Best credit cards for a Disney vacation

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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® Resorts 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. The Chase Disney® Premier Visa® Card and the Chase Disney® Visa® Card both offer rewards and discounts that can help you save money in the parks. Other travel rewards cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, can help you earn points/miles on flights and hotel stays.

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 for in-park rewards

Chase Disney® Premier Visa® Card

If you want to save money on Disney in-park purchases and get access to exclusive photo opportunities and character experiences, sign up for the Chase Disney® Premier Visa® Card. This co-branded card lets you earn Disney Rewards Dollars on everyday purchases and offers discounts on both in-park Disney merchandise and online purchases at shopDisney.com.

Disney benefits include:

  • 2% in Disney Rewards Dollars on card purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney locations
  • 1% in Disney Rewards Dollars on all other purchases
  • $200 statement credit after spending $500 in your first three months from account opening
  • 10% off select Disney and Star Wars purchases at shopDisney.com
  • 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at select locations at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts
  • 10% off select dining locations on most days at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts when you use your credit card to purchase
  • 15% off non-discounted select guided tours at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts when you use your credit card to purchase
  • 0% APR for 6 months on select Disney vacation packages (a variable APR of 17.49% thereafter)
  • Exclusive photo opportunities with Disney or Star Wars Characters, held in private locations at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts

Once you’ve earned your Disney Rewards Dollars, you can redeem them towards 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. The Chase Premier Disney Visa Card includes a $49 annual fee.

Runner-up for in-park rewards

Chase Disney® Visa® Card

If you’d prefer a no-annual-fee credit card, the Chase Disney® Visa® Card comes with no annual fee and offers many of the same perks and Disney exclusives.

Disney benefits include:

  • 1% in Disney Rewards Dollars on all purchases
  • $50 statement credit after your first purchase
  • 10% off select Disney and Star Wars purchases at shopDisney.com
  • 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at select locations at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts
  • 10% off select dining locations on most days at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts when you use your credit card to purchase
  • 15% off non-discounted select guided tours at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts when you use your credit card to purchase
  • 0% APR for 6 months on select Disney vacation packages (a variable APR of 17.49% thereafter)
  • Exclusive photo opportunities with Disney or Star Wars Characters, held in private locations at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts

However,  unlike with the premier card, Chase Disney Visa cardholders cannot redeem Disney Rewards Dollars as a statement credit towards airline travel; instead, rewards can only be redeemed for Disney-branded experiences like park tickets, movie tickets and cruises.

Best for travel to Disney

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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 come out ahead no matter how you use it. Its affordable $95 annual fee makes it a great entry-level card for people interested in getting rewarded for their travel — and using the Chase Sapphire Preferred on your Disney vacation is a great way to get to know its points and perks.

Benefits include:

  • 2x points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 1x point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading travel loyalty programs
  • Point value increases by 25% when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Best for premium travel to Disney

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

If you already consider yourself a travel credit card expert and you’d like to upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, you’ll get even more benefits — though you’ll also pay a $550 annual fee.

  • 3x points on travel (after earning the $300 travel credit) and dining
  • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Up to $100 credit towards Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Complimentary airport lounge access with enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select

You’ll also get 50 percent more points if you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards — plus new perks for DoorDash and Lyft users — so you might find that the increased rewards are more than worth the cost.

Best for booking Disney hotels

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

You 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 (these are Disney-recommended third-party hotels within a short walk or drive of the parks). However, there’s only one top option when it comes to which credit card you’ll want to use to book your hotel stay: the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

The Capital One Venture Rewards card is one of Bankrate’s top hotel credit cards, thanks to its high rewards potential and multiple redemption options. Benefits include:

  • Unlimited 2x miles for every dollar spent
  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Up to $100 credit when you apply for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Flexible redemption options, including the ability to use miles as a Purchase Eraser on travel purchases, transfer miles to 10+ travel partners, or spend miles at Amazon.com

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card has a $95 annual fee; if you prefer a no-annual-fee card, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card offers an unlimited 1.25x miles on every purchase and a 20,000 mile bonus after you spend $500 in your first three months of card ownership. You won’t get the up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, but you’ll still get all of the flexible redemption options.

How to choose the best card for your Disney vacation

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.

Here’s how we suggest you pick the best credit card for traveling to Disney:

Decide how you want to earn rewards

What’s most important to you, in terms of credit card rewards? 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 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, the 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 costliest 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 at a 1:1 ratio. (You’ll miss out on the 25 percent points bonus that you could earn by redeeming those Chase Sapphire Preferred points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, but you can use your combined Marriott rewards to get you that much closer to your next free stay.)

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 on how to get everyone in the family ready in time for Rope Drop or choosing the credit cards that offer the highest value per purchase, taking time to prepare for your Disney trip will make the whole thing much more enjoyable when you arrive.