Room availability: Cash vs Points

I was starting to get pissed.

My sister (whom I ADORE) told me she and her husband were coming to visit! I was giddy with excitement! I was going to be able to use my points when the family was coming to town – which, after all, was part of the justification I used to hoard DVC points. However, she tells me this with three weeks notice (we’re all the same in my family), so I knew it was going to be tough to grab a room this close out, but – undaunted – I went to the member web site and saw what many of us see it seems:

Very little was available, and nothing was available for the full length of stay, with the exception of maybe a cabin at Copper Creek. I love my sister, as I said before, I truly adore her – I’m not getting her a damn cabin though.

So, being the good brother I am, I head over the to the Disney site to see what resorts are available for those dates, and what do I find? The very room I was hoping to book with points, was available for cash!

I thought to myself “what’s up with this”?? Why is it that a “DVC room” isn’t available for a DVC member but it is if I want to shell out several hundred or several thousand dollars? Haven’t I paid enough already? I figured there must be a good explanation, so I turned to our DVC Fan Facebook group and asked them what they thought.

There was much speculation in the responses, but it turns out there’s more than one answer to this. First, Disney (and all timeshare company’s) are required under Florida law to offer a certain number of rooms for cash. Not sure exactly what the reason behind that is, but then again, this is Florida and we have lots of strange laws (the legislature took the brave step of passing a law making it illegal to have sex with porcupines, so there’s that).

Another reason posited by the group was this: When members use their points for things outside DVC (RCI, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disney collection, etc), Disney has to take those points and sell them. Even though you may use points for the exchange, those have to turn into real money when DVC makes the arrangements with an outside company. Even when its Disney Cruise Line or Adventures by Disney, they are all treated as separate business units. One business unit needs to pay the other.

There was also speculation that Disney uses the cash from these rooms as a reserve buffer for maintenance fees. If something catastrophic happens (god-forbid), and our maintenance fees aren’t enough to cover it, there has to be money somewhere (again, DVC is part of Disney, but it’s also it’s own business and has to be run that way). I say this in all seriousness – Florida is prone to hurricanes, and the damage they inflict can be devastating. It also occurred to me that without this ‘cash’ for DVC, what would happen to our maintenance fees? How high would they have to go to provide a buffer? Again, I’m relatively new to all this, and perhaps some of you with more knowledge and experience have some insights to share. If you do, please leave a comment below!

8 thoughts on “Room availability: Cash vs Points

  • May 10, 2019 at 10:07 am
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    The last reason you gave I believe insurance would keep that from happening. I think the 2nd reason is the more valid reason.

  • May 10, 2019 at 10:17 am
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    We stayed at Hilton Head a couple of years ago in a studio and had to pay cash could not use our points made me very angry ……

  • May 10, 2019 at 10:40 am
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    The laws about timeshares offering rooms for cash is a result the bad old days of timeshares.

    In the bad old days, some developers would just walk away from the resort after all the units were sold. These developments became dysfunctional and fell into disrepair when unit owners could not operate the project. Individual unit/week owners would have to be in charge of hiring housekeeping and front-office staff, contraction for cleaning pool, etc. The reality is that a professional property manager needs to have a permanent role in a timeshare development.

    The laws were intended to have a developer retain a permanent interest in the place and be available to step-in and manage a property it if the boards of directors become dysfunctional. So of course DVC is going rent out this inventory for cash…its theirs after all.

  • May 10, 2019 at 11:10 am
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    For what it’s worth, I use cash availability to gauge wait-list chances. More often than not it is a good forecast – not always but sometimes. Now, this could be me using some wishful thinking but???

  • May 10, 2019 at 11:14 am
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    I still say once they are within a certain window, these rooms should be available for DVC members using points. I had this happen to me before and it’s so frustrating… I’m on a wait list for a room someone else can pay cash for? Seriously Disney….

  • May 10, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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    Pete- you are correct about Florida law, and also about the exchange issue. DVC does have to pay Cruise Line and the RCI and concierge reservations in cash-which is why our points get converted to “reservation points” when we make those exchanges. That’s how DVC knows how many rooms they need to convert to cash and also why we cannot make exchange reservations in the last 4 months of our use years.

  • May 10, 2019 at 5:00 pm
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    Hi just wondering I have seen DVC on airbnb is that a scam

  • May 13, 2019 at 9:26 pm
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    Found in the fine print:

    The “Breakage Period” is the period sixty (60) days before a given Use Day. During this period, Club Members may contact Member Services to reserve Vacation Homes, subject to availability. If a reservation request is not received by Member Services by the beginning of the Breakage Period, Member Services’ ability to confirm the reservation request will be limited by and subject to the following:
    a. Any reservations made by DVC Operator for Vacation Home maintenance.
    b. Any reservation requests contained in the Wait List.
    c. Any rental reservations made by third parties prior to Member Services’ receipt of a reservation request.
    d. Any other reservation and use determined by DVC Operator in its discretion

    (D) says that the DVC operator can do whatever it wants with the remaining units at 60 days, including letting Disney rent them out, in which case the operator is probably compensated to some degree, but possibly just to cover the maintenance fees.

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