Do I need to get a Disney credit card before my trip?
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A Disney vacation can spark dreams – and dread the price. A trip to Disneyland or Disney World can easily cost thousands of dollars for a few days at the theme parks. But if you plan your vacation early enough, you can use a handful of credit cards to pay for some or even all of your Disney adventures.
Budgeting Your Disney Vacation
The biggest budget items for a Disney trip usually include theme park tickets, accommodations, and trips to Florida or California in the form of plane tickets, gasoline, or rental car. But don’t stop there when you consider the cost of your vacation.
“There’s a lot more to spending on a Disney vacation than just a flight, hotel and tickets,” says RJ Weiss, certified financial planner and founder of personal finance blog The Ways to Wealth. Small expenses to plan for usually include souvenirs, meals, and parking fees, but these can add up quickly for large families.
If you want to use your credit card rewards to pay for your Disney vacation, plan your strategy well in advance of your trip. You need to make sure you can cover your anticipated expenses, meet signup bonus purchase requirements, book flights and hotels before they fill up, and avoid paying unnecessary annual fees. If you want cover your entire vacation using credit card rewards, you may need to start signing up for the cards a year or two before your Disney trip.
Creating a few lists could facilitate this planning process. Prepare a list of your planned expenses, then make a list of reward credit cards you could use and calculate how much reward value you can earn on them between now and when you plan to travel.
How Disney Credit Cards Can Help
Disney offers two credit cards that can help pay for a portion of your vacation expenses.
The Disney Premier Visa Card has an annual fee of $ 49, but it offers a $ 250 credit as a signup bonus after spending $ 500 in your first three months as a cardholder. That leaves you $ 201 to spend on your vacation.
You can also earn Disney Reward Dollars with this card on your daily purchases. It offers 2% or two dollars in Disney rewards for every $ 100 you spend at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney stores, plus 1% on all other purchases.
Disney Reward Dollars can be redeemed for Disney Reward Voucher Cards and used for Disney goods and services at Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Disney stores and other locations. Or, Disney Premier Visa cardholders can redeem rewards for airline tickets purchased with the card.
If you’d rather avoid the annual fee, opt for the Visa Disney card instead, which offers a $ 100 credit on your statement after your first purchase with the card. The winning rate is a flat rate of 1% on all purchases. That said, you could easily earn more by placing your purchases on other credit cards.
The real benefit of these Disney credit cards lies in the benefits. “There are some exclusive things, like special character reunions, that you can get as a cardholder,” says Kat Tretina, Orlando-based freelance financial writer.
Both cards also allow you to save on merchandise and meals most of the time at Disneyland and Disney World. You receive 10% off select merchandise of at least $ 50 in some locations and 10% off in select restaurants.
Who should and shouldn’t get Disney credit cards?
Although they offer great benefits, Disney credit cards are the best option for people who regularly visit Disney World or Disneyland.
“If you only come once, or if you are looking for a trip in a few years, you will make more money with other credit cards that offer much higher returns,” says Tretina.
If you sign up for the Disney Premier Visa card for your trip, consider whether the annual fee is outweighed by the benefits. “As often as I use the card and the rewards I receive, it quickly offsets the annual fee for me,” says Tretina. However, if your rewards do not offset the annual fee, you may be able to switch from the Visa Disney Premier card to the Visa Disney card.
For occasional users, a Disney credit card only makes sense for cutting spending in the park. You won’t earn a lot of rewards, but you can take advantage of the card and the sign-up bonus.
Other types of credit cards to help pay for your Disney vacation
There are a variety of non-Disney cards to choose from when planning how to pay for your Disney trip. Keep in mind that any adult can purchase a credit card to increase the rewards your family can earn from signup bonuses.
Airline credit cards. If you have to travel to Disney, airline credit cards can help offset the cost of flights for your family. Most airlines offer credit cards with sign-up bonuses that can cover at least one or two flights per card.
Resort credit cards. These cards can help offset some of your accommodation costs, as your sign-up bonus will likely cover at least one or two nights in a hotel. But most hotel cards are only useful if you don’t mind staying outside of Disney property.
However, you can use the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card rewards program at two traditional Disney resorts. The Swan and Dolphin resorts at Disney World are considered Disney resort properties, although they are owned by Marriott.
Travel Rewards Credit Cards. Credit cards that offer statement credits for travel expenses can be used to pay for a portion of your Disney vacation. Definitions of travel costs vary by card, but most credit cards include airline tickets, car rentals, and hotel stays, even at Disney resort properties. Your park tickets could also count.
You may also qualify certain other travel expenses if you are staying at a Disney resort. If you load meals and souvenirs into your Disney hotel room with a MagicBand – a colorful wristband with a sensor used for park access, park shopping, and Disney Resort room entry, enter other functions – they are counted as hotel purchases, which are generally eligible for travel statement credits, says Weiss.
Purchase your Disney Parks tickets with credit cards that provide credits on travel statements. If you buy tickets directly from Disney, they might not count as travel purchases, but it might work if you use an authorized retailer who codes them as travel, such as Undercover Tourist.
Flexible credit cards with redemption rewards. The points earned on these cards offer many potential uses. Some cards allow you to transfer points to airline or hotel travel partners, book trips through their travel portals at a point value greater than the standard redemption value, or redeem points for cards- gifts or cash back. The flexibility of these cards could help cover expenses that you would otherwise have incurred.
Pay off credit cards. Not every expense will necessarily fall into one of the above travel card categories. You can offset small costs, like food, souvenirs, and gasoline, with rewards of one. credit card with cash back.