Wondering if the Disney Credit Card is the way to go for your next Disney vacation? We break it down!
Disney has done an amazing job in connecting all of us emotionally to their movies, parks, merchandise and even the Disney credit card – a Visa offered through Chase.
Is this the best credit card for Disneyland?
The Nerds considered the Disney credit card for years and never “pulled the trigger”, opting for credit cards that allowed greater flexibility and value. But Disney and Chase have upped their game and make a compelling argument to consider adding this card to your wallet.
A quick note of our analysis below – in our Nerdy opinion, it is never (never!) worth paying credit card interest rates to get the points/rewards. All of our assumptions assume no interest payments.
ALSO READ: 10 Best Rewards Travel Credit Cards
Disney Credit Card Choices to be Made
If you’ve already decided a Disney credit card is for you, it brings up the questions of which card to choose: The Disney Visa Card or the Disney Premier Visa Card. Both offer the same cardmember perks that make this card appealing to any Disney park fan:
- Special Vacation Financing – 6 months of 0% financing on Disney vacations
- 10% off Merchandise – applies to charges of $50 or more at the Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort, Disney store in-person and online
- 10% off Dining – applies to charges of $50 or more at the Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort
- Character Experiences – special Disney credit card-only photo ops at the Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort
- Special cardmember events at Disney store
Both Disney credit cards offer the same non-Disney services and protections:
- Baggage Delay insurance
- Credit Card Purchase Protection – covers new purchases against theft or damage
- Extended Warranty Protection – extends the warranty on purchases by up to a year
Now, let’s break down the differences between the two cards:
Welcome Bonus after opening a new account
Disney Visa Card – $50 statement credit after any purchase
Disney Premier Visa Card – $200 statement credit after $500 in purchases in the first three months
WINNER: Disney Premier Visa Card (assuming you meet the spending threshold)
Disney Visa Card – $0
Disney Premier Visa Card – $49
WINNER: Disney Visa Card (come on…$0 is a tough number to beat)
Earning Disney Rewards Dollars
Disney Visa Card – 1% of all card purchases
Disney Premier Visa Card – 2% on card purchases made at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney locations and 1% on all other purchase
WINNER: Disney Premier Visa Card (the opportunity to earn double rewards on some of the most common expenses is huge!
To put it in financial terms, if you and your authorized users spend a combined $94 per week on gas, groceries, eating out and Disney purchases on this Disney credit card, then the increased 2% earnings would pay for the $49 annual fee. If you spend more, then the Disney Premier Visa card looks better and better.)
Redeeming Disney Rewards Dollars
Disney Visa Card – Can be used for a variety of Disney purchases at Disney parks and resorts (tickets, hotel, shopping and dining), Disney movies (at participating theaters), Disney store in-person or online, and Disney Cruise Line (cruise packages, onboard souvenirs and activities)
Disney Premier Visa Card – Same as above plus the ability to redeem Disney Rewards Dollars for airline tickets to any destination
WINNER: Disney Premier Visa Card
OVERALL WINNER: Disney Premier Visa Card (assuming you meet the threshold required to get the welcome bonus and/or spend $94 or more per week in the enhanced spending categories.)
If you are going the Disney credit card route, the Disney Premier Visa is the likely winner. After the first year, if you find you are not spending the money on the enhanced spending categories, you can from the $49 annual fee to the $0 fee Disney Visa and you would still come out ahead due to the Welcome Bonus.
But wait, there’s more!
While the Disney credit card options have improved over time (and let’s face it, they’d look adorable in your wallet), there are more options to consider if it is about value. While not as emotionally satisfying to a Nerd, Chase offers some great options for those who like to travel to Disney parks and beyond. The one benefit that may override everything that the Disney credit cards offer is the 0% financing on Disney vacations. This is a tough benefit to beat if paying off a trip over time is important for you.
Otherwise, there are some amazing options to compare on Chase’s site for those interested in getting the absolute bang for your buck. We Nerds are loyal to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card because of the incredible flexibility in booking travel (particularly flights) and using the Chase Ultimate Rewards points to “top off” other airline and/or hotel accounts in order to redeem flights and stays. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is also a great card for flexibility, with a slightly lower redemption value.
Don’t be thrown off by the annual fees on either. If your spending habits warrant it, both can be a strong and flexible alternative to the Disney credit card.
Here is a snapshot:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards accumulate at 1% (1 point per dollar) like the Disney Rewards Dollars and there are also enhanced spending categories.
- When redeemed for travel through the Chase portal, Sapphire Preferred provides a 25% bonus (like earning 1.25%) and Sapphire Reserve holders redeem at a 50% bonus (like earning 1.5%).
- Both offer a welcome bonus worth $750 when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal after spending $4,000 in the first three months
- The Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on dining and travel where the Sapphire Reserve earns 3x points. Keep in mind, this bonus earning becomes even more pronounced when redeeming for travel – the Preferred’s 2x redeems at 2.5x for travel and the Reserve’s 3x redeem at 4.5x for travel.
- Both cards have no foreign transaction fees (the Disney credit card has a 3% foreign transaction fee) – if you are planning a trip to Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland or Shanghai Disneyland, this is something to consider. Additionally, these international parks have limitations on earning and redeeming Disney Rewards Dollars where the Chase Sapphire series earns/redeems at the same rate regardless.
- Both offer an incredible host of travel benefits including:
- Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
- Baggage Delay Insurance (similar, though more robust, to that offered by the Disney credit card)
- Trip Delay Reimbursement
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
- Purchase Protection (same as Disney credit card)
- Extended Warranty Protection (same as Disney credit card)
- The Sapphire Reserve includes a huge list of benefits including
But….these additional benefits come at a premium. The Chase Sapphire Preferred has an annual fee of $95 (the welcome bonus of $750 still makes this a comparative bargain). The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a jaw-dropping $550 annual fee. But wait! Don’t rule out this power house of a card just yet.
In addition to the 50% bonus when redeeming for travel, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has some incredible benefits to help offset the annual fee…here are some of our favorites:
- $300 annual travel credit (redeems automatically for most travel-related charges)…so now, the annual fee is more like $250
- Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA Precheck credit ever 5 years – great if you are planning an international Disney trip! Global entry alone is worth it! TIP: If you get Global Entry, you also get TSA Precheck.
- Up to $60 DoorDash credit
- Free year of Lyft Pink ($199 value)
- Free airport lounge access through Priority Pass
These benefits combined with the increased earning and redemptions make this the Nerd’s “go to” credit card. And yet, in the back of our mind, we still want the satisfaction of a Disney credit card!