Family Travel Series: Is The Disney Credit Card Worth It For a Cruise?
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
This is part of the Family Travel Series on Choosing a Cruise by TPG Director of Operations, Danielle. Other posts include: Choosing a Cruise While Maximizing Points, Is the Disney Credit Card Worth It For A Cruise?, How to Choose a Cruise Based on Points, Using Frequent Flyer Miles for Cruise Flights, How to Get a Passport for Your Child.
As I mentioned in my first post, my husband, Mike, and I are trying to choose a Caribbean cruise for a summer vacation with our two kids (ages 3 and 4) in June. One of our options is with Disney Cruises, which seems to be the most popular choice with families thanks to kid-friendly amenities like Disney character experiences, magic mirrors and “talking” paintings in the halls and rooms, activity pools, Broadway shows, live performances and events like “Pirate Night”. The only drawback is that staterooms and suites seem to be much more expensive than on other lines--in the range of 50% more! So if we were to book a Disney cruise, we would want to offset some of that extra cost either with discounts or by maximizing our point earning.
We decided to look into the Disney's Premier Visa® Card from Chase to see if it would be worth it to get it specifically for this cruise and any savings we could squeeze out of it. Some of the benefits of this card are a $200 Disney Gift Card after you spend $500 within the first 3 months from account opening, 2% in reward dollars on card purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney locations and 1% on all your other card purchases, and you can save 10% on select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at DisneyStore.com and Disney Store locations all for an annual fee of $49. To find out more details on this card, visit this page.
All in all, this card is definitely geared to people who buy a lot of Disney merchandise and travel to Disney properties--just giving them little bonuses and unique experiences to sweeten the experience. For Mike and me, getting a new credit card would really be about getting some extra perks and savings on the cruise, but the benefits just don't add up to that much in our case, so I'm not sure it's not worth it for us to use a valuable Chase application on this card when there are plenty of other cards out there that can save our family significant amounts of money on future vacations. For example we could each get the 40,000 points with the Sapphire Preferred and those 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points could be combined and then transferred to airlines or used $1,000 towards anytime airfare- plus the first year annual fee is waived on that card.
A main negative of this card is that it has 3% foreign transaction fees, so we definitely wouldn't want to use it outside of the US since we'd be losing money. Since the 2% is only on certain spend categories, it would make sense for us to get the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which gives 2X miles per $1 on all spend and the $95 annual fee is waived the first year and there are no foreign transaction fees.
Disney Dream Dollars are designed for cardmembers to redeem for Disney merchandise like DVD's and collectibles, though you can also use them for statement credits on travel booked through Disney, so that's a little 1-2% cashback that would help Mike and me defray the extra cost of the cruise, though not my much. The card would provide some 10-20% discounts on some purchases of $50 (mostly on merchandise and dining) or more during our trip though to be honest I don't see it making any big dent in the overall price of our trip - even including the $50 onboard credit. There's also the $100 statement credit--though it basically ends up being a $51 statement credit after the annual fee is charged.