These money-saving tips for renting Disney Vacation Club points will get you Deluxe hotel rooms at Walt Disney World for much cheaper prices. DVC rental is convenient, and less expensive than standard resort reservations. It’s also a great way to test drive DVC before buying. (Updated January 27, 2021.)
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) point rental is the one-time use of a set number of a points to book a Deluxe Villa room at a Disney Vacation Club Resort. It’s a fairly easy process, and you can do this on a person-to-person basis via forums, or via one of the established point rental companies that we recommend.
This post offers our info and tips for the best ways to rent DVC points, including what to know if you’re planning on renting Disney Vacation Club points next year. If you’re thinking of doing a Halloween, Food & Wine, or Christmas 2021 trip to Walt Disney World, now is the time you need to book…
Let’s start with the basics of DVC rental. Here’s how it works: 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 $18 per point, and the rentee wants to stay book Animal Kingdom Lodge for December 1-7, 2021, that will require 60 points, for a total cost of $1,080. Contrast that with booking directly from DisneyWorld.com, which would cost $2,451.38. That’s over half off by renting DVC points for that December 2021 stay! As you can see, the big advantage of Disney Vacation Club point rental is saving money over booking directly with Walt Disney World.
Before we get going, there’s one big temporary benefit of renting Disney Vacation Club points. If you’re planning on visiting Walt Disney World in 2021, there are several Deluxe Resorts that have not yet reopened. Many of these have both standard hotel room wings and Disney Vacation Club villa wings. In many cases, only the DVC wings of the properties are open, with the hotel side yet to open.
This includes Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The first two of those do not have reopening dates yet; the latter three will reopen for Summer 2021. In the meantime, the DVC wings of all 5 have been open since last summer and can be booked right now.
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. The two are pretty comparable–both are reputable businesses that can be trusted. David’s has one big advantage: cheaper prices. This makes David’s the better option if you’re simply looking to pay the lowest price possible.
DVC Rental Store has two big advantages. First, as of 2021, all reservations include their “Stress-Free Cancellation Policy” to give you added peace of mind, which is a policy change due to issues from last year’s closure of Walt Disney World (discussed in greater detail below in the pros & cons section). You’re basically paying a little bit more for lower risk.
Second, at the time of reservation only 25% of the payment is due, as opposed to the full amount, and the remaining 75% is not due until 75 days prior to check in. The obvious advantage here is that you’re not paying in full up front. The indirect advantage is that it provides some flexibility when canceling reservation if you’d prefer to just walk away and not deal with credits.
Note that you can also use this free tool for non-DVC members to search for resort availability so you can see which resorts are sold out and which are not before even hassling with contacting DVC Rental Store or David’s. We compared the results in that search to our DVC Member search feature, and the results are accurate (the display of that tool is actually better than DVC’s own search function!).
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, 2021 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, 2021 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.
In addition to saving money on hotel rates, another benefit of renting Disney Vacation Club points is free parking. Walt Disney World is now charging for parking at its hotels, but this does not apply to guests staying on DVC points. There is no charge regardless of whether the person using the points is a member or not–it’s based upon the use of the points (parking is not a “perk” since lot maintenance is paid for via annual dues).
Meaning, if you were otherwise going to drive or rent a car at Walt Disney World, point rental now saves you another $24/night in that you won’t pay for parking. It’s not a huge amount in the grand scheme of things, but definitely something to consider.
Another benefit of renting Disney Vacation Club points, for some people, is getting the Disney Dining Plan without purchasing park tickets. Unfortunately, the Disney Dining Plan is temporarily unavailable, but we expect it to return before 2022. (See When Will the Disney Dining Plan Return?)
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!
The final downside is cancellation and refund policies. While it’s possible to purchase travel insurance for DVC point rentals, the cancellation policies are not nearly as forgiving as booking directly via Disney. This is because of the strict policies surrounding DVC point usage. In the event of hurricane or some other ‘Act of God’ scenario, the member who is renting out the points may not be able to reuse them if the guest cancels.
You’ll find no shortage of negative reviews online about the major rental companies following last year’s closure of Walt Disney World for this very reason. While some guests were accommodated with future bookings or travel credits, a lot of people who wanted cash refunds were denied. We’ve explained the why of this in DVC’s Point Pool Problem; the short version is the supply of unused outstanding points exceeds room availability by several millions of points. Someone is going to be left holding the bag, and it’s not going to be Disney.
The good news on this front is that it has resulted in some policy reforms by the rental companies. DVC Rental Store now offers a stress-free cancellation policy that issues you a credit you can use toward a future DVC rental in the event of cancellation. You can utilize these credits up to two years from your original travel dates.
We recommend paying close attention to contract when renting, and making sure you’re not agreeing to terms that would not create an undue burden if you need to cancel, because there are no cash refunds. Part of the reason DVC renting saves so much money is that it comes with compromise–there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Whether DVC rental is right for you comes down to your personal risk v. reward assessment.
To that point, our advice to those renting Disney Vacation Club points in the first half of 2021 is doing so at the last minute. The first big advantage to this is you’ll be doing so at a time when you (hopefully) know you won’t need to cancel. Second, both major rental sites have “Dedicated Reservation” pages with deep discounts, resulting from the deluge of cancellations last year. The closer to your travel dates, the more you can save. It’s not for the faint of heart, but then again, DVC rental is not for the totally risk-averse.
How 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. This means that if you want a popular resort, 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 ~$16 to $20, with the lower end of that spectrum being if the owner is desperate or the points are about to expire. These prices have steadily increased in the past couple of years, and now some rentals on these forums are as high as $22/point for popular resorts.
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 $12 per point on the forums with normal rentals being around $18, 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 ~$18/point versus $16/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. Given how significantly Disney has increased their prices in the last few years, these rentals are still a good deal.
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.
Which DVC Resort?
Finally, you need to figure out which Disney Vacation Club Resort is right for you. We’ve stayed at every single DVC resort at Walt Disney World, most several times. It’s tough to declare a definitive “best” Disney Vacation Club resort, as each has its pros & cons, and is a good option depending upon your priorities.
We have a post that Ranks the Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Walt Disney World and shares the strengths and weaknesses of each. To be honest, though, we love just about all of them. That list does give you a good basis in terms of theme, location, amenities, and other things to consider that will help you make an informed decision, though!
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!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know. If you’re considering joining DVC, first be sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Disney Vacation Club. If you still can’t decide whether membership is right for you, “try before you buy” and rent points from DVC Rental Store. If you are convinced a membership is for you, check out the discounted options at DVC Resale Market.
Do you agree or disagree with our recommendations for renting DVC points? Any firsthand experiences you care to share? Which DVC resorts do you recommend for a first-timer renter? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!