Rental lodging

Cheap Resort Certificate Deal (aka I’m not a Resort Person)

Cliff Club at Snowbird

Almost exactly a year ago I read about a deal to buy a certificate that could be redeemed for a seven night stay at a bunch of resort condos around the world for $250. The offer was through Resort Vacation Certificates, a Wyndham network. That’s essentially $36 per night for a condo that sleeps between 2 and 6 people (depending on which one you select) and often includes a separate kitchen and living room. I browsed through the potential destinations, including lots of options in the United States and Europe, and a handful of other countries around the world, and decided this was a good deal. So I bought one.

Cozumel resort

Cozumel resort: stayed here in a friend’s timeshare last year

With these certificates you’re buying access to condos that have excess availability. Not all resorts have space during peak season, in fact most of the good deals are off season. But there’s a lot of availability overall, including some real gems in lovely destinations during very good travel times. And for some properties that aren’t available year round you can pay a small (or large, depending on the place) upgrade fee to get your desired dates. You can browse the options here.

After my purchase, in April of 2014, I began the process of discovering that my wife and I really are not resort people. You have to make a booking with this certificate within 1 year of purchase, and they show 12 months of calendar availability. So this means you have two years to use the certificate. And yet with all that time, I was down to the wire in March trying to find a place to book before my certificate expired.

There are a lot of really nice resort options listed. And looking at information about them on Tripadvisor, some are quite fancy and well reviewed. But if I’m going to travel to another country, I want to either enjoy a fun city, or travel around and see the place, experience the culture, and enjoy the food. Resorts aren’t places you typically do this. Resorts are for enjoying the beach, or golfing, or skiing. For instance, for our trip to Spain last year I could have booked a week at a beach resort using the certificate, but that sounded less fun than visiting other places in the country so we opted for home exchanges instead.

Finally I had a brainstorm while browsing (for the 100th time) the various options in the United States: a ski destination for Spring skiing for my wife’s birthday. I don’t love the downhill sports, but my wife does, and I certainly wouldn’t turn down a warm springtime week at a resort where I could get in some snow shoeing and work from a lovely location. After playing around with options in Montana, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but which is quite difficult to access from a flight/car perspective, I found Snowbird in Salt Lake City. Ski season runs until June!

Cliff Club at Snowbird

Cliff Club at Snowbird

Would I have purchased a week at Snowbird if I was looking for an April vacation plan? No. Will I buy the certificate again? No. I now know very clearly that we are not resort people, and even with a ton of nice options around the world at a cheap price, we’d rather find a home exchange, and we’re more likely to focus on cities or national parks. In spite of all this I think we’re getting very good value out of the certificate.

If you like resorts consider buying this certificate. Just browse the options first to make sure there are some that you’d actually want to book. SkyAuction periodically runs deals selling these certificates for cheap, and I see they have a sale going until April 15 for $260 plus a $20 processing fee.


    • It looks like the offer I linked to in this post expired a while ago Cjam. But you can search for deals on SkyAuction to see if they are doing one in the future.

  • Hmm. I was going to look at a ski vacation for the end of this month, but Snowbird’s website says that their closing date this year is May 10.

    • Yea it was a bad year for snow in Utah this year. We just barely made it: one final snow storm made for some great time on the slopes, but now it’s almost all melted.