Renting Disney Vacation Club points saves money and gets you Deluxe hotel rooms at Walt Disney World for much cheaper prices. DVC point rental is also a great way to “test the waters” before making the financial plunge into Disney Vacation Club. (Last updated January 25, 2019.)
Since the only thing as expensive as a hotel at Walt Disney World is airfare for the trip, renting DVC points will save you a lot of money over booking a hotel. DVC point rental 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.
This post offers our tips for renting DVC points, including what to know if you’re planning on renting Disney Vacation Club points in 2019. Specifically, we’ll discuss a booking strategy for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios…
Walt Disney World has announced that it will open for DVC bookings later in Spring 2019, and at that time, you will want to pounce if you’re planning on renting. We’d recommend this since the Riviera is the only Deluxe Resort with a Disney Skyliner gondola connection to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (and thus, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge).
Usually, when a resort first opens for Disney Vacation Club bookings, that’s the easiest time to score reservations. Disney’s Riviera Resort could very well be a different beast, as everyone is going to want to stay here for the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to avoid hassling with buses.
Alternatively, if you want to hedge your bets and book a room now, Beach Club and BoardWalk Villas are both walking distance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The problem with booking one of those now is that Walt Disney World has not yet announced a grand opening date for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
We have reason to believe it’ll occur after Thanksgiving 2019, but the internal ‘goal’ is actually before then. By the time an official opening date is announced for Star Wars land, it’ll be too late to book Beach Club or BoardWalk, so you’re pretty much going to have to roll the dice and hope for the best. On the plus side, both are great places to stay at Christmas-time, so there’s really no losing!
With that out of the way, let’s backtrack to 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 $16 per point, and the rentee wants to stay book Animal Kingdom Lodge for December 1-7, 2019, that will require 60 points, for a total cost of $960. Contrast that with booking directly from DisneyWorld.com, which would cost $2,451.38. That’s over 60% off by renting DVC points for that Christmas 2019 stay! So as you can see, the big advantage of Disney Vacation Club point rental is saving money over booking directly with Walt Disney World…
In addition to saving money on hotel rates, the newest benefit of renting Disney Vacation Club points is freeparking. 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.
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. DVC Rental Store has a few advantages. First, they do not require a deposit to search for availability. Second, they offer point protection (basically, insurance).
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, at the time of reservation only 60% of the payment is due, as opposed to the full amount, and the remaining 40% is not due until 45 days prior to check in. The obvious advantage here is that you’re not paying in full up front, but the other advantage is that it provides some flexibility when canceling an uninsured reservation.
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 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 advantages to renting from individuals is that you save money. The average per point price on these boards is $14-17, with points sometimes going for as little as $12/point 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 $18/point for popular resorts. Given how significantly Disney has increased their prices in the last few years, these rentals are still a good deal.
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 $15, 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 ~$16/point versus $14/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.
Finally, you need to figure out which Disney Vacation Club Resort is right for you. Our most recent stay was at Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge, which is the newest DVC resort at Walt Disney World. This is a new section of Wilderness Lodge including waterfront Cascade Cabins (click here to see photos and read about our stay) is now open, as are reservations are now open to all Disney Vacation Club owners, subject to the normal 7 month window.
We also have a post that Ranks the Disney Vacation Club Resorts at Walt Disney World. To be honest, though, we love just about all of them. At different times, #1 through #7 on that list all could be where we most want to stay, so I’m not sure how helpful that is to you. It 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!
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!