What is a DVC “Use Year” and Does it Matter?
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|
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 will not 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.
Hey Nick! questions:
1. Can I renegotiate my use year at any point after becoming a DVC member?
2a. If my add on points at a new/different resort from my first one are too few to cover a wanted stay at the 11 month mark, I’d have to wait until 7 months to book?
2b. But if I got a second contract, I’d be able to transfer points and still book at the 11 month mark?
3. Are there minimums for either add ons or new contracts? (We already qualify for member extras having bought direct for our first one)?
Megan, thank you for the questions. My responses are below:
1. No. The only way for you to change a Use Year would be to sell your contract and purchase another one.
2a. Yes, that is correct.
2b. You can only book points from multiple contracts together if they are from the same resort.
3. The minimum add-on is 25 points.
Hi Nick! We usually travel end of March during spring break but now that we we are planning to get to DVC, we may travel on June and July and thanksgiving or Christmas. What do you think is the best UY?
Rose, thank you for reaching out. If you are going to continue to take spring break trips in addition to late in the year holiday trips, I would recommend a March UY. If you are no longer going to take spring break trips with your DVC points, and rather focus on summer and late in the year holiday trips, I would recommend a June UY.
I realize this is an old article but I was hoping you can give me guidance on what use year to attempt to get! We will most likely travel in late Jan/early Feb, or late May/early June. Very occasionally possible in December or March but less likely. Since our travel is pretty spread out would a use year matter or should we still focus on a a certain month? We’d almost always try to cancel the 31 days prior to a res, but with a young kid and older parents things can just happen!! Thanks for your advice!
Nichole, while you have different dates of potential travel, they seem to all fall in the range of December through June. Given this, I would most recommend a December Use Year for you.
We are interested in vacationing consistently the last week of August. 2 questions: 1) What is the ideal Use Year and 2) how are the crowds at that time? Thanks!
Aaron – 1. August will be the best Use Year. 2. Crowds will be moderate. It will be hot and you are likely to get some afternoon rain. Good time of year to visit the water parks too.
If I own a small direct with a use year of February and I want to add on possibly at a different resort, is it still beneficial to have the same use year or does the 7 vs. 11 month window play into this decision strategically?
Lori, the biggest change with getting a 2nd contract regardless of resort in a different Use Year will be a 2nd membership will be created, and to use both contracts together you will need to transfer points from one membership to the other membership first. Many people do it, however, it is an extra step. The 7 to 11 month window is only based on the resort and will be independent of the Use Year decision.
Can you clarify how the 7/11 month window is independent of use year? Is it based on calendar year? Otherwise it does seem that it would be strategic to consider when you will be allotted a new batch of points, so that you could time the booking 11 months out. Or maybe one gets into the habit of anticipating using them for the following year when the window would apply?
(For instance if I want to book Christmas (22), but my UY is June (22), I might be planning the *following* Christmas (23) come January (23), which would be my 11 months, is that it?)
Lauren, the 7/11 month window is independent of Use Year and is simply based on the booking window from the date you are booking.
My points become available in August every year. I know I have to bank my 2019 points by March 2020, but I had points from 2018 that were banked and became available August 2019. To use up the banked points and not lose them, by when do I have to actually use them? Can I book the vacation before the due date but actually have it scheduled passed the due date or does the vacation itself have to occur before the final date of use?
Sarah, the August 2018 points that were banked into August 2019 will expire Aug. 1, 2020. So, those points need to be booked for a stay that ends prior to Aug 1, 2020.
question. if I have a December use year, when is the latest I can cancel a reservation the the points be returned into my account as normal. thanks
Darrell, if you still want the opportunity to bank the cancelled points (that were regular points and bankable) on a cancelled reservation with a December UY, you would need to cancel within the first 8 months of your UY, which would be on or before July 31st. If you cancel after July 31st but still more than 30 days prior to your check-in date, the points would be returned to your account as regular points, however, you would have missed your banking deadline, and would need to use those points by December 1st.
We are looking to purchase. We like to travel from September to early December and also like May. What use year would be good for that?
Michelle, I would recommend getting an April Use Year given the months you travel.
After your initial purchase for the DVC, are the only (monthly, yearly) fee’s your maintenance fee based on points? Also, how do you accrue points each year?
Yes, annual dues are based on how many points you purchase. Your receive points automatically each year on your “Use Year” date. So, if you buy a 200 point membership with a March Use Year, each March 1st you will receive 200 points into your account.
I tend to travel to Disney late June into early July. Would June be the perfect use year?
Justin, you are correct, June would be most ideal for you.
We always travel the last weekend in May -> first week in June. Could a June UY still work for us or would we need to focus on earlier?
I would focus on an earlier UY, like March or April. Either of those UYs will work better for you than a June UY.