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TPG Reader Jamie recently went on a Disney cruise with her family, but is now wondering how she could have been smarter about booking their trip:
“My daughter turned five in March so my husband and I took our family of four on a Disney cruise, which we absolutely loved. I am now regretting not doing more research beforehand to see what credit card would have helped us out most when booking this trip. Since we enjoyed the cruise so much I’m thinking we will go again in the next couple years. What card would you recommend that would be most beneficial when booking a Disney cruise? I looked into the Disney Premier Visa, but it seems there may be better options out there.”
First lets take a look at the Disney Premier Visa. This card isn’t that great in terms of your overall travel points strategy, but it could be a good option for Disney fanatics. Here’s the current offer on the card:
- $200 Disney credit after you spend $500 within the first 3 months of opening the card
- Earn 2% in Disney Dream Reward Dollars on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney locations.
- Earn 1% on all other card purchases
- Redeem Disney Reward Dollars for a credit on your monthly statement.
- Buy Disney merchandise or park tickets using your Disney Rewards Dollars that are loaded onto your Disney Rewards Redemption Card.
- 1 Disney Dream Reward Dollar is equal to $1 when redeeming for Disney products and offerings
- $49 annual fee
It seems as though the perks are great for people who visit Disney theme parks frequently or shop at a lot at Disney stores, but if that doesn’t apply to you there are much better options out there.
For Jamie’s situation – where she’s not looking to redeem her points for flights since she lives in Florida anyway and can get to Disneyworld and Disney cruises easily – I would suggest getting a fixed-value points card which lets you book whatever travel you want. These are points that you redeem for travel, cash back or merchandise at a fixed rate that is usually around 1-2 cents per point depending on what you want to redeem them for.
The great thing about points and credit cards is that you don’t have to choose just one kind of points to earn, though. You can still have traditional miles/points for aspirational awards and then also take advantage of fixed-value bonuses to help pay for day-to-day flights and travel expenses that cannot be redeemed with normal airline miles that depend on award availability, or for hotels where you might not be able to use points, such as one-off or boutique properties. Plus when you use these points there are no blackout dates since they are basically just equivalent to using money and you get the miles and elite credit for flights you book with them as well.
One of the best offers for a fixed-value card out there right now is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard which has a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in 3 months. Those 40,000 miles equal $400 dollars, but when you redeem your points for travel you will get a 10% points refund every time you use them to redeem travel (including cruises, flights, hotels, car rentals, and resorts). Aside from that, you also earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase which is essentially giving you 2.2% back on everything you spend. With this card there are no blackout dates when booking travel and no foreign transaction fees. You’ll also enjoy a complimentary TripIt Pro subscription, and the $89 annual fee is waived for the first year.
Another good option is the Capital One Venture card, which also earns 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. Right now there is a very low sign-up bonus for this card of just 20,000 miles after $2,000 spent in the first 3 months, and an annual fee of $59 waived the first year. In the past we have seen sign-up bonuses of up to 100,000 miles so I would hold off on getting this card until the bonus is raised.
Fidelity has a cash-back card, though no longer available to new cardholders, and Charles Scwhabb has a 2% cash-back card as well if you have a brokerage account with them. If you decide to go with a fixed-value card I would strongly recommend getting the Barclaycard Arrival since it could help make a cruise for you and your family much more affordable and rewarding. Please feel free to comment below if there is another fixed-value or other credit card that will help Jamie when booking a Disney Cruise.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees