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You don't have to be a member of the Disney Vacation Club to be able to book a stay in a deluxe villa at a Disney Vacation Club Resort.
Any one can do so, using one of two methods. DVC rooms are larger than Disney's other hotel rooms, have either a patio or balcony, and larger units (1-BR and up) come with full kitchens, washers and dryers, and Jacuzzi tubs.
The two methods you can use to book a DVC room are:
Book a reservation directly with Disney Central Reservations Office (using the Disney web site, phone line, or via travel agent) just like you would book any other Disney resort hotel.
Rent points from a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member
Disney allows the general public to book DVC units (typically at very high rates) through its regular resort reservations system, when available.
Renting points from a DVC member is a much better deal, as it typically costs much less to rent from a DVC member than to book a DVC resort direct from Disney (renting points from an owner will typically cost you about half what you’ll pay if you reserve direct through Disney).
When you "rent points", the reservation will be in your name and you will check in at the regular Disney Resort arrival desk. You will be treated the same as every Disney Resort Guest and you will have access to almost all of the same amenities and perks afforded to each and every guest staying at a Disney Resort.
If you do decide to rent points from a DVC member, there are a few things you should be aware of so that your experience is nothing less than magical.
THE RISKS OF RENTING POINTS
While commonly referred to as “renting points”, you are actually paying a DVC member to make a reservation in your name with some of the points they own as DVC members.
There are significant differences between renting points and booking a hotel reservation with Disney. It is your responsibility to educate yourself on the process of renting points and perform the necessary due diligence prior to entering into any agreement to rent points.
Keep in mind that this is a private transaction between two people, and Disney is not involved in any way. If anything goes wrong, you can’t complain to Disney or expect them to resolve any problem.
There is inherent risk in these types of private transactions, which are really nothing more than glorified handshake agreements, so if you’re a risk adverse type of person, renting points may not be the way to go.
The risk is that another individual holds and controls your reservation, even though it is in your name. It requires some trust that the DVC owner/member will do what they say, and not take off with your money – leaving you without a reservation.
Even if the DVC owner is an honest and upfront individual, it’s also possible for an owner to default on his DVC mortgage loan or stop paying his member dues – either of which would result in DVC canceling the reservation he made in your name since he is no longer a member in good standing. You can’t foresee the owner losing their job, encountering financial problems, declaring bankruptcy, or getting divorced. These types of unforeseen events in the life of the DVC owner could disrupt your vacation plans.
In a direct rental transaction with an owner, you can lose both your reservation at the DVC resort, as well as all your money, and there is no way to prevent this.
Renting via a points broker can reduce the risk of losing your money, as they offer full refunds if there is negligence on the part of the owner/member. A broker cannot guarantee that your reservation will not be cancelled; however, they will work with you to try to arrange comparable accommodations. If no comparable accommodations are available, you’ll just get a full refund. However, while using a points broker does reduce your risk, it does not completely eliminate all risk. Your family can still face the disappointment of not having a reservation.
This risk is what gets you the big discount, and renting is not for everyone. Renting points takes some work ahead of time to educate yourself and learn how to protect yourself, in order to minimize the potential risk of these types of transactions.
That said, reported instances of failed DVC rentals occurring are extremely rare, and the actual amount of risk is low. Thousands of successful rental transactions have been completed throughout the history of the DVC program, and the substantial savings are obvious.
However, let me be clear, if you are a completely risk-averse type of person, and would be uncomfortable taking on this type of risk, and it will cause you anxiety from the time you make the rental transaction until the time you check-in, then don’t rent points. Guests who want a risk-free choice should pay more to book directly with Disney rather than renting points – although it will cost much, much more. That peace of mind may be worth it to some.
Disney also offers better cancellation policies as compared to renting points, as DVC point rentals tend to have much more restrictive cancellation policies due to the lack of flexibility members have with their points.
IT MATTERS WHO YOU RENT FROM
We don't often see problematic DVC rentals, and when we do they are usually due to misunderstandings between the DVC owner and the renter. Unfortunately, a lot of those misunderstandings come from lack of knowledge about how DVC works and how that differs from a traditional hotel reservation -- or a DVC reservation made through Disney CRO, for that matter.
You would think that the DVC owners all have perfect understanding of their accounts, and it's the people renting reservations who don't get it. You'd be dead wrong. Too often, neither party really understands the situation well enough to be able to anticipate problem areas. That’s why it’s important to rent points from a DVC member who has either done it before, or has done the necessary research before offering their points for rental. Potential renters should take some time themselves to get educated on how DVC works before looking to “rent points”.
NECESSARY DUE DILIGENCE
Renting points requires trust on both sides of the agreement, but even with trust there is a need for you to do some due diligence and common sense checking before sending off your money to someone.
Ask for references from the DVC member who is renting the points, and check their references. Good references show that a DVC member has had successful rentals in the past, and is knowledgeable about the DVC program. You are more likely to have a miscommunication with a DVC member who is renting their points for the first time, or one who hasn't done the upfront preparation themselves before they rent.
Don't rent from any so-called “member” who has only made a few posts or who just joined the boards, as it could be an indicator of a scam. If someone has been a consistent poster on DISboards, or has been a member for quite some time, that should provide some level of comfort. Review past posts for the person you are working with so you can get an idea what type of person they may be.
Get the owner's full name, home address and home phone number before sending any payment. To the extent possible, confirm that the information is valid. In other words, call them on the phone and "google" their name and address.
Confirm that the person is, in fact, a DVC owner by running a search at the Florida Comptroller's Office web site (this site only reports owners of WDW DVC resorts).
There should be a written contract or letter of agreement, signed by both of you, spelling out exactly what the rental will cost, when payment is due, dates of the stay, etc. In fact, DVC requires owners to have a written rental agreement in place for each rental.
If something sounds "off," don't proceed. It's not worth taking the risk. Any DVC deal that seems too good to be true most likely is. Again, these types of things are extremely rare.
IMPORTANT POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND
Please keep in mind the following important points:
Be aware that the Disney Vacation Club will not speak with renters or give them any information. They won't take a room request from you; they won't confirm you have a reservation; and they won't make Magical Express arrangements for you. Only DVC owners can speak with DVC about reservations. Any changes and any additions like the Dining Plan or Magical Express will have to be made through Member Services by the owner. You can make your own dining reservations through the Disney dining number. Park tickets cannot be purchased through the DVC member. You can purchase your tickets on your own.
DVC reservations are not as “forgiving” as hotel reservations. DVC is a timeshare and not a hotel. A DVC reservation is very different from a regular hotel reservation and the limitations / restrictions / penalties on the owner may make cancellation and rescheduling difficult or impossible. Those problems vary from owner to owner, from rental to rental, and you have no way of knowing what kind of restrictions the owner is under. If you get in a position where you have to cancel a rented reservation, the owner may not be able to help you. Many owners have a “no cancellation/no changes/no refunds” policy. Be sure you fully understand what will happen if your plans change. That is critical, and if you are not comfortable with the answer, a DVC rental is probably not for you. DVC rentals do not work well for people whose plans are not firmly set. You'll have much better cancellation policies when booking through Disney’s CRO than renting points.
Bear in mind that there is no guarantee that the dates and/or resorts you want will be available. You’ll have to find an owner who is interested in renting points and willing to check your dates.
You will probably need a much larger deposit and have to pay in full much earlier when renting points than with using Disney CRO. You may need to pay with a cashiers check or personal check instead of being able to use your credit card.
You do not get daily maid service when you rent from a DVC member (while you do get daily maid service if you make the reservation through Disney CRO). You get your trash emptied and new towels on day 4 of a vacation, and if you stay 8 or more nights, on day 4 you get a full cleaning, and day 8 would be the trash & towel service.
While you will receive all the standard perks of staying onsite (Magical Express, Extra Magic Hours, etc.), please be aware than renters typically do not get to take advantage of DVC member perks such as discounts offered only to members.
The DVC system is complex and takes some time to understand, and many rental difficulties or misunderstandings are from good people with good intentions, who misunderstand the subtleties of the system.
I hope the above information is helpful to everyone considering renting points from a DVC member. Don't let this post scare you away from renting. Like I said above, the vast majority of rental transactions are successful, and renters end up saving a lot of money and, in some cases, are so excited with the accommodations they get that they end up becoming DVC members themselves!
HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I TRY TO RENT?
How far in advance should I rent points and reserve my reservation? DVC, being a timeshare system, is built around the concept of full occupancy year-round. Different room types and resorts reach capacity at different times of the year. It is advisable to book your reservation as early as you can, especially if you want to book a popular room type at a popular resort during a popular time. The earliest a reservation may be secured is 11 months in advance. If you try to book a room less than 7 months in advance, your options will be limited to larger resorts such as Old Key West and Saratoga Springs. Don't plan on getting a reservation less than 2 months in advance, although it can happen.
Factors which influence availability of rooms include:
Whether you're trying to book at a popular time for DVC (i.e., the early part of December)
Whether you are trying to book during a particular resort's busy time period (i.e., BCV/BWV during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival)
Whether you are trying to book a limited-availability accommodation (i.e., value or concierge rooms)
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
When you rent from an individual DVC member, the price you pay may or may not be negotiable. The first question you should ask is if the price is negotiable. If not, don't waste the owner's time by making an offer.
Even those owners that are open to negotiate don't like to deal with people who offer unrealistically low-ball offers. Don't waste the owner's time, as they just get annoyed with "bottom feeders". Do your best to make a reasonable offer.
You're not doing the owner a favor by renting their points. Expect to pay somewhere between $13-$16/pt. DVC resorts that are in high demand (Beach Club, Bay Lake Tower, Boardwalk, Grand Floridian) tend to cost more per point than those with less demand (Saratoga Springs). Reservations during the week between Christmas and New Years may also cost more.
Use the DVC Point Charts to determine total point cost, based on room type, resort, and time of year.
USING THE DVC RENT/TRADE BOARD
You can use MouseOwners or DISboards to attempt to rent points directly from a DVC member. Both offer a DVC RENT/TRADE BOARD that is basically a "classified ads" section where you can go if you want to connect with others to rent points. MouseOwners and DISboards are not involved in the actual transactions between the parties involved, and have no control over the truth or accuracy of the listings or the abilities of the parties to complete the transactions, and cannot and will not be held responsible for same. They will not intervene in any issues resulting from these private transactions. They not endorse anyone offering rentals, trades or transfers and all transactions should be viewed as "Buyer Beware". People have been scammed on both sites, so be cautious.
USING A POINTS BROKER
If you've read this far, you may think renting points is a lot of work - for both DVC owners who want to rent out their excess points as well as potential renters. Owners who don’t want to hassle with dealing with potential renters often choose points brokers, who match up potential renters and then handle all the legwork.
As a potential renter, if you’d rather not have to go through the hassle of trying to obtain a rental on your own, you can use a third party point broker. The service makes it easy and seamless to rent points. The only downside is that it may cost more than renting direct from a DVC member, since the the third party points broker needs to get compensated for their service. You have to decide if you think it’s worth paying a little more for the peace of mind.
DOES USING A POINTS BROKER ELIMINATE RISK?
A potential renter is not required to do all the due diligence and precautions (noted in the DVC Rent/Trade Board sticky posts) when using a points broker. In fact, they can't do any due diligence, as they don't know who the owner is they are renting from. You work directly with a broker, and they take care of everything for you. It's almost like you're calling up Disney reservations and booking direct with Disney.
Except it isn't. Renting DVC points – whether directly or via a broker – still involves some risk. The risk is that the owner the broker is dealing with can still be flakey, and the renter could find themselves without a reservation. That risk is what gets the renter the great deal. If a renter wants more protection and stronger assurances, they can pay twice as much and book directly with Disney.
I believe many people looking to rent DVC points mistakenly believe that using a points broker somehow magically protects them from any risk. Despite the fact that using a points broker may feel like a more secure transaction, brokers don’t really give renters any more protection in the event of cancellation than using an owner directly. They do provide a guarantee that you won't lose your money.
A points broker offers more assurance than renting direct, but there are still risks - perhaps not losing your money, but of losing your reservation.
I just wanted to add that thousands of successful rental transactions have been completed throughout the history of the DVC program, and the savings are obvious. Reported instances of fraud occurring are small.
However, you should take whatever steps you feel are justified to become comfortable with the process prior to entering into a rental deal. You must understand that you are placing a great deal of faith in the DVC member's promise that a reservation has been made and will remain in force until your arrival.
Here is a copy of my complete DVC Rental Primer. On other boards that I have posted this, it has garnered good reviews.
Dear DVC renter to be:
This is a basic overview of the DVC and rental process. There are certainly other ways to rent, some Owners make 3-way calls to Member Services with you, others don't.
If you have any questions feel free to ask away!
Finally this is not an offer to rent, as I am sadly out of points until 1/2009!
Originally Posted by greenbanned
Here is my updated rental primer, I hope it helps...
TONY'S (greenban) DVC AND RENTAL PRIMER
I'm gonna assume that you know nothing about the DVC, so if some of this is too basic, sorry !
NOTE: Effective June 1st, 2007, ALL DVC resorts are totally smoke free in the guest rooms, resort buildings including patios and Balconies. Smokers will need to use designated OUTDOOR smoking areas or refrain from smoking. Violators will be charged a minimum of $250.00 for a clean up fee.
