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Which Disney rewards credit card is the best?

Last Updated, April 12, 2019

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Disney rewards credit cardsA Disney vacation can be the source of family memories to last a lifetime. But it can also be the source of debt that seems to last just as long. It's no secret that a journey to visit everyone's favorite mouse can put a serious dent in your wallet. 

But there's good news! If you play your (credit) cards right, your journey could be significantly less expensive and could even provide a nice bank of rewards to help you pay for your next trip, whether to a Disney destination or elsewhere.

Depending on your travel and activity habits, the right credit cards can generate significant cash back and other rewards, including help paying for future trips. For those of you who are genuine Disney junkies, having a Disney Rewards-specific card in your wallet could prove ideal, but you don't need to be on a first-name basis with the clerk at the Winnie-The-Pooh Gift Shop or have had Sleepy, Grumpy and Sneezy in your wedding party to reap rewards from your Disney vacation (or to pay for your Disney vacation with credit card rewards).

BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR DISNEY VACATIONS

 Below you'll find several cards that would be an excellent addition to your wallet for your trip to the happiest place on Earth or any other vacation spot that strikes your fancy. We offer a number of options depending on your level of Disney commitment and your personal credit card preferences.

NO-ANNUAL-FEE | TRAVEL REWARDS | AIRLINE REWARDS | DINING REWARDS

BEST NO-ANNUAL-FEE CARDS FOR DISNEY VACATIONS

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Why It's a Good Card for Disney Vacations: Unlimited rewards and a generous introductory bonus make this card very appealing, especially when you consider that it doesn't charge an annual fee. Plus, if you book your hotel through hotels.com/venture, you'll earn an impressive 10 miles per $1 spent (through January 2020). That kind of rewards earning could make your stay near a Disney park extremely rewarding (or could help you earn rewards quickly to pay for a couple of days at Disney down the road). With the Purchase Eraser, you simply book your travel using your card and then redeem miles as statement credit to cover all or part of a travel-related charge.

The Bonus: New cardholders earn 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 in purchases through the first three months you have the card. Plus, get an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 months (then, 14.24% - 24.24% (Variable)); that means you could book your vacation well in advance and spend a few months paying it off interest-free.

The Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Rewards: Earn 1.25 miles per $1 spent, which is lower than other no-fee cards, but if you like to book your accommodations through hotels.com/venture, you can go a long way toward making up for it. The real key is that this card offers flexibility in rewards redemption, including the freedom to transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs (hello, discounted airfare to a Disney park or free nights near Cinderella's castle), or just redeem your miles for statement credit to cover all or part of your travel costs. Read our full Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card review.

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Why It's a Good Card for Disney Vacations: Designed specifically for frequent travelers, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers unlimited points accumulation, no annual fee and a solid introductory bonus offer. It truly shines, though, for Bank of America banking customers who stand to earn bonus rewards on every purchase – up to 75% more. More details below.

The Bonus: Rack up 25,000 points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days you have the card. This can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward future travel purchases. New cardholders also enjoy an introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles (then, 17.24% - 25.24% Variable APR on purchases).

The Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Rewards: 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases may seem modest but it can add up. A nice feature is that you are not limited to what airlines or hotels you use in order to earn your rewards points and there are no blackout dates to worry about. If you have a qualifying Bank of America checking or savings account, you will earn a 10% rewards bonus on every purchase. If you happen to be a Preferred Rewards client, you could up that bonus to 25-75% depending on your tier. Preferred Rewards tiers are based on your three-month average balance across qualifying Bank of America, Merrill Edge® or Merrill Lynch accounts. Read our full Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent/Good

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why It's a Good Card for Disney Vacations: We like simplicity and and solid rewards and this card offers both. No annual fee is an immediate savings and you still stand to earn plenty of rewards with the everyday categories featured in the three-points-per $1 spent rewards tier with this card. Furthermore, this card qualifies for Wells Fargo's cell phone protection against covered damage and theft as long as you pay your bill on the card.

The Bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus points – that has a $300 cash value – after you spend $3,000 in the first three months with the card.

The Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Rewards: Earn three points per $1 spent on dining out and ordering in; on your gas station, rideshare and transit purchases; on travel, including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. With earning like that, you could rack up rewards throughout your Disney vacation, making it that much easier for you to start dreaming about your next meal in the shadow of the Epcot ball. Read our full review of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Why It's a Good Card for Disney Vacations: No annual fee, an attractive cashback rewards program and an easily attainable welcome offer combine to make this a solid card choice for people who don't want to mess with travel rewards but like the idea of putting cash back earned on everyday purchases toward a future vacation. (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser. Terms apply; See Rates and Fees)

The Bonus: You receive a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first three months.

The Annual Fee: $0

Foreign Transaction Fees: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

The Rewards: Earn on your everyday purchases with 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%); 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores; and 1% back on other purchases. Read our full review of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

Credit Needed: Good, Excellent

BEST TRAVEL REWARDS CARDS FOR DISNEY VACATIONS

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Why It's a Good Card for Disney Vacations: The miles you earn with this card – and it is easy to earn them – can be redeemed for any travel expense by simply requesting statement credit to cover all or part of a qualifying expense. That means that you can, quite literally, pay for your disney vacation with the card. Just purchase your tickets or hotels with your card and then request statement credit to cover the cost.

The Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the account. That's worth $500 in travel statement credit, which can go a long way toward helping pay for your Disney getaway. Furthermore, you could transfer those miles to one of several airline partners, which might even increase their value.

The Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Rewards: Earn two miles per $1 spent on every purchases. It's solid and straightforward, with one exciting exception: Through January 2020, you can earn 10 miles per $1 spent when you book your lodging through hotels.com/venture. Read our full Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Why It's a Good Card for Disney Vacations: Chase Utlimate Rewards® points are extremely flexible in that they transfer to many frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. That means you aren't tied down to a single brand with this card and that could help you map out a vacation that includes more than just a Disney theme park.

Furthermore, your points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel, making them even more valuable than they are at face value.

The Bonus: Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points – worth $750 in travel – after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership.

The Annual Fee: $95

Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

The Rewards: Earn two times the points on travel and dining at restaurants and one point on everything else. Chase Ultimate Rewards® points are transferable to numerous frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio. Read our full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

PRO TIP:

By the way, we recommend combining this card with Chase Freedom® and/or Chase Freedom Unlimited® to earn top rewards in categories beyond travel and dining. Use Chase Freedom® strategically to earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly rotating categories when you activate (check out the current bonus categories); use Chase Freedom Unlimited® to earn 3% back on up to $20,000 spent for new cardholders in the first year (then 1.5% back) for all your purchases that don't earn more with Chase Freedom® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Lastly, transfer all your points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card where your points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

Why It's a Good Card for Disney Vacations: If your spending tends to be on the high side, you can earn an eye-popping introductory bonus of 70,000 miles, which is nice on its own; however, every time you redeem your miles for travel, you'll receive 5% of your rewards back to use toward a future redemption. (See Rates and Fees)

The Bonus: You can earn a whopping 70,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on qualified purchases in the first 90 days after you receive the card.

The Annual Fee: $89 (waived first year)

Foreign Transaction Fees: 0% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

The Rewards: Earn 2 miles for every $1 spent on all purchases. Then, when you redeem your rewards for travel, you'll receive 5% back to use toward a future redemption. Read our full Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® review.

Credit Needed: Good/Excellent


BEST AIRLINE CARDS

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Why It's a Good Card for Disney Vacations: Who doesn't like getting a nice "thank you" gift? This card not only has a solid introductory bonus, but also thanks you each year for your loyalty with 6,000 bonus points after your after your cardmember anniversary. And, given that Southwest doesn't charge baggage fees, feel free to bring along all your mouse-ear gear when you book your Disney vacation.

The Bonus: You can earn a bonus of 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on qualified purchases in the first three months you have the card. Plus, you get a nifty bonus of 6,000 points each year after your cardmember anniversary.

The Annual Fee: $99

Foreign Transaction Fees: $0

The Rewards: Earn two points per $1 spent on Southwest purchases and on purchases with Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partners. You also earn one point per $1 on all other purchases. Read our full review of the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

EDITOR'S NOTE:

The card mentioned above is the middle-of-the-road Southwest card. Depending on how frequent a Southwest customer you are, you might benefit more from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, which offers a higher annual card member loyalty bonus along with some additional perks/features, but you do pay a slightly higher annual fee. On the other hand, if you want a lesser annual fee with slightly lower card member loyalty bonus, you could consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card instead.

