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

  • 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 17, 2018

    Hi Nick,

    Two questions regarding Use Year. (i think – i have to admit, use year completely confuses me).

    1. We almost always travel in July or August (or overlapping the two). What Use Year is best for us?

    2. Also, it’s possible that we will only be able to travel every 3 years – so we may well be banking and borrowing. That is, using the banked points from the prior year and borrowing from next year, together with the current year.
    Does Use Year make a difference in this scenario?

    thanks!

    • Nick Cotton
      June 17, 2018

      Beth – The ideal Use Year for you being that you would travel in July / August always, would be June. With traveling every 3 years, the key is to know you will always be going in the middle year so lets say your next trip is in 2019, you would be banking June ’18 points, using June ’19 points and borrowing June ’20 points for your July / August trip of 2019.

  • jen
    June 6, 2018

    we are looking to go down between may and june yearly but it will depend on school as well as my children get older
    what use year do you recommend and can we still go down those months with a use year that’s is not that month

    • Nick Cotton
      June 6, 2018

      Jen, I would recommend considering an April Use Year if you are traveling in May and June annually. And you can travel on months that are not your use year month. Your Use Year month is when the points are placed into your account, not when you have to stay.

  • Robert Conklin
    May 16, 2018

    What are the advantages/disadvantages of a December use year?

    • Nick Cotton
      May 16, 2018

      Robert, the biggest thing with Use Year is when you travel, there is not one that is generally better or worse than others. Is there a particular time of year you travel?

  • Liz
    May 7, 2018

    We most frequently travel to WDW in mid March, but occasionally travel in Feb, Oct, Nov and Jan. We always avoid summer months. Based on this pattern, I am thinking a Sept or Oct UY is best. Is that correct?

    • Nick Cotton
      May 7, 2018

      Liz, I absolutely agree with you. Based on your travel pattern a September or October Use Year is going to be best.

  • Serena Mansfield
    May 6, 2018

    Hello Nick!
    My husband and I are looking into buying our first DVC contract but were confused on which Use Year we should look at. We typically go on vacation the last week in February but we were looking to change it up every once in a while and plan some visits in October or December. What would you recommend? Thanks in advanced!

    • Nick Cotton
      May 6, 2018

      Serena, thank you for reaching out. If you were going to continue to travel in February only, I would most recommend a February Use Year. However, given you are looking to plan some visits in October or December as well as February, I would most recommend a September or October Use Year.

  • Albert
    May 1, 2018

    We are new to dvc and have just bought 170 pts with feb use year through disney. We are traditional Early April /Spring break travelers but are hoping to do more october to February last minute trips.

    Our inclination is to purchase another 200 or so through resale with Feb use year, but being new we are unsure if we are missing something that would cause us to regret a purchase of the same use year.

    Your thoughts

    • Nick Cotton
      May 1, 2018

      Albert, the Feb. UY works great for what you have traditionally done (i.e., early April / Spring Break). However, for Oct. to Feb. trips, Feb. is not a great UY in the event you cancel a reservation. You can get a different UY with your next purchase, but it does create a 2nd Membership.

  • Christi Reaux
    April 30, 2018

    We are thinking about buying DVC and I am unsure what use year would be good for us. Our travel pattern now is January and early December, but next year we plan to do January and October. What do you recommend? We are a family of 3. Thank you!

    • Nick Cotton
      April 30, 2018

      Christi, based on your historical travel plan and plan for next year, I would suggest a September or October Use Year. If you begin traveling anywhere from October to January, either a September or October Use Year would work best.

  • Jen
    April 11, 2018

    Hi and thank you for this information. We have a contract pending our approval and I’m wondering if it is possible ask to change the use Year. Or is it “this is what we have” I’m confused bc the use Year in the contract is Dec 2017 (last year). Also we travel in November.

    • Nick Cotton
      April 11, 2018

      Jen, Use Year is set and cannot be changed.

  • Misty Rincon
    March 25, 2018

    What use year would be ideal for travel in September/October?

    • Nick Cotton
      March 25, 2018

      Misty, a September Use Year would be ideal.

      • Misty Rincon
        March 26, 2018

        Thank you!

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