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Timeshare Glossary

A glossary of timeshare terms

Dictionary definitions of commonly-encountered timeshare terms and phrases unique to the timeshare industry. Use our glossary as a reference tool to better understand timeshare terminology.

Click a letter: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

Accelerated use

Accelerated use refers to a program that permits someone to use their purchased time in increasingly larger increments. For example, you have one week/year at a timeshare property with a right to use program offering accelerated use. Your agreement is good for ten years. Instead of opting to use one week per year for ten years, you might exercise the option to use two weeks/year for five years.


Accrued weeks

Any unused weeks from the previous year that have been banked and are available for use this year.

Ad Valorem

A legal term which translates to "according to value". This refers to assessment of property tax.


Anniversary Date

The day on which earned points accumulate, once per year. This applies in the case of timeshare resorts offering a points system.


For real estate, an estimation of the worth of a given property, expressed as market value. Determining the market value of timeshare properties is not an exact science. Because of this, timeshare appraisals are viewed as lacking credibility, especially when an appraiser charges a fee to assess the value of a timeshare property. Many timeshare resale companies offer a market value survey as an alternative to appraisal. This survey will compare the price of the property in question with current listings for similar properties, enabling the seller to price his or her property aggressively yet still receive adequate compensation.



When real estate appreciates, it has accrued value. Rarely, however, do timeshare properties appreciate. Since the value of a vacation property fluctuates depending on the time of year, it is hard for someone to appraise such a property (see Appraisal, above). Even if a particular resort itself appreciates, the resultant increase in value is divided among all the people who use the timeshares, so any net increase in value is rarely, if ever, apparent.

ARDA (American Resort Development Association)

Based in Washington, D.C., this is the foremost trade association representing the timeshare ownership and property development industries. ARDA advocates on behalf of resort owners and developers and also lobbies for the industry. ARDA was first known as the American Land Development Association, originally founded in 1969. Today, ARDA is comprised of nearly one thousand small companies and large conglomerates from all over the world.



Generally, when dealing with a timeshare exchange company, a timeshare owner has the option to reserve unused weeks for use at a later time. These may also be exchanged for different weeks at other locations.


Usage of a timeshare week occurring every other year. Also referred to as EOY (every other year). See "odd or even year usage".

Bulk Banking/Block Banking

Banking a large amount of timeshare weeks with an exchange company as soon as possible.


Bonus Time

Bonus time is use of a resort in addition to regular allocated time on a space available basis. A Developer Bonus Week (DBW) is available to members who own timeshares only at a participating resort. These bonus weeks are issued directly from the resort, often issued as a signing bonus upon the purchase of a timeshare interval. Sometimes owners can purchase bonus weeks from the resort as unsold developer-owned weeks. A second type of bonus week is one issued by an exchange company. Owners of high-demand resort weeks receive them as incentives to deposit their timeshare week.

Bonus Weeks

Often promoted by a timeshare developer, timeshare resort, or exchange company, these are usually low-demand weeks offered as an incentive to buyers.

Closing Costs

Expenses incurred during the sale closing process, or "back end" of a transaction. These normally include preparation of the deed, equity transfer for right-to-use timeshare properties, recording fees, escrow costs, and administrative fees.


Club/trust membership

Becoming more popular, this system of timeshare ownership is most common in the UK. Members of a club have the privilege of using a resort's facilities year-round. Their right-to-use agreement is licensed by trustees, and membership is sometimes backed by a deed of ownership. The legality of deeded timeshare varies from country to country - for example it is legal in Spain, but illegal in the UK.


Legal documentation which describes and regulates the relationships between the management company, trustee, developer, and owner. The constitution essentially establishes guidelines as to how the resort is run.

Cooling-off period

Also know as rescission, this term refers to the time period following the purchase of a timeshare property during which a buyer may cancel the agreement without incurring penalties. In the United States, this time differs depending on each state but is generally 3 business days. In Mexico it is five days. In the UK, the cooling-off period is ten days.


Reduction of the value of real estate or other property. Vacation properties are not necessarily prone to depreciation, though they are likely to cost much less on the resale market than what the developer was able to charge for them initially.


End-user finance

When a loan is provided to enable a buyer to purchase timeshare property.


In Spanish, the registration and deeding process for a Deed of Title.


An account specifically for the purpose of holding funds from a timeshare buyer and a seller. A third-party presence overseeing transfer of funds can guarantee a degree of security during the timeshare sale closing process.


Exchange allows a timeshare owner to exchange his/her week at a particular resort for a different week at a different resort, or a different week at the same resort. Exchange policies vary according to resort. Larger companies owning several timeshare resorts may offer an internal exchange, or an exchange between the resorts owned by the same company.


