Should You Rent Disney Vacation Club Points?

Written by Chris Wood. Posted in Features, Park Wise, Walt Disney World

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Published on November 01, 2012 at 5:02 am with 9 Comments

One solution to the high cost of staying at a Disney deluxe property is to rent Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points.  DVC is Disney’s version of a timeshare, but put all your old notions of timeshares aside. The fact that you’re staying in a timeshare won’t be apparent in the least, as Disney doesn’t try to “hard sell” their timeshares.  In fact, they don’t really have to, since they’re very popular.

There are two stand-alone DVC properties, Saratoga Springs and Old Key West. You’ll also find DVC units attached to Wilderness Lodge, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk, the Contemporary, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and in the next year, the Grand Floridian.  Most DVC properties have their own pool and other amenities, but you can take advantage of anything at the main resort as well.

DVC units come in studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom villas. All but the studios have full kitchens and a washer and dryer.  I love the convenience of staying in a DVC property and it’s my first choice–when I can afford it!  So how can you make it work? Well, for a lot of people that means buying into DVC and becoming an owner, but for many more, that’s simply not practical, either because they don’t visit Disney World enough or because of the price. You can stay on a “cash” basis in these units, but it’s very expensive. One solution is to rent points from a DVC owner.  It’s generally a painless transaction, but you’ll need a few pointers to get you started.

1. Become familiar with how DVC works. One of the best sources I’ve found for non-owners is MouseOwners.  The site has active rental boards if you choose to rent directly from an owner.  You’ll need to be registered to post questions and view some areas of the site. You can also ask DVC questions right here in the MiceChat DVC Forum.

2.  Check out the point charts for your stay.  DVC owners buy a certain amounts of points and those points allow them to “buy” nights. It’s like cash, basically. Their points are good any time of the year, but some nights cost more than others. For example, you could get a week in an Animal Kingdom Lodge one-bedroom standard view for around 180 points in January, but during busier times of the year, that same rental can go up to 260 points!

3. Decide if you’re going to rent directly from an owner or use a points broker. Here are the basic differences:

Brokers:

  • Are more expensive, usually $12 to $15 per point.
  • Have no contact with Disney because they act as an intermediary between you and the owner. Think of them as a silent partner. If something goes wrong with Disney, they don’t exist and can’t help.
  • Offer some amount of protection as owners are carefully vetted.

Owners:

  • Require more trust.
  • Will need to be verified by you.
  • Deal directly with Disney.
  • Cost several dollars less per point.

4.  Ask yourself  how you vacation. Can you make plans far in advance without fear of cancellations?  Most DVC rentals will need to be made at least 6 months in advance; more so for highly desirable properties like Bay Lake Tower and Beach Club.  What about free dining? If you’re a guest who frequently travels with a free dining promotion, you need to know up front that you will not qualify for that or any other discounts; your discount is your room. A lot of guests are surprised to rent DVC only to find out that it precludes all  other promotions. Finally, do you need all that space?

Image property of the Walt Disney Company.

5. Know the risks up front.  One reason renting DVC points is such a great deal is that there’s a certain amount of risk involved.  Most brokers and owners will not work with you in the event  that you need to cancel. They actually can’t, because DVC points lose their “value” closer to travel.  While most transactions go smoothly, there’s always the chance that you could show up and there could be something wrong with your reservation: Unpaid dues, bankruptcies, and other issues mean your reservation is “frozen” and you won’t be able to check in. Your job as a smart consumer means that you’ll ensure that your owner is legitimate (and most are) but in the end, there’s a certain amount of nervousness that comes from renting from someone that doesn’t abate until you check in and are handed your room keys!

Having said all this, I have rented points frequently in the past and have never had a transaction go wrong.  Make sure you have a solid contract (you’ll find examples on MouseOwners), that you buy trip insurance (this is an absolute necessity), and that you’ve fully investigated whether or not the owner is who she says she is.  Finally, never rent from Ebay or Craigslist. Every single one of the transactions I’ve heard bad things about came from one of these sources.

Have you ever wanted to stay in a DVC villa? If so, did you consider renting points? Please let us know about your experience below.

About Chris Wood

Chris Wood is frequent Disney traveler and travel agent. She considers Walt Disney World to be her home park.

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  • SueinSac

    I’ve previously rented points, and am now an owner who rents points. I love my little DVC contract, and think DVC is the best way to stay at Disney!

  • Asterix

    This is super helpful, thanks a lot for sharing!

