Buying Points

IMG_2605I was raised by people who were convinced that vacation clubs were basically giant ponzi schemes and I personally have enough commitment issues (and financial issues) that joining the Disney Vacation Club never really seemed like a good idea to me. Though I think we all know that you’re officially a mature adult when the most exciting hotel room feature you can imagine at Disney World is not a view of a theme park or a pool but a washer/drying in the room. And you can do LAUNDRY FOR FREE. Holy shit, now that’s what I call a magical experience.

So, I was really curious when in a Facebook group the subject of buying DVC points came up. It’s a lot cheaper in some cases to rent the points than to pack rack rate at a deluxe hotel and I was immediately having dreams of washer/dryers on a race weekend and let’s just say I haven’t been that excited in a long time.

DVC villa construction at the Polynesian.

DVC villa construction at the Polynesian.

Apparently, you can rent the points through third parties or through a contract negotiated with the vacation club member him or herself. The cost for a studio at some of these deluxe hotels were not only less than what I would pay for a rack rate room at the deluxe hotels, but they were also not that much more than what I’d pay for the Art of Animation room that isn’t subject to any of the general discounts Disney offers through promotions. Mostly, I was moved because I wanted to try out the Contemporary and all the standard rooms are apparently booked through central reservations.

The downside (as far as I could see) to this method of points renting:

  1. You can’t cancel the reservation once it’s made.
  2. You can’t get any kind of refund through the third parties.
  3. You can’t change the hotel.
  4. Studios don’t have washer/dryers.
  5. The weird thing about DVC rooms is that they have a pull out couch and a king bed and the idea of spending my race weekend on an uncomfortable pull out bed is just totally unappealing.

So the idea struck me to do this for Princess Half but on top of that it was really hard to find a hotel for all the nights of my trip and I’m not interested in changing hotels mid trip. I’m here to vacation, not to spend lots of time at a check in desk. It’s one of those things that’s now in the back of my mind and I’m seriously considering giving it a try at some point, but February won’t be that time.

DVC members: How do the points work? How do you know when you can go? Is it as expensive as I think it is?

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10 thoughts on “Buying Points

  1. I joined (somewhat impulsively) on my honeymoon (I blame it on the awesomeness of the Aulani), and I gotta say, I love it! I was able to stay at the Boardwalk this year for the Princess, when my first year doing it, I stayed at the All-Star Resorts. I’m also staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge…twice! These are resorts I could never afford to stay at, at least not without 6 other people. Not to mention, the annual pass is discounted, which is nice, and you get discounts off restaurants and merchandise (without having to spend at least $50 like with the Disney Visa). The downside, I’ve noticed, is the race weekends. Even though I didn’t book the Boardwalk last year until the end of August, this year, as soon as non-home resorts were available (7 months in advance) to book, the Friday night for the Princess next year was already book. BUT there are cancellations and things open up. Basically, if you’re going to buy, make sure your home resort is a place you really like to stay at because that will be the resort your guaranteed all the time (you can book that resort 11 months in advance). When I joined, the only available resorts were the Aulani (which I loved, but I’m not staying there too often) and the Animal Kingdom Lodge. But since then, the Grand Floridian and now the Polynesian have become DVC resorts as well, so those may be available as home resorts (I love AKL, but had I know, I would have held out for the Polynesian). I’m still a newbie to this DVC thing and may not be the best source of information, but so far, I have no regrets…except that the Polynesian isn’t my home resort lol

    Sorry, that was REALLY long winded and probably didn’t answer any of your questions.

      • I don’t think you can change your home resort, but I could be wrong. I’ll definitely look into it to confirm (Polynesian here I come if I can!)

        The cost for the points themselves doesn’t change based on your home resort, but the annual (“maintenance”) fees might. For example, the Aulani fees is probably more costly because Hawaii property is more expensive. But you always get x points for x dollars.

  2. I am totally spoiled, my parents bought DVC about 10 years ago, but since they got divorced they don’t use it so basically it’s mine for the taking! (Well not just mine, my brother & sister too, but my brother isn’t exactly into Disney so there’s plenty of points for my sister and I to take a trip or two a year!)

    I’m totally not the person to answer questions on specifics since I never really deal with them, but I’ve also heard from a lot of people that renting is pretty much just as good and you’re not tied into the commitment of owning.

  3. I actually became a DVC member 2 years ago because of the amount of runDisney events I do. I spent a good 4 months researching whether to purchase from Disney directly or through a resale company. I went with the resale company because it was cheaper. I have started small with only 50 points. That basically pays for marathon weekend (5 days for Dopey). The first year I ran Goofy I think AKL was around $1600. I paid $3350 for my points. So basically in two years it pays for itself and I am able to stay at the nicer places (AKL, OKW, SS). For marathon weekend next year I am staying at OKW (which is my home resort). It is nice to have a mini kitchenette for the week,

    The other benefits of DVC are early race registration (plus $10 off events), discount of merchandise (even at expo), discount of food, and annual pass discount, hotel discounts.. It really starts to add up. I actually kept track one trip on my saving and it was well over $150. You can even pass your discount on when dining with other people and you aren’t paying the bill. As long as you are present, they can use your discount too.

    You can also purchase up to 24 additional points every year (at $15 a piece). So for $360, you can get two nights at a nicer resort (depending on the season).

    I never thought I would purchase a time share but it really is a good deal just start out small and get your feet wet. I’m already thinking of adding on to my points with another 50. If I continue to do marathon weekend and princess I will be set for hotels.

    I have never rented points but have tried. Unfortunately the times we want them (around race weekends), there isn’t a ton of availability. You really need to know someone personally that will part with the points. Maybe Danielle can spare some points 🙂

      • I did it through http://www.resalesdvc.com/. They were the most reputable company I found. I dealt with Kinn Tutas. The entire process took about 30 days to complete. What I liked was that I was able to make an offer that was lower than the list price. It is just like purchasing a house. They go back to the seller and see if they will take it.

        I have been contemplating buying points at Hilton Head or Vero Beach because they are cheaper to add to my current 50. It would mean I have two HOME resorts. I honestly never plan to go to either of those places but the points are cheaper. It will change my booking window but I think 7 months out (opposed to 10 months) is enough time for booking the trip even if it is a race weekend.

        Clearly I have spent time way too much time researching all the nuances of DVC membership. I am an accountant by trade and it is all about the dollars and cents sometimes 🙂

      • No, your spreadsheets really resonate with me, so I like this, this works for me. I’m interested in negotiating the price of the points, that sounds very appealing to me, and this sounds like a great “first step” in real estate sales. There are so many broker options, I also like hearing about people you’ve dealt with me, I find that incredibly reassuring.

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