Emma owns timeshares in DVC and Wyndham and wants to help you get the most out of your timeshares and keep you from losing big on them too.
Royal Holiday Club is the first timeshare I bought and I picked up my 15,000 points for a song on Ebay. My final bid was just over $100 and by the time you add in closing costs, transfer fees, etc. my total investment was $800. Not bad at all.
And so far I've used my Royal Holiday Club membership to go to Puerto Rico, Atlantic City, Del Mar (coastal SoCal), and Orlando. Next year I'll most likely be using it to visit Vegas and/or Palm Springs.
How the Royal Holiday Club Works
Royal Holiday Club is a Mexican timeshare company. So as a result of Mexican property laws, Royal Holiday Club membership is sold as Right to Use rather than as deeded. Mexican citizens may be able to get fixed deed, but since foreign citizens cannot technically own property in Mexico, the membership is RTU.
Any timeshare sold as Right to Use has an expiration date. For example, my use of my Royal Holiday Club points expires in 2024, so at the end of that year I'll stop paying annual maintenance fees and will no longer have use of Royal Holiday Club. Disney Vacation Club actually works the same way, except my DVC membership doesn't expire until around 2050 or so.
Royal Holiday Club advantages
The two major advantages of owning Royal Holiday Club are cost and flexibility. While I see far fewer Royal Holiday Club sales on places like Ebay than I would something like Wyndham or RCI points, the prices are usually a great bargain and you can easily get into a lot of Royal Holiday Club points for a few thousand dollars.
I bought 15K points for $800 total, but if I had been smart I would have waited for a bigger points package to come along. I would recommend between 30K and 60K points if you really want to take advantage of the range of RHC properties available. I do pretty well with 15K, but it blocks me out of some desirable properties unless I'm willing to fork over a one time payment for points or bank a year's worth of points into the next year. That's something I'm not usually willing to do since I travel A LOT. :)
The other main advantage is flexibility. Royal Holiday Club does not own all of the resorts in their system. While they do own quite a few resorts of their own, for the most part RHC has longterm lease arrangements with other resort properties, most of them small private holdings.
As a result, Royal Holiday Club members have access to urban locations in which there are relatively few timeshares -- for examples, as a member of RHC I can book a timeshare in San Diego, San Francisco, London, Paris and New York City. In fact, if you're buying Royal Holiday Club for its access to the city properties in its portfolio I strongly recommend that you purchase a minimum of 45K points especially if you travel for full weeks.
In addition to the great city locales, Royal Holiday Club also either owns timeshares or has lease arrangements with timeshares all over the world - with particularly strong presence in Mexico, the Caribbean, and the US. Because there are so many properties in their system, most owners usually will find it unnecessary to join one of the exchange companies. RHC has enough variety in their own holdings that generally you won't need to exchange.
While I did go ahead and sign up for RCI, (RHC's affiliate), I did it for access to the Extra Vacation and Last Minute cash offers. There would be no reason to ever actually deposit my Royal Holiday Club points because I can pretty much go where ever I like with them.
Discuss Royal Holiday Club
- Timeshare Users Group Points Forum
If you want to look into the pros and cons a bit more in depth, I recommend visiting the Timeshare Users Group and checking out the forum postings about Royal Holiday Club here.
Royal Holiday Club disadvantages
Okay, most of the disadvantages are hearsay, as I've never experienced problems yet, but I've only owned Royal Holiday Club for a few years. However, since these disadvantages are the primary reason RHC are sold at firesale prices in the resale market they are worth mentioning.
Reputation - The timeshare industry doesn't have the greatest reputation in the first place. It is an extremely hard sell industry, but RHC's reputation is pretty horrible even keeping that in mind. Many Royal Holiday Club owners who bought a timeshare from the developer in Mexico experienced extremely high pressured sales events and then paid far too much money for what they own, experiencing major buyer regret upon returning home. Couple that with Mexico's very short 5 business day cool-off period (which many vacationers are probably completely unaware of) and you have bad situation all around. But this is why you can buy these timeshares for pennies compared to other comparable offers.
Bookkeeping - According to some owners, Royal Holiday Club tends to have poor bookkeeping. Owners have reported being double-billed for maintenance fees, etc. and all highly recommend keeping close tabs on all financial paperwork. I personally have not had any problems with them.
Poor or Inconsistent Customer Service - Again, this isn't something I've had a problem with primarily because I don't call RHC. I use their website to book my vacations and pay my maintenance fees. While the website is kind of crappy and slow, it does the job and I have had no problems. On the other hand, plenty of other members report making bookings with RHC on the phone and never receiving confirmations, etc. Some resorts cannot be booked on the website so clearly it is something that can't be entirely avoided. I've just avoided it so far by not booking anyplace that cannot be booked online.
