About five years ago I discovered a way to stay at Disney World Deluxe Resorts for a small fraction of what you’d pay by booking directly through Disney. This strategy has made it possible for our family to stay at places that we never dreamed we’d be able to afford.
I will share how to rent DVC points below in the hopes that your family can experience a stay at one of these amazing resorts, too!
What is DVC?
DVC stands for Disney Vacation Club and is Disney’s version of a vacation ownership program. It is similar to a timeshare in that when someone becomes a DVC member they are purchasing a deeded share of a Disney resort and pay annual dues to help maintain that resort.
But unlike a timeshare, members buy a set amount of “points” that are added to their account each year.
These points can be used to stay at any DVC resort any time of the year. DVC resorts are found in the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland in California, Hawaii, South Carolina and Vero Beach, FL.
DVC resort rooms are all referred to as “villas” and vary in size from Studio Villas (slightly larger than a standard hotel room) to 3-bedroom Grand Villas. They feature amenities such as full kitchens and whirlpool tubs and sleep from 4 to 12 people.
DVC rooms are definitely a step above any regular resort room you will find at Disney World. DVC resorts are all in the “Deluxe” category at Disney World, which means they have amazing pools, excellent dining options, fitness facilities and more.
These are the nine DVC resorts at Walt Disney World in Florida:
- Animals Kingdom Lodge Villas (Jambo House & Kidani Village)
- Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort
- Beach Club Villas
- Boardwalk Villas
- Grand Floridian Villas
- Old Key West Resort
- Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
- Saratoga Springs Resort
- Wilderness Lodge Villas (Copper Creek & Boulder Ridge)
The AllEars website has an extensive description of each resort along with pictures of each room type. You can also check out my review of a Standard Studio at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort for an idea of what to expect.
What does “renting” points mean?
When someone buys a DVC membership they receive a set number of points that are deposited into their member account each year. Sometimes they are not able to use all of the points themselves and decide to “rent” these points out to others.
A DVC owner can make a reservation with their points in anyone’s name, even if the people on the reservation are not DVC members themselves.
When you rent DVC points you essentially pay a DVC member to use their points for a resort stay for your family. You do NOT have to be a DVC member to rent points. I hope that makes sense!
How Much Does It Cost to Rent DVC Points?
The number of points required for a stay in a DVC villa depends on several factors. The main considerations that determine how many points you will need are:
- What time of year you are going
- The resort at which you want to stay
- The size of the villa (Studio through 3-Bedroom)
Here is an example: The point range for an Animal Kingdom Lodge studio villa (which sleeps 4) is between 9 and 28 points, depending on the season. The current going rate for renting points is between $12-$18 per point, with an average of about $15 per point. So for my studio villa example above, the cost for one night can range from about $100 to $500.
I have rented points for stays at the Animal Kingdom Lodge many times and on average pay $120-$150 per night. Other resorts at which you can get a studio villa room for under $150 include Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Boardwalk Resort.
I frequently use these DVC Point Charts from ResalesDVC to figure out the time of year during which we will visit and the type of villa we want.
A point chart shows the different “seasons” and their corresponding dates. It can seem complicated at first but after you spend a few minutes studying one of the charts it should seem much easier to understand!
How do I find someone who will rent their points to me?
There are two ways to go about finding a DVC member who you can rent DVC points from. I’ll explain both approaches in detail below.
Rent DVC Points From a Broker
First I’ll describe the easier (albeit more expensive) way to rent DVC points, which is using what is called a points “broker” to arrange your stay.
Several companies help owners rent their points. I strongly recommend David’s Vacation Club Rentals, which has an excellent reputation. You just submit a reservation request here that includes your preferred travel dates and resorts, and they take care of the rest.
David’s will find a DVC owner with the right kind of points (more on this below) and arrange a rental agreement. You pay David’s via credit card or PayPal and they, in turn, pay the DVC owner for the use of the points.
The current going rate to rent DVC points through a broker is $15-$17 per point. This is a bit more than you would pay compared to renting from an owner directly, but it is a much easier process. What you save in time and complexity you pay for in dollars!
Rent DVC Points Directly from an Owner
The second or DIY way involves renting directly from a DVC owner. The best way to go about this is to use the site DVCapp to check availability and post an offer for renting points (get all of the details in this post).
I have used DVCapp to check availability and find an owner from whom to rent points, and it is by far the easiest way to go!
Another way to go about finding an owner from whom to rent DVC points is using a forum such as the MouseOwners Rent/Trade/Transfer board. This is the forum I have used many many times and I have never had a bad experience.
How Much Can I Save If I Rent DVC Points?
Last, just how much can you expect to save by using this approach versus just booking a room directly through Disney? Well, as I already mentioned, these resorts are the most luxurious Disney has to offer and come with a pretty exorbitant price tag.
Let’s use a stay on January 1st, 2017 in a Studio Villa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge as an example. If you book this room directly with Disney you would pay a whopping $603 including tax.
If you found points to rent for $13 (the going average rate) and used them to book a value studio for 9 points, you would pay $117 including tax. That is an 81% savings compared to Disney’s cost. Normally you can expect to save anywhere from 40% to 70% off of Disney’s prices for similar rooms at these resorts.
I recently stayed one night at Disney’s Beach Club resort in order to do a full resort review (you can read the review here). I found some last-minute points to rent for $10 so my total for that one night was $150. That is a total splurge for me, but when you consider that the same room booked through Disney would cost $470/night, it seems like a bargain!
How difficult is it to find availability for my travel dates?
Since I started renting DVC points five years ago, it has become more difficult to find availability for dates. My advice is to try to make a reservation as early as possible, ideally 7-11 months before you want to visit.
If you want to travel at very popular dates, I suggest finding someone from whom to rent points before the 11-month booking window opens. I did this recently for my sister, and was glad I did – the resort was entirely booked up a few months later.
Renting DVC points likely won’t work for a trip that is just a few months out. These resorts are very popular and it is difficult to find even a few days in a row at many of them 7 months before traveling.
Will someone run off with my money?
One additional question that I frequently get is something along the lines of… “I have no idea who this person is that I am renting points from. Couldn’t they just cancel my reservation and make off with my money?”
There are a few things that make this highly unlikely. First, you will exchange written communication with this person that creates a binding contract. Next, if you pay via PayPal, your purchase is covered by PayPal’s buyer protection. Plus, Disney people tend to be really nice folks.
I hope this information helps you understand how renting DVC points works. I hope you will find a way to make a stay at one of these amazing resorts a reality for your family!
If you still have questions feel free to leave a comment below or send me a message on The Frugal South’s Facebook page!