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Best credit cards for a Disney vacation

Entry to Disney World
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Entry to Disney World
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Disney vacations aren’t cheap, but for many people, they can be a dream come true. Whether you’re planning to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, California or the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, a Disney trip gives you the opportunity to experience thrill rides, enjoy fine dining, relax by the hotel pool and make memories with loved ones.

A Disney vacation also gives you the opportunity to earn significant credit card rewards, especially if you choose the right card for your upcoming Disney trip. Deciding which card to take on your Disney vacation is a lot easier than deciding whether to get the Dole Whip or the Mickey Bar — and if you want to use multiple credit cards to earn rewards on everything from checked bags to churros, here’s how to optimize your wallet for Disney.

Best credit cards for Disney

Chase Disney Premier Visa Card*: Best for Disney purchases and perks

If you want to save money on Disney in-park purchases — plus get access to exclusive photo opportunities and character experiences — you should consider the Chase Disney® Premier Visa® Card. This co-branded card lets you earn 5 percent in Disney Rewards Dollars on eligible purchases made directly at DisneyPlus.com, Hulu.com or ESPNPlus.com; 2 percent in Disney Rewards Dollars at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney locations; and 1 percent in Disney Rewards Dollars on all other purchases. Once you’ve earned your Disney Rewards Dollars, you can redeem them toward Disney park tickets, resort stays, shopping or dining — or, if you prefer, use them as a statement credit to cover the cost of your flights.

Disney benefits include a 0 percent intro APR for six months on select Disney vacation packages (after that, a variable APR of 15.49 percent to 24.49 percent); 10 percent off select Disney purchases at shopDisney.com; 10 percent off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at select locations at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts; 10 percent off select dining locations on most days at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts with your credit card; 15 percent off non-discounted, select guided tours at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts with your credit card; exclusive photo opportunities with Disney or Star Wars characters, held in private locations at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts; and a customizable credit card design (which include 10 options, from classic Disney characters like Mickey or Tinker Bell to Darth Vader or Baby Yoda).

As for non-Disney perks you’ll get with this card, you’ll get one free year of DoorDash DashPass (if activated by Dec. 31, 2024), baggage delay insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. You’ll also be able to earn a $300 statement credit after spending $1,000 in your first three months of card membership. Note that the Chase Premier Disney Visa Card includes a $49 annual fee.

Chase Disney Visa Card*: Best for Disney perks with no annual fee

If you’d prefer a no-annual-fee card with Disney perks, the Chase Disney® Visa® Card offers many of the same Disney benefits and exclusive opportunities. With this card, you’ll earn 1 percent in Disney Rewards Dollars on all purchases. However, unlike with the Disney Premier Visa Card, Chase Disney Visa cardholders cannot redeem Disney Rewards Dollars as a statement credit toward airline travel. Instead, rewards can only be redeemed for Disney-branded experiences like park tickets, movie tickets, shopping, dining and resort stays.

Although the rewards rate with this card is incredibly low — nearly all credit cards today offer at least 1 percent cash back or 1X points or miles on all purchases — the main perk of holding this card comes from the Disney benefits you’ll receive. For example, you’ll get a 0 percent intro APR for six months on select Disney vacation packages (after that, a variable APR of 15.49 percent to 24.49 percent); 10 percent off select Disney purchases at shopDisney.com; 10 percent off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at select locations at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts; 10 percent off select dining locations on most days at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts with your card; 15 percent off non-discounted select guided tours at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts with your card; exclusive photo opportunities with Disney or Star Wars characters, held in private locations at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts; and a customizable credit card design (which include the same 10 options).

Like the Disney Premier Visa Card, the Disney Visa Card also comes with non-Disney perks like a $150 statement credit after you spend $500 in purchases in the first three months, one free year of DoorDash DashPass (if activated by Dec. 31, 2024), baggage delay insurance, purchase protection and extended warranty coverage.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card: Best for hotel stays

You’ll have a lot of options when it comes to hotels. Some guests choose to stay on-property at a Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resort hotel, while other guests prefer a less-expensive Good Neighbor hotel, which are Disney-recommended third-party hotels within a short walk or drive of the parks. Featured hotel brands include Best Western, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn and numerous Marriott and Hilton properties. Plus, many of these brands offer co-branded hotel credit cards.

