Vacation at luxurious houses around the world without having to buy a second home.
Despite the cost of hefty membership fees, you may not have to empty your savings or liquidate valuable assets in order to fund your membership. Check out different destination clubs, how you can get financed, the cost and ways to make your vacations the best they can be.
How destination clubs work
When you’re part of a destination club, you can choose from locations around the world every year and vacation in luxurious houses without ever having to worry about maintaining a second home. Instead of buying property, you either get equity in several locations or you simply rent them. Both options come with a similar cost structure with varying minimums and maximums.
An initial deposit, an annual membership fee and varying per-night costs are generally the unavoidable costs when it comes to destination clubs. Annual fees are generally used for things such as house maintenance and employing house staff and concierges.
How can I finance my destination club membership?
Your financing options range from personal loans to in-house financing based on the vacation destination club you’re interested in.
Personal loans are general-purpose credit products that can be taken from a bank or credit union or online lender. Online lenders typically have quicker turnarounds.
- Turnaround time can be quick
- You can potentially secure the loan with a luxury item for a lower APR
- Maximum loan amount may not be enough to cover the entire deposit for certain clubs
- Higher credit standards than credit cards
Peer-to-peer lending marketplaces bring individual investors and borrowers together. Rather than being a direct lender, peer-to-peer services act as a platform and connection service for people who want to take out loans and those who want to fund them.
- Higher maximum loan amounts than most unsecured personal loans and credit cards
- APR offered will typically be favorable to other forms of credit
- High credit standards
- Your loan may not get fully funded
Certain destination clubs, like Marriott and Disney, offer financing through the company directly. This means potentially cutting out a third-party lender completely.
- Potentially finance the entire cost of membership
- Can be offered for both initial deposit and annual dues
- Financing can only be used to fund membership to the club offering it
- Typically only established hotel and resort chains offer in-house financing
These lines of credit issued by financial institutions via a plastic card give you a borrowing limit that you borrow from again and again.
- Rewards programs can potentially earn you cash back
- Introductory offers can provide 0% interest for anywhere from nine to 12 months
- Lower maximum financing amounts than other options
- APR is typically less desirable than other financing options after the introductory period
Compare personal loans from top providers
How much does a destination club membership cost?
It’s pretty easy to break down the cost of a destination club membership. How frequently you use your membership, when you want to go and what status you want to hold in the club will all impact your cost.
- Initial deposit. Likely the biggest expense, this can range from as little as $7,500 to more than $800,000.
- Annual dues. You’ll pay as little as $0 all the way to $40,000 or more depending on the club.
- Additional rental costs per night. Though discounted from the normal cost of the location, this can run around $2,000 or more per night.
- Cancellation fees. These vary based on the club. Some also charge transfer fees when passing on a membership to a friend or family member.
- Taxes. Your location and the other costs will impact what taxes you pay.
Costs of popular destination clubs
|Initial Cost||Annual Dues||Primary Locations|
|Disney Vacation Club||$18,200–$40,950||$750–$1,700||Global|
|G2G Collection||$18,995||$0; must purchase one trip to be donated or make a donation of $1,000 or more to The Giving Plan Foundation each year to maintain an active membership||US, Mexico|
|Rocksure Property||$83,000–$410,000||$1,600–$12,500||US, Europe, Asia Pacific|
|The Hideaways Club||$85,000–$281,000||$10,500–$21,000||Global|
|Equity Estates||$257,500–$692,500||$13,500–$40,500||US, Europe, Caribbean|
5 easy steps to have the best vacation of your life
- Start planning early. A year in advance may seem like overkill, but it can get you the best rates and the best locations.
- Do your research. Find out if any local festivals or celebrations are going on while you’ll be visiting.
- Have backup plans for your backup plans. Life can go awry at the worst possible times, and having a contingency plan can make you the hero of the day.
- Take out travel insurance. On the same note, taking out travel insurance where you can might save you a lot of money if your plans are prone to changing.
- Hire a concierge. Should your new destination club membership not afford you one, hire a concierge to make your experience one of a kind.
You may be able to finance your membership buy-in or your annual dues while retaining your liquid and not-so-cashable assets. First, evaluate if a destination club is right for you. There may be several locations available, but only you can decide if they’re ones you would like to frequent.
Find out if you need financing, and if you do, take your time comparing your loan options. It’s hard to remove the emotional tie to choosing where you’ll be relaxing, but sidestepping heavy sales pitches in order to make a clear decision could save you big in the long run.