Credit Card Rewards Programs & Disney

Edited: December 2, 2016, 3:48 PM

Lately, I've been interested in all of these programs that credit cards have, where you earn points or miles, and can redeem them for free flights and hotel stays. Obviously, it's only worth it if you pay it off in full every month, and keep to responsible spending habits.

All the same, I am curious if anyone here on TPI is using this scheme to earn their way to Disney (or other theme parks) vacations? If so, what has your experience been like, and what tips would you share with us?

A couple things I've read (on is that apparently the Disney Chase card isn't a great deal for Disney fans. Also, the Swan and Dolphin are part of Starwood, which has an American Express card. Spend $3,000 within the first 3 months and get 25,000 points. It costs 10,000 points per night to stay at either the Swan or Dolphin, so if you open that card and get the bonus, you can get two free an example. Or by just using regular old card points, Chase Saphire Preferred card with $4,000 spent in the first 3 months gets you 40,000 points, and depending on the dates, a night at the Royal Pacific could cost 19,500 points - two free nights there.

I surely don't have $3,000-4,000 laying around to take advantage of one of those signup bonuses, but it's something to consider.

Also, it seems a lot of people recommend going to Office Max to buy Disney gift cards for 5x points, and then using those cards to pay for stuff while at Disney.

I'm leery of signing up for cards to do this, but I'm trying to learn more about it, and thought I'd introduce this to the discussion forum for anyone to talk about, should they have experience, stories, and/or advice.

Replies (7)

December 2, 2016, 4:11 PM

I use my Disney Chase card mostly for supermarkets & auto expenses which gives me double points, and single points for my Universal hotel costs (ha ha). On my WDW vacation last year I had apx. $850 reward dollars that paid for a heck of a lot dinners, lunches & merchandise. I like it a lot and obviously don't agree with the PointsGuy. It's only been a year since that vacation and I'm already over $400 in rewards for the next WDW vacation.

December 2, 2016, 4:14 PM

Awesome, Rob! Funny to get Disney points from staying at Universal. Reminds me of giving money to Disney by purchasing Marvel stuff at Universal.

Here's what TPG said (fwiw): Despite the name brand recognition, I can’t really recommend this product. Cardholders earn a measly 1% return on most purchases, and a ho-hum 2% return for purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney locations.

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December 2, 2016, 5:23 PM

The trick is not to think of points as a way to visit Disney or any specific destination. Your goal should always be to maximize points value in order to reduce your overall costs for everything. Otherwise you're just playing accounting games.

Edited: December 3, 2016, 12:21 PM

>>>I surely don't have $3,000-4,000 laying around

The trick so much isn't to have 3-4k lying around, who does. The trick is to Route all your spending through the card, and immediately pay it off. Ching Ching.

December 3, 2016, 4:01 PM

If you get the Chase Disney Card through the Disney World website, you get a $200 credit on your first statement. It essentially enables you to use the card annual fee free for four years. Our family averages $20-$40 a month in Disney Dollars. Since we only go every four years or so, we usually have about $1500 saved up for each trip.

December 7, 2016, 10:00 PM

Interesting question! I have the Disney Visa card. You get "dream dollars" to use on Disney products when you use the card. I mean, it is not that much different than Discover rewards dollars or what I get with my Amazon card, but you can use it at Disney World. I save up all my points to use when I go to Disney World. Usually, it is around $200 a year. That might not seem like a lot, but it is enough to treat yourself a little in the parks.

December 12, 2016, 7:35 AM

I have the Chase Visa and have used the points for hotel stays, theme park tickets, etc...also, it gets you into the Chase passholder lounge during the Epcot Food and Wine festival. I agree with what others have said, if you use it for specific purchases and pay it off right away, it's no problem. Also, I use it at Universal Hotels and it always gets a laugh from the people at the front desk that they are technically helping me pay for my next Disney trip :)

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