Point Needs and Accommodations
Home Resort Priority / Resort Demand
Where to Rent Points
If you are a frequent Walt Disney World guest who visits websites like MouseSavers.com or TourGuideMike.com, you’ve probably heard the phrase “renting points.” But what does it really mean?
The Walt Disney Company operates a timeshare program dubbed The Disney Vacation Club. Members pay thousands of dollars up-front for the right to vacation at Walt Disney World (and elsewhere) annually in deluxe accommodations for the next 40-50 years.
DVC is a point-based timeshare system. Members purchase a set amount of points, and receive that identical allotment each year over the duration of their contracts. These points are then redeemed for nights at any of the seven DVC resorts. DVC has published a series of charts indicating how many points a member must spend to stay a single night in a guest room. The point requirements vary with a number of factors including resort, room size, season and day of the week.
For those of us who have chosen to make such a long-term commitment to Disney, and prefer staying in more upscale accommodations, a DVC purchase will save us tens-of-thousands of dollars over the life of the contract. But even non-DVC members can enjoy some of these savings by “renting points” from members.
Renting DVC points is a process whereby the owner of the points (renter) enters into an agreement with a non-member (rentee) to reserve a room in his/her name in exchange for a set cash payment. For any number of reasons, a DVC owner may find that he/she is unable to use his allotment of points in a given year. Rather than simply allow the points to expire unused, it makes a great deal of sense for the DVC owner to allow someone else to use his/her points.
The going rate for rentals is around $12 per point. The figure cited is normally all-inclusive with no resort taxes or other fees. Such a rate can result in significant savings over Disney’s rates for the same accommodation.
Beach Club Villas Studio room, December 10th-15th 2006 (5 nights)
Reserved through Disney:
$305 per night plus 11.5% room tax = $1,700.35 (305 x 1.115 x 5)
Rented from DVC member:
$12 per point, 12 points per night = $720.00 (12 x 12 x 5)
Renting points for this accommodation saves nearly $1000 off of Disney’s published cash rate. That’s for the same room for the same travel dates.
Point Needs and Accommodations
OK, you want to save a few bucks and rent points. How many do you need, and what size accommodations?
Well, the size accommodation you choose should depend upon the number of people you have in your party. Officially,
- Studios and Inn Rooms can accommodate up to four Guests plus one child under age three in a portable crib.
- One-Bedroom Vacation Villas can accommodate up to four Guests plus one child under age three in a portable crib.
- Two-Bedroom Vacation Villas can accommodate up to eight Guests plus one child under age three in a portable crib (provided).
- Three-Bedroom Vacation Homes can accommodate up to twelve Guests plus one child under age three in a portable crib (provided).
Unofficially, some Guests have brought along an air mattress (and their own bed linens) for Guests who are a tad bit older than three and thus do not fit in the portable crib. Be aware, however, that you will only be provided with enough towels for the officially alloted number of guests.
So, now that you've decided what size accommodations you desire, how many points do you need?
Click HERE for a link to the point charts at the seven DVC properties.
Points can be rented for any number of nights. The point values listed in the charts are for a single night at the given resort / room class / date.
While weekday points are universally considered a bargain, note that point requirements for weekend stays (Friday and Saturday) typically are double that of weekdays. For example, Monday night in a studio at Saratoga Springs during Dream season costs 12 points while Friday night in the same studio costs 26 points.
Several options are available to the Rentee in this instance:
- Pay cash for the room on weekend nights. Using Annual Pass or other discount programs, you may be able to book the room at a cash rate lower than the point rental rate for the weekend nights. Note that this process will almost certainly require that you check-in at the front desk more than once during your stay, and there is the possibility that you will be asked to switch rooms even if your cash and point rooms are in the same class;
- Switch to a cheaper resort (like All Stars, Port Orleans, etc.) for the weekend. Disney will transport your luggage from one of their resorts to another at no cost;
- Average the point cost of the room over the entire week and be satisfied with the expense. In the SSR example above, the cost for staying in a studio for the entire week would be $175 per night, renting at $12 per point. For Deluxe accommodations, that’s still better than any rate offered by Disney.
Home Resort Priority / Resort Demand
One of the more confusing aspects of the DVC reservation system is the concept of a Home resort. Each member of the Disney Vacation Club owns part of a building (designated as points) within the program. The resort at which the member owns points is his/her Home resort.
Although all reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis, the Home Resort Priority Period grants DVC members exclusive access to book specific dates at their Home resort. Members may book a stay at their Home resort up to 11 months in advance of the check-out date. Beginning at 7 months prior to the check-out date, members may make a reservation at any DVC property.
Example: A Rentee wishes to obtain a Grand Villa at Old Key West from August 1 – 11, 2007. Renting points from an owner at Old Key West, this room could be booked as early as September 11, 2006, which is 11 months prior to the checkout day. However, if points are rented from an owner at any other DVC resort, the booking process cannot begin until January 11, 2007, which is 7 months prior to the checkout day.
If an individual knows well in advance his/her dates of travel and has a preference with regard to resort, it would be beneficial to attempt to rent points and book a reservation early to take advantage of the Home Resort Priority Period. DVC resorts are among the smallest on Disney property, and owners are well-known for planning their trips well in advance.
Among the most difficult DVC rooms to obtain are:
- BoardWalk Villas Standard View: Year-round
- BoardWalk Villas Preferred BoardWalk Villas: Year-round
- Old Key West Grand Villa: Year-round
- BoardWalk Villas Grand Villa: Year-round
- Any room at the Beach Club Villas or BoardWalk Villas: October to mid-November (during Food and Wine Fest at Epcot)
- Any room at any DVC resort: December 1-15 (low-point season, VERY popular with most DVC members)
In each of the examples above, potential Rentees are advised to find a Renter who owns points at the destination resort, and to make the reservation more than 7 months in advance of the check-out date.
