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Should I Get Chase Disney Visa for our Disney Trip?

By Nancy

Since I’m a big Disney fan, I love reading information and sharing excitement with other Disney fans in various online Disney chat forums. I frequently see this question asked by first-timers: Should I get the Chase Disney Visa to save up for our Disney trip?

Usually, the resounding answer from online Disney fans is, “Yes!” Many people chime in with how much they saved up by getting the card and using it for all of their normal credit card purchases over the span of one to two years before their Disney trip.

The Chase Disney Visa card has super cute Disney designs. What’s not to love?

But if anyone asks me that question personally, my answer may surprise you. No, you should not apply for the Chase Disney Visa if your goal is to save up reward dollars for your next Disney trip. You can do better.

Chase Disney Visa

The Disney Visa comes in two different options—the Disney Rewards Visa and the Disney Premier Rewards Visa. The Disney Rewards Visa has no annual fee, but the Disney Premier Rewards Visa has a $49 annual fee (not waived).

Currently, the Disney Rewards Visa comes with a $50 Disney gift card bonus after your first purchase. The bonus on the premier version is $100 after spending $500 in the first three months. I’ve seen this bonus as high as $200 through referrals and special promotions. Edit: as it turns out, I actually have a personal referral link for $200 bonus after spending $500 in 3 months, but read the entire post before jumping on this deal. 

Purchases accumulate Disney Rewards points, which can be spent at the Disney parks, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Stores, etc. The premier version also lets you use points for airline travel.

The regular rewards card earns 1X points on all purchases. The premier version earns 2X points on Disney, gas, grocery stores and restaurants, and 1X point on everything else.

The cards come with perks for Disney lovers, including:

  • 10% off select dining locations inside the parks
  • 10% off merchandise in the parks and at Disney Stores
  • Exclusive character meet and greet inside the parks
  • Special 0% financing for six months on vacation packages and Disney Cruise Line

    Chase Disney Visa Character Meet and Greet at Epcot, 2012

    Chase Disney Visa Character Meet and Greet at Epcot, 2012

 

Let’s Do the Math

Ok, so you want to save up to go to Disney World and stay at one of the on-site resorts. Let’s assume you and your spouse/partner both apply for the card to get the bonus, you charge $2,000 per month combined on your credit cards and your trip is in 18 months. Here is what you would have to offset the price of your trip:

Disney Rewards Visa:

Bonus: $50 X 2 = $100 Disney gift card

Monthly spending: $2000 X 18 months = $360

Total accumulated for Disney World trip: $460

 

Now the Disney Rewards Premier version:

Bonus: $100 X 2 = $200 Disney gift card

Monthly spending: $2000 X 18 months X 2X points (assuming all spending is on Disney, gas, groceries, restaurants): $720

Subtract Annual fees: $49 X 2 people X 2 years (since you’re keeping the card for 18 months) = $196

Total accumulated for Disney World trip: $724

 

Let’s compare that with another travel rewards card, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. It has 40,000 bonus points (worth $400 in travel award reimbursement) after spending $3000 in the first three months. It has an annual fee of $89 that is waived for the first year, and all purchases earn 2X points. I assume you and a spouse/partner both apply:

Barclaycard Arrival Plus:

Bonus: $400 X 2 = $800 in travel award redemption

Monthly spending: $2000 X 18 months X 2X points = $720

Subtract Annual fee: $89 X 2 people = $178 (only one year of fees since the first year is waived)

Total accumulated for Disney World trip: $1342

An update: This offer was recently increased to 50,000 miles, equal to $500 travel rebate.

 

A similar travel rewards card is the Capital One Venture Rewards. It has the same bonus and spending requirements as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, except the annual fee is only $59.

 

Capital One Venture:

Bonus: $400 X 2 = $800 in travel award redemption

Monthly spending: $2000 X 18 months X 2X points = $720

Subtract Annual fee: $59 X 2 people = $118 (only one year of fees since the first year is waived)

Total accumulated for Disney World trip: $1402

The math clearly shows that using a card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or the Capital One Venture Rewards will help you save up more money for your Disney vacation.

