It’s hard to believe that almost a year ago, Timothy and I were enjoying our welcome home trip at the Beach Club Villas. We were taking advantage of the quick walk to Epcot to get our favorite goodies from the World Showcase and basking in the sun by Stormalong Bay. What a different time it was! Nowadays, I feel like I’ve been in a terrible cycle of planning and cancelling trips. While I don’t regret becoming a DVC member, and I love that we will be able to return to our happy place year after year, all of the disruptions and policy changes that have come with COVID-19 have made me reconsider how we may plan future trips. Here are some of the changes I’m considering in the next year or so.
Don’t Plan Trips Close to the End of Your Use Year
In the past, I didn’t hesitate to book trips towards the end of our February use year, but our recent experience with cancelled trips this year has given me pause. With a February use year, we did not run into any issues with our banking deadline when our March and June trips were cancelled. However, if our late January 2021 trip were to fall through, there would be no time to use those points before the end of the use year, and we would be well beyond our September 30 banking deadline. I would hate to lose a trip’s worth of points.
Go Easy on the Split Stays for Now
For early June, we had an amazing split stay planned out that included 5 resorts in 7 days. In retrospect, it may have been a risky plan even if the resorts had been open. Typically, Timothy and I would spend time in the parks on a day when we are switching from one resort to the next. With parks having limited capacity when they do reopen, this plan may be more difficult, especially since you may not get your next room until the evening. If the parks are at capacity and your villa isn’t ready yet, you may feel a bit stranded during the day.
Keep a Closer Tab on Point Usage
Once we had two DVC contracts, I created a spreadsheet to help me keep track of how many points we were using. Although it was helpful in accounting for the number of points I was using for our trips, it did not track when I was using banked or borrowed points. After needing to move around some banked points from our cancelled June trip, I realized how helpful it would be to keep track of banked and borrowed points since they have to be used by the end of the use year.
Save Smaller Contracts for Split Stays or Shorter Trips
Normally, small contracts work well since you can bank and borrow to use up to 3 year’s worth of points at once. However, as of April 24, DVC has temporarily restricted borrowing to ease villa availability; you can now only borrow up to 50% of future use year points per contract. This can pose a challenge for booking trips with small contracts. For example, we are currently waiting for a 50-point contract that was sent for Right of First Refusal. (Stay at home orders are not effective measures against add-on-itis.) If we do get this contract, we would only be able to borrow 25 points for a total of 75 points during our 2021 use year. That would probably be just enough for either part of a split stay or a weekend getaway.
Other than needing to cancel or reschedule trips, have you adjusted your DVC trip planning in light of COVID-19? Let me know in the comments below.