It’s important to note that when Rentees rent points from DVC members, they receive nearly all of the perks that DVC members do when they stay at DVC resorts. In fact, a Rentee’s Keys to the Kingdom card (Room Card) will say “DVC Member” on it. This will enable a Rentee to receive various discounts, pool hop to other Disney resorts (with the exception of the Beach Club and Animal Kingdom Lodge), utilize free valet parking at DVC resorts, and so on. Upon arrival at the resort, the Rentee will receive a booklet called “Pocket Perks” which summarizes the discounts currently offered.
One particularly valuable perk that rentees may choose to take advantage of (as of April 1, 2006) is access to the popular Disney Dining Plan (DDP). Some key features of the plan are noted below:
- Participants receive one (1) table service meal, one (1) counter service meal and one (1) snack per day.
- Some “signature restaurants” require the use of two table service meal credits per visit.
- The meal plan is a length-of-stay plan and must be purchased for the entire duration of the DVC stay.
- All registered guests staying in the DVC guest room must participate in the DDP.
- The cost is $37.99 per adult and $10.99 per child (ages 3-9) per day.
- Not all Disney restaurants participate in the plan .
- Meal credits do not have to be used in any particular order. In other words, a participant can elect to use two table service meal credits in a single day, and use two counter service credits the following day.
- Unused credits expire at the end of the trip. No refunds are issued for unused credits.
- The DDP is not available to guests staying at the Hilton Head Island or Vero Beach resorts.
- DVC Member Services must be contacted 24 - 48 hours prior to arrival to add the DDP to a reservation. DDP is paid for at check-in.
Additional details regarding the DDP as provided by DVC can be found HERE.
One noteworthy exception to the "perks" rule is the DVC member discount on Walt Disney World Annual Passes. Stringent guidelines surrounding this particular discount exclude all but the owner of the DVC contract and immediate family members.
Because DVC resorts are designed to be a "home away from home," you should be aware that daily housekeeping service is not provided. (However, each One-, Two-, and Three-Bedroom Villa is equipped with a washer and dryer so that you can keep not just your clothes, but also your linens and towels as clean as you like. Guests staying in Studios or Inn Rooms may use the complimentary washers and dryers conveniently located throughout the resorts. Laundry detergent is available for purchase.)
For stays of seven or fewer nights, Trash and Towel Service is provided on day four. With this service, Housekeeping will
- Empty the trash and put new liners in the wastebaskets
- Provide fresh bathroom towels
- Replace shampoo, facial soap and bath soap
- Replenish facial tissues, paper towels, and toilet paper
- Replenish coffee, sugar, and cream
- Replenish diswashing liquid, dishwasher detergent, sponges, and laundry detergent as applicable
For stays of eight or more nights, Full Cleaning Service is provided on day four and Trash and Towel Service is provided on day eight. After that, the cycle begins again on day 12. With Full Cleaning Service, Housekeeping will provide everything included with the Trash and Towel Service, plus
- Change the bed linens
- Vacuum and dust
- Clean the bathroom(s)
- Clean the kitchen/ette and wash the dishes
The biggest downside to renting DVC points is that it is a glorified handshake agreement. While a written contract is recommended (see below) to help define the obligations of both parties, legal enforcement of the contract is a bitter pill to swallow in light of a ruined Disney vacation.
Throughout the entire rental process, the Renter retains full control of the reservation. There is simply no way around this. Non-members cannot hold nor manage DVC points. DVC Member Services has, at times, independently confirmed the existence of a reservation when contacted by a non-member. However Member Services does not exist to service non-members or facilitate point rentals, and they have no obligation to answer questions posed by non-members.
A Rentee must accept the reality that s/he is placing a great deal of faith in the Renter’s promise that a reservation has been made and will remain in force until the Rentee’s arrival.
Some suggestions for overcoming the trust issue are:
- Ask the Renter for references to people with whom the Renter has dealt in the past. Contact those references and ask for feedback on the transaction;
- Speak to the Renter on the telephone and make sure you have a comfort level with him/her. Don’t just rely on email communications;
- Ask for the DVC reservation confirmation to be provided prior to final payment to the Renter. DVC will send a one-page printed confirmation for all reservations made at DVC resorts. Rentees should consider stipulating that the confirmation be provided at some point prior to final payment on the rental transaction.
Thousands of successful rental transactions have been completed throughout the history of the DVC program, and the savings are obvious. Reported instances of fraud occurring are miniscule. However, Rentees should take whatever steps they feel are justified to become comfortable with the process prior to entering-into a rental deal.
For the protection of both the Renter and Rentee, it is wise to create a formal rental agreement. The purpose of such an agreement is to help protect both parties involved in the transaction. The agreement should stipulate the amount and due date of each payment, what actions may be taken if payments are late, and cancellation policies (if any.)
While renting DVC points enables non-DVC members to experience upscale accommodations at reasonable prices, DVC resorts, unlike their hotel counterparts, have stringent cancellation policies. Although most DVC members will try to help renters book a new vacation subsequent to cancellation, oftentimes, their hands are tied by DVC’s policies. Expect to see these policies reflected in the rental agreement. Consider obtaining travel insurance if a strong possibility of cancellation exists.
Each rental agreement is a unique pact between the two involved parties. Before agreeing to anything, read your contract thoroughly and make sure you are comfortable with all of the terms and conditions.
Where to Rent Points
Individuals interested in point rental – whether they are looking for points or have points to rent – will find a valuable resource at the MouseOwners.com Rent / Trade / Transfer board.
Posts are welcome from both Renters and potential Rentees looking to find points.