Save money and maximize your rewards


Taking your family on a Disney vacation is bound to result in memories that last a lifetime. It’s also guaranteed to leave a dent in your wallet.

But with the right travel credit card in your pocket, you can balance the high costs with great rewards and benefits. Before planning your family’s next adventure, read on to find out how to choose a travel card that will help you maximize spending at Disney and beyond.

In this article:


We used the average costs found in the “Average cost of a Disney vacation” section toward the bottom to determine the best travel cards for a Disney vacation by calculating the value each card can add to your trip. The potential rewards values below include only the costs we calculated (flights, hotels, park tickets, and food) — without any additional merchandise, souvenirs, or other purchases you’ll likely make throughout your trip.

The hypothetical costs in the potential rewards calculations below are meant as an example to represent the earning power of rewards credit cards. You can find a full breakdown of our methodology at the bottom. Just remember: Everyone’s real-world experience will vary depending on the details of their specific vacation.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred can offer a lot back on common categories for a Disney trip. For the $95 annual fee, you’ll start with a welcome offer of 60,000 points after spending at least $4,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Up to $50 in annual hotel credits when you purchase through Chase Travel, a 10% annual points boost, increased redemption value for points, and travel protections can all go a long way toward this card’s long-term value. Here’s a rundown of rewards you’ll earn with your spending:

  • 5x points on travel booked through Chase (for hotels, you start earning after you max out the $50 annual credit)

  • 3x points at restaurants, on select streaming services, and online grocery purchases (excludes Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)

  • 2x points on all other travel purchases

  • 1x points on everything else

Potential rewards: 28,905 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

While this is already a great amount of rewards earned on one trip, it may be even more valuable than you think. With a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, points are worth 1.25x more when you redeem for travel with Chase. That means you could get $361.31 in rewards value toward your next vacation.

Bonus rewards on a variety of everyday purchases — such as restaurants, streaming (including Disney+), online groceries — and a broad travel category means this card isn’t only useful during your Disney trip. Families can easily use it to accumulate major points over time to put toward an annual vacation.

Finally, Chase Sapphire cards can be useful for Disney vacations because points are transferable to Southwest Rapid Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy programs. So if you’re able to open the card and earn the welcome bonus before you book, you may be able to save a lot on flights and hotels by transferring points at a 1:1 ratio.

Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great no annual fee card for travel. After approval, you can earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy — worth up to $300 cash back — on up to $20,000 spent in the first year. That means in the first year, you can earn 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 4.5% on dining and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

Here’s more about the card’s regular rewards, not including this first-year offer:

  • 5% cash back on travel through Chase Travel

  • 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases

  • 1.5% cash back on everything else

The Freedom Unlimited’s minimum 1.5% cash-back rate in non-bonus categories exceeds the flat 1% offered by many other rewards cards. It’s only a small difference, but could add up to big earnings over the long term.

Potential rewards: $299.53 cash back or 29,953 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

If you prefer cash back over points and miles rewards, it’s hard to beat the return you’ll get from the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

However, while cash back can be a simplified redemption option for most cardholders, you can convert your cash back to points and redeem them for flights, hotels, and more through Chase Travel.

And don’t forget: The nearly $300 you can earn on your Disney trip doesn’t even factor in the fantastic first-year boosted 1.5% cash back. If you use this card for your Disney vacation over the first year, you could increase your rewards to a total $414.96 in cash back.

Capital One Savor is one of the best cards for earning cash rewards on dining, including spending you’ll rack up eating and drinking around the world at Epcot or sitting down for dinner at Disney Springs. This card does have a $95 annual fee, but you can get $300 back after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months — and the ongoing cash back rewards are great for everyday spending:

  • 8% on tickets purchased through Vivid Seats (an online retailer for live events — concerts, sporting events, theater, and more)

  • 4% on dining, entertainment, and popular streaming services

  • 3% at grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target)

  • 1% on everything else

Potential rewards: $230 cash back

Capital One Savor offers one of the best rates available today for dining out at a great 4% cash back. While dining at restaurants accounted for a relatively small portion of our average budget for a Disney vacation, some visitors may prioritize all the foodie opportunities Disney theme parks have to offer.

Beyond restaurant spending, this is one of the only cash-back cards with boosted rewards on “entertainment” spending. This category includes amusement parks, so you can also get 4% back on your Disney parks tickets as well (though this may depend on your purchase method and how the expense is coded by the merchant).

With $230 cash back at Disney on average for a $95 annual fee card, this could be a great option for your trip — especially if you tend to focus your spending on those higher-earning categories at the park and when you return home.