 

Caveats and the Fine Print

Of course, the answer is not always as clear cut. How easy is it to use all of these rewards for your Disney trip?

The Disney Chase Visa makes it very easy to use reward points. You can apply any amount, it doesn’t have to meet a certain threshold or round number. Just transfer your points to a rewards card and use it at the checkout. If your balance is $19.31, you can apply that to a park purchase or to your hotel bill with no issues. You can do it over the phone with Disney, or ask your travel agent to apply your funds.

With the Capital One Venture Rewards card, the minimum amount for points redemption is $25. For the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, the minimum redemption amount is $100. If you are going to be paying for a few nights at a Disney resort, these minimums are not a problem to hit. The challenge is when you have leftover points that are “wasted” because you don’t have enough to hit the minimum threshold to redeem.

Also, points from the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and Capital One Venture Rewards cards can only be redeemed for expenses coded as “travel.” Hotel and airfare are eligible, but restaurants and park tickets are not. However, people have reported success using points for park tickets when purchased through Undercover Tourist or through the Disney hotel concierge.

 

Double Dose of Rewards

If you really want to maximize your travel rewards for Disney, you could apply for both the Capital One Venture Rewards and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus (read about both here). Stagger your applications in order to meet the minimum spending for the bonuses, and cancel your first card before the annual fee hits in the second year. Assuming you have 18 months before your trip and two people apply for each card, the math and timing would look like this:

 

Month 1: Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Bonus: $400 X 2 people = $800

Monthly spending: $2000 X 12 months X 2X points = $480

No annual fee, since the fee is waived the first year

Total accumulated for Disney trip on Barclaycard Arrival Plus: $1280

Use the rewards to pay part of your Disney trip before cancelling the card.

 

Month 12: Capital One Venture Rewards

Bonus: $400 X2 people = $800

Monthly spending before your trip: $2000 X 6 months X 2X points = $240

No annual fee, since the fee is waived the first year

Total accumulated for Disney trip on Capital One Venture Rewards: $1040

 

Total accumulated for Disney trip using both cards together: $2320. Wow!

My family used this strategy to pay for our stay at Disney’s Aulani in 2015. Disney and travel agents have no problem using one credit card for partial payment and another card for a future payment.

 

Who Should Get the Chase Disney Visa?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t get the Chase Disney Visa. But if your goal is to earn travel rewards to reduce the cost of your Disney trip, other cards will give you a better result.

My husband and I actually have the Chase Disney Visa cards (the no-fee version). We’ve had them for over five years, before the premier version came out and I’m pretty sure before the Barclaycard Arrival Plus even existed.

We keep them because the 0% financing for six months comes in handy when we are trying to pay off a Disney Cruise. The final payment for the cruise is due three to four months before the sail date, so it’s nice to buy ourselves more time to pay it off  with no interest.

We can also charge our on-board expenses (like tips and excursions) to our Disney Visa before our trip, and those charges will get the free financing as well. Note: Anything you charge to your Disney Visa while on board (tips, souvenirs, etc.) will not get the free financing. You have to call Disney or your travel agent to make a payment to your onboard account a few days before your cruise to qualify.

What about the park benefits, like the merchandise discounts and the character meet-and-greet? We have used both, but honestly I don’t think it’s worth getting the card just for those things. The characters at the exclusive meet-and-greets are available in other parts of the parks, although the lines may be longer. If you go to Disney multiple times a year and spend thousands of dollars on dining and merchandise, consider getting the no-fee version of the Chase Disney Visa.

Have you used another travel rewards card to help pay for a Disney trip? Or are you loyal to the Chase Disney Visa?

This post was written by Nancy, who is a regular contributor. She also runs a blog Savingforadream and has an awesome YouTube channel.

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

21 thoughts on “Should I Get Chase Disney Visa for our Disney Trip?