The DVC is a timeshare based on a point system instead of a fixed week system. That means DVC points can be used at any of 8 DVC Resorts for reservations up to 7 months in advance, and only at the home resort up to 11 months in advance. Various resorts, room sizes, and times of the year influence how many points a night may cost. Friday & Saturday nights are very expensive in points, usually costing the same as, Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed & Thurs nights combined. Thus to save 45-55% off Disney's rack rates at Disney.com | The Official Home Page For All Things Disney, you, the renter would need to avoid a Fri & Sat stay. However, if you stay a full week, you can still easily save 25-45% off Disney's rack rate.
There are currently 6 DVC resorts physically in Walt Disney World. Old Key West (OKW-1991), Boardwalk Villa (BWV-1996), Villas at Wilderness Lodge (VWL-2000), Beachclub Villas (BCV-2002), Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa (SSR-2004), and now Animal Kingdom Villas (AKV-2007). There are also DVC resorts at Vero Beach Florida (VB-1995) and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina (HH-1996). DVC Points can also be used for some other Disney properties and the Disney Cruise Line, but in my opinion these latter choices do not make financial sense, so I won't rent for that reason!
Points have a birth date (The first day of the Owner's Use Year) and an expiration date, 1 year later. They are usually not good outside of these dates. This is why most Owners have a no cancellation, or change policy. Their points might not have enough life left to be re-rented, or your new vacation dates may be outside of the point's UY. Or there may be no availability for your new dates.
There are some modifiers to Use Year Life. Certain amounts of points can be banked into the next Use Year, or Borrowed into the current Use Year from the Next Use Year. However, once points change from their original UY, that change is permanent, and they can not be banked or borrowed again.
Also, if a vacation is cancelled less than 31 days in advance of arrival, the points become 'Holding Points' which have such severe use restrictions, that they become nearly worthless. Thus most Owners require final payment between 60-90 days of the start of your vacation.
Also note, you are actually renting enough points to book a reservation for your vacation one time only, you are not actually buying the points!
Those are the Owner's risks, along with any damage that you may do to the property.
For the discount, you the Renter take the most risks. Until you physically check-in, the Owner controls the reservation, even when it is in your name. An Owner could cancel your reservation, and steal your money. Disney will not get involved. This risk is what gets you the discount, and renting is not for everyone. (However, an escrow account, Paying via PayPal or Credit Card gives you several layers of protection for at least getting your money back).
Also, all requests, even Handicap Accessible, are requests only and not guaranteed. You could request a 3rd floor room 11 months before check-in, and get assigned a ground floor room on the day you actually check-in.
You do not get daily maid service at the DVC (Many owners prefer not having Mousekeeping traipsing through their rooms, but you may want daily maid service). You get your trash emptied and new towels on day 4 of a vacation, and if you stay 8 or more days, on day 4 you get a full cleaning, and day 8 would be the trash & towel service, and then a full cleaning on day 12 and so on. (FWIW, we always decline our full cleanings). However, you can pay for maid service, if you wish, and schedule it for whenever and how many days you would like, but I have never had a renter do this. Studios have access to free laundry machines near the pools, and 1 BR and larger units have a washer and dryer right in the room.
Now the next step:
If you want to rent from an Owner, they will generally want the following:
The DVC Resort you want to stay at
The type of accomidation you want (Size, Class-View)
Arrival and Departute dates
The full names of everyone in the room
The ages of any children
Any special requests such as A particular View, Highchair, etc.
Owners will usually also need:
a mailing address (for your copy of the contract)
a contact telephone # for you as well (Cell phones are a great option!)
Owners can then call MS (Member Services) when they are next open (M,T,W,F: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM Eastern, and Thursday until 10:00 PM (and now Saturday 1PM-5PM) and make the ressie in your name. Some Owners will make a conference call with you to book your dates. Often an Owner will then email you a copy of the contract, and your reservation #. (You can make ADRs as soon as you have your ressie number subject to the 180+10 day rule). Next your Owner may require a certain percentage down payment by a certain date, some Owners require a down payment before making the reservation.
Once they receive the official Disney Confirmation Letter they will forward it to you, this averages three weeks from when the reservation is made.
Please note that these payment scenarios are generalities only, and will vary between Owners!
Owners can accept many payment forms, including, but not limited to personal checks, bank checks, money orders, PayPal and Credit Cards via PayPal with or without a surcharge.
I strongly recommend against Wire Transfers (Western Union, etc.) as every case of fraud that I am personally familiar with used Western Union!
Some Owners expect the final payment no later than 60 (or even more) days before your vacation. Many Owners have a no cancellation policy, however, if they can re-rent the points or reschedule your vacation (due to a change in dates on your end), Some Owners may refund a portion of your money.
This is why a complete and written contract is soimportant!
If you are very nervous, Ask for the Oqner's references and you could use an escrow service. However, any and all charges and fees associated with the escrow service would have to be paid by you.