One of the best hotel credit cards available today is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card. It’s a great option for Marriott loyalists and Disney lovers, since you’ll find many Marriott-operated properties within the Disney parks — such as the Walt Disney World Swan and Walt Disney World Dolphin properties — and surrounding the Disney parks. With this card, you’ll earn 6X Marrott Bonvoy points for eligible purchases at Marriott hotels, 3X points at U.S. restaurants, 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines and 2X points on all other eligible purchases. New cardholders can also earn 75,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months of card membership.

Although this card comes with a high annual fee of $450, you should be able to easily recoup the cost through the numerous credits and benefits the card offers. Notable perks include up to a $300 annual statement credit for eligible purchases at Marriott Bonvoy hotels (offer available through Sept. 21, 2022. Effective Sept 22, 2022, cardholders will instead receive up to $300 in annual statement credits (up to $25 per month) for eligible purchases at restaurants); one free night award after your card renewal month; up to a $100 credit on a directly-booked, two-night minimum stay at The Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis; 15 Elite Night credits toward your next elite status level each calendar year; Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership; up to a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry; and complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status (which includes 25 percent bonus points on eligible hotel purchases, among other perks).

However, if you find the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant’s $450 annual fee to be too intimidating, there are a couple of other Marriott credit cards you may want to consider, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card*, which comes with a $95 annual fee, and the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card*, which comes with no annual fee.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Best for travel to Disney

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the best travel credit cards on the market, especially if you’re new to the world of travel rewards. With the opportunity to transfer points to other travel loyalty programs and the ability to increase the value of your points when you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, this card helps you to come out ahead no matter how you use it. Its affordable $95 annual fee makes it a great entry-level travel card, and using the Chase Sapphire Preferred on your Disney vacation is a great way to get to know its points and perks — and save on hotel stays, flights, rideshares or other travel to and from Disney.

With this card, you’ll earn 5X points on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 31, 2025); 3X points on dining, select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target and wholesale clubs); 2X points on other travel; and 1X points on other purchases. You’ll also be able to earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. That’s equal to $750 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Other notable benefits include a $50 annual hotel credit for stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 1:1 points transfers to Chase airline and hotel partners, a 25 percent points boost when you redeem points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and one free year of DoorDash DashPass (if activated by Dec. 31, 2024).

Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best for premium travel to Disney

If you already consider yourself a travel credit card expert and you’d like to upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you’ll get even more benefits — though you’ll also pay a $550 annual fee. For a welcome bonus, you can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Since you’ll get 50 percent more points if you redeem them for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, that welcome bonus could be worth up to $900.

With this card, you’ll also earn higher rewards rates, including 10X points on hotel stays and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 10X points on Chase Dining purchases through Ultimate Rewards; 10X points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025); 5X total points on air travel through Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on general travel and restaurant purchases; and 1X points on all other purchases.

Travel perks include a $300 travel credit each account anniversary; up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS; access to over 1,300 airport lounges through Priority Pass Select; excellent travel insurance protections; complimentary room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out at select Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection properties; and 1:1 points transfers to airline and hotel partners. Plus, you’ll get one free year of DoorDash DashPass (if activated by Dec. 31, 2024) and a $10 monthly statement credit from Gopuff (if activated by Dec. 31, 2023).

Considering all of these travel and dining perks, you might find that the increased rewards with the Chase Sapphire Reserve are more than worth the cost of membership. You’ll be able to save even more on travel to and from Disney, plus receive benefits like TSA PreCheck, airport lounge access and luxury hotel perks, all of which will make your trip to Disney far more pleasant.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for entertainment and travel perks

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is worth considering if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee card that will reward you for your trips to Disney but also provide you with everyday value. To start with, this card comes with an attainable welcome bonus of $200 after spending $500 within three months of account opening, which you could put toward the cost of booking a trip to Disney. You’ll also get a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then a variable APR of 16.49 percent to 26.49 percent), which can help you to pay for a Disney vacation over time, interest-free.

As for rewards, you’ll earn 8 percent cash back on purchases from Vivid Seats (which includes live events at Disneyland and Walt Disney World); 5 percent cash back on hotel and rental car bookings through Capital One Travel; 3 percent cash back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target); and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.

