Skip to content

Universal Orlando changes how it prices park tickets, temporarily closes 2 hotels

August 20 2020
5 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Theme parks have had a rough year -- just like the rest of us.

While most theme parks in Florida have reopened, including the juggernauts Disney World and Universal Orlando, it's clear demand isn't as high as they'd hoped.

As a result, Disney has shifted more of its business to local annual passholders, rather than the more lucrative out-of-state guests who may stay a week in the theme park's resort hotels and dine out for multiple meals in Disney restaurants. Disney World operating hours will be further reduced beginning in September.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.

And just a few miles down the road, Universal Orlando is temporarily shuttering a couple of resort hotels again. Effective Aug. 21, both the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Universal's Aventura Hotel will close to guests, presumably due to lower-than-anticipated demand heading into the already quieter fall season. The hotels are accepting reservations again for dates beginning Jan. 1, 2021. This leaves four of the usual eight Universal properties open after tomorrow.

The Universal Studios Aventura Hotel (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
The Universal Studios Aventura Hotel (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Universal also just introduced a pretty stellar ticket deal where Florida residents can visit an unlimited number of times right up until Christmas for just the cost of a one-day ticket.

But those aren't the only changes being rolled out at Universal.

The theme park that's home to the popular World of Harry Potter recently rolled out ticket pricing that varies for single and multiday tickets, based on when you want to visit.

Related: TPG’s complete guide to Universal Orlando

Universal Studios (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Universal Studios (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

This isn't a new concept in the world of theme parks. Disney World has used date-based ticket pricing since the fall of 2018. The result is you may spend a little less, a little more or about the same as before, depending on your chosen travel dates.

For non-Florida residents, here's a sample of the new Universal ticket price ranges:

  • $109 to $139 for a one-park, one-day adult ticket
  • $164 to $194 for a two-park, one-day adult ticket
  • $218.99 for two-park, two-day tickets with two bonus days included
  • $278.99 for a two-park, two-day adult ticket with two bonus days included
  • $241.99 to $267.99 for a one-park, three-day adult ticket
  • $301.99 to $327.99 for a two-park, three-day adult ticket
  • $80 to $85 for one-day Volcano Bay water park tickets

At least so far, promotional ticket offers, such as the buy one day, get unlimited visits until Dec. 24 deal for Florida residents, or the buy two, get two offer for non-Florida residents, don't have a variable pricing structure based on date.

FOR NO-COST ASSISTANCE WITH PLANNING AND BOOKING YOUR NEXT UNIVERSAL VACATION, CHECK OUT TPG'S BOOKING PARTNER, MOUSE COUNSELORS.

Using points for date-based Universal tickets

If you want to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to keep cash in your pocket, you still can — but the rates will sometimes be higher than necessary as you're purchasing 'anytime' tickets.

For example, via Chase Travel, a one-day, one-park ticket costs $158.04 or 10,536 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve®. That's $10 more than the priciest date bought directly from Universal.

Related: How to use points for Universal Orlando tickets

On the flip side, I've also seen times that the ticket prices are exactly the same from the Chase site. The promotional one-park, two-day ticket that comes with two bonus park days costs an all-in price of $233.23 directly from Universal.

Screenshot courtesy of Universal Orlando
Screenshot courtesy of Universal Orlando

From Chase Travel, the ticket is also pricing at $233.23, or 15,548 points if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

Bottom line

This year has been a roller coaster none of us wanted to ride.

The major Florida theme parks seem to have successfully reopened, but it hasn't been a linear path toward normal operations. For those willing to make the trip, there are deals. But not all hotels and amenities are operational at either Univeral or Disney. And with this change in how Universal Orlando tickets are priced, your total trip price may change a bit if you're targeting higher priced dates.

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
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 Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • 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.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees