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.