Making Every Point Count: How to Maximize a Small DVC Contract

By David Mumpower / April 17, 2024

One of the best parts of the Disney Vacation Club program is that membership fits any budget. I know some people who own as few as 25 DVC Points or as many as 2,000, and they all love the program equally. Still, we should be realistic that when you own fewer DVC Points, you must employ a bit more strategy while planning your visits. Here are tips on how to make the most of a small DVC contract.

The Constraints of a Small DVC Contract

I should start with the fact that our first DVC contract only contained 50 points. So, I’m speaking from experience about how my family approached DVC during those early days. The first thing we kept at the forefront of our planning was the reality of our situation. With 50 DVC Points, we couldn’t book a full week’s stay anywhere. Our Home Resort, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, charges 71 to 162 points per week. This reality forced us to be creative with how we booked trips. Over time, we developed several tactics to maximize our investment and enjoyment during Disney vacations.

Know the Least Expensive Time Periods

Knowledge is power when stretching your DVC Points. One of the best ways to get more bang for your buck is to understand DVC’s ins and outs. You’ll gain a competitive advantage by doing your homework. For example, a cursory glance at the DVC Points Chart reveals a way to maximize your points. Most DVC resorts charge fewer points during the months we’ve historically called the offseason.

Truthfully, Disney no longer has an offseason, especially at Walt Disney World and, to a lesser extent, Disneyland. Still, DVC would rather its members visit during September, January, and early May.

Not coincidentally, your points will provide you with more nights during these three months. For example, if I stay at Old Key West, a weeknight costs nine DVC Points in September and ten in January/early May. My 50-point contract may not sound like much, but it entitles me to five (!) nights at a Deluxe Tier Disney resort in September. I can take this trip annually, and I often do because I’m like many others. I was born in September, which isn’t unusual. Nine of the ten most common birthdays occur during this month, which makes September excellent for Disney celebratory visits. We get to wear the birthday button at the parks!

Know the Least Expensive Resorts

I also hinted at another tip in that example. It’s substantially cheaper to stay at Old Key West than my favorite hotel, Disney’s Polynesian Resort. A single night starts at 14 DVC Points at the Poly, which is 56 percent more. Similarly, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and Disney’s BoardWalk Villas start at nine DVC Points in September. Obviously, that’s just one specific month that won’t be for everyone, but you should understand the underlying logic.

Those 50 DVC Points can book me five nights at BoardWalk, Old Key West, or Saratoga Springs in September, but they’ll only provide me with three nights at the Polynesian. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas offers an even cheaper booking option. It’s the Value Accommodations Room Type, which starts at seven DVC Points. However, these rooms sell out quickly. Also, they are standard rooms rather than the Studios you expect in the DVC program. For these two reasons, it’s probably not as viable an option as the others I’ve suggested.

Buying One-Time-Use Points

Here’s a divisive topic among DVC members. For many, the whole point of buying into the program is that we don’t spend extra money each year on a hotel stay. Instead, our Annual Dues pay for ownership interest from now until our Expiration Year. It’s a pay one lump sum, enjoy for decades program as a rule.

However, when you face a DVC Points constraint, you do have options. For example, some DVC members rent points. Conveniently, this site offers numerous rental options, which you’ll find here.

I’ve taken this approach on several occasions, just as I’ve relied on another membership option. Disney sells something called One-Time-Use Points, and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

Each year, DVC members can purchase up to 24 One-Time-Use Points to increase their booking options. Disney charges $20 per point, a total that includes tax. So, you can spend another $480 each year to add 24 DVC Points to your account.

That may not sound like much, but let’s consider what I mentioned earlier about Old Key West. A week in a DVC Studios costs 71 points. When you own a 50-point contract, you’re 21 points short. With One-Time-Use Points, you can spend $420 out of pocket to reach the needed 71-point total. I consider that a fair exchange and have done it many times over the years.

Visiting Less Often

The other strategy you could adopt with a small dvc contract won’t be your favorite. However, it’s a necessity at times due to the limitations of a small contract.

Obviously, I’m referencing the fact that you don’t need to visit Disney annually. I realize that’s blasphemy to some, and I’ll confess that it’s a bit hypocritical coming from me. I don’t live in Florida, yet I’ve spent more than 100 days at Walt Disney World over the past decade. So, I must be vacationing there a lot. Still, with a small contract, you’ll sometimes find that discretion is the better part of valor. Alternatively, all things come to those who wait.

What I mean is that DVC allows guests to Bank and Borrow points. For example, I carried over enough points from last year that I have double the points for 2024. I hated that every day last year, but I’ll love it this fall when I can spend twice as long at a Disney resort. Of course, I’m spending more than 100 DVC Points these days, but that’s not the point.

When you skip a year, you can Bank your precious DVC Points. Then, you can take an even better trip next year. The only trick is that you must follow DVC’s Banking rules and – and this one is critical – you must remember to Bank!

I’m not proud of this fact, but I have forgotten at least twice. Life gets in the way at times, and it’s definitely possible to forget. Still, as long as you Bank the points from your current Use Year, you’ll enjoy much better options next year.

In fact, we can stretch this premise even more. Let’s say that in addition to Banking this year’s points, you decide you want to splurge next year. If so, you can also Borrow points from the following year. In the process, you triple the number of DVC Points in your account for the applicable Use Year. For example, let’s say that you have a December Use Year. If so, you still have your 2023 DVC Points in your account.

Theoretically, you can Bank those points until your next Use Year, which begins in December. Then, when December arrives, you can also Borrow points from the following year. So, you’d have three different Use Years of DVC Points available in December.

With that many points, you can book pretty much anywhere you like for at least five days and possibly more than twice as long. It all depends on how you approach your booking, while using the tips I’ve provided today. Good luck!

Posted By:

David Mumpower