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If renting Disney Vacation Club points isn't on your Disney bucket list, it really should be. It was on ours, and when we finally got to try it out through David's Vacation Club Rentals in April, everything worked perfectly. Our stay at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa was amazing, and we saved 38% by renting points!
Here's what you need to know about our experience renting Disney Vacation Club points through David's Vacation Club Rentals, and why we can't wait to try it again!
Why Renting Disney Vacation Club Points Matters
Disney operates vacation club properties at the following hotels:
At Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom Lodge, Bay Lake Tower (at Contemporary), Beach Club, Boardwalk, Grand Floridian, Old Key West, Polynesian, Saratoga Springs, Wilderness Lodge
Grand Californian (Disneyland)
Hilton Head Island (South Carolina)
Vero Beach (Florida)
If you are interested in staying at any of those hotels in your lifetime, you need to at least consider renting Disney Vacation Club points.
Even if you are not a Disney Vacation Club member, you can use this strategy to save big at these resorts. How big? By way of a recent example, David’s Vacation Club had a stay at the Grand Floridian in a lake view studio for $472 per night. That’s not only 56% off the rack rate for that room, it’s 28% lower than ANY night in ANY room at the Grand Floridian in 2019!
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about our trip to Aulani and show how to book at David’s and how we saved 38% on this trip!
The Stars Align For a Trip to Aulani
We don't want to bore you too much with the details, but we wound up renting the points because a lot of travel-hacking related stars aligned. We needed to get from Chicago to Australia, and it turned out one of the best ways to do that was to fly to Hawaii using points and then to Australia on low-cost carrier Jetstar.
Obviously the chance to pass through Hawaii, and maybe visit Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa, piqued our interest. For a quick primer on Aulani, check out 13 things you must know about Disney’s Aulani!
DVC Reservations Through David's
Perfecting the plan was that David's Vacation Club Rentals had a dedicated reservation available at Aulani in the almost the exact date range that worked out with the flights we wanted. So, what's a dedicated reservation? Let us explain!
A Very Short Primer On DVC Points
You don't have to care about why renting DVC points works as a way to save money, but if you want to see why this works without being any sort of "scam," or if you just went a better understanding of some of the terminology we'll be using, this section is for you.
Disney Vacation Club members receive a set number of points each year in exchange for their annual dues (in addition to the up-front payment they made when they joined). These points can be used to book a variety of Disney vacations, most importantly rooms at Disney Vacation Club resorts (these include park resorts, like Grand Californian, Beach Club, and Saratoga Springs, and non-park resorts like Aulani).
If DVC members can't use their points, one way to get value out of them is to "rent" them to non-DVC members. There's no restriction on who stays in a DVC room on someone's points, so DVC members can use their points for third parties, including people they don't even know.
While the details of Disney Vacation Club are complex, DVC members essentially pay a large amount up front and annual dues structured so that if they travel annually, they wind up actually saving money versus what they'd otherwise spend.
By renting out their points, DVC members recover some of the annual dues for points they can't use while passing their annual savings onto the person renting the points. This means that if you can get access to DVC points by renting them, you're getting lower rates than if you booked the same room directly through Disney.
When you're looking to rent Disney Vacation Club points, you have basically two options...
Option 1: Renting Unused Disney Vacation Club Points
First, you can rent unused points. These are points that a DVC member has but has not yet used for a reservation.
The upside to renting unused points is a little bit of flexibility with dates, as you can find a wind range of available dates using this method, especially if you're flexible as to which DVC property you want to stay at.
David's outlines how far in advance you need to rent unused points if you want to stay at the different DVC properties.
The downside is that you'll really struggle to book the high-demand properties this way, as they typically are booked by members as soon as they're available.
Option 2: Dedicated DVC Rentals
Second, you can rent a "dedicated reservation." A dedicated reservation is a reservation that has already been made with DVC points, but which the member can no longer use.
The downside here is clear: your options are entirely limited to what has already been booked, and that can't change. You can't modify the dates, hotel, or room type.
The upside, though, is really awesome. The upside is that these dedicated reservations often offer high-demand properties at really reduced prices (we'll see just how reduced in a bit).
We were looking to book Aulani only one or two months out, which would be very difficult if trying to rent unused DVC points. But as luck would have it, there was an available dedicated reservation at Aulani (two, actually) for the dates we wanted.
Saving 38% At Aulani By Renting DVC Points
(Quick disclaimer: While we saved 38% on this trip, you might save more or less using this method.)
When we came across the following available reservation, it was almost too good to be true:
Five nights at an Ocean View Studio at Aulani for $2480 is a great deal. Aulani is really expensive, so no, we're not saying this was cheap. But to book that room for the same dates we were in it through Aulani directly would have cost about $4000.
That's right, we saved 38% off Disney's rates by booking the dedicated reservation through David's. As it turns out, the $2480 we paid was even less than the cheapest available room at Aulani, which would have cost us over $2800.
Happily, David's has a process that is straightforward and, in our experience, seamless.
First, we clicked "Book Now" under the reservation we wanted:
This took us to what looked like a generic reservations request form, but the details of the dedicated reservation were just already fixed lower on the page (the below screenshot is a sample, not from our Aulani reservation).
