My DVC Points
My DVC Points
142 How Many DVC Points Should I Buy for My First Contract?

One of the most frequently asked questions for people researching DVC is, “How many points should I buy?” To answer this question, we tried to answer it from multiple perspectives. Andy Berry from DVC Resale Market presents the formal DVC guide methodology. Chad presents the theory that most new people spend way too much time and energy on this question because the flexible nature of DVC points allows you to book various room types at various resorts with various point costs. Often, new people think that there is an exact right answer, and the point system's flexibility makes this more like a game of horseshoes. Whatever you buy is close enough, and you'll want to add more points later. Points are not only flexible, but they have both an additive and addictive nature. Most people buy more points later on, and It can be straightforward to combine points and make a booking. So keep it simple and buy as many points as you can reasonably afford. Generally speaking, anything under 200 points on a single contract makes the most sense because if and when you want to sell, contracts over 200 points may be less desirable on the resale market. To test Chad's theory, we brought in 9 DVC members and asked them two basic questions.

How many points should I buy for my first DVC contract?

One of the most commonly asked questions we hear from people considering buying into DVC is, “How many points should I buy?” To answer this question, we're going to look at formal DVC guide training, get Chad's take on the issue, talk to 9 different DVC members and see their initial thought process and finally wrap up the show with Andy Berry about things we learned from this real-life member useability study.

The Official DVC Method to Determine How Many Points to Buy:

Andy Berry, a former DVC direct guide and current DVC Resale Market agent, provided some insight into the questions guides are trained to ask to help answer this question. They boil down to figuring out the Who, Where, and When questions of booking a DVC vacation.

  • Who is Travelling Questions:
    • How many people are within your travel party?
    • How many are adults, and how many are kids?
  • Where are You Staying Questions:
    • What size villa do you prefer?
    • How spread out do you want your sleeping quarters? 
  • When are you Travelling Questions:
    • What time of year do you plan to travel?
    • What length of stay are you aiming to stay, or how many trips per year do you plan on taking?

The DVC method is essentially reverse-engineering the DVC point charts. What size room, how many nights, and what season? Once you get a feel for these questions, you can round up to the nearest incentive package and use that as an excellent starting point.

The DVC points system is incredibly flexible.  It can accommodate many different lengths of stays and room types.  Some families go full circle – the first few years when they start using their points are spent in studios while their families are smaller. They “grow” their points through add-on-itis and their type of accommodations, as their families grow with more kids, older kids, marriages, etc.  Best advice – buy as many points as you can reasonably afford!

Quick Tip: Check out the historical point calendars on the My DVC Points website, as well as the room layouts to help determine how many points you think you'll need when vacationing. You may want to start calculating some ideal stays in our app and use the stretch and splurge feature to see how your stay will vary across the different DVC resorts and room types.

Chad Pennycuff

Authentic Member Testimonials About Initial Purchase and Add-on-itis

In this episode, we asked My DVC Points community members to share their stories of how they answered this question of the number of points to buy:

  1. How many points did you purchase?
  2. How did you determine this amount?
  3. Did add-on-itis hit?

Shannon Loehrlein: Initially, they looked at buying 150 points, but there was a $5000 off promotion running if purchasing 200 points, allowing for enough points to stay about 10 nights a year.  Sometimes, it just makes sense to go up to the next tier of points when promotions are active, as it could be more advantageous to your pocketbook.

Jimmy Maass: Initially, Jimmy's family bought 200 points at Copper Creek.  Researched the points charts and determined that they would need about 175 points for the types of stays they would like to do, and were lucky to nab a promo that allowed them to increase to 200 points.  Since then, they have increased their points to 1000 points through add-on-itis!   They fell in love with the Riviera after a tour and added on.  After listening to the podcast, they decided to add on with an Aulani subsidized contract!  Their strategy was to buy smaller contracts to split them amongst their children later or sell, as smaller contracts are more desirable.

Tim McDonald: With an initial purchase into DVC of 50 points direct at the Grand Floridian Villas (minimum direct amount at the time), add-on-itis was bound to kick in for Tim and his family.  Their first points trip was their Disney-moon!  Their next trip led to adding on 160 points resale for the Grand Flo.  Then the Covid Disney-Blues hit, and the family added 50 points at Bay Lake for ease of access to the Monorail with their small kids, including 60 Boardwalk points for use during the Food and Wine Festival and resale points. At the Polynesian!  A challenge to booking moving forward will be that these contracts have 3 different use years.

