We’re heading to Universal Orlando next month to cast some spells at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. In fact, we’ll spend one full day reenacting the first book/movie, which is nerdy in the most fun way possible. We’re also nerdy when it comes to saving on vacations with credit card rewards. We save a ton and hope some of our strategies will help you too. Here are the 6 ways we saved $3,474 at Universal Orlando.
1) Flights on Southwest Airlines
When you use points with Southwest Airlines, it’s based on the cost of the flight not some confusing award chart. If you can find a cheap flight, it will be cheap on points.
We transferred the points from our Chase Ultimate Rewards account. Southwest is one of 13 travel partners with Chase. You can transfer your points at a 1:1 rate directly into your accounts for partners like Southwest, Hyatt, United and others.
We love Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It has a great sign up bonus (up to 55,000 points) and they waive the annual fee for the first year.
2) Hyatt House Across from Universal Orlando
The brand new Hyatt House Across from Universal Orlando is located within walking distance of the parks. And, it’s perfect for families. Our room type (pictured) is over 500 square feet and has a full kitchen for making meals. Plus, the hotel has free breakfast and washing machines & dryers for laundry.
When we booked our four night stay, our room would have cost $724.95 ($181 per night). Instead we used 32,000 points (8,000 per night) from our Hyatt account.
The new World of Hyatt Credit Card is offering a 60,000 point sign up bonus. You can stay at this hotel for an entire week with that many points and still have some left over.
3) Groceries Using Amazon Prime Now
The advantage of having a full kitchen in your hotel room is saving on meals. The Hyatt House Across from Universal Orlando offers free breakfast. But, we’re also planning to each lunch each day in our room to save money. Rather than taking a trip to the grocery store in an Uber, we’re going to use Amazon Prime Now to have groceries sent to our hotel.
The extremely nice people at the Hyatt House have offered to take our Amazon Prime Now delivery to our room and put it in our refrigerator so we can enjoy ourselves in the parks. How’s that for service!!!!
We think we’ll save about $30 a day ($120 over four days) eating lunches in our room versus buying lunch in the parks for our family of four.
4) Universal Orlando Park Tickets
Once again, Chase Ultimate Rewards to the rescue. We mentioned earlier that you can transfer points to 13 travel partners. You can also purchase travel directly from Chase using your points. It’s sort of works like Expedia except you get to pay with your points and/or cash.
One of the things you can purchase with points through Chase is theme park tickets. You can purchase tickets to Universal Studios, Disney Parks, Sea World, and more with your Ultimate Rewards. We’ve outlined how to do it for Universal tickets in this post.
The Sapphire Preferred comes with a sign up bonus of 50,000 points plus 5,000 more for adding an authorized user. Those 55,000 points will get you $687 toward your park tickets. We recommend this card because they waive the annual fee for the first year.
We saved $1,320.58 using Chase Ultimate Rewards for our 5-day tickets. (Did I mention we really love Harry Potter?)
5) Uber Gift Cards
We’ll need to Uber to and from the airport and we may need other rides as well. We used the Swagbucks Strategy at Best Buy which we originally outlined for buying discounted Disney gift cards. However, in this case, we’re using it for Uber gift cards. We’re purchasing $100 in Uber gift cards and we’ll save about $30.
6) Etsy Matching Shirts
You can’t go to Disney or Universal without matching shirts. You wouldn’t do it at any other point in your whole life. You’re even ashamed of that picture from your childhood when your parents did dress you like them. But, it’s a requirement at Disney or Universal. Just go with it.
First, if you’re going to shop at Etsy, use a shopping portal like Mr. Rebates. They give you 3% cash back on your purchases.
Then, if you have an American Express credit card, look in your Amex Offers. Etsy is routinely featured. In this case, we had a $10 rebate on a $40 purchase. And we have Dr. Seuss Thing 1-4 shirts to wear as a result. No, they’ll never get worn again. 🙂
Click a Link!
Many of the links on our website are referral links. When you use them, you get the same great deal, but we get some points for pointing you in the right direction. So, if any of this was helpful, use one of our links. We’ll name our next child after you.