Is the Disney Credit Card Right for You

Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom

The Disney credit cards from Chase are popular choices among Disney-going travelers, but is one of the Disney cards a good value for your family to save on your next Disney vacation?

Rewards credit cards can be an incredibly useful tool for saving money on your family’s vacations.  With a plethora of airline cards, hotel cards, points cards, cash-back cards, and more, 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, so tread carefully.

TMOM Travel DisclosureOne of the credit cards many Disney-going families often consider is a Disney card offered by Chase.  Disney actually offers two varieties of this card: the no annual fee Disney Rewards Visa and the Disney Premier Visa which has a $49 annual fee.  Both cards have an interest rate of 15.99%, so these cards are not for anyone who carries a balance as 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 1) signup bonus, 2) rewards earned for spending, and 3) incidental perks.  Very few credit cards are standouts in all three areas, and the Disney cards are no exception.

Disney Credit Card Signup Bonuses

Is the Disney Credit Card Right for You-

Photo credit: Leslie Harvey / Frequent Flyer TravelingMom

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 offer signup bonuses as large as 50,000-100,000 miles or points.

The Disney Chase cards, in comparison, offer fairly modest signup bonuses.  The current public offer for the no-annual fee Rewards card is a $50 statement credit after first purchase.  The Chase Disney Premier Visa currently offers a $100 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.  Recently, I spotted an offer for the no-annual fee Rewards card that awarded 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 and even beats out the signup bonus on the Premier card!

Even though the signup bonuses for the Chase Disney cards aren’t as flashy as some other travel rewards credit cards, that definitely doesn’t mean you should rule the Disney cards out.

Earning Rewards with the Chase Disney Cards

Both of the Chase Disney cards earn rewards in the form of Disney Dream Dollars.  Disney Dream Dollars can be redeemed by requesting a Disney Reward 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 Rewards Visa earns 1% rewards (1 Disney dollar per $100 spent).  The Disney Premier Visa 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.

For this reason, I think the no annual fee version of the Disney card is a better choice between the two.

Other Perks of Disney Credit Cards

Is the Disney credit card right for you: Epcot character meet & greet

One of the perks of the Disney credit cards is this private character meet & greet.
Photo credit: Rebecca Darling / Texas TravelingMom

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.

At the time of this writing, having either Disney card 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 theme park merchandise locations;
  • 10% off select dining;
  • $50 Disney Cruise on-board credit;
  • Private character meet and greet with free photo at Disneyland and Walt Disney World;
  • 15% off select guided tours and spas/salons; and
  • Ability to redeem points for a $198 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 on a much more leisurely time frame.

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 continuously announced, such as a current promotion offering 25% off Disneyland hotels to card members.

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 Rewards 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 your everyday 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 Disney spending to earn the discounts but I’d put other everyday spending on a different card that earns cash back or other 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 Rewards Visa from Chase is the better of the two Disney cards for most families.

For more information on travel rewards cards, check out these stories: