Is the Disney Visa credit card worth it?
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If you’re looking for the most affordable way to go to Disney World, Disneyland or on a Disney Cruise, you may have wondered if the Disney Visa is worth adding to your wallet. It earns Disney Rewards Dollars that you can use to pay for most things Disney, including trips to the parks or a cruise. And, after all, anything that makes a Disney trip more affordable can be a very good thing to consider.
But the answer to whether or not the card is worth it is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no. We’ll break down how the Disney Visa works and when it is — and isn’t — worth getting in anticipation of an upcoming Disney vacation.
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Disney Visa sign-up bonus
There are actually two different Disney Visa credit card products.
There’s the actual Disney Visa and there’s the Disney Visa Premier. The Disney Visa is the entry-level product that has no annual fee and currently awards a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months. The Disney Visa Premier has a $49 annual fee, but currently awards a $300 statement credit after $1,000 in spending in the first three months. Both are issued by Chase and thus would be subject to Chase 5/24 rules. And it’s worth knowing that both of these bonuses are higher than usual.
I’m not one to turn down $150 to $300 in statement credits, but keep in mind for perspective that some credit cards have sign-up bonuses worth $1,000 or more. Also note that how many cards you have in total matters, so you have to pick and choose wisely as to which ones will be the most beneficial for your situation.
The information for the Disney Visa and Disney Premier has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Just as an example of what else is out there, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is currently offering 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 total on purchases within the first three months from account opening) and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has a bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
So while $300 toward a Disney vacation sounds great (and it can be) — it’s good to look at that in context.
Disney Visa rewards
Now that we’ve talked about the bonuses, when you look at everyday spending the Disney credit cards earn rewards at different rates. The no-annual-fee Disney Visa earns 1% back on all card purchases in the form of Disney Rewards Dollars you can use at Disney. The Disney Visa Premier earns 2% back in Rewards Dollars on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney locations, and 1% back in Rewards Dollars elsewhere.
Earning 2% back in Disney Dollars in some spending categories isn’t bad. But just for perspective, there are many credit cards out there that provide a better return for everyday spending than either of the Disney cards.
For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. That card does have a higher annual fee at $95 per year. Some credit cards award up to 4 or 5 points per dollar at places such as grocery stores and on gas purchases, travel purchases, etc.
And, if you want to keep things very simple, the Citi® Double Cash Card has no annual fee and earns a total of 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you make a purchase and an additional 1% when you pay for it on your statement. That alone is actually a better overall earning proposition than the Disney Visa cards.
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card also has no annual fee and offers 3% back on dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target).
In other words, you can do better than earning 1%-2% back in Disney Reward Dollars with your everyday purchases via a wide variety of credit cards.
Disney Visa perks
The unique perks are where the Disney Visa products get more interesting for those looking to vacation with Mickey Mouse.
First, you can save 10% on some Disney merchandise purchases of $50 or more and save 10% on select dining locations on eligible dates at Disneyland and Disney World. Some eligible spots include: Skipper Canteen at the Magic Kingdom, Rose & Crown Dining Room (lunch only) at Epcot, Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Village Resort, the Hollywood Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios and Storytellers Cafe at the Grand Californian at Disneyland (I highly recommend the breakfast with characters at Storytellers when it returns).
Related: Best restaurants at Disney World
You can also get a 10% discount on some activities, such as the horseback rides at Fort Wilderness.
Those who need to spread out the cost of a Disney trip can get 0% intro APR for six months on eligible Disney vacation packages with the Disney Visa cards (then a variable APR of 15.99% applies). That 0% includes not only eligible resort trips to the Disney theme parks, but also to Disney Aulani in Hawaii, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, etc.
You must book your trip directly with the Walt Disney Travel Company, Disney Cruise Line, etc., using your Disney Visa. But those eyeing a sailing on the upcoming Disney Wish may be thrilled there’s a way to spread out the pain of the payments a bit.
Finally, Disney card members also get some exclusive photo opportunities. How these operate has changed some during the pandemic with the suspension of character meet and greets and the current offering of digitized “Magic Shots,” though a return to in-person character photos is possible post-pandemic.
Why the Disney debit card may be better
At TPG we aren’t huge fans of using debit cards for everyday purchases as you typically don’t earn rewards or have the same level of built-in protections as with credit cards. That said, the Disney debit card may make sense if you’re mainly interested in the Disney perks that come by virtue of having the card. Having the debit card won’t count against Chase 5/24 status and carries no annual fee. You will need to have a Chase checking account to access this debit card option.
The Disney debit card doesn’t earn rewards (so no need to really use it much), but it gets you access to many of the same photo ops and discounts on Disney merchandise, dining, cruise expenses, park tours, etc., as the Disney Visa credit cards. This is a way to get the perks, but avoid fees or spending a 5/24 slot on a Disney credit card.
Related: Why you shouldn’t use debit cards
Why the Disney Visa isn’t always the best choice
I’m a bit of a Disney fanatic, so I get the appeal of having a Disney Visa — the cards are cute with the different available Disney design options. If the built-in perks — the in-park character photo ops, the available discounts, the 0% APR for six months on eligible Disney vacations — sound intriguing, then a Disney Visa might be right for you since those are perks not really replicated on other cards.
If you are big on Disney dining and some out-of-park experiences, saving 10% or so on those charges can add up for frequent Disney visitors.
However, if your main goal is to get a rewards-earning credit card that will rack up points or rewards you can use toward a Disney vacation, you can probably do better both in terms of a larger welcome bonus and better everyday earning rates that you can use at Disney than a Disney Visa.
Here are my favorite credit cards for families who want to use perks to travel.
Related: How to use points for Disney tickets
If you spend a lot of money at Disney and want to earn as many points or as much cash back as possible on these expenses, the Disney Visa Premier is a good choice, but not always the best choice.
The previously mentioned Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a pretty great choice for earning rewards you can cash in for Disney travel expenses.
For eating out in the Disney parks, those charges will often code as dining. This means you could earn 4 points per dollar with the American Express® Gold Card at restaurants or 4% with the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card.
On your Disney resort stays or Disney Cruise Line bookings, you can earn 3 points per dollar by paying with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or up to 3-5 points per dollar for some travel charges on the Citi Prestige® Card, depending on how you book.
The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards and Citi Prestige cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: Best credit cards for theme parks
The Disney Visa credit cards themselves are fun rewards choices for fans of all things Disney. However, the cards aren’t total slam dunks for Disney enthusiasts looking to earn or use rewards for a Disney vacation in all situations. In terms of rewards, the Disney cards are better than paying for things with checks or debit cards, but they often aren’t the absolute best credit cards on the market if your goal is to use points for your next Disney trip.
However, if you want access to some Disney merchandise or dining discounts, six months of 0% intro APR (then a variable APR of 15.99%) on eligible Disney vacations and special photo opportunities then a Disney Visa might be worth the wallet slot for true enthusiasts.
Featured photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.
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