Best CC for Disney Vacation

Old Feb 1, 13, 4:07 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 19
Newb - Trip to Disney World (mostly) on Points - App Strategy

I'm looking to take my family of 6 to Disney World late this year or early next year. Southwest has a direct flight to Orlando, and I understand Carlson hotels has some good deals on hotels in the Orlando area. I have a (fake) credit score of 760 and low utilization. Currently have a handful of credit cards, 3 chase cards, 1 amex, and a handful of other cards (most with a 1% cast back reward, some with 2% of 3% for special categories). Most rarely get used, and I pay off the other's each month.

Looking to apply for the following cards:

1) