My husband and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary in October. We had plans to celebrate at Disney World but couldn’t arrange child care for a week during the fall and the kids certainly weren’t coming on this trip. Luck seemed to be on our side and we were able to put together plans for a week away this winter. We couldn’t wait and made a reservation using our Disney Vacation Club points. Then, our luck changed and it now looks as if we’ll have to cancel our long-awaited trip. Life has been surprising me lately so I’m still holding out hope that we’ll be able to go. But, being the prudent sort, I decided to call the Disney Vacation Club to find out what my options were.
Cancelling a DVC reservation
Members can cancel a DVC reservation 31 or more days prior to their check-in date without the points moving to a holding account, but more on holding accounts later. The important point to remember is that all points will be returned to the Use Year in which the vacation falls. This includes borrowed points. A Use Year begins in the month where members receive their new allocation of points.
Sounds good, right? Well, it is if you cancel your reservation during the first eight months of your Use Year. If you do, you can bank your points to use during the following Use Year if you won’t be rebooking your Disney vacation by the end of the current Use Year. Banking points reallocates points to the next Use Year. If you are outside the window during which you can bank points, your points will expire if you don’t use them by the end of the current Use Year. Another option is to use the points for an RCI exchange, which is a program that allows you to use your Disney Vacation Club points at other destinations.
What if someone gets sick a few days before your vacation? Points for a reservation that is cancelled between 31 and 1 days from check-in date will be moved to a holding account. A holding account is pretty much what the name suggests, a special “status” for your points where they are held until the end of the current Use Year. Unfortunately, if you cannot use the points during the current Use Year, the points cannot be banked or borrowed. Using these points is also pretty restrictive. A reservation using holding account points must be made 60 or fewer days prior to the planned check-in date, basically a spur-of-the-moment reservation. If you want to travel during a busy time at Disney World, it may be tough to get your reservation on short notice.
But I Borrowed Points
All transactions are final. Borrowed points cannot be banked, borrowed, or returned to the Use Year they were borrowed from. So if you cancel your vacation, your borrowed points will expire if you cannot travel during the same Use Year your cancelled vacation was scheduled.
Member Services Can Help
I am lucky that our reservation is early in our Use Year so I could cancel 31 days prior to our check-in date and theoretically bank our points. But, I had borrowed points for this reservation. If we can’t get someone to watch the kids in the next few months, I am in danger of forfeiting the borrowed points since they cannot be banked. I called Member Services to confirm and was offered a glimmer of hope. We have another reservation for a family trip in the spring. Member Services said that if I cancelled our winter reservation which used some borrowed points, I could “reallocate” the borrowed points to our spring trip. If I do this prior to the last four months of our Use Year, I will be able to then bank the original, non-borrowed points I used for the family trip. Sounds complicated and it is but I was thrilled that Member Services was able to work with me to try to “save” my banked points.
Cancelling a Disney Vacation Club reservation can be complicated due to the nuances in the DVC membership. Always call Member Services for guidance.
Lisa M. Battista is the author of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers When she’s not chasing after her little ones, you can most likely find her at the beach or in the kitchen trying her hand at a new recipe. You can follow her on Twitter @DisneyExplorer or become a fan of Beyond the Attractions on Facebook.