A Comprehensive Guide
Our 2 bedroom condo at Aulani would have been $8,000 for 5 days/4 nights if we’d booked it from the Aulani website. By renting Disney Vacation Club (DVC) points from an owner, we paid $5,000. How did we save $3,000? Let me explain… Buckle up folks, this is a long explanation!
How does DVC Work?
When a person buys a timeshare at a DVC, what they are essentially buying is a certain amount of points. These points allow you to reserve stays in DVC properties, and each property charges different amounts of points depending on the date, size of the room, and location of the room.
DVC Points Example
Some DVC properties are worth more than others. Aulani is one of the most expensive properties, so their points have some of the highest values. If I were to buy a DVC at Aulani right now, I see that I could buy 150 points for $29,578.66.
I could then use my 150 points to reserve an Aulani DVC rental that costs 150 points or less. I can’t pick any size room or any location of room for any date; I’m confined by how many points each of these factors costs. Points expire, so they have to be used by a certain date (usually within a year or 2).
How Can I Rent Points from an Owner?
Sometimes, DVC owners aren’t able to use their points or reservations before they expire. If that’s the case, they can “rent” them to other people. The renters pay the DVC owners for the cost of the points or the reservation. DVC owners can charge more or less than the amount they originally paid for their points.
Confirmed Reservation Vs. Points Rental
There are 2 ways to rent from a DVC owner – you can rent a confirmed reservation or rent points.
In some cases, the owner has already used their points to reserve a certain room at a certain location at a certain date. This is called a confirmed reservation. You are paying for a specific reservation that has already been made. You don’t get to choose anything; it’s all already been done.
If an owner hasn’t made a confirmed reservation yet, they have the points available to rent to you. You can choose everything for the reservation–the date, the room size, and the room location. The more desirable any of these are, the more points it costs. For example, if you want to rent a 2 bedroom condo with an ocean view over Christmas, it’s going to cost a lot more points than if you want to rent a studio with a pool view in May.
How to Rent a DVC Property
There are 2 ways to do a DVC rental. You can rent from a company or directly from the owner.
Rent from a DVC Rental Company
There are a few DVC rental companies. The main one is David’s Vacation Club Rentals. They’re the middleman–DVC owners send them their reservations or points and the public buys from them–so you save some money compared to buying from Aulani. You also have the assurance that everything is legitimate, and if it isn’t, you have that company to provide assistance or compensation. For my family, if we would’ve rented through them, we would’ve saved $1,500, which is nothing to sneeze at (but remember, we saved $3,000!).
Rent Directly from the Owner (what we did)
I’d been toying with the idea of taking the family to Aulani for a couple of years, so I’d joined a bunch of Aulani Facebook groups. One of the groups I joined was Aulani DVC Members Owners group. Initially I joined this group for Aulani tips, but I saw that people were posting about DVC rentals, so I researched further.
Use a Post to Find What You Want
You can post on the page as a for sale or wanted posting. With a for sale posting, a DVC owner posts a confirmed reservation they have for a specific date and room that you could rent, or they post how many points they have for sale.
With a wanted posting, you can post the date, location of the room, and size of the room you want. Then the owners comment and let you know what they have available. Everyone on the page is really nice and will help you out if you have questions.
What We Did
I posted that I was looking for a 2 bedroom rental at Aulani for the beginning of May for 4 nights. An owner responded right away and we began messaging to figure out details. Before I went further in the conversation, I checked the group to see how long he’d been a member and how often he’d posted. You have to make sure the person isn’t a scammer. A few months after I’d made my reservation, there was a scammer who tricked at least 4 people. I should have also asked for references, but I didn’t.
I was debating between a pool view and an ocean view room, and by the time I came to the conclusion that a pool view was fine, only the ocean view was available. The owner decided to give us the ocean view room for the same price he would’ve charged for the pool view room. He called it giving us a little pixie dust for our stay. See, the people in this group are nice!
After we’d hammered out all of the details, we signed a contract. This ensures that both parties are covered and you know exactly what is and isn’t included.
I paid half of the money upfront, at which point he sent me the confirmed reservation in our names. As I sent the money, I thought, “I sure hope this works or we’re out $2,500!” Everything went through and our vacation was becoming a reality!
Renting DVC Points from an Owner
- Less expensive than a middleman site or the Aulani website
- The most access to a variety of rooms
- Ability to pick your exact dates, room size, and location
- Insider knowledge since they’ve stayed there before
- Free parking (saves you $39/day)
- No assurance that the owner is legitimate so no recourse if you get scammed
Renting DVC Points from a Middleman Site
- Less expensive than the Aulani website
- More access to a variety of rooms when compared to the Aulani website
- Assurance that you are protected with your purchase-your money will be returned if something ends up being not legitimate
- Free parking (saves you $39/day)
- More expensive than renting DVC points directly from an owner
I originally was trying to rent DVC points from David’s Vacation Club, but we had specific dates we needed and with our room request there wasn’t availability. We would’ve saved about $1,500 by renting DVC points through them, but I’m so glad it didn’t work out–we saved more money and even still, we got a better room!
Why we chose a 2 bedroom villa
We could’ve done the Aulani stay for cheaper if we’d rented a 1 bedroom villa, which can sleep 5 (there are 6 of us, but at the time we had a 2-year-old who didn’t add to the room count). However, sleep is very important to us and we felt it was important to pay the extra money so everyone could sleep well and fully enjoy the resort.
Once we decided
- The facebook groups I use are:
- Disney’s Aulani Trip Planning (good info for everything Aulani)
- Aulani DVC info and pay it forward (people leave stuff in the Aulani ice rooms so others can use it, like food and boogie boards, etc)
- Aulani DVC Members Owners group (you can ask to rent certain rooms from owners, this is how we got our reservation)
- At Aulani DVC Members Owners group, you can post about the type of room you want to rent. Renting points from DVC owners is less expensive than renting from the hotel. I think we saved about $3000. So you post what you’re looking for (1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, etc-we got a 2 bedroom with an ocean view), how many days you want to stay, and the dates you’re going to be there, and then owners can respond in comments or PMs about availability. Ask for references and see how often they’ve posted in the group to make sure they’re legit. You’ll have to lurk around for awhile on the board to really get the hang of what’s going on (at least I had to), but if you have any specific questions you can ask me.
- You can also go to David’s Vacation Club website, they have owners rent their points to you there as well, but it’s a little more expensive. I originally did that, but they didn’t have the room I wanted, and then I thought I might as well try the facebook group. There are a few other middleman-type websites for renting DVC points, but they are a little more expensive than just renting straight from an owner. It’s a little safer, though, since they have vetted all of the people who work with them.
- You will sign a contract with either a middleman company (like David’s Vacation Club) or the actual owner, so you both are covered and know what/what isn’t included.
- You get free parking (saves you $39/day) as a DVC renting member. I don’t think you get other member perks, though, since you’re just renting and not an owner.