Renting Disney Vacation Club points is a great way to save money and get Deluxe-quality hotel rooms at Walt Disney World for much cheaper prices. Since purchasing Disney Vacation Club (or DVC, as it’s known) can be a significant financial investment, renting Disney Vacation Club points is also a great way to “test the waters” of Disney Vacation Club, so to speak, and determine whether buying into the club is right for you. Plus, since the only thing as expensive as a hotel at Walt Disney World is airfare for the trip, renting points will save you a lot of money over booking a hotel.
This post (last updated May 9, 2017) offers our tips for renting DVC points, which is the one-time use of a set number of a Disney Vacation Club member’s points to book a Deluxe Villa room at a Disney Vacation Club Resort. The owner of the points agrees to “rent” the points out to a rentee, and in exchange for payment to the owner of the points, the owner makes a room reservation for the rentee in the rentee’s name. The amount of the payment is determined by the number of points needed for the booking, with a per-point cost being agreed upon by the parties.
For example, if the agreed upon price is $14, and the rentee wants to stay 4 nights at the Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas, which will require 40 points during a given time of year, the total payment under the agreement will be $520, or $130 per night. The owner calls or goes online to check Disney Vacation Club availability at the resort where the reservation is desired, and the agreement is finalized if there is availability. There are a few other details that will be discussed below, but that’s the general gist of renting Disney Vacation Club points. And with Copper Creek Villas about to open at Wilderness Lodge, this fall could be a great time to rent DVC points…
Let’s start with that bit about Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge. This is a new section of Wilderness Lodge including waterfront cabins, opens July 17, 2017. Reservations are now open to all Disney Vacation Club owners, subject to the normal 7 month window.
This is significant because Wilderness Lodge is normally very difficult to book at the 7-month window during the Christmas season. However, all of this new inventory is now available, but there are not very many owners yet. We’ve been checking availability at Copper Creek Villas for the Christmas season over the last couple of weeks, and it’s definitely easier to book this year than in years past.
So, if you want to book Wilderness Lodge this Christmas, you might want to contact one of the rental companies sometime this month (May 2017) and get in your dates. Even if you can’t book until June or July, you might have better luck than normal getting a room at Wilderness Lodge this year.
Okay, now on with the normal DVC point rental tips…
In recent years, renting points has gone from relatively uncommon to a bit more mainstream practice. There are individual owners who rent points because they either aren’t going to be able to use their points or need a way to offset some of the considerable cost of membership, and there are companies that exist solely for the purpose of renting Disney Vacation Club points to savvy Walt Disney World and Disneyland guests.
The two main places to rent Disney Vacation Club points are DVC Rental Store or David’s Vacation Club Rentals. DVC Rental Store has two advantages: they do not charge a fee to search for availability, and also offers point protection (basically, insurance). Otherwise, the two are pretty comparable–both are reputable businesses that can be trusted.
Although we are Disney Vacation Club owners, we have a relatively low number of points, so we’ve actually rented points ourselves a couple of times in the last few years. In attempting to rent points, we’ve contacted both the point rental businesses and individuals on forums about rental, and have opted to go with the point rental businesses (despite paying a bit more) for simplicity and peace of mind.
How you go about renting Disney Vacation Club points, and whether it’s safe, is probably the most common reader question we’ve received in response to our Disney Vacation Club Buying Guide, so I figured I’d put together this guide based on our experiences and research, along with my thoughts about the pros and cons of each method of renting points.
Let’s start with the pros and cons of renting DVC points in general to determine whether it’s right for you…
Pros & Cons of DVC Point Rental
The biggest benefit of renting Disney Vacation Club points is saving money. The example of Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas above is a good one. If you wanted to book a stay August 19-23 in a value view studio, that’s exactly how many points you’d need, and how much it would cost if you rented points through one of the point renters.
For a stay December 2-6, it would be even cheaper! Other nights throughout the year would cost more, but you get the idea. You couldn’t even stay in a Moderate Resort for the rates you can get by renting Disney Vacation Club points, let alone a Deluxe.
Another benefit of renting Disney Vacation Club points, for some people, is getting the Disney Dining Plan without purchasing park tickets. This means that you can save money by purchasing tickets from an authorized ticket broker rather than buying directly from Disney, thereby saving even more money. These savings can be small or huge, depending upon the size of your party and the tickets you get, this could amount to another $800 or more in savings!
