Booking Disney World Hotels through the Chase Travel Portal

Update: The Chase Portal appears to have access to some Disney World resorts and Aulani, but not the hotels at the other parks (other than some partner hotels at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris).

Since Disney hotels don’t have their own loyalty program, you’re left to less conventional means to book Disney hotels with points. The most straightforward of these is to use a travel portal, like the Ultimate Rewards Portal.

You can book Disney experiences like this one through the Chase travel portal using your Ultimate Rewards points!

You can book Disney experiences like this one through the Chase travel portal using your Ultimate Rewards points!

What is the UR (or Chase) Travel Portal?

As you accumulate UR points, you have to figure out the best way to use them. On your UR page, you’ll see a drop-down for “Use Points,” the first option of which is “Explore & Book Travel.” This link takes you to what is colloquially known as the “travel portal.” Think of it like Expedia or Hotels.com—you book travel through the site at rates that are available to that site. Unlike Expedia or Hotels.com, though, your primary means of booking will be using UR points. What’s more, you’ll be redeeming these points at a rate that is determined by which card you’re using. If you’re using the Freedom or Freedom Unlimited, you’ll be booking at 1 cent per point. Chase Sapphire Preferred gets 1.25 cents per point, and Chase Sapphire Reserve gets an awesome 1.5 cents per point. You can book flights, hotels, cars, and activities through the portal. You’ll find flight and hotel rates generally match what you’re finding on other sites, though you won’t always see promotional discounts.

What makes the UR travel portal so important is that, with the right cards, it sets a floor of 1.5 cents per point on the value of your points, assuming you travel with any sort of frequency (even once per year) and have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. This means redemption options that are getting you less than 1.5 cents per point are easily ruled out. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you'll get 1.25 cents per point, which is still a decent deal. It is often better to book a hotel through the portal than to transfer points to a partner and book the same exact room.

Enjoy the legendary Yacht and Beach Club pool, courtesy of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

Enjoy the legendary Yacht and Beach Club pool, courtesy of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points!

Booking Disney Hotels Through the Chase travel Portal

The portal doesn’t have access to every hotel or every rate, but there are a variety of Disney hotels in there. I did a search for March 15, 2017 to March 20, 2017 and found 10 of 25 resorts (I actually had to repeat the search to find this number about 20 minutes after I first did it, and I came back with different results).

When I did the search, it so happened that the “Gift of Magic” promotional rate was going on for those dates. The portal apparently doesn’t have access to that rate, though. Below is a table of the rates I found through the portal compared to the standard and promotional rates on the Disney World website.

It should be noted that the UR portal includes taxes in its displayed rate, which is why the portal rates are close but slightly off of the standard rates. The Beach Club is an interesting example of the portal having a better rate than the standard rate.

Is It Worth It?

1.5 cents is not an optimal redemption for UR points, but that doesn't mean this isn't a good redemption for you. If you're not planning to use the UR points to redeem premium class flights or hotel stays, redeeming them for straight airfare and hotel stays is a pretty decent redemption option.

What about the Citi Concierge?

The bigger issue is Chase not having access to promotional rates through the portal. If you have the Citi Prestige, which has the 4th night free benefit, you can book Disney hotels through the concierge to capture some value. I can't say I've used the Citi Concierge to book a promotional Disney rate, but I have used it for other promotional hotel rates, so I suspect that by using the Citi concierge you could be looking at 20-25% off of the discounted rate, which comes out to a total of about 33% when the promotional discount is 10% off.

If you're not looking to book at a promotional rate, then booking through the portal gets you about 33% off the standard rate in that you're getting 1.5 cents per point as opposed to the bare minimum 1 cent per point. So the Concierge and Chase break about even, but the difference is in one (the Concierge) you're earning points at 3x per dollar, and in the other (Chase) you're using them at a sub-optimal rate.

Other Options Using UR Points

Another option for redeeming UR points for a Disney stay would be to use them to get Starpoints. You'll have to go through Marriott and wind up at a 3:1 transfer ratio, so to get the minimum 8,000 points per night required for a stay at the Dolphin, you'll have to shell out 24,000 UR points or $360 per night. That is far more than the prepaid room rate of $301 for the same stay, so not a great option.

Finally, you might look into good neighbor hotels. These turn out to be pretty poor redemption options. UR points transfer to IHG and Marriott at 1:1, and looking at two options indicates you're just not getting your points' worth. There might be a great redemption out there, but it isn't obvious, and as I'm a fan of some of the lower-cost Disney resorts, I doubt I'd find one that was really worth it.

Using the Chase portal is part of one of our favorite hacks, getting four nights in Disney's Aulani, with a partner, with first class flights using just two signup bonuses!