A reader of DVC Report recently submitted a questions about owning DVC contracts with different use years. Both of my contracts were bough resale, and although the reader initially bough her DVC contract direct, the issue is really the same. When buying a second DVC contract, is it important to have the same use year? There are different schools of thought on this, but I can certainly share my experience.
When I decided I was interested in buying a second DVC contract, I started looking though the available contacts on the resale market. I was looking for something at Boardwalk Villas and in the 100 to 200 point range. After keeping my eye out for some time, I believed I had found the perfect contract. The right amount of points and in my price range. Because Boardwalk Villas is an older DVC resort and a popular one, there really weren’t that many contracts coming available. I spoke with the agent at the resale company and did ask about the use year different in the contract we wanted to buy and the contract we currently owned. He told me not to worry, that you can combine points to make a reservation, etc. So we went ahead and signed the contract.
But after I got off the phone, I decided to do some of my own research. And very quickly discovered that we did not want two use years based on our booking habits and just the general complications that two different use years lead to. Thankfully we were within the cancellation period and quickly notified the agency. We ended up buying another contract at Boardwalk Villas a few weeks later with the same use year as our other DVC contract.
So why are two use years not a good idea? In my opinion, unless you have a particular reason for wanting two different use years it is not worth the complication. Some owners want two use years because they use each contract completely independently. The stay at a DVC property once a year, want to alternate resorts each year, combine two years of points for each stay, and alternate the times of year of each stay. There would be advantage here perhaps of having two different use years because of banking/borrowing dates, but I personally still think this is just asking for complication. Why make trip planning and management so complicated?
For example, if you purchase a contract with a different Use Year, it will not be added on to your current membership. Member Services will have to create a new membership for you and add the new contract under that new membership. You have two options for “combining” points from two different memberships, but what a mess!
1. You can transfer points from one membership to the other and use them as one pool of points to make a reservation at 11 months out if all of the points are from the same resort or at 7 months if the points are from two different resorts. You cannot see transferred points online unless they are for the same resort and use year as one of your own contracts so you will not be able to make a reservation online with those transferred points, you will have to call Member Services.
2. You can book your stay as two reservations, booking the initial nights of your stay under one membership and the rest of the nights under the other membership. Provided both reservations are for the same resort, room size and booking category, Member Services can link the two reservations to alert the room assigner to put you in the same room for your entire stay so that you won’t have to change rooms. You may have to check in/check out on your transition day however.
My reasons for only wanting the same use year for multiple DVC contracts is:
- It is just less complicated. Same bank/borrow deadlines, easy to combine points, no need to have two reservation numbers, perhaps check in and out of a resort if you are using two separate contracts, etc.
- There are no online booking problems. You can pretty much do everything online, which is important especially if you are booking online at 8AM before Member Services opens for a 7 month window.
- You can combine points from both contracts at will and even use points for separate contracts for a single night.
- We cancel and rebook our DVC reservations quite frequently. It would be a nightmare if we had two different use years.
So to answer your questions DVC Report reader, I would NEVER buy two different use years. Life is complicated enough, why make it more so? As long as you are patient in terms of waiting for the right resale contract to come up, something with come available. And it is worth the wait.
photo courtesy Brian Hubbard