4 Days Only: Use Delta SkyMiles to Book Disney and Universal Trips at Good Rates
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Yesterday I shared a new and very limited-time Delta Vacations promotion that allows Delta SkyMiles to be redeemed for double the normal rate of 1 cent each at 2 cents each toward the revenue price of a flight and hotel package, which includes a minimum two-night hotel stay. As I was looking deeper into the promo last night, I noticed activities — specifically theme park tickets in Orlando — were available add-ons to your Delta Vacations package.
After pricing a few Disney and Universal vacations, it became clear this promotion is definitely a rare opportunity to use points and miles for a complete Disney vacation at a good value. Let’s look at what’s available and the value you can get at both Disney World and Universal Orlando. Just remember, this isn’t a “think about it forever” offer as the promotion ends August 30.
Related: Choosing the Best American Express Card for You (Hint: Membership Rewards points transfer 1:1 to Delta SkyMiles)
Disney World Options Through Delta Vacations
For the promotion, remember you need to book a flight and at least two nights of hotel, and then you can add on theme park tickets. After searching for a few different dates, it appears all of the Disney on-property hotels are available for booking through Delta Vacations, though, of course, some are unavailable on specific dates. The prices below reflect the all-in price for four nights in January per person, including round-trip flights from Atlanta to Orlando for two adults and two children:
Prices on Delta Vacations are very competitive for flights and hotels. In fact, in my searches it’s sometimes a better deal booking packages than booking flights and hotels individually. For the same above dates, booking Delta flights for four of us would be $628 and the Disney official website is asking $507 for those nights at the All-Star Sports Resort.
That puts the total package components at $1,135.36 when booking separately, compared to Delta Vacations selling a package for flight and hotel for four people at $945.56, a savings of $189.80. On top of the savings, you can use the current promotion to redeem SkyMiles for 2 cents each, making your flight and Disney hotel for four people on these dates only cost 47,278 Delta SkyMiles — really an unbelievable value.
With your flights and hotel covered, we arrive at an all too familiar conundrum of trying to redeem points and miles for Disney tickets at a good value. Typically, redeeming points at 1.25 cents each through Citi ThankYou is the best possible avenue since Chase removed Disney tickets from the Ultimate Rewards travel portal. But even that can’t be done online. That leaves many people with no avenue to good redemption values for Disney tickets, until this promo.
During this promotion, you can redeem SkyMiles at 2 cents each to cover Walt Disney World theme park tickets. But, there is a catch. Only flexible date Disney tickets are available through Delta Vacations.
This means you can use your ticket on any date you wish, but you’ll pay a premium for that ability. Basically, you will pay the same price as for the most expensive dates on the calendar (holiday weeks), even if you want to go in the off-season. (Here’s how Disney ticket pricing works these days.) Delta Vacations has Disney one park per day, Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus tickets available — but all only with the flexible date option for three- to 10-day tickets. Let’s compare the Delta Vacations ticket prices to the publicly available ticket prices from Disney’s website.
Flexible Date Park Hopper Adult Ticket Prices
You can see the prices from Disney and Delta are almost identical, and this carries across all of the ticket variations Delta has for sale. Adding four-day Park Hopper tickets for two adults and two children to our Delta Vacation package above brings the price to $3,651.55 — which is 182,578 Delta SkyMiles.
That price includes: four nights at the All-Star Sports Resort (which gives you Disney perks like the Magical Express Bus to/from the airport), round-trip flights for four from Atlanta to Orlando and four-day Park Hopper tickets for 47,000 SkyMiles per person, which is outstanding.
If you don’t have that many Delta miles at the ready, remember that Amex Membership Rewards points transfer (usually instantly) 1:1 to Delta from cards such as the American Express® Gold Card.
There are a lot of other variables to think about and consider, like possibly using the value of your flexible date Park Hopper toward the cost of upgrading to an annual pass. The idea of essentially redeeming SkyMiles at 2 cents per mile toward a Disney annual pass is intriguing.
Make sure you compare booking your flights and Disney hotels separately before going with Delta Vacations, but once you throw in the ability to use SkyMiles for Disney tickets at 2 cents each, it is probably worth going with Delta Vacations — even if they are more expensive by requiring flexible date park tickets.
Universal Orlando Sweet Spot
Delta Vacations also sells packages for the Universal Orlando Resort. Staying at one of three top properties at Universal Orlando gives you Universal Express Unlimited passes ($119–$189 value per day) to skip the regular lines at many of the popular Universal attractions. All three of these hotels are listed on the Delta Vacations site, which means you can redeem SkyMiles at 2 cents per mile to get free flights, hotels, Universal tickets and have Express Unlimited included. The three hotels you can book through Delta Vacations to get the Express Unlimited passes are:
- Loews Royal Pacific
- Loews Portofino Bay
- Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
I searched prices for a few dates in January and Delta Vacations came back just a little more expensive than if booking the hotel and flights separately but, of course, using SkyMiles to cover the whole cost probably makes the up-charge worth it. For Universal park tickets, Delta Vacations offers 2-Park and 3-Park base and park-to-park tickets. The ticket prices for Universal are exactly the same on Delta Vacations and the Universal Orlando website, with the exception that Delta Vacations does not have access to any promotional tickets.
There are a few additional advanced strategies to think about that I wouldn’t encourage, but may be something to consider. A few people have found flight and hotel packages that include a cheap two- or three-star property, which make the package cost fewer SkyMiles than if you just booked the flights. I don’t think you’ll run into any problems not checking into a hotel you booked if you can lower the price of a flight and book a hotel elsewhere. Likewise, booking flights to use miles for hotels and park tickets could hypothetically be a possibility.
I am really enjoying this promo and the ability to redeem miles at 2 cents each toward Disney tickets is truly fantastic value. I will certainly pay much closer attention to Delta Vacations in the future if promos like this continue to be a periodic offering.
For more Disney and Universal trip-planning advice, read these stories:
- TPG’s Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World Resort
- The Best Restaurants in Disney World in 2019
- Disney World Without Kids: How to Enjoy an Adult Trip to Disney
- How to Get Groceries Delivered at Disney World
- 6 Things to Know About Disney World’s Minnie Vans
- 10 Ways to Save Money at Disney World
- How to Save Money at Universal Orlando By Using Points
- Is the Universal Studios Orlando Annual Pass Worth It?
Featured Image courtesy of the Walt Disney World Resort
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