Using Points for Disney: Peak Vs. Value Season

You’re planning to travel to Disney on points. Should you travel in peak or value season? Does it matter? Yes, and it all depends on whether you’re using a fixed or cash-based point program. We’ll explain what that means how you’ll know what to choose.

Fixed Point Program

A fixed point example would be the Dolphin. It costs 10,000 Starwood points per night no matter when you stay. Hyatt is the same. A stay at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is 15,000 points per night all year. When you’re using fixed points, you’ll get the most value staying during peak season.¬†Visiting Disney at Christmas can be quite expensive if you’re paying cash. But, when you’re using a fixed point system, you’ll pay the same in points no matter what.

Examples of Fixed Point Programs

  • Starwood
  • Marriott
  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • American
  • United

Cash-Based Point Programs

A cash-based system ties the cost in points to the cash price. If the cash price is expensive, it will cost you more points. The best example of this is Southwest Airlines. A flight will cost less or more in points based on the cash price of that flight. When you’re using cash-based points, you’ll save points by staying during value season.

Another example is if you’re planning to purchase a Disney Vacation Package using Chase Ultimate Rewards. When you’re booking travel directly through Chase, the amount of points you’ll pay is tied to the cost of the vacation package.

Examples of Cash-Based Programs

  • Southwest
  • JetBlue
  • Hilton (a combination but becoming more cash based)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards (booked travel through Chase)
  • Capital One Miles
  • Barclaycard Arrival Miles

How to Choose

The best place to start is to decide when you want to travel.¬†We’ve got a trip planned to Disneyland during President’s Day week. This is usually quite an expensive time to travel. So, for that trip we’re going to use Starwood points and stay at the Sheraton Park Anaheim (fixed point program).

Next summer, we’re planning a trip to Disney World for the last week of August. Our kids don’t start school until after Labor Day, so it works for us and prices are usually quite low. In that example, we’re going to use Chase Ultimate Rewards to book a Disney Vacation Package (cash-based program).