The vacation place

When we went to purchase the dog sled trip, the lady at the Whistler Activity Center asked us if we had heard of Club Intrawest. Someone had mentioned it as we passed the day before, but we’re used to DC (and people stopping you for anything) and said “No, thanks”. We had looked into dog sled trips at another place, and they told us we’d get a discount if we sat through a time share presentation. That started a rant on my part how I’d never want a timeshare, we like to travel all over the place. Apparently Club Intrawest was different – not only could you stay in the club properties, but there were thousands of other choices. Plus we’d get $150 off the dog sled trip.

I went in with a skeptical attitude, but became intrigued the more I heard. It’s not a time share, it’s a points program. You join the program by purchasing a membership – the minimum was 120 points, we bought 200. You then receive a specified number of points every year, you can redeem them at the 7 Club Intrawest locations (with another 2 opening in a year) or exchange them with brokers like Resort Condominiums International (RCI), which has 3,700 affiliated resorts worldwide. You also pay an annual fee for upkeep and maintenance; the amount of the fee depends on the number of points you own.

The number of points required to obtain accommodations will usually vary with the accommodations selected. Factors influencing the number of points required for your requested accommodations include:
· The popularity of the resort
· The size of the accommodations
· The number of nights of occupancy
· The specific nights requested (weekend and holiday nights usually require more points per night than do mid-week nights)
· The season of the year.

Club Intrawest’s points are mostly set in stone (you’ll need the same amount of points now as you will 20 years from now), but brokers like RCI can change the contract (most likely depends on the value of the property). You can also borrow up to a year’s worth of points, or bank a year’s worth for the future, if you need a bigger place for longer. I particularly like the saleslady’s method of getting a 3 bedroom (which sleeps 8), then getting friends to pay her airfare and staying with her. You can also pay a reduced cash price for places under certain circumstances.

It was a soft sell after the presentation, I didn’t feel a lot of pressure to buy, but we liked the program. We calculated our future lodging costs, and we’d spend what the 200 points cost in about 7 years – I think it’s a good deal. We also got a free 7 day lodging anywhere in the world for signing up (as well as a discount on the price per point).