DVC Use Year Guide (For Disney Vacation Club Members)
Use year is a tricky concept to many Disney Vacation Club Members. When do I get my points? What month do they expire? When can I book my next trip? These are all common questions we get asked each day.
Join us as we explain what a Use Year is, the effects of it on planning trips, and common myths about use years!
What is a Use Year?
First, let’s define use year (UY) as it relates to the Disney Vacation Club. Disney created a timeshare that they called Disney Vacation Club. Within that timeshare, they divided up when points would be allocated to different contracts throughout the year. Each DVC (Disney Vacation Club) contract has a UY, and that UY is the month you get more points loaded on your contract.
For example, let’s say I have an Animal Kingdom Lodge contract for 200 points, with a December Use Year. Every December 1st I will get 200 more points to use. Another way to look at it is to say that my “year” to book a DVC reservation at Disney starts December 1st and ends November 30th.
Interestingly, there are only 8 months with Use Years: February, March, April, June, August, September, October, and December. The other months: January, May, July, and November are never used as UY with Disney Vacation Club.
DVC Banking Deadlines and Expiration Dates
There are also several important dates to keep in mind throughout the year based on your DVC use year. We already mentioned that the first day of the month of your UY is when you get your points. This is important because that means it is also the day that all of your points from the prior year need to be used by. If you don’t, the points are lost and expire.
Disney Vacation Club also gives you the option to bank a year’s worth of points forward into the next Use Year. This must be done four months prior to the end of their current use year. Points that are not banked will expire at the end of the current UY if unused. The chart below will help you keep track of your Use Year’s banking deadline and expiration date:
If we use that same December UY example as before, then November 30th is the date that all 200 points must be used by. These points could also be banked if done before July 31st of the current UY.
We often get the question: Does that mean you have to have the trip booked by the date of expiration? No, that means you have to already have taken the trip by the date of expiration.
A third important date to know is January 15th of every year. This is when all annual dues are due to Disney. You have the option to pay these throughout the year, but if they are not paid by January, then you can go delinquent on your contract, and after several months of delinquency, Disney can cancel your reservations. These annual dues vary by resort and are definitely worth looking into before you buy a contract.
When Can I Book and With What Points?
Now that we know when we receive our DVC points, the next important thing to understand is when your points can be used. Many members often mistakenly consider the points they have on the day they are trying to book a future vacation. When booking you should always ask yourself the question: “What points are available to me on the check-in day of my trip?” This is how Disney Vacation Club looks at points when they are used.
Using our same December Use Year example, let’s say that it is February 2021 and we are looking to book a vacation for January 2022. We would need to consider what points are available for us to use in January 2022 for that trip. These could include the following:
- Banked Points – December 2020 UY Points that have banked forward into the December 2021 Use Year.
- Current Points – Current UY Points received December 1st, 2021.
- Borrowed Points – Up to 50% of the points you are eligable to receive on December 1st 2022.
All told, this means you could have up to 500 points available for your January 2022 vacation!
Common Myths about Use Years
Below are several common myths DVC members have about use years. And we’ve included the truth about each myth!
Myth #1 – Use Year Affects Availability
Yes and no. So, actual DVC availability is more determined by the 0-7 and 7-11 month time periods. The 7-11 month period refers to when you can book at your home resort. This is also known as “home resort priority”. Only those who own at a certain resort can book at that resort 7-11 months out (from any given day – not related to use year).
After you get 0-7 months out from a booking, any DVC Member can book at any resort. This availability is specific to 7 months out and it counts BY THE DAY. So if you are wanting to make a reservation at Bay Lake Tower, but you own at Grand Floridian, and it isn’t allowing you to make the reservation, good chances are you don’t have the ability to book it yet. You may be a day or two off from 7 months from today. An easy trick is to grab your phone and say, “Hey Siri! What’s seven months from today?”
If you always go to Disney at a specific time of year, then use year is important and can affect availability. The next myth explains this in detail.
Myth #2 – The Use Year of my Contract Doesn’t Matter
False. The use year can give you an advantage depending on when you want to spend the most time at Disney.
Whether the “Use Year” matters for someone depends primarily on how and when they travel. If you are someone that travels at different times throughout the year then it is unlikely one “Use Year” will be better than another. However, if you are someone that travels at the same time of year, choosing an optimal Use Year could be very beneficial. So for example, if you consistently travel in November, a December “Use Year” would not be an ideal choice, because if you were to cancel a November trip within 30 days of checking in and had a December “Use Year” those points would be subject to holding rules and have to be used by that November 30th. However, an October “Use Year” for someone that consistently travels in November would be ideal because if they cancel that November trip within 30 days of checking in they still have until September 30th of the following year to use those points.
Myth #3 – I need to buy my second DVC contract with the same use year as my first DVC contract
Maybe…maybe not. It all depends on what your goal is. Do you want to be able to book at different times of the year? Then you may want to have two different use years to increase availability. Do you want to get all of your points at the same time and not have to worry about multiple dates throughout the year (i.e. when to bank, etc), then you may want to stick to the same use year for both contracts.
Myth #4 – I have to use all my points each year
False. You have options and can bank, borrow, rent, or use your points each year.
Banking your points means you send your points from the current or past year into the next year. You would want to do this if you are not heading to Disney this year. You may also use this method if you are saving up points to use every other year. Borrowing points borrows points from the next year into this year. You would want to do this if you are short on points this year. Currently, Disney Vacation Club allows you to borrow up to 50% of your next year’s points.
Renting points allows you to let someone else enjoy your points this year. Sometimes members rent if they are short on cash, some rent to pay their annual dues, and some rent because they aren’t going to Disney this year and would rather use the money they receive from renting their points to go on a vacation elsewhere! Find out how much you can make by renting your DVC points through DVC Rental Store!
We hope you have found this helpful in understanding Use Year! If you have any questions related to UY or would like more assistance in understanding your DVC contract and points, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to help you best understand your Disney Vacation Club membership and how to maximize it to the fullest!