The biggest downside to renting Disney Vacation Club points is that you don’t have total control over the reservation. Someone else books the reservation for you, and someone else has to make any changes to the reservation for you (such as adding Disney’s Magical Express or the Disney Dining Plan). Disney Vacation Club won’t discuss the reservation with non-members, so even if your name is on it, you’re at the mercy of the person who booked it if you need changes.
Another downside for some guests is that, since the unit rented is a villa and not a hotel room, housekeeping service is not daily. Most stays will only have one visit by Mousekeeping. This isn’t a problem for us (we always have the “do not disturb” sign up), but for some people, not having the full hotel experience might be a fatal blow to renting DVC points. On the plus side, the villa room means a kitchenette and greater ability to prepare food and do laundry!
Where To Rent?
If you’re convinced that renting Disney Vacation Club points is right for you, the next question is who to use. There are a couple popular choices here, including the DVC Rental Store and David’s Vacation Club Rentals. The advantages to renting through them are that both are accredited by the Better Business Bureau, both have a team that does this as its full-time business, and both have a sterling reputation. The other upside to renting from the DVC Rental Store or David’s is convenience.
They have “home resort” inventory for every Disney Vacation Club resort, meaning that if you want a popular resort (like Beach Club or Grand Californian), you can book with him at the 11 month mark. If you want a hard-to-book resort and plan on booking through an individual, you need to do so 11 months out and find an owner who has the resort you want as a home resort. That can make the whole process of booking through an individual more time consuming and tedious.
The alternative to renting points from DVC Rental Store or David’s is renting from individuals. The two main places to do this are Disboards DVC-Rent/Trade Board and MouseOwners’ Rent/Trade/Transfer Board. Of course, if you have friends who are DVC members that are willing to rent out their points to you, that’s another route, too.
The advantages to renting from individuals is that you save money. The average per point price on these boards is $12-14, with points sometimes going for as little as $10/point if the owner is desperate or the points are about to expire.
The downside to renting from individuals is that you have no guarantee that you aren’t going to be ripped off, or that the owner will be available to assist you if something goes wrong with the reservation. You’ll have a bit of uneasiness until the moment at the check-in desk that your reservation pulls up.
Basically, it comes down to how risk averse you are and how much more you can save by going through an individual. Last minute rentals can be as low as $10 per point on the forums with normal rentals being slightly more, which amount to a few dollars in savings over the DVC Rental Store.
Unfortunately, each of the owners who have responded to my postings was a “New Member” on the forum, with only a handful of posts, which made me uneasy. Anyone can rip you off, but my thinking was that someone with an established reputation on the forum would be less likely to do so. We ultimately ended up not needing to rent because we bought into Disney Vacation Club ourselves.
For what it’s worth, in my time researching rentals, I heard of very few instances of people being ripped off by individuals on the forums. It does happen, but it seems to be very, very infrequent. When we rent in the future, I’m not sure how we’ll do it. It largely depends upon prices.
If it’s a short weekend trip and the DVC Rental Store is charging ~$14-15/point versus $13/point on the forums, I can’t see using the forums to say what will amount to $30 or less. The possibility that we could be scrambling at the last minute to find an alternate hotel room for such a short trip wouldn’t be worth it.
I’d prefer to just pay the bit extra for the peace of mind. If it were a 10-day trip in a Grand Villa, I’d probably be more likely to go through an individual because the savings are greater, but then I’d be concerned that such a big purchase were risky. I really don’t know what I’d do, it’s a tough call.
If we did end up going through an individual, I would do a few things to protect myself as best I could. First, I wouldn’t rent from any new members or individuals with only a handful of posts. I’d want someone with an established reputation on the forums. Second, I’d ask for references. Third, I’d pay with an American Express credit card rather than any other form of payment.
Ultimately, Disney Vacation Club point rentals is a great way to save tons of money without making the long term commitment to joining. If you’re currently booking Moderate or Deluxe Resorts directly from Disney, it’s definitely something to consider. Most of the time, renting Disney Vacation Club points will be cheaper than booking a Moderate, and it will ALWAYS be cheaper than booking a Deluxe (even with the best discounts!). Renting from individuals is the best way to maximize your savings, and renting from the DVC Rental Store or David’s Vacation Club Rentals is the safest way to rent–plus they’re full service companies with great customer service that can help you through the process and answer all of your questions! If you’ve rented Disney Vacation Club points, we’d love to hear how you rented them, and what you thought of the process?