through a license (Ownership Certificate). Trustees provide security for owners should the developer fails financially. Some trustees may have added responsibilities such as ensuring the continuity of the Owners Club.

This describes the size of the unit with the following standard:

Studio Unit – Similar to a hotel room but larger. Privacy is for 2 people but sometimes it can fit 4. This normally comes with a partial kitchen.

One Bedroom – Privacy for 2 but can sleep up to 4 people. Most One Bedroom comes with a pull-out sofa that sleeps 2. This will sometimes include a living room and kitchen.

Two-Bedroom – Privacy for 4 but can sleep up to 6 people. This includes a living room, kitchen and sometimes 2 to 3 bathroom.

Three-Bedroom – Privacy for 6 but can sleep up to 8 people. This includes a living room, kitchen and 3 to 4 bathroom.


Vacation Ownership relates to the purchase of floating week to distinguish them from the timeshare product which is generally fixed week in fixed unit.

There are 52 weeks in a year, however approximately every 7 years there will be a year that has a week 53. They usually reserve this extra week for the developer.

The week number refers to the time of a timeshare week. Weeks are usually numbered 1-52 to coincide with the weeks of the year.