Elizabeth Kelley: Owner at Old Key West since 2018, having bought 130 points at first.  Their guide led them in their decision-making, based on their family size and the time of year they travel (mostly November).  Their guide also realized they were on a budget, which is why Old Key West point pricing seemed like the best option at the time.  However, add-on-itis hit after an adult trip down to the world, after touring as many DVC resorts they could!  Not only has it hit their family, but Elizabeth's sister's family and her parents are interested in the buying points as well to facilitate more family trips.

Virginia Tuller Weiner: Their family bought 200 points at first because it was enough to have a weeklong studio stay per year and still have leftover points to bank into the next year.  Add-on-itis has hit as they are planning on bringing the extended family to join them, ad they will need 2 bedrooms moving forward and have been spoiled by having stayed in a one-bedroom.  Covid has delayed their purchase because they've been able to bank, but it is definitely on the horizon for them!  Part of it is wanting to share the pixie dust with their friends and family moving forward. 

Kathy Elliott: Initially, Kathy bought 120points based on her guide's advice, and that 100 points were her sweet spot to start.  Add-on-itis hit as her daughter and son-in-law wanted to honeymoon at Aulani – so another contract was purchased.  Then with great deals at the beginning of Covid, her family picked up a 69 point contract at the Polynesian for a total of 289 points.  While they are mostly studio stayers, possible grandkids in the next few years have also contributed to the motivation to buy more points.

Vince DiFrancesco: Owners at Bay Lake since 2010, Vince's family determined that 320 was the ideal amount, as Disney was offering a great promotion at the time.  Part of the decision was that they love to bring along their friends and extended family to share in the magic. You'd think that 320 points were enough, but a great contract came up for 150 points at Boardwalk came up, and they couldn't resist.  They love the flexibility of the 320 points as they usually stay in 2 bedroom Villas.  The next add-on will most probably be the new Disneyland DVC resort!

Anna Eason: Anna's family first bought 80 points direct at the Riviera, as 75points was the minimum at the time necessary to obtain a DVC blue card. Initially, they thought that would get them a great once-a-year trip for 4-5 nights.  Since they've added on 100 pints at the Polynesian and another 50 points at the Riviera.  80 was not enough in their opinion

Rachel: At the time, DVC was offering exciting incentives for the 250 points range at Copper Creek Villas.  The number of points purchased was also based on their party size as a family of 4, that that they like to stay in 1 bedroom Villas, and that they like to travel during the Food and Wine Festival, with another trip in the spring.  Now, they are looking at adding some more points but are just coping with the points they have.  Now with the kids in their 20s, they find themselves more and more in 2 bedroom units and have added the adult kids to the contract to benefit from their Blue Card Benefits.

Cindy Leichner: Owners of 320 points at the Grand Californian since 2009, Cindy split her points into three smaller point contracts if she wasn't keen on the DVC experience.  As they usually book two-bedroom Villas because they vacation with their adult children and friends.  Add-on-itis hit shortly after, and the family bought another 200 points at the Grand Cal to stay for 2-3 long weekends per year.  As they got into runDisney events, they realized that they would need more points to stay for all the run weekends at Disneyland, so we purchased another contract!  After a trip to Waikiki for a wedding and lunch at Aulani, we had to have some Aulani points too! As Cindy's family has split all the purchases up, they now have 22 separate contracts over four-member IDs!!!  Most are in one use year, but they purchased an October resale contract when RunDisney moved the Tinkerbell race to May. The considerable amount of points even allowed them to take 23 family members to Aulani in 2018, and they are hoping to repeat the trip this Thanksgiving 2021 if all goes well!  They are now part of the 2000 points club because, for them, vacationing with friends and family is what matters most!

Throughout all these member discussions, what echoes is that add-on-itis real, as DVC members love sharing the magic with their friends and family! 

Our final advice comes from Dave, a cast member at Grand Californian, an original Old Key West owner of 26+ years. Buy as many points as you can reasonably afford at the time because you're going to want to add-on more points, and the price per point only goes up.

Hosts – Chad Pennycuff
DVC Resale Market Agent and Former DVC Direct Guide – Andy Berry
Producer – Sandy Symianick
Show Notes – Sandy Symianick

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