RCI members have access to a variety of different extra vacation offers, including the ability to purchase airfare directly through them. This is not always pointed out at timeshare presentations and will most likely not be listed on a standard list of ‘timeshare benefits’, but the ability to book flights directly through RCI should not be overlooked. Since RCI is booking hundreds of flights a day (and most likely has partnerships with a few of the leading airlines), they are able to pass on the savings of buying in bulk to RCI members.
Flights can be booked through RCI using one of three configurations:
- Flight + Hotel + Car
- Flight + Hotel
- Flight + Car
To access this information you will need to log into the RCI site, which is why you need to be an RCI member to benefit from this service. You will find the flight information under the “Vacation Offers” tab, once in “Vacation Offers” select “add air and car”, and the RCI Member Select Vacations search portal will appear. Here you will be able to select different options to allow you to define your travel needs including – departure city, arrival city, dates of travel, dates of hotel stay, travelers, hotel preferences, and flight preferences.
This works out great if you are planning to stay at a hotel, RCI resort, or need to rent a car where you are headed, but what if you are heading home for the holidays and do not need any of these extras? How can you book a flight only?
You can not book a flight only through RCI, but you can book a flight plus a car rental for a day. I tried this with a number of different variables, and you are able to book a rental car for one hour – 11 pm to 12 am the following day – and still book the flight for a cheap rate. The cheapest days to rent a car are Monday to Thursday, so you will want to select your hour long car rental for some time within those parameters. The only thing you need to be careful of when using this scenario is making sure you will not be charged for not showing up to pick up the car rental; call the auto rental company before your arrival to check with their policies. If you do need to pick up the car, make sure you choose a rental company located within the airport, and take the car for a quick spin before promptly returning it!
UPDATE 7/2009 – This scheme appears to no longer work. Either RCI caught on to people using this, or you can do no longer do this due to the way they have begun to restrict the use of points for non-resort stays. RCI now has placed a cap of 60,000 points per year for use on cars, airfare, and other perks. I anticipate seeing a class action suit regarding this decision popping up sometime in the near future, most likely spearheaded by people in the million + points club.