Adding on DVC points

Adding on DVC points: It seems like many DVC members catch the infamous “Add-on-itis” bug and can’t seem to get enough DVC points. Some are in a perpetual state of adding on points, while others seem to be cured by the financial reality of having to pay the annual dues or a decision to vacation less at Disney. Others add on points with the expectation of renting them out each year.

In any event, a member who decides to add-on points faces these decision points:

Decisions to make when adding on points
Decisions to make when adding on points

Let’s briefly touch on each one.

HOW MANY POINTS TO ADD-ON

This is a very personal decision, based on your vacation needs and your budget. Review the point charts and make your own determination, based upon your vacation habits and needs. It’s an individual decision based on what you’re trying to accomplish: extending or adding vacation time, booking larger accommodations, etc.

ADDING ON FROM DISNEY OR RESALE

There is a page (“Should I buy direct from DVC or buy resale?“) dedicated to this question which provides more detail, so please refer to that thread (particularly to the two tables). However, let’s touch on some key points here.

Add-on points can be obtained from Disney or through the resale market. The minimum add-on contract available through a Disney Vacation Club guide is 50 points for Disney-financed purchases or 25 points for cash purchases. One of the advantage of adding on through Disney is that you can add on a very specific number of points. If you wanted 263 points, you could get that from Disney – assuming Disney had the points available (Disney may not have points available for older resorts, and you may have to go on a waitlist).

On the resale market, you can only buy the contracts that are available for sale. Since a DVC contract consists of an unalterable number of points at a set resort and cannot be subdivided, if a member decides to sell a 200 point contract, that’s what you get as the buyer.

Generally, the advantage of buying direct from DVC is that it is fast, convenient and less stressful – requiring far less patience than buying resale. Whereas the advantage of buying resale is that it is much less expensive in most cases. If you are willing to be patient and wait for the right contract to come along, like negotiating a deal, can deal with the anxiety of waiting to hear you passed ROFR, and then wait until you’re finally in the system, buying resale will save you a lot of money than buying direct.

HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR ADD-ON

If you decide to add on 300 points, for example, you might want to purchase three 100-point contracts instead of one 300-point contract (or something similar). Why? Because it’s easier to sell smaller size contracts on the resale market. Smaller size contracts sell faster and typically sell at a higher price per point. It also let’s you dial down your DVC ownership in smaller increments, if you choose to do that in the future.

This is where buying direct from Disney has a distinct advantage over buying resale. If I want to add on 300 points and decide I want it structured in six 50-point contracts, assuming Disney has the 300 points available, you could have those six 50-point contracts tomorrow. And you could get them all with the same Use Year.

Trying to obtain six 50-point contracts via resale would be difficult, as the smaller size contracts are harder to buy, and if you wanted to get all six in the same Use Year, you’d be waiting quite a long time.

WHETHER TO ADD-ON AT CURRENT OR NEW HOME RESORT

Many new members would think of just adding on more points at the single “Home Resort” they already own, which is fine. But you can also add-on points at any of the other DVC resorts. Why would you want to do that?

Some members decide to purchase at more than one resort, giving them multiple home resorts. Typically, the reason is that the owner wants the 11-month booking advantage of the Home Resort Priority Period in order to make it easier to get the resort they want, at the time they want, with the accommodations they want. This reduces any possible frustration at the 7-mo window, wait-listing, or having to “settle” for another reservation while missing out on the one you really had your heart set on.

One example might be you always want to stay at BCV during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Refer to the “DVC Resort Availability” page for more examples of reservations where you may need the 11-month home resort advantage.

Let’s assume I own 150 points at Saratoga Springs Resort (SSR), but have since realize I really love the Villas at the Grand Floridian (VGF) so much that I really want to stay there without having to chance trying to book it at the 7-month window. I want the ability to book VGF at the 11-month window as all VGF owners have, so I decide to add-on points at VGF.

Keep in mind that if you have more than one home resort, all vacation points being used to make a reservation during the Home Resort Priority Period must be associated with that home resort. That is, you cannot combine points from multiple resorts to book one resort during the Home Resort Priority Period. You may combine all the points you have at all your home resorts and book any DVC resort only at the 7-month window.

If I owned 150 points at SSR and 200 points at VGF, for example, I can use those 150 SSR points to only book SSR 11 months in advance, and those 200 VGF points to only book VGF 11 months in advance. I could not, however, combine my points from both resorts 11 months in advance to have 350 points to stay at either resort – I must wait until seven months in advance to do so.

You may see members doing very small add-ons at a resort, and wonder what their intent is in doing so, since the number of points only gives you a couple nights a year. These folks purchase small add-ons at other resorts and then, by banking and/or borrowing, combine 2-3 years worth of points to book a longer vacation there at the 11-month window every 2 or 3 years. Be aware that this can be difficult in actual practice so you don’t end up wasting some points. If you buy a 25-point contract with the intent of going every 3 years, what do you do if your stay takes just 72 points? You’ll end up wasting 3 points unless you can somehow combine them with other points and use them at the 7-mo window. It’s safer to buy enough points with the intent of using them every other year.

WHETHER TO ADD ON WITH THE SAME USE YEAR

If you’re already a DVC member and are looking to add-on more points, consider whether you want to add-on points with the same “Use Year” you already have, or with a different Use Year.

Without a doubt, keeping the same Use Year in your add-on that your current DVC contract has results in a more simple and consistent management and usage of your points, and less chance for potential mistakes.

Just buy the same Use Year and have the contract “deeded” in the same way as your current contract (including having the exact same names), and even though you will have two deeds, you will still only have one DVC membership ID. This means that all your contracts can be setup to largely be treated as one for the purpose of reserving, banking and borrowing.

If you buy another Use Year or have the contract deeded another way, you will end up with two contracts with different DVC Membership IDs. The two contracts remain separate for all purposes and when you reserve using both you reserve some nights using one contract and other nights using the other and link the two. Or, you can “transfer” points from one contract to another, but there are limitations.

Whether the contracts are in the same Membership ID or not has no bearing on selling them down the road, as you can sell the two deeds separately in either case, no matter the Use Year.

When purchasing additional points via the resale market, you can easily purchase a contract with a different Use Year. If you’re buying an add-on direct from Disney, you will most likely be given no choice but to get the same Use Year you already have – unless you buy the minimum points that a first time purchaser is required to buy-in, in which case you can ask for a different use year.

WHY WOULD YOU EVER PURCHASE A DIFFERENT USE YEAR?

As I said above, having the same Use Year on all of your contracts is much easier to manage, as there is less to keep track of and less chance for mistakes.

So why would anyone purchase a different Use Year? One reason might be they found a resale contract at a great price point so appealing that they decided they couldn’t pass it up. Or perhaps they were seeing very few resale contracts available for their Use Year. Or maybe they were looking for a 25-point contract and since these are difficult to find on the resale market, you decide to buy it despite the Use Year. Others decide the Use Year they have on their current contract just doesn’t work out for them in terms of when they typically travel.

Having multiple contracts with different Use Years can offer added flexibility in some cases, but certain limitations in other cases, and is just harder to manage. The main advantage of multiple UY’s is if you go different times of the year you can potentially chose which account to use for a given trip giving a certain amount of protection from cancelation and banking issues. But having multiple contracts with different Use Years does create more accounting, is more complicated and difficult (but not impossible) to make a single reservation from both contracts.

So, some people (like me) ask why you should make life harder than it needs to be and recommend sticking with just one UY.

If you were adding on to the same resort, many people recommend you keep the same use year. If you are buying a new home resort, then a different use year isn’t too hard to manage.