Editor's choice: Fiona personal loans
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- APR starting at $100,000
- Loans up to 4.99%
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When you’re part of a destination club, also known as a vacation club, you can choose from locations around the world every year and spend your free time in luxurious houses without having to worry about maintaining a second home. Instead of buying property, you can choose to either buy equity in several locations or rent a place when you need it by using a point system.
Both options have a similar price structure: an initial fee that acts as a deposit for your membership, a per-night cost to cover your stay and an annual membership fee that is generally used for house maintenance and employing staff. These are the most common expenses for vacation clubs, but the actual cost and fees will vary club-to-club.
Your financing options range from personal loans to in-house financing. It all depends on the vacation club you’re interested in.
Personal loans are general-purpose credit products that can be borrowed from a bank, credit union or online lender. Online lenders typically have quicker turnarounds.
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.
Certain destination clubs, like Marriott and Disney, offer direct financing. This means potentially cutting out a third-party lender completely.
These lines of credit issued by financial institutions via a plastic card give you a borrowing limit that you borrow from again and again.
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 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|
There’s a lot of initial overlap between the two: You pay for the privilege of vacationing at a specific destination for around a week a year. But overall, timeshares are a much more limiting experience. Although you’ll own a piece of real estate, you won’t be able to access it all the time.
With a destination club, you’ll not only have access to a piece of property whenever you want, but the luxury aspects as well. Many clubs offer vacation packages, specialty planning and other amenities you’ll need during your stay. Although you won’t necessarily own the property you’re staying in, you’ll have much more flexibility. Destination clubs allow you to pick when you’re going on vacation, where you’re heading to and how long you want to stay.
The added flexibility is why destination clubs come at a premium price and why many timeshares are starting to rebrand themselves based on the destination club point system.
Joining a destination club can be a big expense — one you may need help with. To find the best financing option for your choice, take your time and compare 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.
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