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Old 02-15-2014, 09:28 AM   #1
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Using Points for the DVC "Collections"

Using Points for the DVC "Collections"

Because there is a wide range of opinion over the value of using DVC points to pay for something other than a stay at a DVC resort, the DVC Mods are establishing this thread as the only place to discuss this topic. Please keep your posts respectful - we do not want this thread to be a debate.

We Mods don't care how people use their points. In fact, there's nothing wrong with using points for cruising or a stay at a non-DVC resort. Depending on the circumstances it can often be a good choice. We believe good decisions start with good information.

This controversy is really over how you value your points.

For example, those who think cruising on points is a poor value generally value their points at $11/point or more. That's the amount that is supposedly easy to get by renting reservations or transferring points to another member.

Some believe that the initial cost of the points should be considered when determining the value of a point. Some include opportunity cost and the time value of money when calculating the value.

Others consider the initial buy-in as a sunk cost. (Perhaps they paid cash for the initial cost or have long since paid off the loan). These members value their points at the current cost of dues ($4.78 - $7.75 for calendar year 2014).

The above are just examples of the many ways members value their points.

It appears that DVC essentially values each point as the amount collected in maintenance fees each year - as they should since that is all they received. (The initial buy-in amount went to the Developer, not DVC). When they rent DVC rooms to cash guests, they need to recoup that maintenance fee amount plus the costs of managing the reservation thru Disney Resorts / DCL and also an amount for rooms that go unused as cash reservations. The formula for how they arrive at the credit/debit between DVC and DCL / Disney Resorts is modified based on prior years and that is used when the point charts for the non-DVC options are negotiated and created each year with Resorts, DCL, ABD and the individual Concierge Collection options.

The Collections include:
  1. The Disney Collection - includes the Disney Cruise Line & non-DVC Disney resorts in WDW, DL, Paris, Tokyo & Hong Kong
  2. The Concierge Collection
  3. The Adventurer's Collection - includes Adventures by Disney
  4. World Passport Collection - includes trades made via RCI or the Lake Buena Vista Trading Company

Options in the World Passport Collection may be paid for with points obtained via resale or points purchased directly from Disney. The options in the Disney, Adventurer's & Concierge Collections are only available for points purchased directly from Disney or via resale contracts purchased before March 11, 2011.

Should a Member Use Points to Pay for non-DVC options?

Since cruising seems to generate the most controversy, let's use cruising to generate a list of some "pros & cons" for using points to pay for a non-DVC option. But keep in mind that the same list can easily apply to the other non-DVC options.

For cruising, we also should remember that even though food & entertainment are included in a cruise, members get the same amenities (including food, & entertainment) no matter how they choose to pay for it.

In general, if you value your points at $11 or more each, cruising is almost always a poor economic choice. If you value your points at $5-$7 or so, it can be a good choice.

Pros for using points to cruise:

1. It's convenient and very easy. MS acts as your Travel Agent.

2. Can be a good value. (You need to do the math for each option at the time of booking and it depends on how you value your points).

3. Renting reservations is not without risk. It can take time and effort and can be especially daunting for someone who hasn't done it before. If you go through a broker, you may not get all of your money until the renter has checked into the resort. Transferring points can also be frustrating. It may be tough to find someone who wants the number you want to sell. You are only allowed one transfer per use year per membership.

Negatives to using points to cruise:

1. Cancellation policy - Points are returned to your account, but they come back as Reservation Points. That means they expire at the end of the use year and cannot be used for a stay at a DVC resort or an exchange through RCI or the Lake Buena Vista Trading Company.

2. Fees - there's a non-refundable $95 fee to make the reservation and additional non-refundable $95 fees to make most changes.

3. DVC can (and has in the past) limited the number of cabins available to be booked for points.

4. Each year, DVC renegotiates the number of points required to cruise. In almost every case the number has increased. There is no "inflation protection" for cruising like there is for DVC resort stays.

5. The ability to use points for options other than DVC resorts is a benefit or perk that is not guaranteed by contract. At its sole discretion, DVC can stop offering it at any time. (This may not be likely or even a good decision on their part given its popularity with many members, but it is possible).

As you post your opinions, let's remember that owners are entitled to use their memberships as they choose. There is no one right or wrong answer that applies to everyone for every situation!
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:42 AM   #2
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I've used it once at WDW and three times at DL.

The time at WDW was for a last minute business trip that I wanted to arrive early and stay Sunday night before moving to the hotel in Downtown Orlando near the office. It was mid October and DVC had nothing, any resort, any room size. I booked a room at POFQ, I had some extra points available so it didn't feel like a waste. This was before the fee. With the fee, I would have looked at other options since it was only 1 night.