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

Why It's a Good Card for Disney Vacations: The cost of getting to your Disney destination can be a huge burden, but this airline-specific card can certainly help you take a bite out of that with solid rewards on everyday purchases as well as on American Airlines purchases. Plus, you'll appreciate the free checked bag on domestic itineraries. (Citi is a CardRatings advertiser)

The Bonus: For a limited time, you can earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months you have the card.

The Annual Fee: $99, waived for first 12 months*

Foreign Transaction Fees: 0%

The Rewards: You get two miles for every $1 spent on American Airlines purchases, at restaurants and at gas stations. You earn one mile for each $1spent on all other purchases. In addition, you receive a discount of 25% on eligible in-flight purchases and can earn an American Airlines voucher worth $125 after spending $20,000 on purchases in a card membership year and renewing your card. Read our full Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

BEST CARDS FOR DINING WITH DISNEY

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why It's a Good Card for Disney Vacations: The 4% cashback on all dining and entertainment purchases grabs our attention since that means you can rack up cash back to help pay for your Disney vacation in the first place and then continue earning rewards as you sample all that amazing Disney food while you're on your trip.

The Bonus: Earn an incredible one-time $500 cash-back bonus after you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months you have the card. That's among the highest cash-back bonus offers on the market.

The Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that

Foreign Transaction Fees: None

The Rewards: Earning 4% cash back on all dining and entertainment makes this card a must for foodies. In addition, you get 2% back on grocery store purchases and 1% back on all other purchases, so this card likely has a little something to offer anyone. All the cash back you earn can go straight into you Disney vacation fund. Read our full Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Credit Needed: Excellent, Good

EDITOR'S NOTE:

If you like the sound of dining out and entertainment focused rewards but aren't crazy about the annual fee, you could consider the Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

CAN CREDIT CARD REWARDS HELP PAY FOR A DISNEY VACATION?

Absolutely! And it doesn't even have to be a Disney-specific credit card (though, there are those options too; see below). Using a cash-back rewards card for your everyday purchases and committing to putting those rewards into a savings account specifically for your next vacation – Disney or otherwise – is one way to use your rewards to help pay for your vacation.

Another way to vacation with Disney using credit card rewards is to make good use of your cards travel redemption options. Some cards allow you to redeem your rewards for statement credit to cover travel related purchases made on your card; that means you could pay for everything from your flights to your theme park tickets to hotel stays to transportation to and from the airport with travel rewards. Other cards allow you to transfer rewards to hotel and airline loyalty programs, which could mean even more value for you as your plan your trip.

The bottom line is that credit card rewards are an excellent opportunity to offset some of the cost of a pricey adventure to the Happiest Place on Earth.


HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CREDIT CARD FOR A DISNEY VACATION

Only you can determine which credit card or combination of cards are best to use for your Disney vacation, but there are a few questions you should ask in order to make the best decision, and the first several of them are surprisingly similar to the questions you need to ask before applying for any credit card:

What does your credit history look like? Do you have a strong credit score or are you working on building/rebuilding your credit? Many of the top rewards cards require good/excellent credit to qualify. Make sure you know where you stand before applying for a particular card.

Where do you most often spend your money? Assuming you don't live in a Disney theme park, it's safe to assume that your card will need to be useful to you day in and day out, not just when you're roaming around the Magic Kingdom. If you never fly, there's no point in applying for an airline-branded card, but a card with excellent rewards on gas purchases might work well for you. If you eat out all the time, but hit the grocery store only for necessities, consider a card that rewards restaurant purchases. The bottom line is that your current spending habits should inform which card you apply for; don't apply for a card thinking you'll change your habits just to fit into the reward structure.

Can you offset an annual fee? This is kind of a followup to the spending question above. Will you spend enough on the card to earn enough rewards to offset any annual fee the card charges? For many people, the annual fee is worth it given the rewards earned and other perks the card offers, but that isn't everyone. Check for a no-annual-fee, "lite" version of a particular card if you see features you like, but don't think you'll be able to offset the fee.