  • KENfromOC

    This article misses a key point: How much will you save over just directly booking a week at Old Key West verses using this “point rental” system for example?
    We stayed at a 1-bedrm suite at OKW in July of 2005. I can’t say how much the room cost because my wife took care of it, and we were on the package that included everything but meals. But to really assess this you would need to give a direct comparison and also factor in seasonal discounts, ticket and meal plans.

  • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

    Thanks Chris. I’m actually a DVC owner and love it. But there have been a couple of times I’ve run out of points and rented some from other DVC members. I’ve never had a problem and completely agree that these are the ultimate luxury rooms at WDW, especially if you end up in a one or two bedroom unit.

    Just stayed in a one bedroom suite at the Contemporary Bay Lake Tower in September. I could easily live the rest of my life in a space like that. Full kitchen, washer/dryer, dining room table, comfy living room, balcony, luxury bedroom, whirlpool tub and full shower. Two bathrooms! Simply amazing.

    To answer Ken above, it is very hard to work out the price difference. It all depends on what you end up being able to rent the points for and what other deals Disney is offering on regular rooms if you opted not to rent. I’d suggest that you just look at what you’d end up paying for a DVC unit and then compare with the current deals you’d get from Disney and make a decision.

    If you were to compare DVC Units with Disney Hotels, the closest would be with the Deluxe hotels. But even then, the DVCs offer a generally higher standard of living.

    If anyone is interested in becoming a DVC member, please let me know and I’ll give you a referral.

    • SpinWizzard

      Dusty,

      I’m a member of a different timeshare comprised of all 5 star resorts. Do you know if DVC has any type of exchange program of it’s own? Also, I didn’t take a lot of time touring that website because it was limited to registered owners, but are there any DVC resorts around Disneyland? It’s too late to make changes for our trip coming up on the 9th, but it might be good information for making my reservations next year. We have even contemplated making reservations for a week in the connected hotel to DCA, just can’t afford it.

      We will be spending five glorious days at Disneyland between the 11th and the 17th. Let me know if you will be there any of those days. It would be great to meet you.

      • madoka

        @SpinWizzard,

        DVC is part of the RCI exchange program. At Disneyland, there are DVC units attached to the Grand Californian which are just fabulous. I own DVC at both Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village and at the Villas at the Grand Californian and just love it.

        You should be just at the start of your DL trip and have chosen a great time to visit during a low season. Hope you have a wonderful vacation!

        -madoka

      • Chris Wood

        Thank you. I can’t wait. :-)

  • aggiemullins

    I am also a DVC owner who has rented and rented out points on many occasions. While it does have its risk, I would like to emphasize how safe it is. It’s even more so now that Disney has enabled the online tool that shows the renter the reservation in real time. Most people renting out points are extremely friendly and happy to help you in any way they can in planning your Disney vacation because we love Disney. If they aren’t extremely friendly and open from the beginning, then move on to the next owner.

    Chris, I also would like to say I appreciate your unbiased opinion about the point brokers. One broker in particular has done a really good job in partnering with a large number of Disney related sites, forums and blogs so it’s refreshing to see an honest article on renting points and not just a paid plug for the broker.

    Even though there is nothing wrong with brokers, I encourage everyone to rent the points yourself directly from the owner. Not only is it always cheaper, but because the owners love Disney so much and very much care that you experience the magic that we love, your level of “customer care” will typically be far and above better then if you rented through a broker.

    Even though every owner clearly states that the reservation is non-changeable and nonrefundable, if for some reason something happens where you have to change/cancel your reservation, most owners would probably try their hardest to accommodate you in any way they could, short of losing their points. I may be wrong, but I don’t think a broker would be so willing.

    Lastly, if you’re thinking about renting points, make sure to look at disboards.com’s rental thread too. Hopefully it’s OK for me to say so, but it seems to have a more active owners community which translates to more people renting out points and sometimes better prices depending on supply and demand.

  • davidrusk

    We purchased 4 nights at Bay Lake Tower studio through a points broker. As soon as our payment was in I received a confirmation email with our reservation number. I checked and found the reservation was in the Disney online system. While at Bay Lake Tower, we were treated as though we were DVC owners.
    Off topic: My only complaint about Bay Lake Tower: the bed. It felt like a very old, worn out mattress. During our 10 night stay at WDW we also stayed in Pop Century and Art of Animation (Little Mermaid section) and the beds were very comfortable at both those “value” resorts.