At DL, it was before VGC opened. I stayed at PP twice and GC once. At that time, the points required weren't as high as they are now.
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:45 AM   #3
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I have booked DCL several times

I have booked DCL several times on points. I always pick value season times to go and I do the math ahead of time. If I come out ahead as far as what I pay for membership dues for each point vs the cost of the cruise for cash, I book it. But I even consider that being frugal. Here is why - if you do the math and realize it costs you $70 to stay on points in a DVC studio vs paying a $350 cash cost and that is all you consider, then yes - don't ever
exchange them for anything other than DVC. But if you consider on a cruise that you are getting entertainment and food (consider the Disney Deluxe Dining plan at WDW) and the cost of a theme park ticket for the day for entertainment, then suddenly, your DCL exchange doesn't seem so costly since those things are included in cost.

I have never used them to say on a Disney hotel but I have been thinking of traveling to Disneyland Paris and also Hong Kong. I would use points in that case. I think that one of the other Disney locations also included theme park tickets with your room stay on points - so that may be a worthwhile deal.

I do with that DVC would allow you to flex points for tickets, etc to cover the cost. My wife and I have traveled with my mother several times since my father passed away in 2007. Sometimes I travel with just her alone and we get a 2-bedroom unit so she can have her private space. I would love to be able to decide when booking a room that I would like to add 3 days of tickets onto that room for a week at DVC and just use points to cover it at some sort of a discount. I know other timeshares do this sort of thing. So I don't know why DVC doesn't.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:36 PM   #4
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We used points for a 4 night DCL back when we were DVC newbies. THEN I did the math afterward. We are what I call "points challenged" with only 250 pts. The 4 n cruise "cost" us something like 392 points for a Cat 10 on the Magic (inside deluxe category). So regardless of meals & limited entertainment (movies & shows) being included (we still booked excursions on top) we basically "spent" close to 1 and 1/2 years worth of points for those 4 nights. Then we were out of points for another year. We bought 250 points because it is enough for 2 weeks in studios or 1 week in a 1 bedroom in "magic" season at our home resort of SSR. So after booking this cruise we were tapped out of points and didn't want to start a borrowing pattern but we wanted to add on a few nights at WDW. We ended up using the DVC discount for a few cash nights. WELL so then I did the math on that plan and we could've done a small add-on for what we spent on THAT deal. SO basically, lesson learned on NOT using points to cruise.

I also discovered that if trying to use a mix of points and cash that they bascially charge the highest tier expected for the cash guest(s). So if you book on day #1 or soon after they release new itineraries you can get a MUCH cheaper cash rate pp than what you have to pay MS to book on cash. They will charge you the highest est. rate rate that DCL expects the prices to rise to before the sail date. After learning all that we did the re-booking onboard with cash to get the onboard credits and 10% discount. We feel for the majority of the time cash rates are a better deal (since we can't typically vacation in the "off seasons"). If you can travel in "value" type seasons you may YMMV. But for us we would never ever use 1 1/2 years worth of points for a mere 4 nights ever again. If we had used those same points at WDW we could've had 10 more additional nights of vacation.

When we priced using points at Disneyland Paris for a few nights in August a couple years ago I nearly choked on those rates. We opted to rent out our points and do a cash reservation there. The points required there are absurd because their resorts aren't nearly as nice as the WDW resorts.

I think we WOULD consider trying to "trade out" for a week sometime if we could find a decent resort somewhere thru RCI that would only use 160 points. At least then we wouldn't suck down ALL of our points for a week... The problem is finding a place we'd be happy with somewhere else since RCI doesn't offer the best resort options out there. But we might consider it sometime in the future.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:40 PM   #5
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I've always thought it was a little presumptuous for any of us to tell anyone a certain use of DVC points is a prima facie bad use of points. That really is a valuation question that only the owner of the points can decide.

I do think it is valid to point out that the points cost of many of the options is very high, and that there are other options for getting the same or equivalent things for much lower cost. In many cases, the claimed benefits can be had less expensively by simply paying cash.

DCL is a prime example. Not only can one usually get much better pricing simply paying cash, but there are other cruise lines which, frankly, offer better cruises for much lower prices.

I also think it is very valid to suggest that potential purchasers of DVC look long and hard at the cost of non-DVC options if they are considering those "benefits" in their purchase decision. My personal opinion is that consideration of non-DVC options is only valuable to the DVC timeshare salesmen and prospective purchasers would come out ahead ignoring them.

And that view is not limited to DVC. Most timeshare systems offer a package of "perks" which are truthfully only offered to give their timeshare salesmen something to talk about. No matter which timeshare system anyone looks at, it is almost always true that the real value of that system is using it within the system -- certainly NOT outside the system.

