The DVC community has been in overdrive (myself included), since the first whispers of an impending minimum point requirement broke on DISboards.com last week. For the sake of those not familiar, I’ll explain.
As of September 17th the minimum number of direct points required for ‘membership extras’ will go up to 100 points. This DOES NOT affect anyone who is currently a member (provided you already have your blue card). It only applies to NEW members coming in. If you already have your 75 direct points from DVC then you’re fine. This only affects people who are considering buying in for the first time.
This follows on the heels of DVC’s most recent restriction aimed at resales. In January 2019, DVC announced that only points purchased directly from Disney would be valid at the new Riviera Resort (opening in Dec 2019). This policy also applies to all future DVC resorts as well. Restrictions were also previously extended on the use of resale points on Disney Cruise Line vacations, Adventures by Disney vacations, the Concierge Collection and select other products (which are a complete waste of points anyway, so you’re really not losing anything there).
I have encouraged people to purchase 75 points direct from Disney, and then purchase the rest of their points on the resale market. In the effort of full disclosure, I should mention that this site does have a financial relationship with DVCStore.com. That’s not the reason I suggest this combination of direct/resale points, but I feel I should be transparent about the connection nonetheless.
This change means the minimum direct purchase you can make to join DVC as a full member has increased by $4700 to $18,800. When you consider that a resale contract at Saratoga Springs for 100 points is selling for around $110 per point that’s a difference of nearly $8,000. There have already been a lot of questions surrounding whether or not member perks are worth the price difference versus resale, but we’ll get into that in another blog.
So far, here are the theories I’ve seen regarding this new minimum:
Theory #1 – Riviera is tanking
The theory being floated by many on social media is that DVC has decided to do this in order to boost sales for Riviera, hoping to get a rush of people to buy those 75-point minimum contracts prior to the cutoff. Disney’s fiscal year ends Sept 30th and a surge of new contracts before that date would definitely improve DVC’s numbers for the year, so I understand why some might think this.
I’ve written previously about Riviera sales and how they may not be doing as well as Disney would like us to believe, but shy of actually getting real sales figures from DVC, that’s all speculation. While I agree that might be a possible reason for the increase, my gut is telling me that DVC isn’t quite that short-sighted. The fact is, you don’t ‘raise the price’ on something if it’s not selling well. If they were going to do this to boost sales anywhere, it would be Aulani – not Riviera. Aulani officially opened on August 29, 2011, and still isn’t sold out.
Theory #2 – The ever disappearing studio
Another theory I read on our DVC Fan Facebook Page is that too many people were buying in at 75 points with the idea of getting studios at 11 months out. It only takes a cursory look at any Disney discussion forum like DISboards.com (which is one of my other websites) to see the complaints about how it’s nearly impossible to get studios anymore. This has led to many upset members.
Folks who didn’t do hard research before purchasing may not have been told by their DVC guides that getting studios (which consume the lowest number of points per night) is a challenge even with the 11-month booking window. Since DVC is a member-driven economy, it’s possible that they want to encourage fewer ‘new purchasers’ at 75 points if they feel people will be more satisfied with their options at 100. While I can see this as a remote possibility, the fact is – at this point in order to satisfy the desire of the existing membership for studios, DVC would need to build about 30 new all studio resorts and that’s not likely to happen.
Theory #3 – It’s the economy, stupid
This one is mine, and it’s what I’m leaning towards right now. DVC is a business, and businesses need to show growth in profit to their shareholders. The ‘membership extras’ that we talk about (and this is especially true of Moonlight Magic, the after-hours parties in various Disney theme parks) – all still need to be paid for by DVC. DVC cannot use member dues to pay for those perks, so they must be offset by the sale of direct memberships.
I also think that DVC remains as popular as ever right now, and as a business owner myself, I look at an increase in price as a sign that things are going well. As I said, if you’re not selling enough of something, you don’t raise the price on it unless you’ve hit your head and fallen down a flight of steps. Is it possible that DVC is that short-sighted? Sure, this is Disney we’re talking about after all and it wouldn’t be out of the question, but my gut tells me that’s not the case here.
So, what are your thoughts on the new increase? What do you think the reason behind it is? If you were considering buying into DVC, will this change affect your decision?