  1. I totally agree with you! I would NOT advise anyone to get the Disney cards when there are so many better deals out there. I have the no fee card and was one of the first cardholders. I received it before I knew anything about miles and points. I keep it as it’s one of my oldest cards but never use it. I advise people to research before getting any card!

    • @Michelle–The Chase Disney Rewards card seems to be the holy grail within the Disney fan community. I don’t think most people (outside of this hobby) do a lot of research on cards. I plan to keep my no-fee version as well. 🙂

      • I know! I was one of those people. We went to Disney ten years in a row! Thankfully, we tried Discovery Cove and my kids said “why are we going to Disney, this is awesome. We want to snorkel in the ocean instead of a man made pool.” So began our adventures in the Caribbean!

  2. There is a $200 gift card bonus out there for the standard no-fee Disney Visa Rewards after $500 spend. I did this one myself and, per the site offering it, http://www.seeannsave.com/2015/04/11/free-200-disney-gift-card-when-you-open-a-disney-visa-card/ the offer is good through September 30, 2016. It is a total no-brainer for $200 towards Disney spending (good at the parks, Disney stores, cruises, etc.). I’ll add that the gift card came very quick after hitting the $500 spending target. The card doesn’t cost me anything, so I keep it around for the benefits and credit age. I only use it when I’m spending more than $50 at a park gift shop or the Disney store to get the 10% discount. In the future, I might possibly take advantage of the occasional exclusive offer or cruise financing benefit. There is no downside to the no-fee version.

    • @Erik I didn’t know that personal referrals are working at the moment. I guess so. They come and go. I saw this post on DoC too http://www.doctorofcredit.com/chase-disney-200-disney-credit-sign-bonus-no-af-50-per-referral-share-referrals/ It looks like links in the comments are working just fine. Maybe Nancy can add hers’ to this post!
      I’ve been looking at Chase Disney Visa myself, but the bonus is a bit low. If I knew for a fact that we will be going to Disney in a near future, I would probably pull the trigger.

    • @Erik–I agree that the $200 gift card bonus on the no-fee version is a great deal for certain situations. That’s the same deal that hooked me to sign up years ago.

      It looks like the link on that blog is a personal referral link. My card also has the same referral incentive right now (check yours, you may have it, too).

      Even with the $200 bonus on the no-fee card, I still can’t recommend the card for first-timers saving up for a Disney trip. Most people who ask me about getting a card for a Disney trip want to switch cards once and cash out before their trip. If they are willing to switch cards multiple times in the planning/saving phase, this would be a good option for card #3 (after the Arrival Plus and the Venture cards).

      I think the no-fee version (when it has the higher bonus) is a good option for savvy churners who have already had a round or two of the Arrival Plus and the Venture cards. I plan on keeping my no-fee card since it’s one of my older cards, and I go to Disney a lot. 🙂

      • @Nancy I would go ahead and add your referral link to the post in case someone wants to sign up. I agree, there are better deals available, but someone might be interested in $200 Disney gift card. Heck, I might be using your link myself at some point! It’s up to you, of course. 🙂

    • @Nancy I went ahead and added your link to the post (with disclosure, of course). I hope it’s OK. I don’t think I’ll be personally getting this card for at least few months, especially since I just got CSR. But I’m sure this offer will be of interest to some. Please, always feel free to add your Disney card referral link to the posts on Disney. It’s the best offer available, so why not? Most people won’t be applying, but some might find it worthwhile.

  3. @Nancy – I’m at Disneyland with my family now working our way through our barclay arrival plus minimum spend. Do we really get $800 in statement credit for travel purchases for the sign-up bonus? I’d expected only $400 based on barclays landing page for the card. I’d love to know how to double the bonus, if there’s a trick to it. Should I have booked the Disney hotel through barclays rather than my plan to apply a statement credit to the purchase?