Availability - Resort availability is not always clear. Because RHC has lease arrangements, sometimes the availability at a particular resort will not be known until rather late in the year. This makes it difficult to plan very far ahead for some members. Also, customer service will tell you they'll call you back when resort availability is known, but then don't follow through. So it's best that if you have a concern, keep calling. I would say that it would be safest to assume that RHC will never call you back about anything.
Difficult to Get Rid Of - If at some point you decide you want to dispose of your Royal Holiday Club timeshare even giving it away will cost you money. Royal Holiday has more than doubled its transfer fees and it now costs more than $600 to transfer ownership. In most cases, it will be difficult to find another owner willing to pay that fee so I would consider it the cost of getting rid of the timeshare if you really want to do that.
With all of these drawbacks in mind I would think twice about picking up a Royal Holiday timeshare today, even for free, unless you are getting it near the tail-end of its available use. For example, if there were only five or six years left before it reverted back to RHC I might consider it. I mostly use mine for exchanges nowadays and if I had it to do over again, I think I would probably have been better off just picking up more cheap or free Wyndham points.
barbara on March 10, 2011:
For he happy people with royal holiday I can give you my bronze membership for free..i purchased it and never used it due to lack of availability all the times...I can transfer it to you since I see someone is happy with them out there...let me know.
JLO on January 27, 2011:
We are Royal Holiday Members and have been for a few years. We got the membership from a family member. We have been to Cancun 3 times (love it), Lake Placid, and North Carolina. It has been a pleasant experince. Although we cannot get to NYC. It always seems to be booked.
Carease on January 11, 2011:
I almost signed a contract in the bahamas. Thanks to my fiancé, I didn't. Thank goodness!
Tifini on January 08, 2011:
How do I get out of my contract? What's the best way? Sell it? I've ran into one scam when I tried to sell. Now I'm terrified to sell but does not want to own the timeshare any more. Please help.
maureen on January 03, 2011:
It is next to impossible to book Royal Holiday and an airline ticket efficiently. I I do the time-share first the airline price is outragious, if I do the airline first the time-share is not available. Also be aware that the RHC should be booked in points not weeks. I,ve lost points because of this confusion.
katgirl on January 02, 2011:
I have been a member of RHC for about 10 years. I have travelled all over the world using their point system (I currently have 35K points/year). Absolutely love their destinations and have been treated very professionally over the phone. I can say that I hate the online booking system because it just doesn't seem to work correctly, constantly showing everything full. As for the pressured sales pitches, I have been involved in some of them. I just say "sorry, but I'm not interested, get up and walk out" If they come after you, ask for the manager. Amazing how well this works. All-in all a good experience, but my maintenance fees are $980/year
Elizabeth on January 01, 2011:
royal Holiday is a scam. They make lots of promises that are not kept. The big promise is that once you buy in your weeks include "all inclusive"... not true at all.
The 5 or 10 yr unlimited use is a nightmare trying to book. The all inclusive fee is way more then they said. Our credit card was charged over $500 more than the agreed all inclusive fee.. It is sad, they have such a good product but they must cheat people..
We are looking for a way out but I doubt we will find one.
LORD on January 01, 2011:
So glad I read this - SAVED ME BIG HEADACHES IN THE FUTURE. Will be cautious.
Emma (author) from Boston on December 28, 2010:
SariPa. This page has nothing to do with RHC or its partners. If I did not approve your comment it was because it was either 1.) ridiculous, 2.) libelous, or 3.) batshit insane. If you want to comment about RHC, feel free to start your own page or blog.
I'm not obligated to host your ravings or the ravings of anyone else who feel like they have been burned by RHC, so I have basically stopped approving comments.
SariPa on December 20, 2010:
I guess this page has something to do with RHC and/or its partners ;) - the reason why my comment never showed up? ;)
Emma (author) from Boston on November 29, 2010:
Sam, they are not a scam just because you fail to understand the legal obligations of a contract.
Sam P on November 29, 2010:
Customer since 2003. Just called them to cancel my membership. Was told that I have a 31 yr contract and unless I sell it, give it away, or find someone who can take it over the yearly membership ($615.00 this year) I cannot get off the contract. Royal Holiday is a scam and should not be bought by anyone.
Alex S on September 15, 2010:
Customer service is poor by telling you $60 a night for all inclusive which is a standard for Cancun, they call you after two weeks and ask you to add $20 per night because it is mexican holiday. After arranging with friend the flight and have a non refundable ticket, the change in price make you go over your budget. Since they told as they are cancelling we paid the $20 additional for 12 people. That is a bad customer service. Honering your word is an important part of any business. Watch out how you are dealing with this company.
Rose Kartsaklis on August 29, 2010:
I've been offered the unlimited use in Cozumel either since 2008, i've been to Cozume for 7 times getting to have access to 18 hotel rooms once i had a
weding down there, i have to say that it was a low season but it work pettry fine for me, i just pay for my all inclusevi fees and that it, to be honest i have not use my points at all, just make sure you have all that you've been promised in papers.
