For more than 40 years, RCI has been meeting the needs of its clients, enabling them to travel around the world instead of confining themselves to a single resort. For a small annual fee, membership allows owners to retain a paid-for week’s holiday at RCI and exchange it for another holiday at any of the network’s thousands of resorts.
A brief history
RCI was born in 1974 when Jon and Christel DeHaan realized that exchanging vacation properties offers timeshare owners greater choice and more opportunities to travel. Ultimately, they created a system that changed the vacationing experience and pushed the boundaries for millions of timeshare owners around the world.
In 1974, RCI opened its first office in Indianapolis, where it still operates today. For ten years, the company developed rapidly, opening offices throughout the world. In 1985, the RCI network welcomed its 1,000th resort and, just four years later, RCI had over a million members.
RCI continued moving forward and exploring new horizons. It launched its Gold Crown programme to recognize high quality service, founded the Christel House non-profit and developed a flexible points system. In 2004, the company celebrated its 30th anniversary, with a membership of three million.
Scale of operations
Today, RCI’s network includes over 600,000 hotels and 4,300 resorts in more than 110 countries. This is the new shape of travel featuring 345,000 events, 30+ popular cruises and access to major car rental brands. In other words, RCI today is an entire global tourism network.
Famous brands – RCI participants
RCI is the biggest vacation exchange company, working with many global brands.
It offers an extensive choice of hotels from the biggest brands throughout the world, including:
- Hilton Grand Vacation Club
- Hayatt Vacation Club
- Wyndham Destinations
- Marriott Vacation Club
- Disney Vacation Club
- Bluegreen Vacations
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations
Cruises are offered by such major operators as:
- Celebrity Cruises
- Royal Caribbean International
- Norwegian Cruise Lines, etc.
Attraction World is one of the world’s leading experience ecosystems, offering a broad selection of events such as theme parks, amusement rides, theatres and museums, tours, and other events throughout the world.
RCI cooperates with leading car rental companies:
- Europcar, and many others.
RCI has a very flexible membership system that is convenient and advantageous to every timeshare owner.
This is a system for exchanging weeks: a member with either a floating or a fixed week may enter it into the RCI exchange system, sift through all the available options and book a holiday at any other resort with an equivalent exchange potential. The owner may also book a longer vacation at a resort with a lower exchange potential. Exchange potential is determined on the basis of several criteria:
- supply and demand at a given resort
- suite type and size
- deposit type
Unlike other exchange programmes, RCI Weeks members may combine their weeks to obtain the best offer.
The world’s first global point-based exchange system is intended to meet the needs of programme members and their changing lifestyle. It offers greater flexibility in selecting a vacation. Members may choose any place, time or suite type, depending on the number of points they have. If they have enough points, several holidays a year may be booked. Booking time is not measured in weeks. It can last just a few days if a member wishes, for instance, to spend a weekend at a resort of their choice. The number of points members earn depends on many factors:
- supply and demand at a given resort
- suite type and size
- resort guest reviews
Additionally, members have the option of using their points to pay for tickets to all kinds of events, for car rentals and for making purchases from RCI’s partners.
Members of RCI Weeks and RCI Points may pay the requisite Platinum dues and upgrade their membership to RCI Platinum. This is a premium membership level offering exclusive exchange privileges. This system has many advantages, including:
- free exchange for higher-level suites
- free continuous search and booking
- exclusive prices for hotels and resorts
- exclusive discounts on car rentals
- free luggage tracking service
No matter which RCI exchange programme a timeshare owner joins, they receive value, flexibility and a great selection, particularly when combined with the additional advantages of RCI Platinum membership.
Terms and conditions for joining RCI
RCI does not own resorts: it is specifically a vacation exchange programme. To join RCI, you must own a timeshare. To see if you have the right to exchange holidays via the RCI network, you need to check whether your home resort is a member of the network. RCI Weeks membership involves paying annual fees starting at USD 99. RCI Points membership free start at USD 124, and an RCI Platinum upgrade starts at USD 89. A multi-year subscription comes at a discount. Kindly bear in mind that old resorts and suites may not be exchanged equally for new resorts or larger accommodation.
RCI does not set rigid terms and conditions for changing or cancelling a booking. Members have the right to change their bookings or cancel them altogether no later than 14 days before arrival. RCI will credit both points or the exchange potential used and exchange fees to the RCI member’s account
RCI Elite Rewards Mastercard programme
RCI Elite Rewards credit card programme helps cardholders make the best use of their RCI membership. Using a RCI Elite Rewards MasterCard to pay for RCI services and for everyday purchases, members may receive cashback, various kinds of reward, as well as bonuses for RCI members: gift cards, travel, goods, experiences, and many other things.
RCI has the biggest worldwide selection of resorts participating in the exchange.
It conducts the absolute majority of exchange operations.
RCI works with the biggest and best-known brands in everything related to holidaying: hotels, cruises, event organization, car rentals.
It has a flexible exchange policy, including a points system with the option of booking holidays that are not necessarily equal to the cost of the purchased week.
When exchanging points for vacations with a lower potential, unused points are credited to the account as deposits for subsequent use on a new trip.
Several deposits may be combined to book a vacation with a higher exchange potential.
The club has lifetime membership and the right to use suites may be inherited.
In 2012, RCI garnered one million views on YouTube.
In 2015, RCI LiveStream launched a virtual platform and became the first remote visual timeshare sales system.
In 2016, RCI was, for the tenth time, the title sponsor of RCI – Christel House Open, an international charity golf tournament.
In 2019, it bought ARN, the leading provider of tourist technologies.
RCI develops its own quality standards and has several awards that are given to resorts that exceed expectations. As the leader in the vacation exchange industry, RCI influences the world for the better, helping solve the principal environmental, social and economic problems ranging from climate change and water shortages to youth unemployment and human trafficking.
RCI won three ARDA awards, including the ACE Excellence in Customer Service Award, in recognition of its quick response and continuous support for RCI members and affiliated persons during the COVID-19 pandemic.
RCI won the Integrated Marketing Campaign Award for launching its re-branding campaign.
RCI won the Global Leadership Bench Programme Award.
For 45 years, RCI has been the leader and an innovator in the sector, the first to suggest fresh, new, unique marketing and technological ideas adding value for our partners and improving the services offered to our members.