Why We Bought Direct Before Resale

It’s the age old question of anyone looking into DVC:

Do I buy a direct contract from Disney, or buy a resale contract through an agent?

The benefits of buying resale are obvious – saving money. Often a substantial amount on the initial purchase price. With these savings come some sacrifices though. There are several member benefits (more on these later) which Disney provides to DVC members who bought a contract directly with them. If you buy a resale contract now you won’t get these benefits with it.

The decision we came to was that buying a small contract direct with Disney before buying a larger resale contact was the right choice. Here are a few of the things that helped us make our decision:

How many points did we need and what was the extra cost?

To become a direct member we needed to buy a minimum of 75 points from Disney. Saratoga Springs was our chosen home resort and the difference in price was about $50 per point. So in total, we’d need to pay $3,750 extra for a direct contract. With this amount in mind, we decided to look at whether we’d make this back over the life of the contract.

Member discounts 

By showing your blue DVC member card you can currently get 20% off merchandise and 10% off in many restaurants. It’s pretty much the same as the Annual Pass discount, but without always needing to fork out the cost of an Annual Pass. 

On our last trip, we saved around $200 on merchandise, and another $200 on food. That could be a saving of $400 on each trip we take without an Annual Pass. This would mean if the discount continues, then in 10 trips time, we would have made back the difference between our direct contract and a resale one. 

Discount on Annual Pass prices

If we were to buy an Annual Pass being a direct DVC member would help us here as well. There’s no denying that Annual Passes are expensive, especially since the price increase a few months ago. Despite this, we do like to get one whenever possible so we can squeeze in two (or more) trips in a year. As a family of four, we could save $880 on our Platinum Passes if we used the DVC discount. Or we could save even more…

As we don’t live in Florida a Gold Pass has never been an option for us (this pass is only for Florida residents and DVC members) but being a direct DVC member would make it an option. Being able to buy this pass would save our family a total of $1,680 each year. If this benefit continues it would only take us three years to have made back the difference in price between a direct and resale contract.

Other benefits

These are only available if you bought a direct contract and include access to the DVC lounge in EPCOT, the ability to go to exclusive member events, and have more options for your points, for example using them for a cruise. Top of the World lounge is currently available to both direct and resale members, but who knows what will happen in the future.

I find these benefits are more difficult to quantify as you can’t put a $ amount on them and they’re probably not something that on their own would have made me buy direct. Having said that, we still loved the idea of being able to use the DVC lounge in Epcot, and on our last trip, we must have gone in at least five times. 

Member benefits could get better, or harder to get

This isn’t a point I’ve ever really heard mentioned. I know the consensus is that the benefits could get taken away, and yes they could. But Disney could also add new ones. I know it’s less likely, but if new member benefits were added we’d like to at least have the option to use them.

Likewise, it seems to be getting more and more difficult to become a direct member. You used to get all the benefits whether you bought your contract direct or resale. Then Disney decided for anyone new signing up they’d need at least 25 direct points to be classed as a full member. Now that’s gone up to 75 points bought direct. What next? 100 points? 200 points? All your points? I don’t know what their next change will be, but I do know I’d rather not chance it. By buying 75 points direct now, I know I have my blue member card and can make use of any DVC benefits I choose.

Buying a bigger contract

75 points aren’t enough for us to go to Disney as much as we want to, so we need a bigger contract to. To have all our points direct the difference in price would be much greater. For 300 points you’d be looking at $15,000 extra to buy direct. That’s going to take a long time to make back the difference.

There would be some benefits to buying all our points direct from Disney. We’d never have any restrictions on which resorts we can use them in. Any resale points bought after January 2019 can’t be used in newly built resorts, such as Riviera or Reflections. But for us, this isn’t worth the extra cost. We can always bank and borrow our direct points if we want to stay there and by having a lot of our points from resale we get to benefit from the massive savings to be had there. 

So was it worth it?

Only time will tell. But for our family, this has been the best way to get exactly what we wanted out of DVC membership. We get all the DVC member benefits we want from our 75 point direct contract, and we can still save a huge amount of money buying a bigger resale contract

I know the benefits I’ve looked at could be taken away tomorrow, in which case we’ve paid more than we needed to. But I think that’s very unlikely. We’re only talking about three years’ worth of Annual Passes to have broken even. Not to mention that I can’t put a price on how much I love having my blue member card, so I think it’s going to work out ok. 

8 thoughts on “Why We Bought Direct Before Resale

  • September 15, 2019 at 10:07 am
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    Great article! This exactly articulates the reasoning behind us buying direct vs. resale. We calculated that the current savings from the benefits (understanding that they may change) would exceed the resale savings of our specific contract in the long run. We also did 75 points at SSR.

    • September 15, 2019 at 9:46 pm
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      We purchased resale direct from Disney back in 2011…as the price to purchase a timeahare has risen significantly over the years we got a great deal.

  • September 15, 2019 at 12:20 pm
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    We bought VGF, sight unseen and direct, when we were on a Disney Cruise mainly because we did not know any better. Even at the inflated Disney Price ($165pp at the time) we would save money on our WDW stays. Of course add ons were resale.

  • September 15, 2019 at 12:25 pm
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    We joined DVC back in 1994 when the points were a good price. People always ask me if it’s worth it. I simple tell them vacations aren’t going to get any cheaper, especially to Disney World (as we all know). As far as resale vs. direct. That’s more of a individual preference depending on what you want out of a DVC vs. the amount you want to pay. I wouldn’t count on Disney giving DVC members more benefits. They might change benefits, but who knows. Heck, we use to get free park tickets and that didn’t take long to go away. Either way, we never regret being DVC members.

  • September 15, 2019 at 3:07 pm
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    Now 100 points minimum.

  • September 15, 2019 at 4:05 pm
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    Same! We did 100 @ OKW though!

  • September 16, 2019 at 11:39 am
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    We made our first purchase direct mainly because DW wanted the points to be available “right away” instead of waiting for the resale process to complete. We stayed in Florida long enough to squeeze in another stay at a DVC resort before having to go home.

  • September 19, 2019 at 7:55 am
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    We started looking into DVC after renting points last September. After all of the research, we decided on 75 points at Saratoga. The AP discount will pay for the whole membership in 10 years, and the difference in resale a lot sooner. I did a tn of research, combing the disboards, watching the DVC show… I am glad we finally pulled the trigger in July, as the minimum has just gone up. We figured that the 75 points would get us one trip per year, and the annual passes to be able to come back on a cash stay a few months later. We wanted to purchase a resale contract to get more points, but were going to wait. But as I continued to watch DVC show and the resale websites, it happened. Way sooner than we had imagined or planned. Got another 160 points at AKL. Add-on-itis is completely contagious through youtube. Thanks guys. My wife and I justified this because there are two things DVC owners say. “Buy where you want to stay” and “I wish we would have done it sooner.”

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