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How I earned 5x points and saved a little money stocking up on Disney gift cards

March 29, 2021
5 min read
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It feels like we're on the cusp of a return to travel in a pretty major way. After a very light to non-existent travel schedule over the last few months, my family now has a comparatively full agenda in the spring and summer. On that travel to-do list is our happy place, Disney World.

To save money on that upcoming trip to Disney, and start racking up more points for the trips that will follow, I decided to utilize this quarter's Chase Freedom Flex 5% cash back (5x) bonus category at wholesale clubs by purchasing some discounted Disney gift cards at Sam's Club. There is a $1,500 quarterly max for the 5% cash back (5x bonus points), and you must have registered for the quarter's bonus by March 14. But while I had registered in time, I hadn't really charged any expenses to this card in the 5x bonus categories of wholesale clubs, internet, cable, phone services and streaming.

Because of that, I had a lot of spending I could do (before the quarter ends on March 31) to earn 5x on theme park expenses I know I'll have a few weeks down the road.

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Warehouse clubs have discounted gift cards

If you don't frequently shop in-store or online with warehouse clubs such as Costco or Sam's Club, you may not yet know that in addition to industrial-sized boxes of mac and cheese and jumbo packs of granola bars they have discounted gift cards to a variety of retailers and attractions. This can include travel brands such as Southwest Airlines, Amtrak, Hotels.com, Airbnb, Alaska Airlines and ... Disney.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The percentage of the discount varies depending on the gift card, but when it comes to Disney, saving some money is better than no money. To put exact numbers to it, currently, a $500 Disney gift card at Sam's Club is going for $484.98. Saving $15 on $500 I know I'll spend on Disney resort hotels, food, tickets, etc. is nice, but that amount by itself may not be enough to make me jump through the extra hoops of ordering and keeping up with gift cards.

However, saving $15 per $500 and taking on earning 5x points that I value at 2 cents each is enough for a little extra hoop-jumping.

Related: How to use points to pay for Disney tickets

Use Freedom points with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Reserve

By themselves, points earned with the Chase Freedom Flex are worth 1 cent each when redeemed towards gift cards, etc. If you only have the Freedom Flex they can't be transferred to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline partners.

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However, if you have the Freedom Flex and a card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer the points you earn with the Freedom Flex to your Sapphire Preferred or Reserve account to make them more valuable.

For example, you could then redeem them at 1.5 cents each towards travel booked in the Chase Travel site. Or, you can do what I'm most likely to do, and transfer the points to Chase partners such as Hyatt, United, etc. when there's an award redemption I want to maximize via one of those programs. A perfect example of this is when I recently transferred Chase points to Hyatt to book the ski-out Park Hyatt Beaver Creek hotel when cash rates were $1,000+ per night.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Assuming I redeem these points for at least 2 cents each in value (which I usually do), then that means by purchasing Disney gift cards in this way I not only saved some money but earned 10% back in travel rewards for a future trip at the same time.

Related: These are the best credit cards to use for theme parks

Bottom line

Even if I maxed out $1,500 in 5x spending this quarter in this manner, that still 'just' results in earning 7,500 points. Even factoring in saving some money along the way, that's not likely to be a life-changing event. However it's small tweaks in how you spend your money, such as this, that can really ramp up your points strategy over time.

A final piece of advice if you do something similar is that paying for goods or services with a gift card obviously means you have fewer protections and less flexibility than if you just paid with a credit card.

In this case, even if my upcoming Disney trip falls apart, I know I can use the gift cards at a later date. I also don't need the valuable built-in travel protections a credit card can offer on an airfare purchase for Disney churros, t-shirts or to pay off a Disney hotel room balance so I felt OK stocking up a bit of Disney gift cards knowing my own personal travel patterns.

Featured image by Matt Stroshane, photographer
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023