How to use points to buy Disney tickets
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Editor’s note: This guide has been updated with the latest information.
A Disney family vacation is almost as classic of an American pastime as baseball games and July Fourth fireworks. It’s an escape from reality and can be a fun dose of magic and happiness. But along with all that joy and anticipation can come sticker shock at the cost of a Disney vacation. Disney can be done on a budget, but it’s never going to be inexpensive.
It’s hard to score a true discount on Disney tickets. However, you can use some of your credit card points to get Disney tickets in your hand without spending a wallet’s worth of cold hard cash.
Whether you want to head to some of Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebrations kicking off this fall or explore the new Avengers Campus out in Disneyland, here’s a look at different ways to use points to cover your Disney park tickets. By doing so, you can make your next family vacation that much more affordable.
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Disney ticket costs
How much a Disney ticket costs, and therefore the number of points you’ll need to use, depends on several factors.
These factors include guest age (those under 3 are free, but at 10 you’re a Disney “adult”), what date you’re going, how many days you’ll visit, how many parks you want to visit, whether you want to park-hop and what additional attractions you want to experience (waterparks, miniature golf, real golf, etc.).
One constant with Disney tickets is that the more days you visit a Disney park in one trip, the less your per-day cost.
Looking at the value on a per-day basis, it’s clearly in your best interest to fit as much Disney in as possible on a single trip. Doing so will let you get significantly more bang for your points (or dollars) than taking multiple short Disney trips. After all, single-day, one-park tickets to Disney World range from $109 to $159. But your per-day cost on a longer Disney trip of seven to 10 days will be $52 to $67.
How to redeem points for Disney tickets
If you’re looking for a magical way to get outsize value when using your points for Disney tickets the way you might when cashing in airline miles for a first-class ticket, we have some bad news.
Outside of limited-time promotions that may or may not appear in the future, it’s not possible to get an insane return for your points on Disney tickets. Instead, as you’ll see below, the main ways to redeem points for Disney tickets are via a cash-back card or at a fixed rate.
Redeem Citi ThankYou Rewards points
After all, you can redeem Citi ThankYou points toward Disney tickets at a rate of 1 cent per point. The Citi Premier sign-up bonus is currently 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. So, this bonus could translate to $800 in Disney tickets.
The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
To redeem Citi ThankYou points for Disney tickets, you’ll have to pick up the phone and talk to Citi’s third-party travel agency, Connexions Travel.
While the process may be slightly different when you call, here’s approximately what you’ll need to do to redeem Citi ThankYou points for Disney tickets:
- Call 800-842-6596.
- Select “Redeem ThankYou points.”
- Enter the last four digits of your card.
- Select “Travel rewards.”
- Press 3 for “Cruises and tours.”
Even if the exact flow of phone tree answers changes over time, you’ll want to find your way to the cruise and tour arm of Connexions Travel as they are the ones who can secure Disney tickets.
The Connexions Travel phone agents quote the same prices for tickets as on the Disney website. Once you are sent an email with your Disney ticket number in it, you can link that number to your My Disney Experience account to secure your park pass reservations and more. In October 2020 tests, the Connexions Travel agent had to get a Disney agent on the phone to process the transaction and it took about two hours from start to finish.
Redeem flexible points against the charge
While you can redeem Citi ThankYou points directly for Disney tickets, the same is not true for most other types of points. However, there are ways to use your credit card points to essentially wipe out the charge.
Bank of America Preferred Rewards points earned from the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card are worth 1 cent each. This card awards up to 2.625 points per dollar charged on non-bonus transactions and 3.5 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases if you have the highest tier of perks based on total assets on deposit with Bank of America and/or Merrill accounts. If you are in that preferred earnings tier, it’s just about the most rewarding cash-back card on the market.
You can use those points to give yourself a statement credit, essentially offsetting the cost of the Disney tickets charged to that card.
Here’s a look at some of our other favorite cash-back cards.
Redeem travel points for Disney tickets — with a catch
You can transfer Capital One miles from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to hotel and airline partners. But you can also redeem Capital One miles at a fixed rate of 1 cent each toward travel purchases made using the card.
The catch with this redemption method is that Disney tickets purchased directly from Disney don’t typically code as a travel charge. More often, I’ve seen them code as an entertainment charge unless you buy them as a larger hotel-and-ticket package.
If you want to offset the cost by redeeming flexible travel points such as Venture miles, you’ll need the purchase to code as travel. If you book a larger hotel-and-ticket package directly from Disney, that will likely code as travel. But if you only want to buy Disney tickets without a broader package, consider purchasing them via a site like Undercover Tourist that should code as travel.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points don’t work
Until 2018, you could redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points directly toward Disney tickets, cruises, resorts and vacation packages at 1.25 cents to 1.5 cents each if you held a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve.
But now, while you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for flights to Orlando or stays at non-Disney hotels in the Disney World area (including the on-property Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels), you sadly can’t use the points directly for Disney tickets and vacation packages.
What about the Disney Visa?
If you have a goal of using points for a Disney vacation, it’s logical to wonder why 1,000 words into the story, the namesake Disney Visa credit card has yet to come up.
With this card, you earn Rewards Dollars to use toward expenses at the Disney parks, on a Disney cruise, etc. So it isn’t a bad option. However, it isn’t the best option for maximizing your spending to earn a future Disney vacation.
Here’s an entire story on whether the Disney Visa Card is worth it.
The information for the Disney Visa Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
It takes time and a concerted effort to build up enough points for a family’s worth of Disney tickets. However, strategically using one or more big credit card sign-up bonuses can help turn a dream Disney trip into reality.
Along the way, you may have to forgo the much higher potential value that you’d get if you transferred points to a travel partner for hotel or flight redemptions. However, the best use of points is always to make your travel dreams come true. So if Disney is what you want for a future award trip, you can make that a reality with points.
Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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