How to save a lot of money by renting Disney Vacation Club points
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There are as many options for lodging at Walt Disney World as there are musical loops of “It’s a Small World” playing for guests while they’re on the classic boat ride.
Those looking for a balance of Disney perks and budget can turn to Disney’s value and moderate resort categories. Visitors seeking the ultimate in convenience may enjoy a deluxe resort on the monorail, such as Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. For families keen on sticking to a tight budget, there are non-Disney or off-property hotels where they can redeem hotel points.
However, with all of those obvious lodging choices to decide among, there’s another accommodation option that is less obvious. Not only can it save you money, it can also lead to you scoring a nicer class of lodging than you’d otherwise be able to afford.
We’re talking, of course, about renting Disney Vacation Club points.
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You may be familiar with Disney Vacation Club, or perhaps you’ve at least seen the kiosks sprinkled throughout the parks during previous Walt Disney World vacations. Spending a bunch of money to buy Disney’s version of a timeshare makes sense for some, but it’s a big commitment. Don’t worry: That’s not what we’re recommending here, as that’s a story for another time.
Instead of buying a 50-year membership in the Disney Vacation Club, you can simply rent points from a Disney Vacation Club member and put them toward your next stay at Walt Disney World.
DVC members buy a bank of points that they can use every year. Some members don’t use all their allotted points themselves and look to rent them out to other vacationers on their way to the Magic Kingdom.
Related: How much does a Disney vacation cost
How renting Disney Vacation Club points can save you money
Renting DVC points is like eating filet mignon when you paid for a steak sandwich.
While it varies based on a few factors, you can generally rent DVC points to stay in a deluxe Disney resort for roughly the same price as booking a moderate Disney resort. Disney Vacation Club rooms are usually referred to as villas, which offer more space along with amenities such as a kitchen and perhaps a washer and a dryer, depending on the room type and resort.
You’ll also get all the normal perks of staying in a true Disney resort (like the 30-minute early entry) because you are in a true Disney resort. The perks and space of a Disney Vacation Club rental can make your trip not only more affordable but more enjoyable.
Many of the Disney Vacation Club properties, such as the monorail properties at Bay Lake Towers, Polynesian Village and the Grand Floridian Resort, are ideally situated. Then there’s Disney’s Riviera Resort, which is located on the Skyliner.
Since Disney World has parking fees at all of its resorts, an additional benefit for renting DVC points is free resort parking for owners and their guests who stay using DVC points.
A potential downside to a DVC rental is that you won’t get daily housekeeping services. However, that’s less of a downside these days as regular housekeeping has not yet returned to Disney.
Still, during normal times, Disney will perform a light housekeeping service on the fourth day of your stay lasting up to seven days if you are staying on DVC points. That includes refreshing the towels, bath amenities and in-room coffee but not changing bedsheets. Daily trash service is also provided. If you desire more cleaning services, you can pay extra for daily housekeeping visits.
How much can you save by renting Disney Vacation Club points?
If you’re wondering how much you can save by renting Disney Vacation Club points, we crunched the numbers for a three-night stay in fall 2022 from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, 2022. We compared rooms at three great resorts: Polynesian Village, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Bay Lake Towers. As you can see, the savings are substantial, and they only increase with a longer stay.
|Dates: Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, 2022||Polynesian Village||Animal Kingdom Lodge savannah room Jambo House||Bay Lake Towers|
|Studio room via Disney||$2,565.00||$2,467.14||$2,814.75|
|DVC studio at premium prices when renting less than 12 months out via David’s Disney Vacation Club Rentals||$1,354.50 (63 points)||$1,161.00 (54 points)||$1,225.50 (57 points)|
|DVC studio at average prices when renting via an individual owner||$1,197.00 (63 points)||$1,026.00 (54 points)||$1,083.00 (57 points)|
For these calculations, we used the rate of $21.50 per point for renting from a large service like David’s Disney Vacation Club Rentals at seven to 11 months out. You can get points from large sites for less for travel within seven months … or even less than that if someone is really trying to liquidate their points.
For point rentals from individual owners, we used a benchmark of $19 per rented point since that’s a good average for the current market, but this does vary a fair amount and can be several dollars less per point in some cases.
How to rent Disney Vacation Club points
Now that you’ve seen how significant the savings can be, even on just a three-night stay, you may be wondering how to actually rent them.
Renting Disney Vacation Club points from a service
One way you can rent points is from a professional service like David’s Disney Vacation Club Rentals. David has been around for a long time, and we’ve had good experiences with his service. You’ll pay a premium by renting through David instead of directly with an individual, but what you’ll spend is still usually much less than if you tried to rent a DVC villa directly from Walt Disney World.
Renting points directly from a Disney Vacation Club owner
You can also rent directly from a Disney Vacation Club owner. The prices an individual Disney Vacation Club owner will charge are generally less than what you’ll get from a service like David’s, and they’ll likely go down as the points expiration date approaches. For larger rooms and villas, that can translate to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in savings.
So, if you can still save a sizable amount of money with a direct rental with a DVC owner, you may be wondering why renting from a professional service like David’s is worth considering. The trade-off of is that there are risks and potentially extra hassles attached to a rental from an owner. You’re dealing with an individual who has control of your reservation, and they can make changes or even cancel it without your permission.