To begin work on confirming your reservation, David's requires a deposit. In our case it was $112. This deposit is non-refundable so long as David's is able to secure the reservation, which, for dedicated reservations, shouldn't be a problem (since they're already booked). This isn't like a deposit for a Disney hotel room, where you lock in your reservation now and then pay the balance when you arrive. Rather, your balance to David's will be due shortly (a few days), when the confirm they've secured the reservation.
We put the deposit (and eventually the entire balance) on our Chase Sapphire Reserve, which gave us 3X points when it correctly categorized the purchase as "travel."
Confirming Our Aulani Stay
Within 36 hours (we booked on a Sunday), we received email confirmation that the reservation was secured, along with a request to make payment of the remaining balance, which we promptly did.
After that, we received a Disney Vacation Club booking confirmation number. That confirmation allowed us to confirm the reservation (and its assignment to us) with Disney directly. PSA: Any time you don't book a hotel room directly with the chain, you have to confirm the reservation! Even when you book through a site online like Expedia, reservations can get lost. Always confirm your reservation!
We were also able to check in online in advance of our arrival.
Aulani - Disney's Best Resort
We have a full Aulani review and planning guide where we talk more about the resort itself, but it makes sense to touch on it here because we consider it an especially great use of rental points.
Aulani is, without a doubt, the best Disney resort we've stayed at (and we've stayed at many). It's also possibly the best resort worldwide we've stayed at. When we arrived at the Ritz Carlton - Abu Dhabi a few weeks later, all we could think of was how simply bad it was compared to Aulani.
Overview of Disney's Aulani
On Aulani property are three pools, two waterslides, a lazy river, ten food service options (including two sit-down restaurants and two great bars), the first Disney-operated spa in the world, other in-house activities, and access to a wide variety of paid Hawaiian excursions.
What really separates Aulani from other resorts, though, isn't just the amount of things to do. It's the overall design and attention to Hawaiian culture of the resort. Aulani isn't just a resort in Hawaii. It's a truly Hawaiian resort. It's a resort about Hawaii. From the layout to the sights to the sounds to the tastes, everything is Hawaiian.
The carpet contains Hawaiian details. The greenery mimics what you'd find in a Hawaiian valley, mountain to water. The lobby is encircled with a mural, a lei, welcoming you before you've had a chance to catch your breath. I could go on, but that would just spoil too much.
Aulani is an amazing experience, deserving of a spot on every Disney fan's bucket list. Again, if you're thinking about visiting Aulani, check out our Aulani review and planning guide to learn more.
Value of Renting DVC Points at Aulani
We think Aulani is probably the best place to rent DVC points. At Walt Disney World and Disneyland, the best way to do a budget trip is to stay at a low-priced hotel and spend all your time at the parks. Renting DVC points at these locations can be a good way to experience nicer properties, but it's rarely, if ever, going to be to be the cheapest way to experience the destination.
There's no cheap way to experience Aulani, though. Since Aulani is not attached to a park, it itself is the Disney destination. And if you're looking to save on a visit to Aulani, renting DVC points is far and away your best option.
We already covered our trip, where we saw a 38% saving off the rack rate of the room we had. As we write this, David's actually has another Aulani rental available:
That same room booked through Aulani directly is much more expensive:
In this case, you save 47% renting a dedicated reservation through David's Vacation Club Rentals over a direct booking through Disney.
(It honestly pains us to think someone probably booked a week trip around then for probably around $6500 when they could have had nine nights for $4464.)
Even at the cheapest rack rate room booked through Disney, a standard view, you'd pay $5991 for that nine-night stay. That means booking the dedicates reservation through David's would save you 25% while giving you an upgrade to an Ocean View room. That's just an amazing deal!
Our Experience as DVC Renters at Aulani
At Aulani, there was very minimal attention given to the fact that we had booked through DVC. Upon arrival and check-in at the front desk, there was absolutely no mention of it, it was just like checking into any other hotel room.
Our room keys were marked "DVC - Room Only," which we suspect had to do with having rented DVC points (i.e. we were only in a DVC room, not actually DVC members). We didn't encounter any confusion or discussion about the key at any point.
Our wristbands were the DVC member wristbands, which was nice mostly because they were shiny. During our stay, these got us only one perk, a discounted rate on renting snorkel gear. We can't say whether that was correctly given to us or not (we suspect not). Plenty of benefits are offered explicitly to DVC members, and we didn't proactively try to take advantage of any of those.
We'd Rent From David's Again In a Heartbeat
We'll continue to keep our eye on the dedicated reservations page at David's both for ourselves and our readers. While we think Aulani is the best use of this strategy, there are other great deals as well.
Renting DVC points is often considered the biggest open secret in Disney vacation planning. Somehow everyone talks about it as if its a secret, but actually it's a very well-known way to save.
We understand why people are hesitant about trying something new, and we hope this post puts some people at ease. What impressed us most about our experience with David's was how seamless everything was. There weren't any hiccups, and there wasn't any confusion. All we had to do was have a Magical time!
If you're really interesting in getting big savings at Disney's best properties, think "outside the box" and rent Disney Vacation Club points from David's Vacation Club Rentals!