You can usually rent points for $11.00-$15.00 each. Experienced Owners with a proven history and good references (like me) can and do get more ($13.50-$15.00) than a newbie, with no references or prior rentals who will often rent at $10.00 - $11.00 or so. The DVC system is complex and takes some time to understand, and many rental difficulties or misunderstandings are from good people with good intentions, who misunderstand the subtleties of the system.
Some Owners will share their tips and experiences at WDW to help you have the most Magical, or Romantic, or Relaxing vacation. As well as share 'the must do' restaurants, shows and attractions with you.
Some Owners also provide brochures for the Disney Dining Plan, and the Deluxe Dining Plan, explain Disney's Magical Express, suggest grocery delivery services that you can trust, and can help you work through the maze of Disney Theme Park ticketing options.
You can also sometimes find distressed points in the $9.00 to $10.00 range, but you must be very careful that these points won't expire before your travel dates, and are not Reservation Points which can not be used for DVC vacations. I don't recommend distressed points for your first DVC rental experience, but once you are comfortable with the basics, you might wish to try renting these discounted points!
And be careful, like life, any DVC deal that seems too good to be true most likely is, and it is sad to try and save an extra $100.00, and get ripped off entirely.
Many Owners may offer some discounts, and it never hurts to ask! Some discounts that I have seen are:
pay by check
Now to help us Owners out, please have an email address in your post or attached to your user account. PMs can be slow and the number allowed can be limited. Also, we need exact dates to check for availability, list your preferred dates, in order.
I hope this helps, and please feel free to ask any more questions, or voice any concerns or different experiences that you may have.
ETA: Oops! Forgot to add, always check for the PDRA logo:
Note: The PDRA is a ficticous organization that I created to really annoy and irk, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. It has no meaning other than that!
While you will receive all the standard perks of staying onsite (Magical Express, Extra Magic Hours, etc.), please be aware than renters typically do not get to take advantage of DVC member perks such as discounts, free valet parking, etc.
Question: what about "Club-Level" access activities, like the safari tour offered at AKL? If one were to rent from a DVC owner, does one get access to those benefits ... or are they only for owners?
Question: what about "Club-Level" access activities, like the safari tour offered at AKL? If one were to rent from a DVC owner, does one get access to those benefits ... or are they only for owners?
Renters will receive the same concierge perks as members staying in that class of room.
However, it's worth noting that there is an extremely small number of concierge rooms available. AKL is the only DVC resort to offer concierge, and that resort only has FIVE total villas in the concierge class. Those five villa are lockoff two bedroom villas, so they can each be reserved separately as a Studio and a One Bedroom.
However you slice it, there will be between five and ten families using DVC points for concierge access every day. No more than that. If you want to rent points for concierge, you better find someone with points available a year ahead of time, and make sure he/she is on the phone exactly 11 months out booking day-by-day. Anything less and there's little chance of booking a concierge room.
Renters will receive the same concierge perks as members staying in that class of room.
What I was asking about isn't a "concierge perk", though. Here ... to quote directly from Disney:
Wildlife Discovery Excursion
Venture off the trail of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve during this one-hour adventure led by a seasoned Safari Guide and animal expert. Stop at special observation areas for unique photo opportunities. Park admission is required, but not included. This tour is only available to Club Level Guests at all Walt Disney World® Resort hotels. For full details and to check pricing, times and availability, Club Level Guests should contact the Resort Concierge Itinerary Planning Office in advance of their stay at (407) 938-4755.
So my question is ... what constitutes "Club Level Guest" ...? Anyone with a reservation made through the DVC (and presumably covered with DVC points)? Or only actual DVC owners? Or something else entirely?
(That feature is about the only one I can think of, that might change our plans from a Value resort, to possibly renting enough DVC points for our accomodations. At least, for the immediate-term ... had I the money, I'd be buying into the AKV right now! )
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But what if we want to rent 373 points per say and the person only has 370 available? can we just pay what the rest of the cost would be in cash or does it have to be complete points?
Individual nights have to be booked on all points or all cash. You cannot pay cash to Disney to make up for the 3 points you couldn't get from the renter. You COULD try paying the full cash rate for one night, but cash availability of DVC rooms is often limited and expensive. You could also try renting the full final night from someone else.
Great thread. I am renting points for the first time and I did have alot of questions. I am still a little leary, but I have to have faith that I am dealing with an honest person.
May 87' Offsite - Band Trip
Aug 90' Offsite - DH first trip
Feb 03' Wilderness Lodge - our 3 girls first trip
Feb 04' Pop Century
Jan 06' Off Site - Disney Marathon
Mar 09' Saratoga Springs - Girls only trip