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Happy May! We're back with a new post on how to do Walt Disney World for (Almost) Free! Every month (well we skipped April) we show how we'd use signup bonuses to earn an almost free trip to Walt Disney World!
Things to Remember About the Almost-Free SerieS
Before we move on, we'd like to remind you of a few things about the almost free series.
These Posts Are All About Signup Bonuses
A signup bonus is what a credit card company gives you for spending some amount of dollars in some timeframe when you get their card. If you need to know more about signup bonuses, check out our starter post here.
We Could Make It Totally Free, But That Might Not Make Sense For You
While having a plan for a totally free trip would have more of a "Wow!" factor, the truth is that once you get past flights, hotels, and some easy signup bonuses, the returns really start to diminish.
For example, there are lots of cards that offer $100 or $150 as a signup bonus. We could just tell you to keep going out and getting these cards, but they're actually rarely worth the effort.
There Are Many Ways to Do Walt Disney World For Almost Free
Be sure to check out some past posts. Even if they have expired offers, it's good to see how flexible your options are. Here are the past three:
- March (similar to this month, but with more cash back / statement credits)
- February (a simple strategy for resorts other than Swan and Dolphin)
- January (with more flexible choice of airlines)
Your options expand with a partner
If you have a partner who can also earn signup bonuses on credit cards, you'll have even more options. You can generally only earn a signup bonus once (usually either in a lifetime or every two years). With a partner, though, you'll be able to earn major points. When the Chase Sapphire Reserve was offering 100,000 bonus points, we both got the card to build a stockpile of 200,000 points!
And now, this month's hack...
1. How to Get Seven Nights at the Walt Disney World Dolphin for $85
The Walt Disney World Dolphin is a Starwood hotel bookable with Starpoints. You can convert Marriott points into Starpoints, which creates some great opportunities to save on your Disney hotel!
Signup for the Chase Marriott Rewards for 100,000 points
Chase has currently boosted the sign-up bonus for the Marriott Rewards Premier credit card to 100,000 Marriott points for $5,000 spend in the first 3 months.
This means after spending $5,000 in 3 months, you'll have at least 105,000 Marriott points. Marriott points can be converted to Starpoints at a 3:1 ratio, so your 105,000 Marriott points are worth 35,000 Starpoints.
Signup for the SPG Amex for 25,000 Starpoints
The SPG Amex is back to its typical signup bonus of 25,000 Starpoints for spending $3000 in 3 months. With both these signup bonuses, you'll have a total of 60,000 Starpoints.
Those 60,000 Starpoints are good for SEVEN nights at the Walt Disney World Dolphin. The standard nightly rate for that hotel is 10,000 Starpoints, but when you book with Starpoints you get your fifth night free.
The Chase Marriott has an $85 annual fee, while the SPG Amex's $95 annual fee is waived the first year. So with these two cards, you'll get SEVEN nights at the Walt Disney World Dolphin for $85 in return for spending $8,000 on the cards over 6 months.
IMPORTANT: If you're going to get these cards to earn Starpoints, start with the Chase Marriott. 100,000 is a higher bonus than usual, so it won't be around long. Moreover, with Marriott getting absorbed by Starwood, we don't know how long this card will even be around.
2. How to Get Four Roundtrip Flights to Orlando for $95
While American Airlines doesn't have great Saver award availability overall, I see a lot of availability flying into Orlando. Within the contiguous United States, a round-trip saver ticket will cost you 25,000 AAdvantage miles. A family of 4 needs 100,000 miles to cover their flights to Orlando. Getting 100,000 AAdvantage miles is easier than ever.
Signup for the Citi Aadvantage for 60,000 Miles
The Citi AAdvantage card is offering an increased bonus of 60,000 miles for $3000 spent in 3 months. Very important: while the 60,000 offer is public and you can get to it from the above link or by googling "Citi AAdvantage 60,000", you'll only see 30,000 if you just go to Citi's website. Make sure you sign up for the right offer (it looks like the above photo)!!
Signup for the Barclay Aadvantage Aviator red for 40,000 miles
The Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Red offers a stunning bonus of 40,000 AAdvantage miles on your first purchase!
The annual fee on the Citi is waived the first year ($95 thereafter) and on the Barclay is $95 (not waived). Between these two cards, you'll get 100,000 AAdvantage miles for $3001 spent and a $95 annual fee.
3. Adding Up Hotel + Flights = $180
To earn your seven nights and four round-trip flights, you'll need to spend $11,000 over a maximum of 9 months (plus the $1 purchase on the Barclay). This isn't an outrageous amount, but we've got tips on hitting minimum spend if you need them. You'll pay two annual fees (on the Barclay and the Chase Marriott) totaling $180.
4. What About Tickets & Incidentals?
In the past, we've covered how to pay for tickets. From now on, our monthly series will just have a closing section on the best other signup bonuses that you can use for tickets and incidentals. Our hope is that this allows you to focus on where the maximum value comes from (flights and hotel stays), while still giving you what you need to save on tickets and incidentals.
- Barclaycard Arrival Plus - Earn 50,000 bonus miles after $3000 spend in 90 days
- Chase Sapphire Reserve - Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months ($450 annual fee, but you can use the $300 travel credit twice the first year)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred - Same signup bonus as the Reserve, but without the annual fee and the travel credit