Actually, I have been going through the same exercise. These are my thoughts.
There is a raging debate with Buy vs. Rent at the “other” site. The arguments come out 50/50 on both sides of the equation with accountants etc doing extensive analysis and each telling the other that they are wrong!!
I suspect that this is by design. Disney is very smart and took years to jump on the Timeshare bandwagon. Disney, I am sure has studied this and made sure that they make all the money!! It is something never to forget. You will not outsmart Disney!!
In terms of yield, as an investment vehicle vs CD’s, it about break even, except that you are locked in with a lot of money tied up in something that can be a pain to get rid of. Assuming that you can sell your points for $10 per point. For now, that is pretty standard but I have seen points bought and sold for less or more, depending on the circumstances.
Also, Disney can, in the future, raise the maintanence rates and that will cut into any return you might get.
Having said all that, I think that it is a great way to actually vacation in Disney. It is cheaper than any hotel in Disney and you get almost all the benefits of staying in a Disney hotel. If used in that way, it is the best bargain around.
I have bought several hundred points and am renting a lot of points right now as that will pay for the current maintanence bills and I can use it for a large family vacation/reunion which I am planning in 2007.
The best way to utilize points is to assume that you have already spent the money for approx. 8-10 years worth of vacations. You are getting the rest of it (approx. 40 yrs worth) for free!!!
Sell some of them to pay the maintanence fees, then you are really spending nothing out of pocket every year.
If you look at it long term, I can’t think of a better way to spend/save money!!
In summary, I doubt that anyone will “make money” owning points. However, long term, it is the most cost effective way to enjoy the next 10-20 years of vacations.
I hope this helps.