When buying a DVC membership there are various factors to consider before taking the plunge in the wonderful world of Disney vacations. Arguably one of the more confusing factors in the decision making process is determining what Use Year to purchase. One of the more common questions we receive from potential buyers is, does DVC use year matter when buying a membership. The short answer is, it depends. Let’s review why DVC use year might matter to you when buying a membership.
What is Use Year?
Before we jump into how and why Use Year might matter to you, let’s review what Use Year even means when it comes to DVC ownership.
Use Year is the term used by Disney Vacation Club for the month in which your DVC points start each year. As a DVC owner you are allotted the number of points in your contract each year. These points are valid for one full year. However, your year does not start in January, it begins on your “Use Year.”
There are 8 different Use Years available for DVC contracts. They are February, March, April, June, August, September, October and December. As an example, if you own a June Use Year contract, your points begin on June 1st of each year and are valid for exactly one year from that date.
Why Does Use Year Matter?
It is important for every DVC member to know their Use Year in order to know the date of their annual banking deadline. Every DVC owner has the option to “bank” their points into the following Use Year if they feel they will not or can not use their points during the current Use Year. The banking deadline is 8 months from your Use Year date (4 months before the start of your next Use Year). However there is an exception to this rule for transferred points. See the Benefits Of Owning Multiple Use Years section below for more details.
Standard banking deadline chart for the various DVC Use Years.
Annual Banking Deadline
For New DVC Buyers
Depending on how you travel, Use Year may be an important consideration. If you and your family tend to travel at various times throughout the year, one Use Year will not likely be better than another. However, if you like to travel at the same time each year then your Use Year will matter. For someone who consistently travels at the same time each year there are two factors that can be impacted by your Use Year. They are DVC’s short term cancellation policy and banking deadlines.
Short Term Cancellation Policy
As a DVC member, if you cancel a reservation between 30 days and 1 day before your check-in date your points are placed into a “holding account.” Points in a holding account cannot be banked and can only be used to book reservations within 60 days of check-in.
As an example let’s pretend you usually travel in September and purchased an August Use Year. If you booked a reservation for September and needed to cancel that reservation less than 30 days before check-in, the points would be placed in a holding account and would have to be used by the end of your current Use Year, which would be August 1st. This would give you almost one full year to use the points in the holding account.
If, on the other hand, you purchase an October Use Year and you cancel your September reservation, the points in the holding account would need to be used by October 1st, giving you very little time to use the points before they expire.
As we know, banking deadlines are 8 months from your Use Year date. Using the sample travel family above who always travels in September, let’s review another scenario.
If you book a reservation for September 20th and cancel the reservation on August 10th, you would have avoided the holding account and all points would be returned to your normal account, yay! However, with an October Use Year, those points would now need to be used by October 1st and would be past their banking deadline, giving you very little time to use the points before they expire. But, if you owned an August Use Year you would have until March 31st of the following year to bank your points.
As you can see, for potential buyers who consistently travel at the same time each year, the best Use Year to purchase is the month just before your normal travel dates. Doing this will provide you with the most flexibility and usability when factoring in cancellations and banking.
For DVC Owners Adding On
For owners looking to add points to their existing DVC contracts, Use Year will also be an important consideration due to how your new purchase will interact with your current contract. As a current owner, if you purchase another contract with the same Use Year as your current contract then the new points will simply be added to your membership and you will see all of your points when you log in to your DVC Dashboard.
However, if you opt to purchase a different Use Year from what you currently own, your new contract will receive a completely new Membership ID. DVC does a great job helping owners manage multiple memberships by combining them into one single DVC dashboard. Through the Dashboard, owners are able to easily toggle between their multiple memberships to view point balances and reservations in the respective accounts. Purchasing a different Use Year also offers several unique benefits.
Benefits Of Owning Multiple Use Years
As an owner of multiple DVC Use Years you can take advantage of the following extra perks:
- Added Flexibility
Multiple Use Years can offer added flexibility to travel at different times of the year without the fear of losing points due to cancellations. As an example, a family might use a March Use Year to book their spring vacations and a September Use Year to book their fall vacations.
- Extension on Banking Deadlines
Owners of multiple Use Years have the option to transfer points from one account to another in order to combine the points to book reservations at no extra cost. Transferred points receive an extension on banking deadlines! Normally, the banking deadline for points is 8 months from your Use Year date, but transferred points are allowed to be banked up until the end of their use year, offering you an additional 4 months to bank any unused points. Keep in mind that transferred points maintain their original Use Year. As an example, if you transfer your February Use Year points to your second account and end up not using them, you will have until January 31st to bank them into the following year.
- Extra One-Time Use Points
Every membership is allowed to purchase 24 one-time use points directly from Disney. Owners with multiple Use Years can purchase 24 one-time use points for each of their memberships.
- Additional Top of the World Guests
For each DVC membership, Disney allows 5 guests to join you at the Top of the World. However, if you have multiple memberships, each membership entitles you to invite 5 guests. This is a great perk if you’re a couple traveling with several non-DVC owners. As an example, a husband and wife who own multiple Use Years could each bring 5 guests with them to Top of the World.
- 11-Month Booking Window
Owners with two memberships at the same resort but with different Use Years can combine their points to book stays during the 11-month booking window.
- Extra Waitlists
Waitlists are limited to two per membership. Owners receive an additional two waitlists for each membership they own. For more information about waitlists, see How Does the DVC Waitlist Work?
If considering different Use Years, try to purchase Use Years 4 to 8 months apart. Doing so will offer you a wide range of flexibility when it comes to booking vacations, possible cancellations as well as taking advantage of extended banking deadlines for unused points.
As you can see, DVC Use Year does matter when buying a membership. Be sure to consider your travel habits and how your Use Year might affect booking, banking and cancelling.
Leave us a comment below or contact our DVC Shop Resale team with any additional questions regarding DVC membership Use Years.