Since most Disney tickets and purchases count as entertainment or travel, you’ll get at least 3 percent cash back on all Disney-related purchases, without having to worry about what they’re categorized as. It’s also worth noting that the 8 percent back at Vivid Seats counts for Disney On Ice tickets, too.

Is a credit card for Disney right for you?

The Chase Disney Premier Visa Card and the Chase Disney Visa Card are better suited for mega-Disney fans. They both offer rewards and discounts that can help you save money in the parks or on Disney purchases online. Beyond their Disney perks, neither card offers outstanding rewards rates or card perks.

So, unless you’re looking for discounts on Disney experiences or merchandise, you may benefit more from a general travel rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards. These cards offer varying rewards and may help you to save a significant amount on flights, hotels, rideshares, entertainment or dining.

Alternatively, if you travel frequently and are loyal to a particular hotel brand, you may want to consider a hotel credit card to help you earn more points on stays, plus get free nights or other perks. That said, if you’re a fan of the Marriott brand, the best hotel credit card for Disney is the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex since there are numerous Marriott properties within Disney and outside of Disney.

How to choose a credit card for Disney

Since there are multiple credit cards that can help you earn rewards on your upcoming Disney vacation, you’ll need to decide whether you want to put all of your Disney spending on a single credit card or swap credit cards throughout your trip. To pick the best credit card for traveling to Disney, it’s important to consider the following:

Decide how you want to earn rewards

In terms of credit card rewards, what do you value the most? Do you want cash back rewards? Are you trying to earn travel points or airline miles that you can redeem for more trips in the future? Do you want a credit card that can help you save money on Disney experiences or merchandise?

Think about the kind of rewards you hope to earn and how you might redeem those rewards in the future. If you’re not a frequent flyer, for example, you might not want to get a card that offers airline miles, but if you travel regularly, earning travel rewards on your Disney vacation could help you to cover the cost of a future flight or trip.

Choose a card that rewards your biggest Disney expense

The other way to choose a card for your Disney vacation is to pick a card that rewards your biggest Disney expense. For many people, booking a Disney hotel is the most expensive part of the trip (especially if you are staying on Disney property and not at a Good Neighbor hotel). For other people, the flights to and from Disney are the biggest expense. If you live close enough to drive to Disney, the park tickets might be the most expensive part of your vacation.

So, ask yourself which part of your Disney trip might be the most expensive, and then look for a credit card that rewards that kind of spending.

Consider using different cards for different parts of the trip

You don’t have to stick to just one credit card during your trip to Disney. You could use an airline credit card to book the flights, a hotel credit card to pay for the hotels and a Disney-branded credit card to cover expenses in the park.

You could also pick two credit cards that work well together. For example, if you use the Chase Sapphire Preferred card to book your flights and park tickets and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card to book rooms at a participating hotel near the park, you can transfer the points you earn on your Chase Sapphire Preferred to Marriott Bonvoy at a 1:1 ratio. Although you’ll miss out on the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s 25 percent points boost on travel redemptions through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll be able to use your combined Marriott rewards to get you closer to your next free stay.

FAQs about credit cards for Disney

The bottom line

If you’ve spent any time on Disney blogs or forums, you already know that Disney vacations are even more magical when you plan ahead. Whether you’re making dining reservations at the Blue Bayou or Be Our Guest, strategizing about how to get everyone in the family ready in time for “rope drop” or choosing a credit card that offers rewards on your Disney-related purchases, taking the time to prepare for your Disney trip will make the whole thing much more enjoyable when you arrive.

*All information about the Chase Disney® Premier Visa® Card, Chase Disney® Visa® Card, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.

Written by
Nicole Dieker
Personal Finance Contributor
Nicole Dieker has been a full-time freelance writer since 2012—and a personal finance enthusiast since 2004, when she graduated from college and, looking for financial guidance, found a battered copy of Your Money or Your Life at the public library. In addition to writing for Bankrate, her work has appeared on CreditCards.com, Vox, Lifehacker, Popular Science, The Penny Hoarder, The Simple Dollar and NBC News. Dieker spent five years as writer and editor for The Billfold, a personal finance blog where people had honest conversations about money. Dieker also teaches writing, freelancing and publishing classes and works one-on-one with authors as a developmental editor and copyeditor.
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