A free night in a hotel every year just for paying your credit card’s annual fee. That’s the trade off on a handful of credit cards and it can be a lucrative one at that. Many credit cards with annual fees under $100 will get you free hotel stays each year worth well over $200. Here are a few we like and how we’d recommend using them on a Disneyland vacation.
This post is a part of our Top 10 strategies for Disneyland. Check out all the others to maximize your savings.
Rewards Cards with a Free Night
The Hyatt Card
For a $75 annual fee, you get a free night each year in a Category 1-4 hotel with The Hyatt Card. Most Category 3 and 4 Hyatt hotels average between $200 and $300 per night.
IHG Rewards Card (no new applications)
Once considered the very best annual free night deal of any credit card, for a $49 annual fee, you could get a free night at any IHG hotel in the world. Starting May 1, 2018, this benefit has been reduced to properties requiring 40,000 points or less (which still includes all Disneyland are hotels).
IHG Premier Rewards Card
Replacing the old IHG Rewards Card, this one has an $89 annual fee and also gives a free night each year in a hotel requiring 40,000 points or less. But, it also has some other perks like a 4th Night Free on points.
Marriott Rewards Premier
The Marriott Rewards Premier card comes with a free night in a Category 1-5 hotel for the $85 annual fee. This is the least generous of the three cards. You’ll typically be able to get $150-$200 in value from this perk.
Best Ways to Use Annual Free Night Rewards at Disneyland
1) Hyatt House Anaheim
A Category 3 Hyatt hotel, the Hyatt House Anaheim is our favorite way to use an annual free night reward. The hotel is only a half-mile walk to Disneyland, it averages nearly $250 a night, and it’s only about a year old.
2) Hotel Indigo Anaheim
Hotel Indigo is IHG’s attempt at creating a boutique hotel. It’s meant to feel a little more intimate and personal while reflecting the local community. We’ve stayed at this Hotel Indigo and really enjoyed our stay. It’s a short walk to Disneyland and has great reviews on TripAdvisor.
It averages a little over $200 per night, so your $49 or $89 annual fee is saving you some money.
3) Holiday Inn Express & Suites: Anaheim Resort Area
The Holiday Inn Express is the closest to Disneyland of any of the hotels on this list. It’s just under a half-mile walk on the East side of Disneyland. The free breakfast is nothing to write home about, but it is free… Coming in at nearly $225 a night on average, the $49/$89 annual fee on either of the credit card is a great trade off.
Why isn’t this higher on the list? You can’t book a specific room with your annual free night. You’ll either get 2 Queens or a King with sofa bed. They assign it at check-in. Hmm… nope.
4) Courtyard Anaheim Resort/Convention Center
The Courtyard Anaheim Resort/Convention Center is not THE Courtyard in Anaheim… the one with the water park. This is her little brother. But, this hotel was recently lowered to a Category 5 hotel, which means it’s eligible for Marriott’s free annual night.
This one is about a mile walk from Disneyland and typically costs around $225 per night. For an $85 annual fee, you’re still getting a great savings.
5) Hyatt Place Anaheim Resort/Convention Center
Your first choice should be the Hyatt House, but if it’s full, the Hyatt Place just down the street is a fantastic alternative. It’s a little further away (about a mile walk to Disneyland), but the rooms are spacious, the free breakfast is solid, and the reviews on TripAdvisor are great.
This hotel typically runs a little under $200 per night, still a great use of your $75 annual fee.
Suggestions on Credit Cards
The Hyatt Card is a great one to get and use. The sign up bonus is good, the amount you’ll earn on daily spending is solid, and the annual free night is great. We have referral link for this card and you’ll be contributing to our Disney addiction if you use it (but it’s a good kind of addiction so it’s okay).
IHG Premier Rewards is the kind you get if you stay with IHG regularly or for the annual free night. It has great ways to earn and use points when you stay at their hotels but not if you don’t. However, the $89 fee with an annual free night is still a positive trade-off, even if you put it in your drawer and don’t use it otherwise.
The Marriott Rewards Premier is kind of a blah card for us. Marriott Category 1-5 hotels are not typically “vacation” hotels. In most cases, they’re more like family road trip hotels if you know what I mean.