Renting Disney Vacation Club points is a viable approach for booking Disney accommodations at a fraction of the list price. The "rental" consists of a DVC member using his/her points to book a reservation in the name of a non-member in exchange for some compensation. Compensation is typically in the range of $12-14 per point rented.
To illustrate potential savings, the 2012 rack rate for a Savanna View room at Disney's Animal Kindgom Lodge is $480 per night in mid-March. Including the 12.5% tax, a 5-night stay (Sunday - Thursday) has a list price of $2,700.
Booking a comparable Savanna View Deluxe Studio room for the same dates at Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas costs 85 Disney Vacation Club points. Using $13 per point as a baseline fee, a non-member could "rent" this Deluxe Studio for $1,105...a savings of 60% over Disney's rack rate.
Disney does typically offer some form of discounting on its room rates--"free dining" promotions, 20-30% rate discounts, etc. But rarely do their discounts yield savings greater than renting points from a Disney Vacation Club member.
There are numerous ways to make contact with a DVC member to discuss renting points. Point rental forums exist at websites such as DISBoards.com and MouseOwners.com. Non-members can visit those sites and list what they are seeking. Owners have also been known to use eBay or Craig's List to offer up points for rent.
Another option is to go through a third-party broker who matches up parties with point available to those who are looking to rent. DVCNews.com recommends using David's Disney Vacation Club Rentals. DVCRequest.com has been in business since 2005, and specializes in coordinating DVC point rentals. They are well-versed in the point rental process, respected throughout DVC member community and have coordinated hundreds of successful rental transactions. Visit DVCRequest.com for complete details.
- Determine the number of points needed. The Points Charts list the number of points required to book each night in a DVC villa.
- Price a cash equivalent trip to see if renting points will actually save money. To do this visit the Disney reservations website or contact a travel agent.
- Find a point rental partner. Bear in mind that you must find a member who has enough points available to rent to satisfy your reservation. Also if you are attempting to book more than 7 months prior to arrival, the member must own points at the resort you wish to reserve. (To streamline this step, considier DVCRequest.com and let them match you up with the ideal rental partner.)
A few things to bear in mind regarding DVC point rentals:
- Every rental transaction is different! Terms and conditions will vary from member to member so make sure payment policies, cancellation policies and all other terms are fully understood.
- Having a written agreement is beneficial to both parties as it spells out the exact terms of the rental transaction.
- Ask the member for referrals from prior rental transactions.
- If at all possible, speak to the member on the telephone rather than communicating exclusively via email. Fraudulent rental transactions are rare but they do occur. Actually speaking to the member is a good method of easing fears.
- Cancellation policies tend to be very restrictive for point rentals. Make sure that you understand the terms of the agreement and are comfortable with the consequences should it be necessary to cancel or re-schedule.
- Many Vacation Club resorts are in high demand with relatively small room inventories. Those seeking to rent at destinations such as Beach Club Villas, BoardWalk Villas, Bay Lake Tower and Grand Californian would be well advised to start looking up to a year in advance.
- Most importantly, realize that most rental transactions are glorified handshake agreements. Even after funds have changed hands, the member retains full control of the reservation throughout the process. If something goes wrong with the reservation, Disney has limited ability to help since they are not the booking agent. Make sure that you are 100% comfortable with your rental partner before proceeding.