Add-on-itis: Noun: An unintended side effect of DVC membership. The urge to buy more points.
As DVC members, we’ve all been there. At first, happy and content with the points you originally bought. Then BAM, add-on-itis hits, and you find yourself scouring the DVC Store looking for the perfect small contract you can add alongside yours.
Maybe you want to own at that resort you’ve always dreamed of staying at but can never book. Or perhaps you jumped into a direct contract with Disney to get membership benefits before the number of points needed to get them increased from 75 to 100. Whatever the cause of your add-on-itis, I’m going to look at how you can make that small contract work for you.
Home resort and use year
The simplest way to add on is to choose a contract at the same home resort (this is the resort you own your points at) as your current one and keep the same use year. You can use your new points exactly the same as your current points. They’ll all be under one membership number and can all be used together to book your home resort from 11 months. It will be just like having one larger contract split into two.
For the sake of this article, though, I’m going to focus on adding on points at a different home resort. This can make a lot of sense as you get the 11-month booking advantage at multiple resorts, giving you more flexibility in where you stay. The downside is that you can’t use all your points together at 11-months to book the same resort. Each contract’s points can only be used at that home resort from 11-months until they can be combined when the 7-month booking window opens.
Split stays are when you stay at two (or more) resorts during your trip. Say you owned at Beach Club originally, and you added on 75 points at Copper Creek to get direct membership benefits. You bought at these resorts to make the most of the home resort booking advantage, and you don’t want to miss out on this. But you can only use half your points at each resort until your 7-month booking window opens, and by this time, those highly coveted studios are all long gone.
To overcome this problem, you could do split stays each year. Use your home resort advantage at both Copper Creek and Beach Club and spend part of your vacation at each. Some people love staying at more than one resort, as it adds a bit of variety to your trip. Some hate it and would rather stay in one place without the hassle of moving.
By banking and borrowing your points in each of your contracts, you can get longer stays less often. 75 points at Copper Creek or Beach Club would get you around three or four nights in a studio each year (depending on the time of year). 150 points would get you a full week at each resort every other year.
You could bank or borrow points in both contracts and stay in Beach Club one year, followed by Copper Creek the next, then back to Beach club the year after. This method allows you to use both your home resort advantages and avoid the need for split stays. However, not everyone would want to be this regimented with their vacations, and the beauty of DVC is being able to try different resorts.
Maximize your points
A small contract might only give you a short stay each year, but in a similar way to alternating home resort stays, you can bank and borrow your points to get a longer stay somewhere. If you have a 75 point add on contract, you could combine three years’ worth of points. This would give you 225 points to use in one go.
Even better, if your small contract was bought direct, giving you membership benefits, you can use the 225 banked and borrowed points to stay at any new DVC resorts, such as Riviera. This is the case even if the rest of your points are from resale (and were bought after the January 2019 resale restrictions came in, so can’t be used in any new resorts).
Use all your points together
After the 7-month booking window opens your points from different home resorts can all be used together to book a stay anywhere. If you fancy visiting one of the more readily available resorts, such as Saratoga Springs or Old Key West, then you’re likely to find availability after 7-months. When combined with the points from your original contract, a small 75 point add on contract could get you an extra six days every year in a studio at one of these two resorts. That’s a lot of extra Disney time!
Are you currently suffering from add-on-itis? Do you think buying a small contract is the answer? Or, if you have one already, how do you make it work for you?