Disney Vacation Club Explained Part 2

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Disney Vacation Club Lobby at GFV

Welcome to the next part of our Disney Vacation Club Series! If you haven’t read the previous post where we introduce what Disney Vacation Club is please click here to continue to the first part of the series. In part two we will be covering what a Use Year is, how points work, how to bank points and how to borrow them. We hope you enjoy the article!

What is a Use Year on a Disney Vacation Club Contract?

One important thing to know is that a Use Year with Disney Vacation Club does not begin on January 1st and end on December 31st. Each time someone buys a contract they have to decide when their use year is going to start. If you are buying a resale contract it will be the same terms as the original owner. You cannot change a use year on a contract once it has been picked.

Since we bought a resale Disney Vacation Club membership we looked for months that would leave a lot of time open around January.  That is a time of the year we know we will be vacationing at Walt Disney World annually.

Why did Use Year Matter for us?

In our family being at Walt Disney World during summer is a no go. From June to the end of August we will not be making an appearance at the most magical place on earth. Because of that it wouldn’t make sense for our use year to start at a time like February, especially since we know that we will always be on vacation in January.  If our use year did start in February and something came up and we had to cancel our vacation we would be waving bye bye to a lot of points.

There’s a couple reasons why we would lose the points. February Use Year points must be used before January 31st.  If we cancelled a vacation in January we simply would run out of time to use the points before February.  Furthermore, if a vacation is cancelled 30 days before the arrival date the points get placed in a holding account and have to be used in less than 60 days. You cannot bank the points that you receive from cancelling a vacation, if the cancellation is within 30 days of arrival.

This is precisely why we looked for a use year that started in Fall. Our use year starts in October, so we must use all of our points by September 31st. If we needed to cancel our annual trip in January it wouldn’t be the end of the world because we would have 60 days to use the points.

Another thing to know about Use Years is that they are not available to begin at any month during the year. Disney has picked 8 months out of the year in which they allow Use Years to begin. These months are : February, March, April, June, August, September October and December.

Disney Vacation Club Poly main building

How Do Disney Vacation Club Points Work?

When purchasing a contract you decide on the amount of points that you would like to buy.  At this moment Disney is not selling contracts that are smaller than 100 points. At the time of purchase (if buying direct from Disney) you will also decide when your use year will begin.

For a Use Year that begins in October have until September 31st to book all of your Disney Vacation Club Stays.

If you choose to go on a shorter trip you can bank the remaining points. If you wanted to go a longer trip you also have the ability to borrow points.

Our contract gives us 200 points a year. Depending on how we decide to use the points it can get us one night at a Polynesian Bungalow on April 14th 2019 (Peak DVC Season) or up to 17 Nights in a Standard Studio at Animal Kingdom Lodge December 1-18 2018 (DVC Low Season), if you are lucky enough to get a Value Studio you could potentially stay 20 nights!  You can view points charts here to determine how far your points will go on any given day.

Disney Vacation Club charges different amounts of points based on room type, season and resort. For a quick reference we like using wdwinfo’s charts found here.

*There are a few other ways you can use your Disney Vacation Club points but for the purposes of this article we are only discussing using them to book at DVC resorts. We will follow up on other uses in part three.

What You Need To Know About Banking  Disney Vacation Club Points.

Points may be banked for the following year if they are going to remain unused.

Our families Disney Vacation Club membership holds 200 points. These are deposited into the account every October. September 31st is the last day of the Use Year, all points should be used by this date. Remaining points should be banked to save them from expiration.

If we decide to bank our points we would need to notify Disney that we wanted to do so. They ask that you do so four months before the end of the Use Year. For us that would mean notifying Disney by May 31st. If you do not notify Disney four months in advance they will not bank the points. If you cant bank the points and aren’t able to use them then they are going to expire.

Another important factor in banking points is that once you decide to do so there is no going back. You cannot return banked points to their original Use Year. Its very important to plan your vacations with Disney Vacation Club, last minute trips are rare.

The one thing that we really want to drive home is that points do have an expiration date.

Moana Mercantile / Disney vacation club
All DVC Resorts have expanded sundries stores where you can get items like Milk, eggs, cheese TV dinners etc…

An example: How to use banked points

If you banked points in 2018 this means in 2019 you will have 400 points. If you use 300 out of 400 points that year you can bank the remaining 100 points for the 2020 Use Year. This means in the following year (2020) you will have a total of 300 points to use.

ALWAYS check where your points are coming from when you are booking a vacation. Rarely, Disney will use current Use Year points first (2018) instead of banked points (2017). If this does happen and the owner didn’t notice at the time of booking…well… there’s not much the owner can do. This is another classic way to lose points. So yes, I’m going to say it again. Points have an expiration date. You never ever want to leave a point behind.

How To Borrow Disney Vacation Club Points

Beyond banking points, occasionally you might want to borrow the points from the following year. Lets say we wanted to take our In laws to Walt Disney World.  We know that the only way it will work for us is if we rent a two bedroom villa. These can have high point redemption’s. We would probably opt to use our points from the following year in order to book this trip.

Disney needs to be notified at the time of booking that you are borrowing points from the following year.  However many points will be needed in order to complete the booking will be borrowed to complete the transaction. You can only borrow points from one year in advance. For example, we wouldn’t be able to book a vacation that needs 800 points.  We will never be able to pull that many points at one time.

If cancelling a vacation that was booked with borrowed points, the points will not be returned to their original Use Year. So if we booked a vacation using 50 points from the 2019 year we would need to use them before September 31st 2018.

We hope you found this article helpful. This upcoming Thursday will we do a dining review and then return for Part 3 of this series on Monday. We will be discussing how to use your points to book vacations, other ways to use your DVC points (beyond DVC resorts), and how you can benefit from DVC without being a member.

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