Frequent Southwest Airlines flyers can get more than enough annual value from this card to outweigh its $99 annual fee. When you sign up, you’ll earn 50,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

The ongoing benefits are targeted to Southwest savings, such as an annual 6,000-point anniversary bonus. You’ll also get two annual Early-Bird check-ins, which will automatically check you into your flight before the traditional 24-hour window (helping you score a better boarding position). Here’s what you can get from points rewards:

  • 3x points on Southwest purchases

  • 2x points on local transit and commuting (including rideshares); on internet, cable, and phone services; and on select streaming services

  • 2x points on Southwest Rapid Rewards partner hotels and car rentals

Among the major domestic airlines, we included a co-branded Southwest Airlines card because it offers frequent flights into and out of both MCO in Orlando, Fla., and SNA in Orange County, Calif. Plus, its free checked bag policy is great for families traveling together, and the Companion Pass program could save you major bucks on future flights.

It doesn’t make sense to open a co-branded Southwest Airlines card unless you already frequently fly with the airline. But if Southwest is your preferred airline, the Rapid Rewards Priority card offers a solid mix of rewards and benefits for a relatively low-cost annual fee — and can be a great companion for your travels to Disney and in the future.

The information for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card has been collected independently by Yahoo Finance. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Marriott’s $95 annual fee co-branded card with Chase gives you a full five free nights (with a value of up to 50,000 points per night) right off the bat when you spend at least $5,000 within the first three months of account opening. Here are all the ongoing rewards you’ll earn on your spending:

  • 6x points at Marriott Bonvoy hotels (plus 10x for being a Marriott Bonvoy member and 1x for Silver Elite status, which you’ll get with this card — for a total of up to 17x)

  • 3x points at grocery stores, gas stations, and dining (on the first $6,000 combined each year)

  • 2x points on everything else

More benefits include a free night award (worth up to 35,000 points) each account anniversary, automatic Silver Elite status, 15 Elite night credits each year, and more — which can help you quickly get more value toward future Marriott stays.

Potential rewards: 43,255 Marriott Bonvoy Points

Not only is it one of the largest hotel chains in the world, but you’ll find plenty of Marriott hotels near Disneyland and Walt Disney World. A few Disney resorts are even Marriott properties, including the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. With up to 17x points on Marriott hotel spending, it’s hard to beat the rewards you’ll get on just your stay.

Like any co-branded card, the Bonvoy Boundless is best for cardholders who already travel somewhat regularly and prefer Marriott hotels. While it does offer rewards on some everyday purchases, you’ll only get the full value of this card’s rewards and benefits when you stay at Marriott properties.

If Hilton properties are your preference, the $150 annual fee Hilton Surpass card from Amex offers a whopping 130,000-point welcome bonus after you spend $3,000 in the first six months — and a variety of bonus categories, especially for a co-branded hotel card:

  • 12x points at Hilton hotels and resorts

  • 6x points at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations

  • 4x points on purchases with U.S. online retailers

  • 3x points on everything else

For ongoing benefits, you’ll get automatic Gold status, up to $200 back annually ($50 statement credits each quarter) on Hilton spending, a free night award after spending $15,000, and more.

Potential rewards: 41,236 Hilton Honors Points

The Surpass Card from Hilton and American Express can help you earn a significant number of rewards points on your Disney trip. Hilton has several hotel options around the parks in both Orlando and Anaheim. Orlando’s Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is an Official Walt Disney World Hotel if you want the added perks of staying on-site.

Despite its $150 annual fee, this card is also a solid choice for everyday spending, especially considering its 4x points on U.S. online retail purchases (which isn’t common among rewards cards). If you prefer staying with Hilton each time you travel, this could be a good choice for racking up rewards toward future stays.

With a $550 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the most expensive credit card on our list — but it also has the most potential value for certain travelers. To start, you can earn a 60,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 within the first 3 months. Ongoing rewards categories are largely focused on travel, too:

  • 10x points on hotels and rental cars purchased through Chase Travel (after the first $300 spent on travel annually)

  • 5x points on flights purchased through Chase Travel (after the first $300 spent on travel annually)

  • 3x points on other travel (after the first $300 spent on travel annually) and dining

  • 1x points on everything else

One of this card’s biggest perks is a $300 annual travel credit. This credit will apply to the first $300 you spend on travel each year, and you’ll only earn the above rates after maxing out the credit. On top of that, get up to $100 toward TSA PreCheck or Global Entry every 4 years, airport lounge access, high-value travel protections, and more.

Potential rewards: 37,994 Chase Points

If your family’s trip to Disney is just one among many you’ll take in the year ahead, you may want to consider whether a more premium travel credit card is worth it for you.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit alone can go a long way toward outpacing its annual fee, and frequent travelers can get a lot of rewards value from the travel-focused bonus categories. Plus, the long list of Chase travel partners (including Southwest and Marriott) can offer even more flexibility for your upcoming travels.

Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Sapphire Reserve also gets a boosted redemption value when you use your rewards toward travel booked through Chase Travel. With this card’s 1.5x boost, the 37,994 points earned on your Disney vacation could be worth an incredible $569.91 toward future travel.

If you live near a Disney park and visit regularly, you may benefit from having a Disney credit card. The Disney Premier Visa Card does have a $49 annual fee, but you can easily offset that for the first year by scoring the $300 statement credit after spending $1,000 within three months of opening. After that, here are the ongoing bonus rewards categories:

  • 5% at DisneyPlus.com, Hulu.com, or ESPNPlus.com

  • 2% at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney U.S. locations

  • 1% on everything else

The rewards you earn with this card come in the form of Disney Rewards Dollars, which you can redeem for Disney purchases or as statement credits toward airline spending. As an added benefit for your trip, you’ll get 10% off select merchandise and select dining locations and 15% off select guided tours at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

Potential rewards: $104 Disney Rewards Dollars

This card may earn significantly less than the other travel rewards credit cards based on our average spending totals, but you can quickly boost that if you plan to spend a large amount on merchandise or other purchases at the Disney parks. You may even want to pair it with a more general travel credit card to take advantage of other rewards categories while reserving this card (or its no annual fee sister card, the Disney® Visa® Card) for spending in the parks.

Still, it’s important to keep the limitations — especially when it comes to your rewards, redemptions, and the annual fee — in mind before you apply.

The above cards may offer the best value for most Disney visitors, but other rewards credit cards could make a good choice for your vacation, too.

The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, for example, may be ideal for Costco members — especially if you’re considering booking a Disney vacation package with Costco. This could potentially save you money on everything from your hotel to park tickets, but it can depend on your dates and other trip details. If you already do a lot of your family shopping at Costco but don’t have the wholesaler’s credit card, this could be a great opportunity to consider it for ongoing everyday savings.

Don’t forget about other co-branded credit cards from your preferred travel brands, too. A hotel or airline card isn’t going to be the right travel card choice for everyone, but if you always fly with Delta Air Lines, for example, or often go places where IHG has a large hotel presence, using a co-branded card that works for your longer-term spending could offer savings on your Disney trip.

The best credit card for a Disney vacation isn’t necessarily a Disney credit card. In fact, it’s probably a card with general or everyday rewards categories you can use to save on your trip and at home.

Because many of the big-ticket items you’ll purchase on your trip (flights, hotel, food) fall into pretty common categories among travel credit cards, you can score big savings on some of the most costly purchases. But with any new credit card, it’s also important to determine whether those rewards fit into your regular spending.

You don’t want to take on a new credit card that you’ll only benefit from over a single vacation, after all — especially if it comes with an annual fee. Here are a few card details you should look for and align with your spending and goals.

  • Annual fee: Travel credit cards can get expensive. But even if you avoid premium cards with $300+ annual fees, plenty of the best options will still charge you each year. An annual fee can be worth it if you use your card often and get enough value to outweigh the cost. However, this also requires that your spending matches the card outside your one-time Disney trip. Make sure you do the math using your regular budget before committing to an annual fee card.

  • Rewards: Travel card rewards categories can vary greatly. Again, you’ll want a card that gets you the best return for your spending during your trip — but also think about what you spend a lot of money on throughout the year. If you don’t fly often, you may not want your top category to be airline spending. Alternatively, a restaurant rewards category could go a long way if you eat out a few nights each week.

  • Benefits: Added benefits, including statement credits, discounts with partners, savings on specific purchases, and more, can help add a lot of value to your rewards card. Look for benefits that add savings to your purchases even without the card.

  • Introductory APR: A 0% introductory APR offer isn’t necessarily the first thing to look for in a travel card, especially if you’ve already budgeted for the cost of your trip. But it can help you bank some time to pay off your Disney vacation without paying added interest. Just make sure you have a plan to pay the balance in full before the intro period ends, or you could take on a lot of extra cost in interest charges later on.

We calculated the potential rewards assigned to the above cards based on putting all your major expenses on that card alone. But another strategy that could add more value to your trip (if you’re willing to do the work) is using different credit cards for purchases in different categories.

