How to Choose the Best Credit Card for Disney — and Earn Magical Rewards

Looking for the best credit card for Disney theme parks? Here’s what you need to know.
Last updated Sep 15, 2020 | By Miranda Marquit
Happy child at theme park

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

If you’re a Disney fan, and you love visiting the theme parks, applying for a travel credit card that can help you do more of what you enjoy can be a great idea. In fact, with the right credit card, you could earn free nights at hotels in the heart of Disney World or cash back on in-park purchases.

Here’s what you need to know about choosing the best credit card for Disney.

Jump To

How to choose the best credit card for Disney

To determine which is the best rewards credit card for Disney, start by looking at your own spending preferences, as well as the kinds of rewards you’re most likely to use.

Think about whether you’re more likely to redeem rewards for hotel stays or travel credits. Do you want a credit card offering points that can be redeemed or transferred? Or do you want brand-specific rewards? Also consider whether cash back would be more useful for your situation.

Finally, don’t forget about other perks. You might be able to get Disney-specific perks, depending on the card you use, or you could get additional perks, such as Priority Pass access, which can make your travel to Disney theme parks smoother.

We’ve identified five of the best credit cards for Disney lovers. Let’s take a look at how they can enhance your Disney experience.

The best credit cards for Disney lovers

Card Welcome bonus Rewards rate Annual fee
Chase Disney Premier Visa Card Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $500 in the first 3 months 2% in Disney Rewards Dollars at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney locations; and 1% on all other purchases 

$49

Citi Prestige Card Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening 5X points on airline purchases and restaurants; 3X points on hotels and cruise lines; and 1X points on all other purchases $495
Chase Sapphire Preferred Earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months 5X on Lyft rides, 2X points on eligible dining and travel, and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases $95
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card Earn 100,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months 6X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy and 2X points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases $95
Citi Double Cash Earn cash back twice: 1% when you buy + 1% when you pay up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay $0

1. Chase Disney Premier Visa Card

If you’re a hard-core Disney fan, the Disney Premier Visa card is a great option. This card is designed to help you earn Disney Rewards Dollars. These rewards can be redeemed for a Disney Rewards Redemption Card and used to pay for eligible purchases at Disney properties. Disney Premier Visa cardholders can also redeem their Disney Rewards Dollars directly for a statement credit on airline purchases.

With this card, you earn 2% in Disney Rewards Dollars at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney locations; and 1% on all other purchases.

On top of providing you with these rewards, the Disney Premier Visa also offers 0% on select Disney vacation packages or purchase of a real estate interest APR for 6 months on selected Disney vacation packages. This is from the date of purchase, so as long as you’re a Premier cardholder, you have access to this promotional financing.

Chase Disney Premier Visa features:

  • Annual fee: $49
  • Welcome bonus: 2% in Disney Rewards Dollars at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and most Disney locations; and 1% on all other purchases 
  • Special discounts: Save 10% on selected Disney and Star Wars purchases
  • Promotional APR: 0% on select Disney vacation packages or purchase of a real estate interest APR for 6 months on select vacation packages

2. Citi Prestige Card

If you’re looking for high-end travel rewards, including those you can use for your Disney vacation, the Citi Prestige Card is an excellent option.

Citi Prestige cardholders can earn 5X points on air travel and restaurants, as well as 3X points on hotels and cruises. Your Disney spending can add up quickly — and help you reduce the cost of future Disney vacations. You can book your rewards travel, including airfare and hotels, through the Citi ThankYou Travel Center.

One of the most valuable perks of the Citi Prestige is that you can get a fourth night free when you book at least four consecutive nights through ThankYou.com. So, you could potentially book four nights at a Disney hotel and only pay for three nights.

Finally, the Citi Prestige comes with additional travel perks like VIP lounge access through Priority Pass Select, which can make waiting at the airport more comfortable. Additionally, every calendar year you receive up to $250 in statement credit for eligible travel. For the frequent traveler, this card can be ideal; its generous rewards can help offset the cost of your Disney vacation.

Citi Prestige features:

  • Annual fee: $495
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening, worth $500 in travel when booked through ThankYou.com
  • Special coverage: Receive up to $1,500 in cell phone insurance
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

3. Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you’re looking for another card with generous travel rewards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great choice. Cardmembers earn 2X points on eligible dining and travel purchases, so your Disney spending will add up to big rewards.

In addition to the amazing perks that come with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can also get 25% more value when you use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book your airfare and hotel through the Chase travel portal.

