Why the Chase Disney Visa isn’t my favorite card for Disney vacations

I’m a Chase Disney Visa cardholder. I acquired it a while back to use it to finance my first Disney cruise. From a financial perspective, I didn’t actually need to finance the trip, I could have just paid for it up-front, but I wanted to spread the pain, and the Disney Visa has 0% interest for 6 months on Disney vacations.

The Chase Disney Visa

The Chase Disney Visa has some perks other than the 0% interest (there are occasional room discount offers, but the 10% off dining is probably my 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 or if you're a big spender on dining or merchandise at the resorts.

The Chase Disney Visa isn’t my favorite card for Disney World vacations, though. 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 (well, almost)—the Citi Prestige card.

The Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige is my favorite card for my Disney World vacations for one simple reason—4th night free. The Prestige’s 4th night free benefit is exactly what it sounds like: on hotel stays of 4 or more nights, you get the 4th night free (this is becoming 25% of the first four nights, effective July 23, 2017, which is slightly different). It works like this:

  1. Call the Citi Concierge and tell them you want to book four or more nights at a hotel—including Disney resorts.
  2. Make sure you’re looking at the same rates (and the same hotel), and give the concierge the details of your booking (i.e. dates).
  3. The concierge will book, and send you a confirmation that includes the amount you’ll get for the free night.
  4. Once you pay for your whole hotel stay on your Prestige, it takes 2-3 billing cycles to get the 4th night free back.

You can’t use 4th night free on trips of fewer than 4 nights, nor can you use it twice in one trip unless you split the trip over two hotels. This is really easy to do at Disney World, where the luggage team will move your luggage between two hotels. See how I did this to save over $2,000 on a trip here.

The Prestige also comes with a $250 annual travel credit, which can be applied toward airline tickets. This mostly serves to offset the $450 annual fee for the card. While I admit 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!

Another Contender...

I'm also a big fan of the Chase Sapphire Reserve for WDW trips. That card comes with the same $450 annual fee as the Citi Prestige, but the travel credit is $300. The big perk of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, as far as Disney trips go, is that it earns points at rates between 1x and 3x per dollar spent 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. Note, though, that there are cashback 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.

Disney hacks aren't all points and miles. Check out 8 ways to save on Disneyland without using points and miles!