A Disney credit card is often a popular choice among Disney-going travelers. But are the two Disney credit card offerings from Chase really giving you the most or the best travel rewards? One of TravelingMom’s credit card rewards experts looks at the pros and cons of these cards.
Rewards credit cards can be an incredibly useful tool to save money on your family’s vacations. With a plethora of airline miles cards, hotel cards, points cards, and cash-back cards, choosing the right one requires serious research and a detailed cost-benefit analysis. Credit cards also come with risk and potential for making financial mistakes. Everyone should tread carefully.
One of the credit cards many families bound for Walt Disney World or Disneyland often consider is a Disney card offered by Chase. Chase actually offers two varieties of this card: the no annual fee Disney Visa Card and the Disney Premier Visa Card with a $49 annual fee. As of fall 2017, both cards have an interest rate of 16.99%. With that rate, these cards are not for anyone who carries a balance. Paying interest would more than cancel out any rewards earned.
If you pay your credit cards in full each month, however, how do you analyze whether the Disney cards are a good fit for you and your family? How do you choose between the two card options?
The three most important features of any credit card (besides the interest rate and fees, of course) are the signup bonus, rewards earned for spending, and incidental perks. Very few credit cards are standouts in all three areas. The Disney cards are no exception to that rule. Let’s walk through all three of these features to help determine whether these cards are worthwhile to you.
Disney Credit Card Signup Bonuses
One of the reasons many families get a rewards credit card is to take advantage of a generous signup bonus. Some airlines and hotel cards regularly offer signup bonuses as large as 50,000-100,000 miles or points. These can sometimes equal over $1000 in travel value depending on how the recipient redeems them.
The Disney cards from Chase, in comparison, offer fairly modest signup bonuses. As of September 2017, the current public offer for the no-annual fee Disney Visa Card is a $50 statement credit after first purchase. The Disney Premier Visa Card (with the $49 annual fee) currently offers a $200 statement credit when you spend $500 on the card in the first three months.
If you have a friend or family member who already has a Disney card, however, check with them before applying for one of the publicly available offers. Disney sometimes sends refer-a-friend codes to current cardholders that give an even better signup offer. In the past, there have been refer-as-friend offers for the no-annual fee card that included a $200 gift card for signing up and putting $500 in spending on the card. That’s much more generous than the public $50 statement credit offer.
Even though the signup bonuses for the Chase Disney cards are not as flashy as some other travel rewards credit cards, that definitely doesn’t mean you should rule the Disney cards out.
Rewards Earned for Spending with the Disney Credit Cards
Both of the Chase Disney cards earn rewards in the form of Disney Rewards Dollars. Disney Rewards Dollars can be redeemed by requesting a redemption card from Chase or at Disney parks. These redemption cards work like gift cards that can be spent on most Disney purchases (although not at the non-United States parks).
The no annual fee Disney Visa Card earns 1% rewards (1 Disney dollar per $100 spent). The Disney Premier Visa Card earns 2% rewards at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney locations as well as 1% everywhere else.
Do you think this means that the Premier card is the right choice? Not so fast. Remember that the Premier card carries a $49 annual fee, meaning that you would need to put $4900 in spending on this card in the 2% categories to break even to make up for the fee. That’s a lot of spending for many families, especially if you carry other credit cards with equally good or better rewards that you might use instead. In fact, there are a number of rewards credit cards that offer 3-6% back at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. These kinds of spending are usually more rewarding when put on other cards.
For this reason, I think the no annual fee version of the Disney card is a better choice between the two.
Other Perks & Discounts from the Disney Credit Cards
The perks of the Disney cards are numerous and are where the cards really provide a lot of value. Discounts and special access can really go a long way to making a Disney-loving family’s Disney vacation even better. Consider it Disney magic.
At the time of this writing, having either of the two Disney cards entitles the holder to the following additional perks:
- 6 months 0% financing on Disney vacations and Disney Vacation Club purchases;
- 10% discounts on purchases over $50 at the Disney Store and at select merchandise locations at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Aulani, and Disney Beach Resorts;
- 10% off select dining and recreation experiences at Disneyland and Walt Disney World;
- Special Disney Cruise Line perks;
- Private character meet and greet with free photo download at Disneyland and Walt Disney World;
- 15% off select guided tours and spa/salon purchases; and
- Ability to redeem points for an airline statement credit (Premier card only).
Several TravelingMom writers recently got a sneak peek at one of the perks, a private character meet and greet at Epcot in Walt Disney World. For a wait of just a few minutes, cardholders could interact with several characters out of the heat in a more leisurely setting.
The card sometimes has other unannounced perks. In the past, cardholders have been able to have early access to free dining promotions at Walt Disney World. Additionally, there are limited time promotions and discounts continuously announced to keep card holders coming back.
The Final Analysis: Should I Get A Disney Credit Card?
So, is the Disney credit card right for you and your family? The answer, of course, depends on what your travel goals are as well as what your spending habits are.
Generally speaking, however, I think that the no annual fee Disney Visa is a card that would make sense for a lot of families who take an annual Disney vacation. The card doesn’t earn great rewards for everyday non-Disney spending, but the perks of the card are quite useful and valuable to families who vacation with Disney on a regular basis. I would personally use the card for spending only at Disney to earn the discounts. I’d put other everyday spending, however, on a different card that earns cash back or miles and points rewards at higher rates.
The bottom line? A Disney credit card is right for families who don’t carry a credit card balance, who visit a Disney destination at least once a year or more, and who like and use Disney-related discounts and perks. In my opinion, the no annual fee Disney Visa from Chase is the better of the two Disney cards for most families.