Thursday, May 28, 2015

How We Use Our Disney Visa to Help Pay for Our Vacation

By: Jenna, Lindsey, and Melissa

*This is our own personal experience, not an endorsement or promotion for a company.*

Melissa: We are always looking for ways to save money on trips, and if we can get something for free, it’s even better. We’ve earned $300 toward our Disney trip so far with our Chase Disney Visa.

Let me just say that my husband and I don’t like debt. We worked really hard to eliminate debt, and do not plan to take on more. I am not advocating going into debt for your vacation or in the process of saving for your vacation. I am well aware that there are some excellent financial advisors that teach not to use credit cards at all. If you follow that method and that’s what works for you, that’s awesome! We’ve found that using a credit card that we pay off each month works well for us, but it takes discipline and good bookkeeping. That being said….

Last summer (about 9 months ago), we opened a Chase Disney Visa with a promo code that gave us a $200 Disney gift card after we spent $500. We would also earn 1% in Disney Rewards Dollars on all purchases, with no annual fees. (They offer a card that gives you 2% in rewards, but there is an annual fee.) We decided to use this card for expenses we would normally use our debit card for – groceries, fuel, etc. These were things we would be buying anyway, and there would be very little risk of overspending. (I have a super number cruncher, pencil pusher, nerdy way to keep track of those expenses. Let’s just say I love spreadsheets.) We pay the card off each month while we earn free Disney Rewards Dollars. It works for us.

We immediately used the $200 promo gift card toward the Disney vacation we’d recently booked. (It was super easy – you can apply gift cards online in My Disney Experience.) Since then, we’ve just been using the Visa card for groceries, fuel, and things like that, and paying it off every month. In 9 months, we’ve earned a little over $100 in rewards. By the time we get ready for our trip in the fall, it will be even more. Sure, you can debate if $100 in 9 months is worth it. But it doesn’t take any more of my time than recording debit card transactions and balancing the checkbook. Even if it was a little more effort, it’s extra money for Disney. Totally worth it in my book.

I’ve read a lot of debate on the DISBoards as to if this card is the best way to earn rewards, because there are quite a few cards that offer up to 5% cash back or other rewards. If it’s only about cash back/rewards, it’s true that there are likely many others that will help you earn faster. However, there are perks with the Disney Visa that no other card can offer. See what Jenna has to say about those!


We’ve had our Disney Visa for about three years now. My parents have had a Disney Visa since they were invented. No, seriously. Their card says “Charter Member” on the front. When we took our first trip to Disney in 2011, my parents were kind and gave us their rewards to use towards souvenirs and other purchases while we were there. When we returned, we got one of our own and we’ve been using it since.

I’m right there with Melissa on this one. We use our card each month for purchases such as extras, online purchases, bills, etc. and pay it off each month. I check the balance on the account several times a week to make sure we have not overspent for the month.

On our October 2013 trip, we had almost $300 dollars in Disney Rewards to put toward our trip. Between our 2013 and December 2014 trip, we had less time to use but we still had a decent amount of Disney Rewards built up. I believe it was around $150. We put those straight toward our balance.

Other than the Disney Reward Dollars, my favorite perk is the sales notifications. Typically, cardholders are notified of special Disney promotions up to three days in advance of the general public. There are times when this doesn’t happen, but more often than not, you get a three day notice. Which can be incredibly nice and help to avoid long phone waits.

And lastly, who doesn’t want a cute little Mickey, or other Disney character, on their credit card? Ha!


My take on the Disney Visa Card is a little bit different from my friends. We opened up two cards last year, prior to our trip, because we were both offered the $200 Disney gift card if we spent $500 deal.

Like Melissa and Lindsey, Chris and I don’t believe in debt, but we do believe in using credit cards simply for the perks. Every month, we pay it off in full. It does take discipline; in fact, we tried this at the beginning of our marriage and just couldn’t do it. Now, ten years later, we have it figured out!

We used the $400 in gift cards toward our trip last November. After that, we really haven’t used those cards because the perks we receive from our Barclay Arrival card are much better for our family (we use those points for travel and we cash them in every November for gift cards to buy Christmas gifts with).

However, we keep our account open because there are still some great perks to be had. Up until this year, Disney Visa cardholders have gotten to book their free dining packages three days before the general public (unfortunately, they didn’t do that this year - bummer!).

Some other cardmember perks are:

10% off at the Disney Store (online too!)
10% off select dining locations at Disney
Private character meet and greet at Epcot (comes with a free 5x7 photo!)
15% off some spa treatments and guided tours
Occasional discounts of hotel stays

Click here to see all of the year round perks.
Click here to see the limited time offers.

If you’re looking for a great way to save for your trip or want to be able to save while at Disney, this might be the perfect card for you!

(Sometimes Disney Visa cardholders are given special referral codes for the $200 gift card promo. Feel free to check with us via email to see if we have a promo code!)

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