We Saved $1,660 On Our Universal Orlando Trip

Earlier this year, we shared with you How We Saved $1,822 at Universal Orlando on our annual daddy-daughter trip. We just booked our February 2017 trip to Universal Orlando and we saved $1,660 this year.

Before I tell you how we did it, here are a couple proud dad pictures from last year:

Hogwart's Express

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

Hotel

Five Free Nights – Saved $760.87

Our favorite credit card for hotel stays at Disney Parks and Universal is the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex. There are so many good options on points, but our very favorite is getting Five Free Nights at Disney’s Dolphin.

In this case, there’s also a fantastic option at Universal Orlando. The Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive is only a Category 2 Starwood hotel. This means it only costs 3,000 points a night on weekends (Fri & Sat) and 4,000 points during the week. The five nights we’ll be there cost us 19,000 points. The cost of the room at the time we booked it was $760.87.

Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive

This hotel is a great option when you want to save points. The Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive is an older three-star hotel about a mile from Universal Orlando. It’s nice and clean with comfortable beds, but it’s a little worn around the edges. It’s the kind of place you stay on a theme park trip when you plan to spend a lot of time in the parks and just a little bit of time in the hotel.

How To Earn SPG Points: The sign up bonus for the card is currently 25,000 points, so that’s the easiest way to earn them. While the card earns one point per dollar on most purchases, it also offers a variety of promotions. We got a 5,000 point bonus this Fall for spending $5,000. They’re also currently offering double points for purchases at small businesses right now. You can learn more about this card by reading our Starwood Preferred Guest Card Review or apply for the card HERE.

Flights

Two Free Flights – Saved $836

We live in Seattle, so Orlando is a long way away. We usually recommend Southwest Airlines or JetBlue for domestic flights. Both airlines tie the cost of the flights to the number of points they require. Cheap flight, cheap on points.

But, when flights are really expensive, it can make sense to look elsewhere. In this situation, it would have cost us just as many points to book these flights on Southwest. I’d rather save my Southwest points for shorter, less expensive flights. So, we used 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles we had from flying I do for work.

Tickets

Two Four-Day Park-to-Park Tickets – Saved $63.92

For discounts on Disney tickets we recommend Discounted Disney Gift Card strategies. But, that’s not really an option for Universal. In this case, Undercover Tourist was running a Cyber Monday special for the exact ticket we wanted. It was a pretty generous discount, saving more than $30 per ticket compared to the Universal website.

We never get Park Hopper tickets for our Disney trips. But, it’s the only way you can get on the Hogwart’s Express at Universal Orlando. This could be the most genius thing Universal has ever done. It’s one of the best rides in either park and gives you a real reason to spend the extra money.

What We Saved and Spent

We haven’t factored food and souvenirs yet, but so far we’ve saved $1,660.79 and spent $562.27.

What We Spent What We Saved
5 Nights at Four Points Hotel $0 $760.87
2 Roundtrip Flights $72.40* $836
2 Four-Day Park-to-Park Tickets $489.87 $63.92
Total $562.27 $1,660.79
*Includes fee for booking Delta flights through Alaska Airlines

 

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Starwood Preferred Guest Card

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  • What kind of points: Hotel and Airline
  • Sign Up Bonus: 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months
  • Annual Fee: $95 (waived first year)
  • How to Earn Points: 2x at Starwood, 1x on everything else
  • Value of a Point: 2.4 cents
  • How to Spend Points: Redeem for hotels and transfer to airlines for flights
  • Our favorite Use: Stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin