Tired of scouring the points charts and creating complicated spreadsheets trying to figure out where to stay and how many points your next DVC stay will cost? Want to branch out to new resorts but don't think you can afford them? Would borrowing a few points get you into an upgraded room type?
I'm happy to formally announce the launch of our latest product the DVC Reverse Points Search! Quickly and easily find hidden room upgrades for your next stay using your existing points. Simply enter the number of points you have and the expected dates of your stay to instantly see the list of all rooms across all DVC properties. You can find booking opportunities for larger rooms or longer stays using all of your existing points.
Try it now!
Or read on to find out more.
The sheer volume of resorts, “point seasons” and weekday vs weekend point amounts in DVC is just staggering. On the one hand, it creates a great value and variety for owners. You can stay in new resorts and new room types with each trip. On the other hand, it creates a massive planning task. I knew there must be a better way.
We purchased our DVC contract in November 2019. At the time, we already had a non-DVC trip booked for May 2020 (I know, I know). While purchasing, they were able to refund the cash reservation and rebook with points at the same resort (Polynesian) and similar view. So, trip #1 (or what I thought was going to be trip #1) was all sorted.
As any respectable Disney addict would do, I immediately started thinking about our next trip. It felt like a whole new world had opened up to us: new resorts, new room types. So many possibilities. But I also felt like I had no idea how even to approach planning a DVC trip. I had so many questions. Are there best times to use my points? Are there room types that aren't worth the points? Are there great values hidden in the point charts that only a seasoned DVC member would know about? I couldn't possibly memorize all the points charts. I started using a spreadsheet, but found tweaking my options really cumbersome. I'd look up some dates at certain resorts, but then adding a day or shifting back a week required me to re-look up the point chart. It was all pretty labor intensive.
I knew I had my annual allotment of points and I knew near about some dates that we'd be able to go, but I didn't have an easy way to see what was available to me or to quickly make changes and see what my new options were.
Enter the DVC Reverse Points Search.
I'm a software engineer by day so I could build the exact thing I needed. There were a few challenges to overcome to get the tool I wanted to use. First, I needed to pull the info from the PDF point charts into a database. Then, query that data by points and dates. Lastly, display the results in a useful and compelling way.
Getting the raw data out of the point chart PDFs took a few steps. I could have simply manually entered all the data. But, what fun is that? In the end, I ran a text extractor over the PDFs and got text files with the contents of the PDFs. This included all the text including the legal notices and the formatting wasn't great. I did some light formatting on the text files, then was able to write a custom parser to pull the data and insert it into a database. Further, I can do these same steps in the future to add new point charts each year fairly easily.
Next, I created the website for me (us) to input point amounts and dates. The front-end sends the requests to a simple API server which queries the database and returns the results. These results are then displayed in the cards on the website.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the end result. I'm also open to making enhancements and improvements. Feel free to comment below or send me an email with your thoughts.
Thanks for checking out LineLeader and our reverse points search. Here's to finding our best Welcome Homes!
Cover image courtesy of ShotSnapp
- Chris Marshall