Understanding the DVC Use Year: New DVC members typically have a hard time understanding the “Use Year” concept. When you buy into the Disney Vacation Club, the points you purchase will be available to use every year throughout the term of your membership. For each of the years on your contract, you’ll be given what’s called a “Use Year” — the 12-month period of time in which you can use that year’s points.
Each contract is assigned a Use Year (UY) at the time of purchase. The Use Year is the month that points are put into your account.
It’s important to note that the Use Year of a particular contract is determined and assigned by DVC at the time of the original sale of an ownership interest in a DVC resort to a member, and the Use Year on a contract is fixed and unalterable.
Most new DVC members who purchase direct from Disney don’t pay much attention to the Use Year that is assigned to their contract, and may not even be aware of the limited choice of UY that DVC is presently selling. In many cases, when you decide to add-on points direct from DVC later on, they will typically require your add-on contracts to have the same Use Year, unless you purchase a larger add-on. When purchasing via the resale market, you will see that contracts are listed by: resort, the number of points, and their Use Year.
WHAT IS A USE YEAR?
So, what the heck is a Use Year?
In a nutshell, it marks the time each year when you receive a new allotment of vacation points. You have one year to use those points before they expire. You can bank points from one Use Year to the next, or even borrow points from one Use Year to the immediately preceding one.
Use Year affects when you can bank and borrow vacation points, and sets the deadline for certain vacation decisions. We’ll cover the details below.
USE YEAR EXAMPLE
Let’s just start with an example. If I own a 160-point contract at BWV that has a September UY, for example, I will receive a new allotment of 160 points every September 1, which can be used for stays from that September 1 through August 31 of the following year.
September 1, 2015 – I will get 160 points that can be used for stays between 9/1/2015 – 8/31/2016
September 1, 2016 – I will get 160 points that can be used for stays between 9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017
September 1, 2017 – I will get 160 points that can be used for stays between 9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018
CAN I BOOK A TRIP IF MY USE YEAR HASN’T STARTED?
New owners get tripped up and confuse Use Year with when they can book a reservation. Use Year month has nothing to do with when you can travel or even make a reservation at a DVC resort. You can always reserve 11 months ahead of travel for your home resort, and 7 months ahead for other DVC resorts. The reservation date simply determines which Use Year the points are deducted from.
To reiterate, Use Year has nothing to do with when you may call to make a reservation. All of your points are actually in your account. You do not have to wait until your use year begins to make a reservation. You just have to match your vacation dates to the Use Year it falls within, and then make sure you have enough points in that Use Year to make the desired reservation.
Again, let’s use another example. Let’s say you want to stay in March of 2017 and your stay will cost 200 points. March 2017 falls within your 2016 use year (9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017). So for a March 2017 vacation, the current use year is 2016. For that reservation, you may use the current use year points from the 2016 use year, any banked points originally from your 2015 use year and you may borrow points from your 2017 use year.
If you plan to stay at your home resort, you can call to make the reservation for March 2017 in April of 2016 (11 months in advance), even though your 2016 Use Year doesn’t begin until September 1, 2016. Again, Use Year has nothing to do with when you can call to make the reservation.
SHOULD YOU CARE WHICH USE YEAR YOU GET?
Use Year only matters if you have to cancel a vacation that was scheduled to occur in the last four months of your Use Year. That’s because banking of points is not allowed during the last four months of your Use Year and you don’t have much time to reschedule before the points expire. Many owners never have to cancel a vacation, so they don’t worry about Use Year.
WHICH USE YEAR TO CHOOSE
No one Use Year is inherently better than another. If you travel about the same time of year on a regular basis, it may be best to choose a Use Year that starts right before that timeframe, or at least falls no more than 7 or 8 months prior to that time. So, if you frequently visit during the summer months, perhaps a June UY might be best. If you always visit in the fall, then perhaps a September or October UY would be best. Selecting a Use Year that precedes frequent travel dates allows for maximum flexibility in the event of a cancellation.
However, keep in mind that your travel pattern may change over the course of your DVC ownership. What starts out as a “perfect” use year may end up being not so perfect later on.
The Use Year months are: Feb, Mar, Apr, Jun, Aug, Sep, Oct and Dec.
USE YEAR AND ANNUAL DUES
DVC Annual Dues are due by January 15 each year and are calculated based on the calendar year and not your Use Year.
USE YEAR AND POINT TRANSFERS
Policies limit Point Transfer transactions to one transfer per Member or Membership, either as transferee or transferor, during a given Use Year (not calendar year).
If you don’t use the points in your Use Year to book a stay, they will expire. However, vacation points may be banked from your current Use Year into your next Use Year. Points can only be banked once.
Banked points may not be returned to their original Use Year, and cannot be borrowed or transferred. All banking transactions are final and irreversible.
Members are able to bank up to 100% of their vacation points during the first 8 months of their Use Year and 0% of their vacation points during the last 4 months of their Use Year.
Vacation points may be borrowed from your next Use Year into your current Use Year. Borrowing may only occur at the time of making a reservation. Only the number of points needed to make the reservation can be borrowed.
Borrowed vacation points may not be banked, transferred, or returned to their original Use Year. All borrowing transactions are final and irreversible.