Can you earn the bonus/welcome offer? Rewards cards often offer pretty fantastic signup/welcome bonuses for new customers, but they require that you spend a particular amount of money within a particular amount of time – often three months – to earn those bonus rewards. Don't be lured into a card with an flashy bonus offer only to find you'll never be able to spend the required amount in time to earn it. DON'T go into debt trying to earn a bonus offer! Any bonus you earn will be quickly eaten up in interest costs if you don't pay off the balance on your card each month.

COMPARE DISNEY REWARDS CREDIT CARDS

Since we are narrowing down the best credit cards for a Disney vacation, we should talk about two cards that are specific to Disney, Chase's Disney® Premier Visa® Card and the Disney® Visa® Card. Now, these could be great cards for the person or family who finds themselves traveling to a Disney destination multiple times a year or at least purchasing Disney merchandise on a regular basis, but they probably aren't the top cards for the person or family who goes to a Disney park every few years and likes to mix in other vacations in the off years.

If you're an old-school Mickey Mouse Club fan, or if you've got some young pirates or princesses in your family, Chase's Disney rewards credit cards can rack up some big savings on your next vacation.

Let's take a look at the two options side-by-side:

Comparing Chase’s Disney® Premier Visa® Card and Disney® Visa® Card

Features

Disney® Visa® Card

Disney® Premier Visa® Card

Annual fee

$0

$49

Introductory offer

$100 statement credit after making your first purchase.

$250 statement credit after spending $500 within the first three months of account opening.

Rewards

  • 1% back in Disney Rewards Dollars on all purchases, so $100 spent equals one reward dollar.
  • No limit on the number of reward dollars you can earn.
  • 2% back in Disney Rewards Dollars at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney locations.
  • 1% back on all other purchases.
  • No limit on the number of reward dollars you can earn.

Using rewards

Redeem rewards for all things Disney and Star Wars including toys, costumes and movies as well as toward Disney theme parks tickets, resort stays, cruises, dining at Disney restaurants and more.

Redeem rewards for all things Disney including toys, costumes and movies as well as toward Disney theme parks tickets, resort stays, dining at Disney restaurants and more.

Or redeem for statement credit toward airline travel.

Special financing

Enjoy 6 billing cycles of 0 interest from the purchase date of select Disney vacation packages.

Additional perks

  • Cardmember-only character photo opportunities with Disney or Star Wars characters at Walt Disney World® Resorts and Disneyland®.
  • 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 and more at select locations and 10% off select purchases at Disney store and shopDisney.com.
  • 10% off select dining most days at the Walt Disney World® Resorts and Disneyland®.

Perhaps the most notable perk of Chase's Disney cards is the 0% introductory APR offer when you use the card to finance select vacation plans. Book your tickets and hotel through Disney, and Chase will waive interest for the following six billing cycles.

Which specific option is right for you depends upon your Disney connection, ie. how often you purchase Disney gear, whether you're a frequent Disney park visitor and more. That $49 annual fee for the Disney Premier Visa® Card, however, certainly isn't a bad fee, and you could likely recoup it quickly with that 2% back at gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores and most Disney locations.

However, if you don't plan on making your way to the Magic Kingdom every year (or shopping frequently at the Disney Store), other travel credit card or cash-back credit card offers may actually earn you some even better rewards.


For rates and fees of American Express cards featured on this page, please see the following: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (See Rates and Fees)

Comments
3 Comments

  1. Susan
    May 10, 2018 - 2:30 am
    Do the Disney gift cards and reward dollars expire in one year? It is not clear to me why these cards would only benefit the annual Disney visitor.
      Reply »  
    1. Brooklyn Lowery
      May 14, 2018 - 8:01 pm
      The rewards expire after five years if they aren't transferred to a redemption card or applied as a statement credit to cover airfare. The article just mentions heading to Disney each year as a way to help you understand these cards are likely best for people who make regular trips to Disney. If that isn't you, perhaps a more general travel rewards card is a better bet.I understand your confusion with the article wording and will update it accordingly. Thank you for your comment.
        Reply »  
  2. Kathleen Hanna
    January 26, 2017 - 2:56 am
    Hopefully I will be receiving my card soon and I am interested in taking advantage of the 6 month 0% interest by transferring balances from my other credit cards. I have been approved for the Disney Premier Credit card from Chase.
      Reply »