Christel De Haan and her husband Jon started RCI in 1974. Over the next 20 years, the company grew by leaps and bounds. The De Haan's eventually sold RCI to Cendant, in 1996, which spun off as a part of Wyndham Worldwide, and is now part of Wyndham Destinations. After selling RCI, Christel founded and operated the philanthropic charity Christel House until her death in 2020. RCI continues to be one Christel House’s top supporters.
Through the years, RCI has grown and adapted according to its members' needs adding an increasing variety of products to its portfolio. By virtue of its subscribing member base, RCI provides access to 4,000 affiliated resorts worldwide. In this sense, RCI is similar to the modern-day concepts of ridesharing and AirBnB. When you buy a timeshare, you're given the option to join RCI as a matter of course. Some resorts may include the cost of your membership in their purchase price. You are not obligated to join RCI at any stage of your timeshare journey.
If you're happy to vacation during your set week and/or return to your same resort location(s) every year you needn't join RCI at all. Yet, many timeshare owners start to crave a little variety after a few years visiting the same resorts and that's where RCI comes in. By means of an RCI membership, timeshare owners can 'deposit' their weeks and exchange them out for a different destination.
This pool of deposited weeks is then available for other members to use.
RCI satisfies this need to expand your vacation options and charges very little for the privilege. It's especially beneficial to members who want to travel overseas every few years since exchange fees are far lower than the cost associated with renting accommodation.