It should come as no surprise to those of us who have been on the DVC scene for a few years that Disney Vacation Development would once again raise the bar for direct benefits. Before I say anything else, I want to say that I empathize with those who now feel like they have been priced out of DVC. Had this happened to us in 2018 before we got grandfathered in, we would have felt priced out as well. I completely understand where you are coming from, and I can understand how this feels like a DVC money grab. Obviously, they do this to get more money from each buyer, which is the main goal. With that said, is there also the possibility that this could be a good thing for us existing members that already have a blue card?
Before we received the official announcement that the minimum buy-in for a blue membership card would be raised from 100 to 125 points, I came across an interesting article in the most recent edition of the Disney Files Magazine. The article was called “Listening Post” and was about addressing member feedback. The topic at hand was that booking the room category and dates we want can be challenging (they’re not lying there). In the response given by Member Experience Vice President Shannon Sakaske, Member Experience Director Leigh Anne Nieman, and Development Director Chris Miller (that’s a lot of people for one article), it addresses what DVC is doing to alleviate this situation. The solutions included member services helping find alternative rooms (perhaps at different resorts at the 7-month window) and assisting with booking split-stays, servicing waitlists, adjusting point charts (which we saw some of last year), and designing future resorts with popular room categories in mind. This last solution is currently being done with the new Disneyland Tower and the many studios it is slated to have built. However, the most interesting answer they gave is addressing booking challenges by increasing the minimum requirement on new point packages. I know this is most likely talking about general buy-in requirements, but the same can be said for blue card buy-ins as well. By increasing minimum point requirements, DVC will gain fewer members and have fewer people vying for the same reservations. While I’m sure this is to justify that they want people to buy more points, equating to spending more money – the theory does benefit existing members.
What does DVC mean by this? Let’s say they have 1,000 points to sell. If the minimum buy-in for those points is 25, there can be a maximum of 40 memberships that purchase those 1,000 points. Some will buy the minimum, and some may buy more, but the potential is there to get 40 members from those points. Now let’s say the minimum buy-in is 125. We can now only have a maximum of 8 members from those 1,000 points. That’s a lot fewer people competing for rooms and can make getting what you want a lot easier.
I posed this theory in the DVC Fan group and got some interesting thoughts that I think I can address – keep in mind these are just my personal beliefs:
Doesn’t adding new resorts defeat the purpose?
Adding new resorts certainly increases membership, but it also increases inventory, so with higher minimum buy-ins, it should hopefully even out.
What about resale contracts? Don’t they affect this?
Resale contracts have already been sold through Disney and are already accounted for in the total member number. Since resellers can’t split their contracts up into smaller point packages, resale is just replacing one member with another, so it doesn’t really affect anything.
Can Disney start buying back smaller contracts and combine them to make larger ones?
Yes, they can. The roadblock Disney hits here is that they typically avoid buying smaller contracts since they elicit a much higher price per point. Disney likes to get points for as cheap as they can to sell back for the most profit. This is just me speculating now, but while repurchasing smaller contracts and combining them could help limit the membership base, I think Disney’s first goal is to make money, so I don’t see this happening.
What is the takeaway here? There is definitely a benefit for our current blue card members with what DVC is doing. The truth is that the higher the minimum buy-in amounts are, especially for new resorts, the easier it will be for us to get the reservations we want, including non-home resorts at the 7-month mark. I’m interested to know your thoughts though. How do you feel about the new increase? Do you think this is a positive or a negative for the DVC community?