We just returned from our nearly free trip to Disney. We saved $2,326.41 and only paid $263.60 out of pocket. We did it on points using three specific credit cards. Any of these three cards can save you a great deal on your next Disney vacation. Here’s how we got free flights, free hotel, and cash for tickets and food:
We love Southwest Airlines! Forget the 25,000 points traditional carriers charge for reward flights. With Southwest, the number of points you pay is related to cost of the flight. Cheap flight = cheap on points. Since Southwest has so many cheap flights, you can get some fantastic deals on points. In our case, each round trip flight cost 9,529 Rapid Rewards plus $11.20 in taxes. The flights would have cost $178.97 each if we’d paid cash. Our family of three saved a total of $503.31 and spent 28,587 points plus $33.60.
|Full Price Per Flight||$178.97|
|Points Price Per Flight||9,529 Rapid Rewards + $11.20 in taxes|
We recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred for earning Southwest Rapid Rewards. The points you earn on the Sapphire Preferred can be transferred to Southwest, Hyatt, United, and eight other travel partners, giving you great flexibility. It also comes with a 55,000 point sign up bonus, which will go a long way on your next Disney vacation.
Starwood has the single most valuable point in the rewards world! And, it has great hotel options for Disneyland and Disney World vacations. They own the Swan (Westin) and Dolphin (Sheraton) as well as the Sheraton Park Anaheim and the Hotel Menage. We opted for the economical (on points) option at Disneyland for this trip and chose the Hotel Menage. It’s a close walk to Disneyland and only 7,000 Starpoints per night. Plus, with Starwood you get a 5th night free on points at all the hotels just mentioned. So, 28,000 points got us five free nights. These five free nights would have cost us $853.10 if we had paid cash.
|Five Nights Full Price||$853.10|
|Five Night Points Price||28,000 Starpoints|
The Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express comes with a sign up bonus of 25,000 points. So, with little more than the sign up bonus, we took a big chunk out of the cost of our vacation.
Park Tickets and Food
Our favorite credit card for earning cash quickly is the no annual fee Discover it Cash Card. It earns up to 10% cash back! You get 5% cash back in certain bonus categories and Discover doubles ALL your cash back at the end of the first year.
We’d earned $450 cash back when it was time to book our trip this summer. We had another $500 in Disney gift cards on hand that we’d accumulated at birthdays and Christmas (people we love know we love Disney). We put it all in our Disney Vacation Account to get the free $20 gift card. Between our cash back and the gift cards, we had $970 to use toward tickets and food.
Our park tickets were $825 total and we spent about $375 on food, a total of right around $1,200. So, we spent $230 out of pocket.
|Discover it Cash Back||$450|
|Disney Gift Cards On Hand||$500|
|Disney Vacation Account Bonus||$20|
|Total Savings on Tickets and Food||$970|
Where You Should Start
Any one of these strategies could save you hundreds of dollars. For a quick win, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Starwood Preferred Guest have great sign up bonuses that can save you around $1,000 in no time. The no annual fee Discover it Cash Card is our favorite for fee-conscious folks who want to earn cash quickly for park tickets or vacation packages.
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