While this isn’t a common occurrence (as far as we know), it could happen, so you’ll want to keep a few tips in mind to protect yourself:
- Search for individual DVC owners through a platform like Disboards. This popular Disney message board has a forum specifically for folks looking to rent out their points. Because Disboards only allows active members or those who pay a fee to list points a limited number of times per year, it’s harder for folks looking to scam vacationers to post points available to rent, so you’re less likely to lose your hard-earned Mickey dollars.
- Join a DVC rental Facebook group to find more reputable options.
- Make sure you do your research before renting points. If you’ve identified a potential person you want to rent points from, Google their name or ask around in a related Facebook group for experiences. Also see if you can track them down on social media, and don’t hesitate to ask them for references from past renters.
- Pay for your DVC rental with a credit card that offers some level of protection.
- Consider purchasing a travel insurance policy that covers a potential cancellation outside of your control, such as a medical issue. Some DVC rental sites offer a paid insurance plan via a partner as well. No matter how you rent, be aware that these are less flexible reservations than ones made directly with Disney.
Tips for booking stays with Disney Vacation Club points
If you have your heart set on a specific resort and room type, find out the property’s booking details and reserve as early as possible to ensure availability using Disney Vacation Club points.
For example, an owner at Bay Lake Towers at Disney’s Contemporary Resort can make reservations at that property before an owner who purchased at Disney’s Saratoga Springs. Since that Bay Lake owner can book at their home resort 11 months ahead of time, you’ll want to lock in your reservations there further out than you would at other properties, which let owners book up to seven months in advance. With all of the pent-up demand across the Disney parks and resorts these days, it’s vital you book as soon as you’re able.
Virtually all owners who rent out their points, whether directly or through a broker, charge a home-resort premium (usually about $1 or $2 extra per rented point). This means you’ll pay extra to book more than seven months out. If you have flexibility in your dates and resorts, you don’t need to pay this premium, but if you want popular dates or resorts (like Polynesian, Grand Floridian or Bay Lake Tower), you often need to pay this premium to get in.
Related: Is the Disney Visa worth it?
The information for the Disney Visa card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
If you’re planning to rent directly with an individual, connect with them early. Start your research a month or more ahead of when you’re planning to book. For busier dates (including spring break and the week between Christmas and New Year’s), you’ll need to have someone with their finger on the trigger right when the booking window opens.
In fact, one of the most time-consuming parts of the rental process is checking availability. In the last few months, availability has been even tighter than normal, so you’ll need to be more on top of the booking process now than ever before.
Disney has no publicly available database to search for room availability, but there is an online resource that allows you to check inventory on your own without being an owner. Familiarize yourself with the room types and available inventory before you reach out to rent from someone.
The Disney Vacation Club has several different room types, including everything from a studio to a three-bedroom villa. Disney maintains a website that can fill in a ton of blanks on what the different offerings are at the various properties.
Last but not least, it can pay to check the listing of existing reservations that may be sold for less than the usual rates.
For example, we have seen reservations for set dates at a particular resort available for $10 to $15 per rented point, which can result in pretty huge savings if the available options align with when you can travel. Individual renters may also have these available. On David’s site, these options are listed under “Dedicated Reservations for Rent.”
Should you rent Disney Vacation Club points?
Every family’s decision on where to stay and how to best pay for that lodging will be as unique as their Walt Disney World vacation.
If someone tells you that you absolutely should (or shouldn’t) rent Disney Vacation club points, go find another source of information. As with many things in life, it all depends.
Related: How to use points for Disney tickets
We like to start by checking prices and availability directly with Disney. If you find a good enough deal you’re happy with via that route, that may be best to go with, especially if you put a premium on flexibility. Even the big-name rental sites like David’s Disney Vacation Club Rentals have a no changes or refunds policy, so factor that into your decision.
Also, look for any discounts or deals available from Disney that may bring the price lower. For example, the current up to 25% off offer for those staying in Disney resorts with Disney+ could dramatically change the math on some of these decisions.
In making a decision, we also like to spot check prices and availability while earning or using Marriott Bonvoy points at Disney’s Swan, Dolphin and Swan Reserve. These hotels are on Disney property and walkable to Epcot and Hollywood Studios but are not true Disney hotels, so sometimes they have better pricing than the Disney resorts.
Then, once we know where we’d like to stay, we start looking at prices and availability via the DVC rental route. If the savings are substantial or we could seriously upgrade our experience by going this route, we give it real consideration.
Although there are always risks involved with renting points, the vast majority of people who own Disney Vacation Club points are Disney fans themselves. This group of folks is generally honest and well intentioned.
While you’ll need to do your own research to make sure you’re comfortable with the process, whether you choose a rental broker or an individual, we can assure you that you’ll find some of the best lodging at Disney World through the Disney Vacation Club.
From spreading out above the ground in the Treehouse Villas and watching animals from our villa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to catching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from a private hot tub in the Copper Creek Cabins, some of our families’ most coveted Disney memories have come from these Disney Vacation Club resorts.
Yes, the parks are magical, but it’s possible that renting points holds the keys to unlocking some pretty magical time outside the parks, too.
Featured photo of the overwater Polynesian bungalows, a DVC property, by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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