These two equity based destination clubs announced a mutual exchange of time at their residences, providing their members with access to a larger selection of luxury vacation homes.

The collaboration gives Ritz-Carlton Destination Club Members access to 17 Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club residences in North America's finest beach, mountain and golf destinations including Scottsdale, Ariz.; Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Snowmass-Aspen, Colo.; Kiawah Island, S.C.; Punta Cana, Sun Valley, Idaho; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Hawaii's Big Island; Turks & Caicos; Los Cabos, Punta Mita and Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. In return, Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club Members are able to convert their nights for use at 10 Ritz-Carlton Destination Club locations in Aspen Highlands, Bachelor Gulch and Vail*, Colo.; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; Jupiter, Fla.; San Francisco and North Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Kapalua Bay in Maui and Kauai Lagoons, Hawaii; and Abaco, The Bahamas.

AKRC Jackson Hole

Darin Gilson of Abercrombie & Kent told me that the partnership had been communicated to members last Friday and they will be able to start making reservations from the 1st November. These exchanges are being managed by Lion & Crown Travel, a Ritz-Carlton company, which already manages the internal exchange mechanism for members of the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club. Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club is the first external affiliate of the Lion & Crown. The broader plan is to add other, qualified external parties as affiliates of the exchange and further increase the travel options for all members.

Points Based Exchange

The exchange works on a points basis, in a similar way to the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club portfolio membership. Each property has a different points value based on a variety of factors such as size, time of year etc. For Abercrombie & Kent members, whose membership level offers a certain number of nights, the member will simply call their "Global Experience Manager" to reserve their trip and find out the number of night equivalents that will be used.

On the Ritz-Carlton side, the exchange is open to both home club members who have enrolled in the Lion & Crown Travel and also to members with a portfolio membership. These different types of Ritz-Carlton membership are covered on the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club overview.

For all these members, this instantly adds new destinations. In the current slow economy, this is a good way to rapidly grow the number of options available to members.

Both clubs will still maintain some unique aspects of their own. Ritz-Carlton members can use some of their membership time for stays at Ritz-Carlton hotels and these are not included in the exchange. Abercrombie & Kent members have access to European villas and boutique hotels and these also are not included in the exchange.

"Beyond our exceptional Ritz-Carlton Destination Club properties, it is our mission to continually offer our discerning members the finest partners and most exclusive vacation experiences," said Peter J. Watzka, executive vice president and chief operating officer for The Ritz-Carlton Development Company, Inc.. "We see this relationship as a tremendous first step in building a worldwide, branded network of exchange and travel services for the destination club segment."

"Additionally, we see our alliance with Abercrombie & Kent Residence Club as a logical extension of the newly formed relationship between The Ritz-Carlton and Abercrombie & Kent brands announced with the launch of The Ritz-Carlton Rewards program last month," continued Watzka.

"This exclusive relationship demonstrates our commitment to expand the range of destinations and luxury vacation experiences our members can enjoy around the world," explains Abercrombie & Kent founder and executive chairman Geoffrey Kent. "Both clubs were founded on an equity model, a fundamentally more conservative choice than other clubs in the industry."

Other Partnerships and Exchanges

Partnerships between destination clubs have proliferated, largely because they are a simple way to add more travel destinations for all the members. Equity Estates has a partnership with Europe based the Hideaways Club, which also has a partnership with Asian based Banyan Tree Private Collection. Quintess partnered with Europe based Oyster Circle in 2009.

There are several exchanges available for owners of fractional properties, and we've covered these in earlier articles. New club Demeure also has some characteristics of an exchange, in that its members make time available in their own vacation homes in exchange for access to the available time at other members homes.

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