Disney’s parks and resorts are a favorite destination for many families, but it can really add up to the cost of a Disney trip. If you’re planning a family vacation to any Disney theme park, you might want to maximize your credit card rewards, and a Disney credit card could look like a good way to do that— but is a Disney rewards card worth it?
Disney actually offers two rewards credit cards, but only one of the two is the Disney Premier Visa that offers a reasonable rewards program. But while you can receive bonus points for several different spending categories, with the Disney Premier Visa, rewards redemption options are somewhat limited.
So, even if you’re about to head to Disneyland so your family can enjoy some fun with Mickey and Minnie, you may find that another rewards credit card is best for you.
10% off merchandise purchases of $50 or more at certain Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, and Aulani gift shops, as well as 10% off $50 purchases online at DisneyStore.com.
10% off certain restaurants at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
15% off tours at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
10% off certain recreation at Walt Disney World.
10% off Castaway Cay recreation packages for Disney Cruise Line.
20% off select spa services aboard Disney Cruise Line.
Exclusive character meet & greet locations at Epcot and Disney California Adventure, both only available to Chase Disney Visa holders. The characters at these locations are “random,” and you don’t know who you’ll get before entering the locations, but at both locations only a few characters appear.
A free PhotoPass photo download when you visit the characters at the exclusive meet & greets.
Discounts to Disney Broadway musicals.
No interest for 6 months on theme park or cruise packages when charging the package to their Chase Disney Visa prior to arrival if booked through Disney or by a Disney-authorized travel agent.
No annual fee (obviously the Premier card differs in that it has a $49 annual fee).
Rewards Redemption Pros
No reward limits
Redeem rewards for theme park tickets, resort stays, Disney dining, Disney merchandise (at Disney stores or with vouchers at participating retailers), Disney and Star Wars movies at participating theaters (must have voucher)
No blackout dates on Disney vacation packages
Can transfer more dollars onto existing redemption card
Rewards expire 5 years from date posted to account
Minimum $20 in reward dollars to request redemption card
Minimum $10 in reward dollars to transfer onto existing card
Can only use sign-up bonus at select participating stores at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Disney stores and online at DisneyStore.com
Discounts don’t count toward tickets, gift certificates, gift cards, park admission, arcades, Disney Dollars, outdoor vendors, photos or other non-eligible merchandise
Must spend at least $50 per transaction to receive merchandise discounts
Disney redemption card required to redeem reward dollars (must order online three weeks in advance or go to special location in parks to get card)
Only two redemption cards per account
Redemption cards and vouchers expire after a year, but you may transfer rewards to new card before it expires
Savings on merchandise, dining and more
If you’re a fan of merchandise from Disney or Star Wars or have a Disney holiday in store, you can find significant discounts on apparel, dining, guided tours and even spa treatments in the Disney ticket.
At Disney retail locations, you can get a 10 percent discount if you mention the rewards perk of your card holder at the register. When applying the promotion code DRVCMEMBER to your shopping cart, you get the same 10 percent discount while shopping online at Disneystore.com.
Visitors to Disney theme parks are eligible for a 10% savings at select dining locations, 15 percent savings on select guided tours and recreation experiences, and 15% savings on select Walt Disney World Resort spa and salon treatments. Get the full list of participating restaurants and tours.
Your card member discount is one great benefit that can really add up. However, it comes with a few limitations. A purchase minimum of $50 is needed to receive a discount, and you must use the credit card or a redemption card to pay for your swag.
You can not use your discount in combination with other offers or discounts. Additionally, there is a long list of excluded items, including gift certificates, park admission, arcades, outdoor vendors and photos.
Special experiences you won’t get anywhere else
Disney enthusiasts will love the benefits that come with the Disney Visa card. Card members are entitled to exclusive privileges, including a private card member phone line, private meet-and-greets with your favorite Disney and Star Wars characters and other exclusive card member events.
Note that these events can fill up, so you’ll want to check the Disney rewards website to reserve a spot in advance.
Special financing on Disney vacation packages
If your kids are clamoring for a visit to Disneyland or Walt Disney World, when booking with the Disney Visa card, you will especially love the ability to finance various vacation packages at 0 interest.
For six months, a fixed APR of 17.74 percent kicks in, so be sure to pay the entire balance before interest begins to accrue. It can make it a little easier to make the dream vacation of your family a reality by distributing the payments rather than coughing up the cash up front.
Sadly, there are lots of restrictions when it comes to redeeming Disney reward dollars. You will first need to order the required Disney redemption card online at least three weeks prior to your visit.
Otherwise, you will have to spend time getting the card from a special location inside the park. Most people won’t like waiting in line without a roller coaster or other amusement waiting at the end.
Also, a minimum of $20 in reward dollars is necessary to even request a redemption card in the first place. The card itself expires after a year, though you can transfer rewards to a new card prior to the expiration date.
Rewards expire five years from the date they post to your account, so if you don’t plan on visiting a Disney park before then, it doesn’t make much sense to apply for the Disney Visa card.
Compare to the Disney Premier Visa card
True Disney fans could choose the Disney Premier Visa card with better rewards in order to experience the same fringe benefits.
While the Disney Premier Visa card has an annual fee of $49, it currently comes with a better sign-up bonus (a $200 Disney gift card after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months) and $2 percent in purchases in grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants and most Disney locations.
Other purchases, like the Disney Visa card, earn 1 percent. Everything being equal, the Disney Premier Visa is probably the best deal for regular Disney visitors or serious collectors.
Why get the Disney Visa card?
You’re a frequent visitor to Disney theme parks and resorts.
You are a longtime collector of Disney or Star Wars memorabilia and want to take advantage of the card’s merchandise discounts.
You’re planning a big family vacation to Disney and want more time to pay.
You don’t mind sorting through the Disney Visa card’s redemption restrictions.
You don’t plan to use this as your primary (or even secondary) credit card.
How to use the Disney Visa card:
Order a Disney redemption card at least three weeks prior to your park or resort visit to make redeeming reward dollars easier.
Refrain from using the card at overseas Disney theme parks and resorts, as you’ll incur a 3 percent foreign transaction fee on each purchase.
To avoid losing the rewards you’ve accumulated, be sure to transfer them to a new redemption card before your current card expires in 12 months.
Despite no annual fee, variable APR and complex guidelines on redemption, Disney Credit Card is not a perfect option if you’re not a fan of Disney goods or if you don’t have a Disney family trip on your calendar.
While Disney merchandise discounts and Disney holiday package special financing are appealing to some, a mere 1 percent incentive dollar bonus and a ho-hum sign-up bonus means there are better options for Disney devotees –whether you’re opting for a general travel credit card or a Disney Premier Visa card.