    • @David–The $400 bonus is per card. If you have a spouse or partner who can apply for a separate card, the bonuses would total $800. My husband and I both applied for separate cards a few years ago to capitalize on the large bonus. I hope you’re having a great time at Disneyland! 🙂

  4. Perfect timing and I need a bit of advice. I have to pay off my Disney Cruise sailing from Miami (around 2k) in a couple of weeks and I am not sure what is the best option. I’ve been doing miles an points for a couple of years and applying for the Chase Disney is not going to happen because of 5/24 rules 🙁
    Right now I don’t have any minimum spends pending so I am not sure what to do.
    Should I use the Citi Prestige ou Chase Sapphire? I have 4k points on my Amex SPG and I can top off my account to get 1 free night (7k points) to use in Fort Lauderdale for 1 night stay on nice SPG hotel or I can get a OK Hyatt hotel with Hyatt points transferred from CSP. I want to stay in a nice hotel before the cruise but at the same time I don’t want to waste points. This hobby made me a snob for hotels!!! Am I the only one with this kind of dilemma???
    Any advice?
    Thanks for all the SUPER useful content.

    • @Tania Thanks for commenting and for your kind words! I’ll let Nancy (who wrote this post) chime in, but will give my two cents. First of all, I don’t believe Chase Disney Visa is currently subject to 5/24 rule. Obviously, no guarantees. I’m not saying you should apply for it, but if you did, you should be able to get 0% financing on your cruise for 6 months, and 2 points per dollar on top of the bonus. I’m not sure you’ll get the card in time, but you might. If you do decide to apply, I encourage you to consider using Nancy’s referral link in the post.
      When given the choice between paying with Citi Prestige and CSP, I would use CSP. The reason is, it earns 2 points in travel purchases. I believe Prestige earns 2 points on airfare and hotels. I wouldn’t use Amex SPG because I value 2 UR points higher than 1 SPG point. Plus, it looks like Hyatt has several decent properties in Fort Lauderdale area, some for only 8,000 points per night. Oh, and nothing wrong with wanting to stay in a nice hotel. You are on vacation!

      • Hi Tania! I agree with Leana’s advice above if you’ve already had the Arrival Plus or the Venture card. 🙂 I’m also partial to Hyatts. Have a great time on your cruise!

  5. Nancy and Leana,
    I don’t have the Arrival or the Venture. I applied once for both 2 years ago and got denied. I never tried again. I have good history with Barclays (Old UsAirways and Wyndham) so I am not sure why. My FICO is between 680-700. But no 6 figures income.
    My cruise is in January and I am due for another round off cc apps in 3 weeks. I was not planning to apply for cc due the fact I rather apply 2X – 3X a year max but Chase Disney is very enticing because of $200 bonus but the 0% finance doesn’t matter to me. Correct if I am wrong: If I spend $2000 (cruise only) I get 2 points per dollar I will get $40 + $200 bonus. I think I should apply for the Arrival or Venture again If I don’t get approve not a big deal 🙂 $400 bonus is better than $240 Disney Dollars. Correct??
    Thanks again

    • @Tania If I had to pick between Arrival Plus, Venture Rewards or Chase Disney card, I would go with the first one, hands down. Especially if you don’t care about 0% financing.
      Here is why:
      1) Barclays only pulls one credit agency, Capital One pulls all three.
      2) In my experience, Barclaycard is a bit easier to get approved for compared to Capital One. I know you got denied by Barclays before, but it doesn’t mean you won’t get approved now. Obviously, I can’t gurantee it, so the choice is yours.
      3) The bonus is richer on Arrival Plus compared to Disney card. Personally, I try to save my Chase apps for more lucrative bonuses. But everyone is different.

      Disney card offer is OK, don’t get me wrong. But I would definitely try to get Arrival Plus if at all possible. You’ll get 2 points per dollar which you can, in turn, redeem on travel later on. You can use your $400 bonus on cruise tips and many other travel purchases, as long as they are more than $100. Arrival Plus does pay commission if you apply through this site, though obviously, you are not under any obligation. Personally, I don’t follow a set schedule when it comes to applications, but do what you are comfortable with.
      Of course, there is nothing wrong with skipping Arrival Plus for now and just using CSP to pay for cruise. You’ll get 2 UR points per dollar, which are more valuable that 2 points you would earn via Arrival Plus card.

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