The Best Credit Cards for Getting to and Spending at Disney World
There's no doubt that many readers are headed to the Mouse this spring and summer. And, if you're a seasoned Disney veteran, you know that costs can add up over your vacation. This guide is for those looking to stretch their dollar while on vacation at the Happiest Place on Earth.
We've written about how to visit Walt Disney World for a dollar using credit cards as major tools in the quest. But that guide might not be for everyone. Here are our picks for the best credit cards for Walt Disney World to make a large dent in your Disney budget.
The Best Disney Credit Cards for Getting There
The Disney Credit Cards from Chase are certainly popular ones with families. You'll earn 2% back on gas, groceries, restaurants, and Disney purchases that you can use towards airline travel or Disney vacations with the Premier version. The "regular" card only earns 1% on Disney purchases. You'll also earn a $200 statement credit after spending $500 in 3 months.
However, for a better return on spend, I would recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred cards. The Reserve card gets 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar back on all travel and dining spend, while the Preferred card gets 2 points per dollar back with the same categories. These can be transferred to a number of programs, including Southwest and United, earning your family free flights to visit the Mouse. I would also recommend taking a look at our list of best family travel credit cards and sign up bonuses.
If you're looking for strictly cash back, we have a great guide to the best cash back credit cards that are a better return on spending than the Disney Visa cards.
That being said, I do see the perks of the cards for families that visit Disney often. A dedicated character meet-and-greet area is a huge time-saver for families, and a free download of the professional photos taken is a nice feature. 10% off select dining locations and merchandise purchases over $50 can also add up, though if you're a power Disney visitor, you likely have an annual pass that gets up up to 20% off this summer at select restaurants.
The Best Disney Cards for Staying There
CL Photographs via Flickr
My favorite "deal" on property at Disney World are the Swan and Dolphin hotels. They're on-property (walking distance to Epcot and Hollywood Studios), share most of the benefits of Disney branded hotels (like early entry), but you can use Marriott points to stay at them. Each hotel is a Category 5 property, so it will cost you 50,000 points per night to stay there. Remember, Marriott offers 5th night free on award stays, so if you save up the points, you'll make use of that benefit.
This past year, Disney also allowed other "Good Neighbor" hotels to receive benefits like Extra Magic Hours. I stayed at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista Palace, which is located on property near Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney). I paid less than $150 a night, and received my free breakfast benefits and was able to be first in line for Avatar: Flight of Passage, currently the most popular attraction at the parks.
The Best Disney Cards for Spending There
Besides cash back credit cards, you may want to consider a flexible spending credit card like the Barclaycard Arrival World Elite Mastercard, which has a 70,000 mile sign up offer at the moment. That's good for $500 towards any travel purchase, which could help cover theme park admissions for your family or hotels.
For dining, you're in luck- we've already detailed how to save on dining at Disney, but the Reserve and Preferred cards are still you're best bet if paying out of pocket.
Disney World can be expensive, but you can definitely take a large bite out of your Mouse budget by using some of the tools and tricks we detail above. As always, feel free to drop us a line below with any questions.
Sapphire Preferred® Credit Card