For example, say you already have the Chase Freedom Unlimited card but you’re considering opening a Chase Sapphire Reserve for your Disney trip. You use your Reserve card for purchases within its bonus categories (travel booked through Chase, dining, etc.), then use Freedom Unlimited to get a minimum 1.5% back on everything else. Using our average calculations, you could earn 39,042 points altogether with this combination (before factoring in any additional spending).

The best part of using these cards for a strategy like this? Your Freedom Unlimited rewards can transfer to the Sapphire Reserve — where you’ll be able to redeem them for the Resrve’s 1.5x boosted rate. So, in the future, you can redeem those points under your Sapphire Reserve account for up to $585.63 worth of travel booked through Chase Travel.

It can also work with other cards. Maybe you want to use the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless to maximize your hotel stay, but also want to make the most of your ticket and food purchases with your Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card. According to our average cost calculations, this combination could net you 30,903 Bonvoy points and $139.51 in cash back. Because neither of these cards offer boosted flight rewards, this could be a great combo if you’re within driving distance of the Disney parks and want to make a road trip of it (in which case you could also use the Bonvoy card for 3x at gas stations).

By strategizing different combinations with your individual situation and cards you may already own, you’ll be able to maximize the rewards each card is best for — without sacrificing any purchases to lower-value earnings.

Most Disney visitors can probably get more value from a travel credit card that fits their budget and spending than they will from a Disney co-branded rewards card. Other travel cards offer more flexible redemptions, added benefits, and rewards that can help you save even after you return from your Disney vacation.

However, if you live near Disneyland or Walt Disney World and you’re an annual passholder who visits often enough that Disney Rewards Dollars could help you save a lot on Disney-related redemptions, one of the two Disney credit cards from Chase could be worthwhile.

We like the Disney Premier Visa despite its annual fee. It offers higher-value rewards and some added benefits that can go a long way for people who spend a lot of money at the parks. Plus it has more flexible redemptions. Both cards earn Disney Rewards Dollars, but only the Premier Visa also lets you redeem rewards as a statement credit toward airline purchases.

The no annual fee Disney Visa Card isn’t a bad option for frequent Disney visitors, but with only 1% back on everything, your Disney Rewards Dollars won’t go very far.

No two families’ trips to Disney will be exactly the same. But considering how big an investment a Disney trip can be, it can be helpful to compare costs before booking. To find the actual value of different travel credit cards included on our list, we did the math to determine what you might expect to spend on a family vacation to the most magical place on Earth.

We planned our trip around a family of four — two adults, one child over 10, and one child under 10. Our averages are based on prices for a 2024 spring break trip (end of March) from their home in the Chicago area to either Disneyland or Walt Disney World. The trip will last a total of six days and five nights (including travel days), with four days spent in the parks.

We separated trip costs into four primary categories: airfare, hotel, park tickets, and food. The calculated averages include each category’s cost at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

Flights: We looked up airfare with multiple major domestic airlines, prioritizing lower-cost flights with times conducive for family trips (avoiding very early or very late departures).

Hotel: We compared prices for multiple hotels close to the parks from different hotel brands, as well as Disney hotel properties via Disney’s site. Prices are for one standard room with two queen beds at regular rates (before any discounts for members, room add-ons, etc.).

Park tickets: Theme park tickets for our family’s trip include standard one-park passes for four days. Rates are for three full-price tickets per day and one discounted ticket for the youngest child (applies to ages 3-9).

Food: Because different families have different strategies for meal planning travel days, we only accounted for meals over park days — a total of 12 meals per person, or three per day. We broke these meals down into 10 “quick service” meals (Disney’s lowest cost tier at under $14.99 per person), and two “table service” meals ($15 to $59 per person). In total, all 12 meals would cost an average of

Total cost: $7,695.76

Admittedly, this total may be on the lower end of average, and many families will incur additional expenses — especially food and drink while spending full days in the parks.

Also, keep in mind the different fluctuations in price depending on the details of your specific trip. For example, the time of year you visit can be a big factor. While late March is a relatively popular time to visit Disney, you could get additional savings during off-peak days or spend more during high-volume seasons. Booking far in advance could help you score added savings. Flight and hotel prices are constantly changing based on demand and other factors. Plus, how and where you book can be a big variable, too. It can pay to shop around and look for the best deals before you book your Disney vacation.

View our methodology and explanation of how we chose the featured credit cards.


Editorial Disclosure: The information in this article has not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The details on financial products, including card rates and fees, are accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information. This site doesn’t include all currently available offers.



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