For example, if you use Chase points to book a flight to Disney World, you’d get 25% of those points back, allowing you to use them another day, for a different trip.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers 1:1 points transfers to certain airline and hotel partners. Marriott is a Chase partner, and Disney travelers can transfer their points to Marriott and then use them to book at the Walt Disney World Swan. The Swan is located very close to Disney World, and it offers character dining and FastPass+ perks.

Chase Sapphire Preferred features:

  • Annual fee: $95
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 80,000 points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months, worth $1,000 in travel when booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Special coverage: Purchase protection and extended warranty
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

4. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card is also an option worth considering for loyal Marriott travelers.

With this card, cardmembers earn 6X points at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy and 2X points per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases. This card’s generous rewards let you earn points fast, and then redeem them for Marriott hotel stays — including stays at properties near Disney parks.

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card also comes with a Free Night Award each year for your cardmember anniversary. A certificate will be added to your account, and you can redeem it from your “Activity” section. You can use this reward for redemptions at properties that cost up to 35,000 points per night.

While the Walt Disney World Swan doesn’t qualify for a free night under this promotion, it is a Bonvoy hotel; so when you spend the night there, you earn rewards points. Redemption starts at 40,000 points for the Swan during off-peak travel.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless features

  • Annual fee: $95
  • Welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, worth two nights at the Walt Disney World Swan when booked at the standard rate
  • Hotel status: Automatic Silver Elite, with 15 Elite Night Credits each year
  • Foreign transaction fee: None

5. Citi Double Cash

If you’d rather earn cash back on your purchases, the Citi Double Cash may be a good fit. You won’t find Disney-specific perks with this card, but you can get solid cash back from your Disney-related travel. With this card, you up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay off your balance.

For example, Disney’s Room, Ticket & Quick-Service Dining Package for a family of four costs $4,114 for travel in 2020. If you buy this package, you could get $82.28 cash back, which you can use to buy souvenirs. Plus, you get cash back on all your purchases throughout the year, which can be valuable, regardless of where you spend your money.

Citi Double Cash features:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Balance transfer introductory APR: Get 0% APR for 18 months
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%

Earn the most rewards with multiple credit cards

One of the best ways to book Disney travel is to use multiple cards and earn rewards you can redeem to reduce your trip expenses. Combining card benefits strategically lets you get the best bang for your buck.

For example, you can use your Chase Disney Premier card to earn direct Disney rewards, including 2% back at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants, and Disney purchases. If you use your Chase Sapphire Preferred for everything else, you can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards and get 25% more value on airfare by booking through the Chase portal.

Some cards, like the Citi Prestige and Marriott Bonvoy, also offer generous welcome offers if you spend a certain amount within a set period. Consider paying for your Disney vacation with a new card to get the welcome bonus, and then redeem those rewards for future travel. Once you’ve done that, you can then transfer your balance to a card like the Citi Double Cash card, which offers 0% APR for 18 months.

So if you book a vacation package for $4,114, you’d meet the minimum spending requirement for the welcome offer on the Citi Prestige or Marriott Bonvoy card. With the Citi Prestige, that amounts to a $500 value for future travel booked through ThankYou.com. For Marriott Bonvoy cardholders, those rewards can be redeemed for up to five nights at a Category 3 Bonvoy property, booked at the Standard rate. You can then transfer your $4,114 balance to the Citi Double Cash and take advantage of the 0% APR for 18 months — if you make monthly payments of $228.56, you’ll pay off your $4,114 balance without accruing interest.

Why we chose these cards (methodology)

We chose these cards to illustrate different ways it’s possible to earn rewards that can be redeemed to benefit a Disney vacation. Cards were chosen based on the perks offered, particularly the travel rewards and welcome bonuses. On top of that, different ways to earn rewards and a variety of annual fee choices were considered.

Additionally, the way rewards could be redeemed (such as a bonus for travel redemption through a certain portal) were considered, along with any introductory offers, such as statement credit, bonuses or 0% APR. The list is designed to appeal to different types of redemptions.

The bottom line on the best credit cards for Disney

If you’re planning a Disney trip, there are plenty of ways to earn credit card rewards to offset your travel costs. While the easiest choice might be a Disney-branded card, other credit cards also offer some great travel perks. Find a strategy that works best for you, and you can maximize the Disney magic and minimize your costs.

Earn Cash Back Twice

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Benefits

  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
  • No annual fee