Mike on June 24, 2010:
Royal Holiday Cozumel purportedly offered me unlimited use of their Mexico resorts for the first ten years. I still cancelled the contract, but I am curious as to whether anyone else has seen this offer and whether it is just too good to be true.
SNH on April 09, 2010:
How did some of you get out of this, its been a month now and we are still tryin, we explained to them we have other obligations that are more important.
Pablo on February 23, 2010:
While on holiday I had the misfortune of agreeing to listen to a Royal Holiday representative pitch. It was supposed to take jus 30 min, it ended up being over 90 min.
After serving me drink after drink (11 in my last count), I agreed to give them a $500 USD deposit. The next day when I woke up I realized that this was not such a good deal and proceeded to cancel my request for their membership.
I was told that my deposit would be refunded within 5 business days. In fact they even gave me a letter in Royal Holiday letterhead stating that they would refund the deposit in that time span. The letter was signed right in front of me by their "accounting manager".
It has now been two months and there has been no refund. I have called them and the main office in Mexico countless times. I even email them a scan copy of the letter. Nothing happened.
What is the value of having a membership with an organization that does not keep their word even when it is in writing???.
gail on January 23, 2010:
i am wondering why mr joshua forbes who is supposed to be the project director for nassau royal holiday would be posting comments on this site trying to deceive people
debra on January 23, 2010:
royal holiday cable beach bahamas is a scam ,all those fake certificates they offer ,i am taking my story to the canadianpress and the bahamad tourist board ,the sales representative are wll aware of all the lies they they are telling visitors shame on all of you who work in the office at cable beach
JESUS SALDAÑA on December 02, 2009:
$100.OO DOLLARS IS THE REAL AND JUST PRICE OF A ROYAL HOLIDAY CLUB MEMBERSHIP PLATINUM.
NEVER, SOMEBODY WOULD PERMITE THAT THE VENDORS OF THIS CLUB "TAKE TO YOU OF YOUR HAIR".
THEY PRETEND SALE THIS MEMBERSHIP OF TIMESHARE FOR $30,000 DOLARS.
DON´T EAR THE "MAIRMAID SONG". ¡YOU CAN BE ESTAFED!
Emma (author) from Boston on November 20, 2009:
Sorry to hear you are having problems, Greg. I've never stayed at any of the all-inclusive resorts as to me they defeat the purpose of timesharing (why spend all that money on food when I have my own kitchen??). I hope things work out.
Greg on November 20, 2009:
Royal Holiday is a scam; led us into upgrading, then later found we needed to comply with mandatory all-inclusive at the resort we previouly stayed at without having to do all-inclusive. Latest is we had to cancel reservations for 2010 about 6 weeks ago; this time around Royal Holiday required payment of all-inclusive up front, so now having extreme difficulty getting our all-inclusive payment ($2000+) dollars returned. Was promised it would be credited back to our acount earlier this week, but hasn't happened; nothing but a bunch of liars and cheats!
joshua forbes on September 25, 2009:
I have been expose to royal and I like the concept.There many repeat visitors to their resorts and members appear to invite friends and family to join the club.The value is great and being able to experience the service is a great thing
Chelly on September 04, 2009:
Royal Holiday in the Bahamas has made the best out of my vacations I've been with them now for the past 3 years and have no complaints. From the sales rep to customer service rep treat my family like their own and i will continue to travel with them.
Annika on April 24, 2009:
Royal Holiday has had the worst phone service I have ever had. Rudeness, sent faxes for answers, hidden fees never told or in contract. high presuure sales tactics. Not worth it. Resorts average at best. Misled by beautiful suites shown when I signed the dotted line. Shame on me!
FrankX on January 21, 2009:
My wife and I were tapped by Royal Holiday off Cable Beach at the Sheraton in Nassau, Bahamas Jan 16 by RHC. Offered a free lunch (it was pretty poor) and a gift certificate (snorkel dive, which was great) we were sucked in to what was described as a 90 minute (really 2 1/2 hour) presentation of a pressured sales pitch.
The clues were clear, although they took a while to develop -- the tour was magnificent: but when they began to talk details, to try to personalize the pitch, it sounded "too good to be true". This takes a while to play out because the important numbers are not presented until the end.
The other clues have to do with the price and the product, both of which are moving targets. As we indicated our need to "do our own independent research" on RHC the price of our product was lowered and ite scope improved several times. We were subject to speaking with 5 different sales people in the course of the last half hour.
When we finally were allowed to graciously extricate ourselves by dealing with a very sad man who let us go, the scam became clear.
A little Internet research revealed both 60-Minutes and 20-20 programs and a Better Business Bureau rating of "F" for RHC, as well as a wide range of scamming stories.
reyes on December 15, 2008:
royal holiday is a scam please look into before buying, not worth the money,headaches