Use year is the month your points are renewed each year. You have one year to use your points before they expire (unless you bank them). Use year determines your banking deadlines, but it has nothing to do with when you can make a reservation. You can always call (or book online) 11 months prior to your desired check in day for a reservation at your home resort and 7 months prior to your desired check in day if you want to reserve something at a non-home resort. You do NOT have to wait until your use year begins to make a reservation - actually all of your points are already in your account. You just have to have points available that will be valid for your desired stay. For example: Let's say you buy 200 points on February 1, 2016 and you get an October use year. Your 2016 points are valid for stays between 10/1/2016 and 9/30/2017. Those would be considered your current use year points for any stays that occur during that time period. If you buy directly from Disney before 10/1/2016 and get an October use year, you will probably also get 2015 use year points with your purchase. (2014 points would be valid to pay for stays between 10/1/2015 and 9/30/2016). You will be allowed to bank the 2015 points even if you are past the banking deadline. This is a courtesy Disney has been providing to those who purchase directly through them. If you don't plan to take a trip before 9/30/2017, you'll want to bank your 2016 points so that they do not expire. As long as you call before the end of May 2017 (the banking deadline for October use years), you can bank all 200 2016 points. You may not bank at all in June, July August or September if you have an October use year. Your 2015 use year points are good for stays between 10/1/2015 and 9/30/2016. Your 2016 use year points are good for stays between 10/1/2016 and 9/30/2017. Your 2017 use year points are good for stays between 10/1/2017 and 9/30/2018. Your 2018 use year points are good for stays between 10/1/2018 and 9/30/2019. etc. You may bank points one use year forward and you may borrow points from one use year ahead. For example: Let's say you want to stay in May of 2017 and your stay will cost 500 points. May, 2017 falls within your 2016 use year. (See the chart above). So for a May 2017 vacation, the current use year is 2016. For that reservation, you may use the current use year points from the 2016 use year, any banked points originally from your 2015 use year and you may borrow points from your 2017 use year. If you plan to stay at your home resort, you can call to make the reservation for May 2017 in June of 2016, even though your 2016 use year doesn't begin until October 1, 2016. Again, use year has nothing to do with WHEN you can call to make the reservation. Banking and borrowing are final transactions. If you cancel a reservation made with banked or borrowed points, the points will not be returned to their original use year. So they would expire at the end of the current use year unless they were used before then. You may not bank or borrow the same points more than once. Let's say you do have to cancel that May, 2017 vacation and you call to cancel it in March, 2017 (which is more than 31 days prior to arrival). To make the reservation, you used 200 current use year points (from 2016 use year), 200 banked points (originally from 2015) and borrowed 100 points from 2017. After you cancel, you would have 300 points to use or lose before 9/30/2017, the end of the current use year (2016) for that vacation - i.e., the 200 that were banked and the 100 that were borrowed. Remember, banked and borrowed points cannot be returned to their original use year. If you call MS before the end of May 2017, you could bank all 200 of your 2016 use year points. After banking, those points will be valid for stays between 10/1/2017 and 9/30/2018. They will expire on 9/30/2018 if not used before then - remember, you cannot bank the same points more than once. If you didn't call to bank your 2016 points until after May 31, 2017 then you could not bank any points at all and all 500 of the returned points would have to be used before 9/30/2017. If you cancel a reservation 30 days or less prior to arrival, the points go into the holding account. In addition to expiring at the end of the use year, holding points may only be used to make a reservation that will begin no more than 60 days in the future. Since availability is often very limited 60 days or less prior to arrival, it can be very difficult to use holding points. It is not unusual for holding points to expire without being used. Use year only matters if you have to cancel a vacation that was scheduled to occur late in your use year - i.e., during the last three months. That's because banking is not allowed during the last four months of your use year and so you don't have much time to reschedule before the points expire. Many owners never have to cancel a vacation (lucky them, LOL) so they don't worry about use year. ADVICE: If you travel about the same time of the year on a regular basis, it's best to choose a use year that falls no more than 7 or 8 months prior to that time. Keep in mind that your travel pattern may change over the course of your ownership. What starts out as a "perfect" use year may end up to be not so perfect Remember, use year has nothing to do with when you may call to make a reservation. All of your points are actually "in your account". You don't have to wait until your use year begins to have access to your points - you just have to match your vacation dates to the use year (find the use year that will be the current use year for that vacation), and then make sure you have enough points in that use year to make the desired reservation.