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Update: In September 2018, things changed again for Disney and Chase Ultimate Rewards, and as of now you cannot use Ultimate Rewards points to book anything that is directly Disney.
A vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is simultaneously a magical experience for your family and a mind-bogglingly painful experience for your wallet. If you want to fully immerse yourself in the Disney experience and stay at an on-property Disney resort, all-in estimates for the price of a four-night Disney vacation can range from about $5,000 – $10,000 for a family of four. Naturally, there are ways to shave some cost off of those estimates, but if you are spending your cash for a Disney vacation, Mickey Mouse is going to expect to be well-paid in exchange for your lifetime of memories.
Save Money at Disney World Using Ultimate Rewards Points
One easy way that many savvy families save money at Walt Disney World is to use their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to cover the cost of their Disney Resort Hotel. Historically, you could go online to the Chase Travel site and use points from your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card to book one of the over 25 on-site Disney properties.
The number of points required per night varied based on the going rate of the hotel and which Ultimate Rewards card you held. To book a deluxe Disney property, such as Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, when it was selling for about $433 per night would cost you around 29,000 points from the Chase Sapphire Reserve at a value of 1.5 cents per point. That will not set the world record for the best points redemption in terms of value per point, but it is still a great option for families who want to use some of their points to go to Disney World.
However, at some point in July 2018, the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel site stopped displaying true Walt Disney World Resorts for bookings with points or dollars. The Chase Travel site still displays options such as the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, but those are not true Disney resorts that convey all of the Disney perks, such as the Magical Express Bus to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO). Thankfully, there is still a way to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book Disney Resorts — including park tickets!
Call Chase Cruise and Vacation Packages to Book Disney Resorts With Points
To use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book Walt Disney World Resort properties and theme park tickets, you must now call the Chase Cruise and Vacation Packages line at 1-855-234-2542. I know this is a major pain for those who love to do everything online, but there is a silver lining to this change.
Previously, when you booked a Disney Resort on the Chase Travel site, you were not given a true Disney confirmation number that you could use to immediately link the booking to your online My Disney Experience account, select Magic Bands, make FastPass+ reservations and more. It was possible to track down that real Disney confirmation number when booking through Chase, but it was far from quick or easy. Now when you use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points over the phone to book with the Chase travel agents, they are booking directly with Disney and can give you a true Disney confirmation number immediately.
When I called to price out some example trips last week, I was told that their prices over the phone match up with exactly what Disney offers directly on their website, and that was indeed accurate in my test searches.
Other Ways to Use Points to Book Disney World
If you only want to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to purchase park admission tickets to Disney World, you can also do that over the phone via the Chase Cruise and Vacation Packages department. If you wanted to plan a budget-friendly trip to Disney World, you can secure your park tickets with Chase Ultimate Rewards points then use your Hilton or Wyndham hotel points to stay at nearby properties, such as those in the Disney Springs area. As of 2018, those properties now convey many of the Disney perks and can help to stretch your vacation budget.
If you’re looking for alternative ways to book Walt Disney World Resorts with points, there are other options. To give an example, you can book your rooms directly with Disney, pay with your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, and then use the points from those cards at a rate of 1 cent per point to cover the charges. Note that booking Disney Resorts or purchasing a Disney Vacation Package directly from Disney historically codes as a travel charge, however purchasing just Disney Parks tickets directly from Disney does not. To purchase Disney Park tickets by themselves and have that purchase code as travel for the purposes of earning or using points, you will want to purchase the tickets through a travel company such as Undercover Tourist.
It is still possible to use your Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a value of up to 1.5 cents each to secure your desired Disney Resort reservations and admission tickets as long as you are willing to pick up the phone. As an added bonus, when booking over the phone you should get a confirmation number that will let you immediately link your new reservations to your My Disney Experience online account.
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