Universal to partner Visa for new rewards card

October 4, 2023, 12:27 PM · Universal's theme parks soon will offer a new branded credit card and rewards program, the company announced today.

Last month on the Theme Park Insider Discussion Forum, I told you that Universal had filed a trademark application for a new credit card product called Universal Rewards. [See New Universal trademarks: Monstertreffen and Universal Rewards.] Today, Universal Destinations & Experiences announced that it would offer a new "Universal Rewards Plus Visa Signature Card," starting next year.

FNBO (First National Bank of Omaha) will issue the card. Cardholders will have the opportunity to earn rewards for Universal products, experiences, and travel. As part of a broader partnership with Visa, select Visa cardholders will be be eligible for special food, beverage and experience benefits in the parks, including use of a VIP lounge. Universal Orlando previously offered a VIP lounge to American Express cardholders, but that closed last year.

The Universal Rewards Visa card will be available in early 2024. Details about the rewards opportunities and other perks for cardholders, not to mention terms and conditions for the card itself, will be released closer to the card's debut.

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Replies (6)

October 4, 2023 at 1:33 PM

DVC and now this, is this "scam" week on TPI?

I'll admit to being swayed by credit card offers from time to time, but typically only to take advantage of introductory perks (airline/hotel miles/points, airport lounge access, retailer discounts, and companion travel). This might be worth getting prior to visiting Universal if it's a no annual fee card, but if it's set up similar to Disney's Chase Visa Signature Card, which we have, there's really little value to the card outside the parks unless you're willing to making it your primary card for purchasing for at least 6 months prior to visiting, and trading accrued points for rewards to use during your visit (i.e. gift cards, tickets, hotel discounts, etc...).

October 4, 2023 at 1:44 PM

The theme this week actually is “all the ways that parks try to create the appearance of value without, you know, actually cutting prices across the board.”

October 5, 2023 at 8:21 AM

Accessing the VIP lounge for food is getting my attention. At Universal Hollywood, the best restaurant is the Moulin Rouge and it’s only open to VIP guests and giving card holders access to it without spending for VIP is great: More so for me because I already work for the park and VIP doesn’t really get my attention due to I already have access to go around the sets of the backlot during my morning jogs.

October 5, 2023 at 8:44 AM

That's a good point AgustinMacias. We used to partake in the AmEX lounge at both USF and IOA all the time during our visits in the 00's and 10's, but you could tell later in the teens that more guests caught onto the perk and the lounge offerings and availability significantly declined - we used to be able to skip lunch by noshing in the lounges' granola bars, chips, cookies, and crackers, but the lounges only had bottles of water and charging cables the last year we visited. The Disney Chase lounges have followed a similar pattern - they were fully stocked when they first debuted, but have slowly become nothing more than an airconditioned room with some comfy chairs, charging cables, and some bottled water.

Perhaps if these lounges continue to host guests paying for VIP, they will be able to maintain their standard, but as more and more people start taking advantage of them simply by having a credit card, I expect the perks to be gradually reduced.

October 5, 2023 at 11:55 AM

If I could use the points to pay towards my pass, then I'd be interested.

The VIP is for "select cardholders", so I'd guess that black level min, is needed to get in ??

October 5, 2023 at 12:31 PM

@Makoride - Much like airport lounges have become, I wouldn't be surprised that cardholders have to go through some type of reservation system, which gives preference to bigger spenders and/or those with higher tiered cards (annual fee, minimum spending limits, or purchasing other products like travel insurance, checking, or pairing with other rewards programs). I'd say I would be skeptical of any no annual fee credit card that would give free, unlimited access to a lounge that offered anything on par with the current Universal VIP lounges.

I know credit cards and banks are competing vigorously for business these days, particularly when they're making money hand over fist with today's interest rates, but I've gotten over a lot of these perks that sound like a good value, but ultimately are more of a pain to redeem than what they're worth.

Unless you're planning a Universal trip within a year of applying for this card, even if it's a no annual fee card, I probably wouldn't recommend a new product like this until it's been properly fleshed out. I anticipate that they are going to promise the moon, but will not come close to that, and inevitably dial back any attractive-sounding perks.

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