Using Points for non-DVC options

Using Points for non-DVC options: Using your points for a vacation at anything other than a stay at one of the 13 Disney Vacation Club resorts is often viewed as a poor value – as points go much further when used toward stays at a DVC resort than the other “Member Getaways” offered by DVC. Check the point charts if you don’t believe me.

On the other hand, the “Member Getaways” do provide flexibility for some members who feel that using points may be preferable to paying additional dollars out of pocket for the occasional non-DVC vacation. Perhaps they don’t want to stay at a DVC resort, but would like to use their points elsewhere – from the Disney Collection (Disney Cruise Line, Adventures By Disney, Disney Hotels), to the Concierge Collection, to an RCI trade.

Since they already have the points, they think that using them on a non-DVC vacation is better than paying additional dollars out of pocket. Many people don’t have the luxury of being able to pay the additional out of pocket expenses, so why not use the points?

Others gladly use their points for a “Member Getaway” for a variety of other reasons – including that they simply prefer the ease of booking with points. Not everyone buys into DVC to just save money.

When comparing the number of points needed to book these “Member Getaways” to the out-of-pocket expense of just booking the same reservation with cash, folks quickly realize that they’re not getting as good a value as a DVC resort.

With that recognition of the loss of value, some people just always use their points for DVC vacations, while others think the best approach (that offers the most bang for the buck) may be to rent out their points and use the rental proceeds to simply pay cash for the non-DVC vacation.

Ultimately, whether a certain use of your points is a good value is really up to you.

Let’s summarize the pros and cons, taking a Disney cruise as an example.

Pros for using points to cruise

  1. It’s convenient and very easy. DVC Member Services essentially acts as your travel agent.
  2. Renting reservations is not without risk. It can take time and effort and can be especially daunting for someone who hasn’t done it before. If you go through a points broker, you may not get all of your money until the renter has checked into the resort. Transferring points can also be frustrating. It may be tough to find someone who wants the number you want to sell. You are only allowed one transfer per use year per membership.

Cons to using points to cruise

  1. Cancellation policy – Points are returned to your account, but they come back as Reservation Points. That means they expire at the end of the use year and cannot be used for a stay at a DVC resort or an exchange through RCI or the Buena Vista Trading Company.
  2. Fees – there’s a non-refundable $95 fee to make the reservation and additional non-refundable $95 fees to make most changes.
  3. DVC can (and has in the past) limited the number of cabins available to be booked for points.
  4. Each year, DVC renegotiates the number of points required to cruise. In almost every case the number has increased. There is no “inflation protection” for cruising like there is for DVC resort stays.
  5. The ability to use points for options other than DVC resorts is a benefit or perk that is not guaranteed by contract. At its sole discretion, DVC can stop offering it at any time.