DVC Rental – DVC Point Rentals Explained: You don’t have to be a member of the Disney Vacation Club to be able to book a stay in a deluxe villa at a Disney Vacation Club Resort.
Any one can do so, using one of two methods. DVC rooms are larger than Disney’s other hotel rooms, have either a patio or balcony, and larger units (1-BR and up) come with full kitchens, washers and dryers, and Jacuzzi tubs.
The two methods you can use to book a DVC room are:
- Book a reservation directly with Disney Central Reservations Office (using the Disney web site, phone line, or via travel agent) just like you would book any other Disney resort hotel.
- Rent points from a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member
Disney allows the general public to book DVC units (typically at very high rates) through its regular resort reservations system, when available.
Renting points from a DVC member is a much better deal, as it typically costs much less to rent from a DVC member than to book a DVC resort direct from Disney (renting points from an owner will typically cost you about half what you’ll pay if you reserve direct through Disney).
When you “rent points”, the reservation will be in your name and you will check in at the regular Disney Resort arrival desk. You will be treated the same as every Disney Resort Guest and you will have access to almost all of the same amenities and perks afforded to each and every guest staying at a Disney Resort.
There are two ways you can “rent points”:
- Direct from an individual DVC Member
- Through a Points Broker
We will cover both methods, although my personal recommendation is to use a Points Broker (for reasons I’ll cover later).
If you do decide to rent points from an individual DVC member, there are a few things you should be aware of so that your experience is nothing less than magical.
THE RISKS OF RENTING POINTS
While commonly referred to as “renting points”, you are actually paying a DVC member to make a reservation in your name with some of the points they own as DVC members.
There are significant differences between renting points and booking a hotel reservation with Disney. It is your responsibility to educate yourself on the process of renting points and perform the necessary due diligence prior to entering into any agreement to rent points.
Keep in mind that this is a private transaction between two people, and Disney is not involved in any way. If anything goes wrong, you can’t complain to Disney or expect them to resolve any problem.
There is inherent risk in these types of private transactions, which are really nothing more than glorified handshake agreements, so if you’re a risk adverse type of person, renting points may not be the way to go.
The risk is that another individual holds and controls your reservation, even though it is in your name. It requires some trust that the DVC owner/member will do what they say, and not take off with your money – leaving you without a reservation.
Even if the DVC owner is an honest and upfront individual, it’s also possible for an owner to default on his DVC mortgage loan or stop paying his member dues – either of which would result in DVC cancelling the reservation he made in your name since he is no longer a member in good standing. You can’t foresee the owner losing their job, encountering financial problems, declaring bankruptcy, or getting divorced. These types of unforeseen events in the life of the DVC owner could disrupt your vacation plans.
In a direct rental transaction with an owner, you can lose both your reservation at the DVC resort, as well as all your money, and there is no way to prevent this.
Renting via a points broker can reduce the risk of losing your money, as they offer full refunds if there is negligence on the part of the owner/member. A broker cannot guarantee that your reservation will not be cancelled; however, they will work with you to try to arrange comparable accommodations. If no comparable accommodations are available, you’ll just get a full refund. However, while using a points broker does reduce your risk, it does not completely eliminate all risk. Your family can still face the disappointment of not having a reservation.
This risk is what gets you the big discount, and renting is not for everyone. Renting points takes some work ahead of time to educate yourself and learn how to protect yourself, in order to minimize the potential risk of these types of transactions.
That said, reported instances of failed DVC rentals occurring are extremely rare, and the actual amount of risk is low. Thousands of successful rental transactions have been completed throughout the history of the DVC program, and the substantial savings are obvious.
However, let me be clear, if you are a completely risk-averse type of person, and would be uncomfortable taking on this type of risk, and it will cause you anxiety from the time you make the rental transaction until the time you check-in, then don’t rent points. Guests who want a risk-free choice should pay more to book directly with Disney rather than renting points – although it will cost much, much more. That peace of mind may be worth it to some.
Disney also offers better cancellation policies as compared to renting points, as DVC point rentals tend to have much more restrictive cancellation policies due to the lack of flexibility members have with their points.
IT MATTERS WHO YOU RENT FROM
We don’t often see problematic DVC rentals, and when we do they are usually due to misunderstandings between the DVC owner and the renter. Unfortunately, a lot of those misunderstandings come from lack of knowledge about how DVC works and how that differs from a traditional hotel reservation — or a DVC reservation made through Disney CRO, for that matter.
You would think that the DVC owners all have perfect understanding of their accounts, and it’s the people renting reservations who don’t get it. You’d be dead wrong. Too often, neither party really understands the situation well enough to be able to anticipate problem areas.
That’s why it’s important to rent points from a DVC member who has either done it before, or has done the necessary research before offering their points for rental. Potential renters should take some time themselves to get educated on how DVC works before looking to “rent points”.
