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We're proud holders of the Chase Disney Rewards Visa.This might seem obvious. "Duh! You love Disney! You love credit cards! Why wouldn't you love the Disney credit card?!" Well, while we are fans of the Disney Visa, it actually isn't out favorite card for Disney vacations. Find out why...
What Makes A Good Vacation Card?
We've written elsewhere about picking the single card you should travel to save up for your Disney vacation. Here, we're talking about what card you should use to pay for that vacation. The true answer is that you should use a mix of cards and that your circumstances will impact what's best for you. But actually there are some pretty obvious contenders, including our personal favorite, if you just had to pick one card.
The Chase Disney Visa - Good for the perks
The Chase Disney Visa isn't our favorite card for Disney trips, but we have to mention it. The Chase Disney Visa has some great perks (there are occasional room discount offers, but the 10% off dining is probably our favorite perk). It is a good card if you can afford your trip but don’t want to be hit with the big bill all at once (0% interest for 6 months) or if you're a big spender on dining or merchandise at the resorts. The Chase Disney Visa cards also give you access to the Disney Rewards program, which allows you to earn Disney Rewards dollars you can spend on Disney vacations.
So why isn't it our favorite card for Disney vacations? As a recent promo, Disney had an offer of 25% off select hotel rooms at Disney World during select times. Wow! 25% off is actually a lot for a Disney hotel. But it turns out there’s a better way to get that same 25% off — the Citi Prestige card.
The Citi Prestige - Better for Disney Savings
The Citi Prestige is our favorite card for Disney World vacations for one simple reason—4th Night Free. The Prestige’s 4th night free benefit is roughly what it sounds like: on hotel stays of 4 or more nights, you get 25% of the first four nights of your stay. You can now book Disney hotels using the 4th night free benefit online, an upgrade from the past when you had to call the Citi Concierge to do so.
You can’t use 4th night free on trips of fewer than four nights, nor can you use it twice in one trip unless you split the trip over two hotels. A split stay is really easy to do at Disney World, where the luggage team will move your luggage between two hotels. We did this as part of saving over $2,000 on a Walt Disney World trip. 4th Night Free can even be combined with some Disney hotel deals, which adds up to huge savings!
The Prestige also comes with a $250 annual air travel credit, which can be applied toward airline tickets. This mostly serves to offset the $450 annual fee for the card. While we think this is a steep fee, it is easily offset by the annual travel credit and the 4th night free hotel benefit. Plus, if you catch a good signup bonus, you can get over $500 in value right back. If you downgrade the card when the second annual fee comes around, you’ve turned a profit!
We're also a big fan of the Chase Sapphire Reserve for Walt Disney World trips. That card comes with the same $450 annual fee as the Citi Prestige, but the travel credit is $300. That travel credit is quite generous, and we've even earned it for purchases of discount Disney World tickets through Undercover Tourist.
The big perk of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, as far as Disney trips go, is that it earns 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on dining and travel (including Disney hotels) that can be redeemed at 1.5 cents per point toward travel, including for stays at Disney hotels. There are better redemption options generally for those points, but if you're all about Disney, 1.5 cents per dollar spent is a decent return.
If you're a Walt Disney World regular, you know how easy it is to put everything you purchase on your Magic Band. Since your Magic Band goes to your hotel bill, when you check out and pay with your Chase Sapphire Reserve, you'll be earning 3X points on your entire stay!
Finally, remember that there are cash back cards that will give you 2 cents per dollar spent. To that end, it pays to know the top trick to maximizing your Ultimate Rewards points.