If the thought of vacationing at a different resort every year appeals to you, vacation clubs might be your thing. Not to be confused with timeshares, vacation clubs operate differently.
Timeshares are purchases of time at a single community or resort every year. The length, and often dates, are predetermined. Timeshare owners are responsible for a portion of annual maintenance fees (which usually increase yearly), as well as special assessments and taxes. The length of time you can purchase at a timeshare can vary, but it’s almost always at the same place.
Vacation clubs and travel clubs offer a bit more variety. Members typically pay an initial membership fee and then receive an annual (usually) allocation of points that can be used as currency to book at different resorts under the club’s umbrella. High-season dates and desirable properties may cost more than less popular ones, and book up faster. For travelers who like to visit different new or different locales each year, vacation clubs can be an attractive option, but like timeshares, they come with ever-increasing yearly maintenance fees.
Many large hotel chains such as Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, and Wyndham have their own vacation clubs, while others operate their own private networks of resorts. Available properties can range from privately-owned condominiums in major cities to exclusive high-end villas and even cruises. We compared several vacation and travel club options and came up with a list of five top options.
My Travel Rewards Club
My Travel Rewards Club offers members-only exclusives and private discounts on resorts, hotels, airfare, car rentals, and more. Members get special access to thousands of discounted resort weeks at prices unavailable to the general public, as well as more than 700,000 hotel properties around the world at discounts up to 70% off OTA pricing. With every resort, hotel, or cruise booking, members accrue same-as-cash rewards, which can be redeemed on the platform for resort weeks, hotels, cruises, or even used to cover the nominal annual dues. Three membership tiers offer different benefits—the Platinum level, for example, offers up to 8% back in Travel Rewards on each booking, three guaranteed resort week rentals each year at $699 or less (any week, any resort, any unit), and personalized concierge services are available 24/7 to help members book accommodations, tee times, spa treatments, private tours, and more. What truly sets My Travel Rewards Club apart, however, is that it is not affiliated with any single brand, resort, or hotel chain. Members enjoy discounts from thousands of well-known brands, providing the utmost in flexibility.
An Inspirato subscription grants you access to a six-continent portfolio of luxury vacation homes, five-star resorts, and boutique experiences—plus a dedicated team of on-site staff at your destination. The private homes offer top-notch amenities like gyms, chef-worthy kitchens and infinity-edge pools and their many resort partners are household names. Membership also includes boutique experiences such as safaris and VIP access to special events. Two membership tiers can accommodate all types of travel: the Inspirato Club ($600/month) allows you to pay nightly rates and select specific travel dates, while the $2,500/month Inspirato Pass lets you choose from a list of trips with pre-selected dates with no nightly rates, taxes, or fees.
The Solstice model operates a bit differently than other vacation clubs. They have eight signature properties in Europe, United States, St. Barth’sand Mexico, plus additional properties that are owned by their shareholders. All embody the spirit and character of their unique location and are suitable for even the most discerning traveler. Members pay a one-time administrative fee, then choose from three levels of membership that each offer a designated number of Advance Access, Space Available, and Spontaneous Usage days (more days can be purchased at $250/night). Solstice is not for everyone: they keep their membership small with an ideal member-to-home ratio of 6:1 in order to maintain an open and fluid scheduling calendar. In addition to having a dedicated Solstice representative to assist with trip planning, each vacation includes daily housekeeping services and a local team member to ensure a smooth stay.
For those who want a more secluded, upscale experience, Exclusive Resorts is the answer. Almost all their properties are located in more than 380 private resorts and gated communities and with 75 destinations, there are plenty of vacation spots to choose from. Exclusive Resorts is very discerning and keeps its membership small, accepting just over 100 new applicants per year. Once inside the club, members receive perks such as premium upgrades, medical care and discounts on everything from luggage delivery to private aviation. Members pay a one-time initiation fee for a multi-year membership, then select the number of days they want to travel each year for one set rate. Unlike some other vacation clubs, there’s a set price per night no matter where you stay or when (including peak seasons and holidays).
Disney Vacation Club
This one is more of a timeshare/vacation club hybrid: you do purchase real estate interest in a Disney Vacation Club Resort, but it comes in the form of an annual allotment of Vacation Points which you can use to book accommodations at other Disney properties. Most are in Florida, South Carolina, Hawaii, and California. Eligible Members receive exclusive invitations to special events like holiday celebrations, culinary experiences and “Moonlight Magic” events (complimentary after-hours celebrations at select Disney parks). Membership pricing starts at more than $300 plus an additional $100 and up in dues each month—but members can borrow points from upcoming years or bank points that go unused.