I’m going to start by being honest. When we purchased our first Disney Vacation Club contract, we committed a DVC-purchasing faux pas. We didn’t ask about or specify which Use Year we wanted. We ended up with a December Use Year, and it has worked out just fine for us; however, I now understand what it is and why it can be important. If one person considering purchasing DVC finds this article and it helps them, I will consider it a success.
What is Use Year?
Use Year is the time of year when your Disney Vacation Club points are deposited into your DVC account. Use Year is specified by month.
DVC assigns contracts with Use Years in February, March, April, June, August, September, October, and December. For example, if you have a February Use Year, your points are deposited on February 1st of any given year; if you have a September Use Year, then you get your points on September 1st, etc.
Things affected by Use Year
The thing that is directly affected by use year is your banking deadline. Your banking deadline is always 8 months into any given Use Year. If we use the February Use Year example that I mentioned above, you get your points on February 1st. So, you must bank those points by September 30th if you don’t plan to use them before they expire on January 31st. This allows you to use them in the next Use Year.
While not directly affected by it, travel dates can also be influenced based on Use Year. This can happen in two ways:
The first is based on how points are used. Any given travel dates will use points from the Use Year in which the travel falls. So, let’s use my Use Year of December as an example. If I booked a trip that spanned from November 28th to December 4th, then I would end up using points from two different Use Years. Since my points reset every December 1st, the first 3 nights (November 28, 29, & 30) would use points from the “Old” Use Year, and the remaining 3 nights would use points from the “New” Use Year. This is not necessarily a problem. It just means that you need to be aware of when your points expire and when they are deposited.
The other way that travel dates can be affected by Use Year is what happens if you have to cancel a trip. If your trip is planned for before your banking deadline, then you still have the ability to bank them into the next Use Year if you need to. If the trip is planned for after the banking deadline, now they must be used before the end of your Use Year or else they expire. There are one or two options for how to get something out of those points if this happens, but it is still important to understand what could happen if you have to cancel a trip that is scheduled for after your banking deadline.
What does this mean for you?
It might mean nothing, but I’m hoping that it helps you understand that choosing the right Use Year can help you get the most of your Disney Vacation Club ownership. If I had thought about this when we made our decision to buy, we might have requested a different Use Year. In the end it didn’t make a huge difference and we’re okay with what we have; however, it isn’t always ideal for all of the times that we travel.