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UPDATE (October 2018): Disney hotels disappeared from the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal in summer 2018. Multiple sources have confirmed this was not a glitch or an availability issue. At the moment, you cannot book Disney hotels through Chase using Ultimate Rewards points. While we hope this feature will come back, for now you would have to use these strategies to book other hotels near Disney World.
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 one offered through the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program. In this post, we provide instructions for booking Disney hotels through the Chase travel portal, including using points!
What is the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel PortalThe Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal is the online portal through which points earned in the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program can be used to book travel. The following cards earn Ultimate Rewards points:
The Chase Ink Cash, Ink Plus, and Ink Business Preferred
If you only have the Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Ink Cash, or Sapphire (not Preferred or Reserve) card, you're going to be redeeming your ultimate reward points at 1 cent per point, usually in the form of a statement credit.
The real power comes if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred card. Then you'll be able to use those points for more than 1 cent per points (either 1.25 or 1.5 cents) by logging onto the Chase Ultimate Rewards website and accessing the Chase Travel portal.
On your Ultimate Rewards 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 credit card points. 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.
Booking Disney Hotels Through the Chase Travel PortalThe Chase travel portal doesn’t have access to every hotel or every rate, but there are a variety of Disney hotels in there.
1. Searching for Disney Hotels Through the Chase Travel Portal
Once you're on the portal page, you'll click "Hotels" and search from there. Here's how we search for Disney hotels:
For Disney World, search for properties near "Lake Buena Vista, FL"
For Disneyland, search for properties near "Anaheim, CA"
For Aulani, search for properties near "Kapolei, HI"
For all properties, use the "Filter" option on the left to filter by "Hotel Name: Disney"
Typically our searches yield about ten to fifteen Disney resorts at Disney World, and these vary over time. Usually we see deluxe, moderate, and value resorts.
2. Rates Through the Chase Travel Portal
When we did one search, it so happened that the “Gift of Magic” promotional rate was going on for those dates. The portal apparently didn't have access to that rate, though. Below is a table of the rates we found through the portal compared to the standard and promotional rates on the Disney World website.
|Hotel||Chase||Standard||"Gift of Magic"|
Usually the way taxes/fees/commissions come out, you might see prices a little higher on Chase than on the Disney website. In our example, the Beach Club is an interesting example of the portal having a better rate than the standard rate. You should always compare the rates you find on any portal to other sites, including the Walt Disney World site!
From the initial search results page, you can click through the the hotel you've chosen and see the room rates available. Each room type displays a nightly rate in cash and points and the total rate in cash and points.
3. Confirmation and Payment
After you click "Book" and then "Begin Checkout", you'll be taken to the checkout screen, where you can decide how many points to use. Remember, when shopping in the portal, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred cardholders 1.25 cents per point, and Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get an awesome 1.5 cents per point.
You'll have to pay for the balance using a Chase card. We recommend using a Chase Sapphire Preferred (2X on travel) or Chase Sapphire Reserve (3X on travel).
4. Link Your Disney Reservation
Once you book your travel, you'll get a confirmation email that contains your Disney confirmation number. For Disney World stays, you'll want to make sure you link your reservation to your My Disney Experience account. This will ensure you're able to take advantage of the 60-day Fastpass+ booking window that Disney guests get. For Disneyland, we suggest having Disney send you an email confirmation themselves. These tips apply when you book through any third party, not just Chase.
How Can I Get Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?You can get Chase Ultimate Rewards points through using one of the following cards, or (much more efficiently) by earning a signup bonus for signing up for the card and meeting a minimum spend in a specified time. These bonuses were last confirmed on February 1, 2018.
You maximize earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points by using the correct combination of cards. Doing this allows you to earn a baseline of 2.25 cents back per dollar spent on your cards.
|Suggested Reading: Check out our Guide to the Chase Ultimate Rewards Program|
Alternatives to Using the Chase Travel PortalThere are other ways to use your Ultimate Rewards points or to book your Disney hotel than using the travel portal. You'll want to consider these and make sure you understand whether this is the best option.
Why Is This Better Than Cash Back or Statement Credits?
As we said, certain Chase cardholders get more than 1 cent per point when booking through the travel portal. Statement credits are always just 1 cent per point. Assuming you travel with any sort of frequency (even once per year) and have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you should never use your points for less than 1.5 cents each. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you'll get 1.25 cents per point, which is still a decent deal. It is sometimes better to book a hotel through the portal than to transfer points to a partner and book the same exact room.
Is This A Good Use of Ultimate Rewards Points?
Look, 1.5 cents is not an optimal redemption for Ultimate Reward points (we've gotten over 7 cents before), but that doesn't mean this isn't a good redemption for you. Because of their transfer partners, particularly airline partners like Korean Air Skypass, Chase Ultimate Rewards points are quite valuable for booking premium travel experiences. If you're not planning to use the Ultimate Rewards points to redeem premium class flights or hotel stays, using them through the portal for travel is a next-best option.
Is This The Best Way To Book My Disney Hotel?
Two Final Options Using Ultimate Rewards Points
There are two other ways to use your Ultimate Rewards points for a Disney stay. If you have one of the "premium" Chase cards that allows you to transfer your points to partner hotels, you might find good options that way.
Ultimate Reward points transfer to Marriott at a 1:1 rate and then to Starwood at a 3:1 rate. To get the minimum 8,000 points per night required for a stay at the Dolphin, you'll have to shell out 24,000 Ultimate Reward points or $360 per night if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve. 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. Ultimate Reward points transfer to IHG and Marriott at 1:1, and generally we don't see good opportunities here. There might be a great redemption out there, but it isn't obvious, and as we're fans of the value Disney resorts, we doubt this option is really worth it.
All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered
Don't be overwhelmed by Disney World planning! Take a second to check out our most important content and you'll not only be an expert, but you'll save big $$$ along the way. If you're still picking dates, we've got everything you need to know about Disney crowd calendars. For picking your hotel, check out our Walt Disney World hotels guide.
Don't forget to master your Disney World Fastpass+ strategy a few months in advance. We'll keep you out of long lines so you can maximize the magical time in the parks!
Finally, before you head out, be sure to check out our to-the-point packing list, 10 essentials you forget to pack for every Disney trip. And if you're interested in saving, there's no better list than our 53 Ways to Save on your Disney trip from start to finish.