Exchange company

An organization which exists to facilitate the exchange of banked timeshare weeks. The largest of these is RCI (Resort Condominiums International) followed by II (Interval International). Interval owners deposit weeks into an exchange company's bank. This establishes a selection of weeks from which members can choose. Exchange value of timeshare weeks is established based on the demand of each week, the rating of the resort, amenities, size of the unit, and other factors.

Fee Simple

A type of timeshare ownership wherein the owner holds a deed in his/her name. Fee Simple is considered to be the opposite of right-to-use or lease ownership. This type of ownership continues forever; the ownership of the property can even be bequeathed to heirs.

Fixed Unit

The owner of a fixed unit timeshare property will always have the same physical unit each year, at the same location. However if this time period is fixed by week number (1-52), the actual start date of the week may vary from year to year.

Fixed Week

A fixed week is a specific week during the calendar year usually identified by a number. Most fixed weeks begin on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Each week is given a number starting with the first week of the year and continuing through the end of December. Ownership of a fixed week allows you the use of the unit for that specific week annually for as long as you own it. For help with timeshare weeks, use our timeshare calendar.


Float Week

A floating week may be used any time during the calendar year based on a resort's availability. Typically, resorts will accept requests for specific weeks by the interval owner as soon as the annual maintenance fees are paid. Therefore, the earlier the maintenance fees are paid the better the chance that the owner can pick a specific interval week.

Fractional Ownership

Timeshare ownership of two or more weeks at the same resort during a calendar year. Generally defined as ownership in intervals of more than one week and less than whole ownership. "Fractionals" are a fast-growing segment of the timeshare industry. As it is substantially more expensive to buy larger blocks of time, fractionals usually tend to be higher-end luxury properties. The concept of fractional ownership can also extend to other luxury properties such as boats and aircraft.


Gold Crown Resort

RCI's highest rating for a resort. Similar to I.I.'s criteria for "five-star resort".

Guest Certificate

Documentation provided by an exchange company usually affiliated with a resort. This document authorizes a guest to use a timeshare exchange in lieu of the owners.

Holiday Club/Vacation Club

An organization which provides a number of timeshare weeks to members. In some parts of the world these organizations may not be covered by laws regulating timeshare sales. For this reason certain "holiday clubs" have earned a bad name, especially in the UK. However there are many legitimate vacation clubs, many of which are affiliated with major resort corporations. can help owners sell vacation club memberships, and we also offer vacation club membership resales.

Holiday Ownership

Synonymous with vacation ownership, another term for timeshare.



Interval International, the second largest exchange company in the world.

Instant exchange

An exchange of timeshare intervals on short notice, typically between two and forty-five days. Instant exchanges also circumvent the size and season requirements involved with the standard exchange process. This can allow members of a particular resort to enjoy larger, more luxurious accommodations.

Internal Exchange

An exchange of a week of vacation ownership within the same resort or a network of resorts owned by the same company.


This term refers to a unit of time. For instance, one week of timeshare ownership is an interval week. An interval week is usually assigned a number (1-52 or 53) depending on where in the year it falls. An interval calendar shows the 52 or 53 weeks in a year, emphasizing the check-in dates on which each interval week begins- (Friday-Friday, Saturday-Saturday, Sunday-Sunday).



In localities where the deeded ownership of vacation properties is not permitted by law, it is standard practice for a resort developer or a management company to lease timeshare properties. Also known as a right-to-use agreement, the lease is usually good for a period from twenty to ninety-nine years. Timeshare properties in Mexico and Hawaii are very likely to be leasehold properties.


Among members of a points club, the term levy refers to administrative fees incurred by individual members. Levies can also encompass any charges the resort management may impose for use of a particular week.

Linked Agreement

Two agreements, appearing to be separate, which are in fact linked. For example, in areas where laws prohibiting the taking of deposits on timeshare property exist, the buyer may be presented with both a Timeshare Purchase Agreement and another seemingly separate agreement. The first agreement will not call for a deposit but the second one will require a deposit to be made. This is often heard of within the context of vouchers (known as "certs") or other vacation club-type propositions.

Lockout, a.k.a. lock-off unit

A timeshare property which can be divided into two complete sections so that two different parties may occupy either half at the same time.


Maintenance fee

A regular charge levied by the management company of a particular resort or the homeowners association responsible for the upkeep of the property. This fee generally also covers taxes, utilities, insurance, and any other costs such as appliances and furniture, as well as any needed refurbishment. Developers trying to promote new timeshare properties will often pay for part of these fees in order to make them seem lower to prospective buyers. When a homeowners association assumes responsibility for maintenance, fees can jump sharply.

Management company

A company responsible for running a resort on a day-to-day basis, often contracted to do so by the homeowners association. Frequently, the resort developer will have a controlling interest in the company contracted to manage the resort. Management fees usually take the form of a yearly charge.

Odd- or even-year usage

Biennial vacation property ownership where the owner can use his/her property every other year, termed either odd- or even-year depending upon the years when the interval week(s) are used. For instance, an odd-year usage agreement could consist of a timeshare owner occupying the same week in 2005, then 2007, then 2009 ...etc. Please note that the value of a biennial right-to-use agreement is half that of an agreement allowing for annual usage.

OTE (Organisation for Timeshare in Europe)

A trade association in Europe composed of resort owners and developers. The OTE is similar to ARDA, but with more of an emphasis on consumer affairs.


Points are units of measurement used by exchange companies and timeshare owners to establish value for seasons, sizes of units, and resort locations. Points clubs offer the owner a variety of resorts from which to choose by exchanging points.



Three-month interval ownership with a rotating schedule.


Resort Condominiums International. Owned by Cendant, RCI is the largest timeshare exchange company in the world.


Red Week

The peak season at a resort during which time timeshare properties are at their most desirable. Different resorts naturally have different peak seasons.


A timeshare property being advertised for sale after it was originally purchased from a resort developer during the initial sales at that resort. Timeshare resales are typically available for 50%-70% off a resort's original asking price.


A grace period allowed by law and/or company policy during which time a timeshare buyer has the right to cancel a purchase agreement without penalties. Though rescission periods vary from state to state, the buyer is entitled to receive a refund of his or her full deposit. Rescission is also known as a "cooling-off-period".

Right to use (RTU)

A lease agreement granting use of a timeshare property for a specific time period. The management company or the resort developer retains ownership of the actual physical property itself, though the remaining years of a lessor's right to use may be transferred, rented, or otherwise bequeathed by the lessor.



Each resort will have different seasons, and this has a significant impact on the demand of any timeshare property. Since demand affects price and trading power, seasonal fluctuation of demand is an important factor to consider when buying, selling, or renting timeshare property. RCI and II have similar ways of measuring a timeshare's demand and trading power for exchange purposes. This is where the timeshare industry gets terms like "blue week", "red week" and the like.



Interval International




Sinking fund

A fraction of a resort's management fee that is allocated specifically to ensure that the facilities and furnishings are kept in "like new" condition.

Space Banking

Space banking occurs when a timeshare owner deposits a timeshare week into an exchange company's "bank". In the timeshare industry, "Space banking" is synonymous with "banking".

Special Assessment

In addition to a yearly maintenance fee, sometimes this additional charge is billed to timeshare owners from a management company. This charge is intended to cover expenses related to major repairs and refurbishment endeavors.



The concept of purchasing an increment of time at a resort, condominium, apartment, or other facility, often with the option to exchange this time for time at a different location. What makes timeshare such a desirable alternative to traditional lodging is the value. Because the cost of a unit at a timeshare resort is split between many owners, it is possible to vacation at an elegant resort for far less money than it would take to purchase a unit outright, lease a property, or rent a hotel room for an extended period of time. Timeshare exchange programs afford the owner the opportunity to vacation all over the world and enjoy luxury amenities with no wasted expense.

Time Division

A way of classifying interval weeks as according to value, time division breaks all the weeks in a given year down into three distinct categories: high demand, medium demand, and low demand. Whereas resorts in tropical locations with a pleasant climate year-round can boast of high demand throughout the year, other resorts located elsewhere experience seasonal fluctuations of demand. For example, one can expect to pay much less for a timeshare on Cape Cod during the winter months. However, during the summer, the price will increase along with the demand. See "season", above, for the color-coded classifications used by RCI and II (which have since been assimilated into the universal language of timeshare).


Trading Power

The value assigned to an interval week when trading a timeshare property for a different week through a timeshare exchange company. Exchange is based heavily on supply and demand, but the features, amenities, location and reputation of the resorts and weeks in question also influence trading power. Consequently, a high demand week at a luxury resort could even be traded for two weeks at the same resort during off-season, or for two weeks at a lower-demand facility during the same peak season.


Trustees of a resort property exist primarily to provide a secure backing in case a resort developer does not succeed financially. In the timeshare world, trustees are a financial institution or group of individuals who hold timeshare properties in trust on behalf of the owners. A timeshare buyer's right-to-use agreement is granted through the trustees through a license, or Certificate of Ownership.

Vacation Ownership

Synonymous with "timeshare"

Week Fifty-Three

Once about every seven years, a year will have fifty-three weeks rather than fifty-two. The fifty-third week in a year is usually set aside for the exclusive use of the resort developer or another important member.



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