NECESSARY DUE DILIGENCE
Renting points requires trust on both sides of the agreement, but even with trust there is a need for you to do some due diligence and common sense checking before sending off your money to someone.
If something sounds “off,” don’t proceed. It’s not worth taking the risk. Any DVC deal that seems too good to be true most likely is. Again, these types of things are extremely rare.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND
Please keep in mind the following important points:
I hope the above information is helpful to everyone considering renting points from a DVC member. Don’t let this post scare you away from renting. Like I said above, the vast majority of rental transactions are successful, and renters end up saving a lot of money and, in some cases, are so excited with the accommodations they get that they end up becoming DVC members themselves!
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I TRY TO RENT?
How far in advance should I rent points and reserve my reservation? DVC, being a timeshare system, is built around the concept of full occupancy year-round. Different room types and resorts reach capacity at different times of the year. It is advisable to book your reservation as early as you can, especially if you want to book a popular room type at a popular resort during a popular time. The earliest a reservation may be secured is 11 months in advance. If you try to book a room less than 7 months in advance, your options will be limited to larger resorts such as Old Key West and Saratoga Springs. Don’t plan on getting a reservation less than 2 months in advance, although it can happen.
Factors which influence availability of rooms include:
- Whether you’re trying to book at a popular time for DVC (i.e., the early part of December)
- Whether you are trying to book during a particular resort’s busy time period (i.e., BCV/BWV during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival)
- Whether you are trying to book a limited-availability accommodation (i.e., value or concierge rooms)
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
When you rent from an individual DVC member, the price you pay may or may not be negotiable. The first question you should ask is if the price is negotiable. If not, don’t waste the owner’s time by making an offer.
Even those owners that are open to negotiate don’t like to deal with people who offer unrealistically low-ball offers. Don’t waste the owner’s time, as they just get annoyed with “bottom feeders”. Do your best to make a reasonable offer.
You’re not doing the owner a favor by renting their points. Expect to pay somewhere between $13-$16/pt. DVC resorts that are in high demand (Beach Club, Bay Lake Tower, Boardwalk, Grand Floridian) tend to cost more per point than those with less demand (Saratoga Springs). Reservations during the week between Christmas and New Years may also cost more.
Use the DVC Point Charts to determine total point cost, based on room type, resort, and time of year.
DVC Rent/Trade Boards
Various Disney forums offer a “Rental” forum that is basically a “classified ads” section where you can go if you want to connect with individual DVC members to rent points. These forums are not involved in the actual transactions between the parties involved, and have no control over the truth or accuracy of the listings or the abilities of the parties to complete the transactions, and cannot and will not be held responsible for same. These boards will not intervene in any issues resulting from these private transactions. These boards do not endorse anyone offering rentals, trades or transfers and all transactions should be viewed as “Buyer Beware”.
I would be very cautious when using such a rental forum. Several discussion forums which offer these classified ads have had several scam artists take advantage of both the renter and rentee. This is why DVCinfo recommends you utilize one of the well-know point brokers instead.
Please review the rules, guidelines and tips before posting.
USING A POINTS BROKER
If you’ve read this far, you may think renting points is a lot of work – for both DVC owners who want to rent out their excess points as well as potential renters. Owners who don’t want to hassle with dealing with potential renters often choose points brokers, who match up potential renters and then handle all the legwork.
As a potential renter, if you’d rather not have to go through the hassle of trying to obtain a rental on your own, you can use a third party point broker. The service makes it easy and seamless to rent points.
Here are two of the largest point rental companies:
- The DVC Rental Store (dvcrentalstore.com)
- David’s Vacation Club Rentals (dvcrequest.com)
The only downside is that it may cost more than renting direct from a DVC member, since the the third party points broker needs to get compensated for their service. You have to decide if you think it’s worth paying a little more for the peace of mind.
DOES USING A POINTS BROKER ELIMINATE RISK?
A potential renter is not required to do all the due diligence and precautions when using a points broker. In fact, they can’t do any due diligence, as they don’t know who the owner is they are renting from. You work directly with a broker, and they take care of everything for you. It’s almost like you’re calling up Disney reservations and booking direct with Disney.
Except it isn’t. Renting DVC points – whether directly or via a broker – still involves some risk. The risk is that the owner the broker is dealing with can still be flakey, and the renter could find themselves without a reservation. That risk is what gets the renter the great deal. If a renter wants more protection and stronger assurances, they can pay twice as much and book directly with Disney.
I believe many people looking to rent DVC points mistakenly believe that using a points broker somehow magically protects them from any risk. Despite the fact that using a points broker may feel like a more secure transaction, brokers don’t really give renters any more protection in the event of cancellation than using an owner directly. They do provide a guarantee that you won’t lose your money.
A points broker offers more assurance than renting direct, but there are still risks – perhaps not losing your money, but of losing your reservation.