What is a DVC “Use Year” and Does it Matter?

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What is a “Use Year”?

The most straightfoward way to describe what a “Use Year” is simply the date you will receive your Disney Vacation Points each year. There are 8 different Use Years, and they are February, March, April, June, August, September, October and December. And if you purchase a contract with a March Use Year you will receive your DVC points each March 1st. Your “Use Year” also determines your banking deadline, which is always 8 months from your “Use Year” date. A chart summarizing those different banking deadlines is below.

Use Year Last Day to Bank Points
February September 30
March October 31
April November 30
June January 31
August March 31
September April 30
October May 31
December July 31

 

Does Your “Use Year” Matter?

For Non-Members Looking to Join:
Whether the “Use Year” matters for someone new joining DVC will depend on how they travel. If you are someone that travels at different times throughout the year then it is unlikely one “Use Year” will be better than another. However, if you are someone that consistently travels the same time of year, which “Use Year” you choose could matter. One of the most important things to consider with “Use Year” is DVC’s short term reservation cancellation policy. That policy states that if you cancel a reservation within 30 days of check-in date (excluding the day of check-in as it results in automatic loss of points) then the points will get placed into a “holding account” and cannot be banked and the points can only be used to book a reservation that is no more than 60 days in advance of the date the reservation is made. So for example, if you consistently travel in November, a December “Use Year” would not be an ideal choice, because if you were to cancel a November trip within 30 days of checking in and had a December “Use Year” those points would have to be used by that December 1st. However, an October “Use Year” for someone that consistently travels in November would be ideal because if they cancel that November trip within 30 days of checking in they still have until October 1st of the following year to use those points.

Another thing to consider is banking deadline. Using the consistent November traveler example from before, let’s say they cancelled a trip October 10th for a November 15th trip. The good news is that they are beyond 30 days from check-in date, which means the points will be placed back into their account and not a “holding account”.   However, if they have a December “Use Year” their banking deadline is July 31st (banking deadlines are always 8 months after the “Use Year” date) and even though they avoiding having the points in a “holding account” they will still have to use the points prior to December 1st as their banking deadline has expired. If the consistent November traveler has an October “Use Year” in this example then the banking deadline is not a concern as the deadline to bank with an October “Use Year” is May 31st.

So the big takeaway should be that if you consistently travel the same time of year then get a “Use Year” that is just before that trip date each year and if you are not a consistent time of year traveler it really want make a significant difference which “Use Year” you choose.

For Members Looking to Add-on:
If you are currently a DVC member you have two options when it comes to “Use Year”. Focus on keeping the same “Use Year” to keep the Disney Vacation Club membership simpler to use and potentially lose out on the better deal contract because it’s a different “Use Year” or get the best contract possible even if it’s a different “Use Year” and add more complexity to your Disney Vacation Club membership.

When I refer to having a different “Use Year” as adding complexity, the complexity is that if a member adds on with a different “Use Year” from the one they already have it creates a 2nd membership. To use points from both contracts on the same reservation the points would have to be transferred from one membership to the other membership and then make the reservation. This does create an additional step but is very possible. If the add-on contract is in the same “Use Year” then both contracts can be under the same DVC membership and no transfer of points is needed.

Despite the additional complexity some members even like the different “Use Years” because if they consistently travel in both the Fall and Spring, they may use a September “Use Year” for the Fall trips and a February “Use Year” for the Spring trips. The reason for doing this would be to avoid losing points due to reservation cancellations.

Learn more about Buying and Selling DVC.

Comments

  • Maryann
    January 19, 2019

    Hi Nick,

    I have 58 points available in my use year Apr 2018. When do I need to use them by? Thank you

    • Nick Cotton
      January 19, 2019

      Maryann – you have until March 31st of 2019 to use those points, so just a couple of months.

  • Michelle
    January 12, 2019

    Hi. looking to buy dvc. we will primarily be traveling in april but also want the flexibility to travel to the food and wine festival in oct in years down the road. what is a good use year? thx.

    • Nick Cotton
      January 12, 2019

      Michelle – thank you for reaching out. I would suggest an April UY as the most ideal. March or October would be my 2nd tier choices.

  • PJ
    November 8, 2018

    Hi – I’m thinking of buying soon and I want to be able to use points for 12/1/19 – 12/8/19. I am targeting about 100 points, knowing that we usually travel to WDW about every two years in late November or early December. I think this means that I need a December use year (with 100 2018 points) in order to have enough points (about 200) to book in January 2019 (the 11 month window). Is that right? Or could I still make this happen with a different use year?

