Why should Disney travelers care about travel hacking?
“When you are earning flights or miles, the first thing you should do is have a specific travel goal in mind,” -Brian Karimzad, Director of Milecards.com
Disney travelers actually have a leg up on many new travel hackers because they already have a destination in mind. Whether it is getting a family of four to Disney World, or flying first class to Aulani for four nights, Disney travelers know what they want and can tailor their travel hacking to that goal.
What's more, Disney is always going to be more expensive than some other alternatives. Travel hacking allows you to do Disney for less or to choose how you want to spend your money. For example, using basic travel hacking, you might be able to get club level for less than everyone else is playing for a standard room.
I don't travel a lot, and I don't want to do anything scammy, should I just leave now?
Absolutely not! The entire purpose of Mouse Hacking is to get ordinary people to Disney using points, miles, discounts, and deals. You don't have to be a frequent flier to take advantage of our advice. In fact, people who travel hack day in and day out are going to have more trouble using our favorite strategies than someone who takes one trip a year.
More importantly, we're not advocating anything unseemly. You're not going to have to put on a disguise and try and buy a money order at Walmart using your credit card. Our advocated process relies on using your ordinary spending to earn sign-up bonuses at a reasonable frequency. No, you're probably not going to get a million points this year using our strategies, but you also don't need a million points to take a great trip!
What is a sign-up bonus, and why should I care?
Sign-up bonuses are the single best way to earn lots of points at low-to-no cost to you. Credit card companies want you to get their cards and accumulate a balance, hoping that you'll fall behind on payments and they'll collect interest and penalties. To entice you to do that, they offer sign-up bonuses. Sign-up bonuses almost always require you to spend between $3,000 and $5,000 on the card within 3 months. Typically, you'll find multiple bonuses being offered for 50,000 points if you hit the minimum spending, with 25,000 to 40,000 being more common and 100,000 being rare. The steps for earning a signup bonus are simple:
- Find a page which advertises the offer you are seeking. While we mostly discuss public offers on this site, you should know that companies will often target you with unique offers. Alternatively, you will sometimes have to use specific links to get specific signup offers.
- Click through to the application from that page.
- Signup and be approved for the card.
- Complete the minimum spend in the time period beginning from when you are approved for the card.
- Receive your bonus points in 1 - 2 billing cycles.
What good are these points? Well it's all about knowing how to use them. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has a 100,000 Ultimate Reward point sign-up bonus available if you apply in-branch (this offer was formerly available online, but the online offer is now just 50,000 points). 100,000 Ultimate Reward points for a Reserve cardholder could be used for any of the following:
- $1,500 spent on flights or hotels
- 2 round-trip tickets to Hawaii in first class
- 1 way international in the Singapore Airlines first class A380 Suite product
What if I don't spend $4,000 in 3 months, should I get my disguise and try to buy a money order?
Many churners advocate, and some successfully use "manufactured spend" where they buy things like money orders or other cash equivalents with their cards to hit sign-up bonuses. We don't advocate that. We've got a full post on how you can hit minimum spending requirements without doing anything that makes you uncomfortable.