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Hotel options for Disney World abound. You can stay at a Disney resort, you can stay on property at the Swan or Dolphin, which get some Disney hotel perks but aren't operated by Disney, you can stay on property at other hotels, or you can stay off property, including at a Good Neighbor Hotel. Each of these options will have ways to book using points. In this post, we go through the options and give a quick overview of each. This post and its companion posts are always in development, so check back for more!
Booking the Swan and Dolphin with Starpoints or Marriott Points
Booking a stay at the Swan or Dolphin with points is your most straightforward option of getting a Disney experience with points. That's because those hotels are actually owned and operated by Starwood, now a part of Marriott. This is, for example, why you'll book room-only bookings through the Swan and Dolphin websites, and not the Disney World website. We have a guide to booking the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin with points.
Pros of this Method: Swan & Dolphin are great hotels with most Disney benefits. Great value using your Starpoints this way. Easy to get enough Starpoints for a seven night stay. You can transfer Marriott Points to Starwood, which expands the options for earning points for this stay.
Cons of this Method: This only works at Swan & Dolphin, which are not owned by Disney. Starpoints are some of the most valuable points around, so you might not want to use them this way.
Credit Cards Involved: Primary cards involved are
- The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card
- The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card
- Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card, which as of this writing has a signup bonus of 100,000 points for $5000 spent in 3 months, $95 annual fee
- Marriott Rewards Premier Business Credit Card, which as of this writing has a signup bonus of 75,000 points for $3000 spent in 3 months, $99 annual fee
Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards cards can be helpful, too.
Typical Nightly Rate: 8,000 to 12,000 points + about $25 resort fee
Booking Disney Hotels Through Chase Travel Portal
**UPDATE** As of July 2018 this method is no longer working. We are trying to determine whether this is a temporary or permanent change.
The best way to book actual Disney hotels with points is to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. We have a guide to booking Disney hotels through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
The Chase portal varies in which hotels it shows, and it offers the non-discounted rate at Disney hotels. If there is an ongoing discount, or if you can find a good discounted rate elsewhere, using the Ultimate Rewards portal might not be your best option.
Pros of this Method: You'll get more than 1 cent per points and these points are easy to earn. You can choose between a wide variety of official Disney hotels. You can also book many non-Disney resorts.
Cons of this Method: This isn't the best use of your Chase Ultimate Reward points. You usually won't see the discounts available directly through Disney.
Credit Cards Involved
- Chase Sapphire Preferred (referral link)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (referral link)
- Chase Freedom (referral link)
- Chase Freedom Unlimited (referral link)
- Chase Ink Cash/Business Preferred
Typical Nightly Rate: 10,000 points for value resort, 30,000 and up for deluxe resorts
Book Three Disney Springs Hotels With Hilton Points
The Disney Springs hotels got a big boost heading into 2018, as it was announced they would have access to Extra Magic Hours. Moreover, when booked as part of a vacation package (see "Cons" below), you'll get access to a 60-day window for booking Fastpass+ (which can be quite important), instead of 30 days. Three Disney Springs Hotels are Hilton Hotels:
As Hilton hotels, these hotels can be booked using Hilton points.
Pros of this Method: Hilton points aren't too difficult to come by. Disney Springs hotels usually are considered better hotels (dollar for dollar) than the Disney hotels. You'll have access to Extra Magic Hours.
Cons of this Method: Redemption options aren't stellar value unless you have a lot of Hilton points already. You won't get the 60-day Fastpass+ window that you'd get by booking a vacation package.
Credit Cards Involved: Hilton Honors Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express; Other American Express Membership Rewards Cards can be helpful. Citi ThankYou cards can also be helpful.
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! We've got park-specific guides as well: Magic Kingdom FastPass, Epcot FastPass, Animal Kingdom FastPass, and Hollywood Studios FastPass.
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.