    • Nick Cotton
      November 8, 2018

      PJ, you do not have to have a December Use Year to make that happen. In fact, if you travel either late November or early December I would target an October Use Year instead of a December Use Year.

  • Chang Wong
    November 7, 2018

    Hi,

    I’m thinking of the relationship of the Use year with the need of booking 7-11 months ahead.

    1. I plan to travel usually once every 3 years
    2. The idea is to use DVC from 3 years (banking + borrowing)
    3. For example, I plan to travel in Apr/May 2020 (using point from 2019,2020 and borrow from 2021)

    If my Use year is in Feb, would that be a problem ? Since I need to be looking to start booking around Sep 2019. But obviously at that time, I have yet to receive my points for Feb 2020 and Feb2021 ?

    Thanks.

    • Nick Cotton
      November 8, 2018

      Chang, your scenario will not be a problem. If you are making the reservation in Sept. ’19 for April / May, you can use your Feb. ’19 points by having them banked, use your Feb. ’20 points that are coming and borrow your Feb. ’21 points. It doesn’t matter if the points have been loaded into your account yet or not, Member Services knows what you have coming.

  • Ryan
    September 19, 2018

    Hi there, is there a major disadvantage to having an April Use Year if you are planning on traveling in March?

    • Nick Cotton
      September 19, 2018

      Ryan, it could be a major disadvantage if you cancel a reservation within 30 days of check-in. For example, if you cancel a reservation for a March 15th check-in on March 1st, you will only have until March 31st to use those points if you have an April Use Year. If you made the same cancellation with a March Use Year, you would have until the end of February the following year to use the points.

  • Jenny W
    September 16, 2018

    I’m a CPA so I can’t travel January 8 to April 17. I was wondering which would be better for us April or June use year. We usually go in may, June, July, august, or late october.

    • Nick Cotton
      September 16, 2018

      Jenny, if you are traveling May – October, I would go with an April Use Year. If you were not going to be traveling in May, either would work fine, but given you are possibly traveling in May too, I would choose April.

  • Gabe Paul
    September 11, 2018

    Hi- I am considering buying direct, assuming i can get an October or Dec use year. I know that by doing so, I would essentially be getting double the points I am purchasing, since Disney would give me 2017 points as well that would be automatically banked. Since those 2017 points would be automatically banked and it’s too late in the year to use them by the deadline this year, would those 2017 points roll over into 2019 for use/banking by the deadline for the UY?

    • Nick Cotton
      September 11, 2018

      Gabe, the 2017 points banked into 2018 would have to be used by their Use Year date in 2019. So, if you get an Oct. UY, those 2017 points banked into 2018 would have to be used by 10/1/19.

  • Sydney
    August 22, 2018

    How long can you keep your banked points? Like could I bank points for 3 years to use on a big trip the fourth year or not?

    • Nick Cotton
      August 22, 2018

      Sydney, points can only be banked 1 time. So, if you had a February Use Year and banked your 2018 points into 2019, those 2018 points would have to be used by February 1st, 2020. However, you can use up to 3 years worth of points for 1 vacation by banking a year, having the current year and borrowing from the upcoming year.

  • Marc
    August 2, 2018

    Had a question….
    We have an August UY. Is there a problem booking a vacation that either begins 8/1 or runs through it?
    I thought I saw somewhere that this could be a problem……

    Thank you

    • Nick Cotton
      August 2, 2018

      Marc, typically there is not a problem but it can depend on if you are needing to use banked points or borrow points.

  • beth
    June 17, 2018

    another question…
    – we travel in july and/or august, usually every 3 years.
    – let’s say i buy a contract with a use year in february
    – the points available in this contract begin in february 2019 (other points have already been used)
    so i know i can’t go in 2019, so i bank the february 2019 points – (when do i do that? right away when i get the points?)

    so now i’ve banked the february 2019 points.
    Can i use those points in july 2020? or is that too late?

    so what i’d want to do is in july 2020, i’ll want to use the banked february 2019 points + the current february 2020 points, + borrowed february 2021 points.
    Is that correct? Can i do that?

    • Nick Cotton
      June 17, 2018

      Beth – you always have 8 months to bank points, so if the use year is February you have until September 30th.

      In your scenario you could bank the Feb. ’19 points into Feb. ’20 and then take a trip in July / August of 2020 and you could also borrow the Feb. ’21 points for that trip if you wanted to.

      • Beth
        June 25, 2018

        thanks!

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