That said, I think DVC's RCI Lite does offer some benefits to owners. I don't think it should be a consideration in the purchase decision because you can buy other timeshares on eBay for $1 which will give you FULL INDIVIDUAL membership in RCI, which is vastly superior to DVC's corporate membership.

But if the member will not be going to WDW in a particular year, they may be able to get an RCI exchange that satisfies them...and I personally would never question the wisdom of that choice.

Last edited by JimMIA; 02-15-2014 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:05 PM   #6
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Used our pts to stay at CBR once - worked for us and served to illustrate the difference between staying in a standard hotel room vs a much larger DVC room with kitchenette. Really didn't think there would be that much of a difference.

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Old 02-17-2014, 12:37 PM   #7
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I have booked 2 RCI exchanges, 2 Concierge Collection, and 7 out of 8 DCLs on all points or points and cash. I will continue to do so as these are trips that my DW and I enjoy. We use our points for the what we like.
We consider our points completely paid for so we are taking free vacations except MFs and exchange fees now. Renting is not something we would ever consider as we do not like the down-side possibilities and we have family and friends that would gladly take on any trips that we could not do.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:19 PM   #8
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I looked into renting out my points once but just couldn't be bothered with the risk and hassle of doing so and because I paid cash for the initial buy in and have done the prescribed 7 visits that DVC say will make your points pay for themselves (I did the maths and it's pretty close given what I would have paid for deluxe otherwise). So as I'd never rent out I consider myself in the 'my points are worth what I pay in dues' bracket.

As such DCL is actually not that bad a deal, especially as my change in circumstances means that any saving in cash outlay means that my trip to the world will come around that much quicker.

Now I understand that others will look at it and think I'm a fool but I'm happy with my 9 day trip to the world + a 4 night cruise every year and I know I'd not be able to afford it if I had to pay cash.
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Old 02-17-2014, 04:24 PM   #9
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I agree that if someone wants to go through the work if a transfer or rental, then it could end up being less than just booking on points. I just decided this weekend to adjust my summer trip because it would be just my DD18 and myself instead of our typical 8 to 10 girls. Since I was using points for a 2 bedroom, some that were borrowed, I decided to book a 3 day cruise in the middle of the week and changed what we were staying before and after. I could have waited and tried to transfer some, but in the end, other than the $95 fee, I was using those points anyway. And, since the days we are on the cruise includes food, that $95 is a wash...

So, in my case, it was easy to book with points that I looked at spent anyway....would I do this all the time? No..but it was worth it this time because I'm using points to cover my summer trip...same as I would have if others had gone..

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Old 02-17-2014, 04:43 PM   #10
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Prior to the fee I used my points several times at moderate resorts. Now that it's $95 plus the points I just stay off site. I didn't mind the points, but the fee was more then I think one night at a Disney 'moderate' is worth LOL!

I still use my points for a cruising and will continue to do so. For me it's a good use of points. It's an easy way to book the cruise, the cost is just the transfer fee and you are on the boat. Honestly, at what DCL charges for a cruise if I am paying cash I am on another line. After my Dream cruise it hit me that the quality/service were equal to or less then what I got on RCCL so the "premium" was a waste. (That was my last cash DCL) I did Europe last year and we had a great time on DCL.

I have looked into RCI but it hasn't worked out. If it did I would have no problem booking with my points there either.

In my view my points really only have a cost of the dues. I have had them a LONG time and if you amortized the cost per stay we are into cents not dollars so the cost is long gone. I don't want to rent them and since I have formally complained to Disney that IMHO broker services pretty much violate the "no commercial renting" rule, it would be rather hypocritical of me to then turn around and use those services.

My view is that they are my points and I can use them as I want. The only "bad use" is one that I was bullied into by folks who didn't pay for my points!
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:00 AM   #11

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I used points to pay for a weekend cruise last year. It was a few hundred dollars more than if I would have paid cash, but the ability to use points and not have any cash outlay really worked for us at the time.

Between the rental car, $95 cruise, staying before and after at DVC but going to Universal on a 2 day ticket with the third day free, and one water park, our typical $3,500 Disney trip was about $1,500.
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Old 10-28-2014, 03:43 PM   #12
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I regularly rent out points to help pay MF, so I don't consider renting to be much of a hassle. What this does though is make me value every DVC point at the current rental rates ($12-$14 per point). I even consider this my cost of staying in a DVC resort when I go. Because of the way I value my points I don't think I could ever bring myself to use them for a cruise, collections, adventure or any of the other ways you can use them.
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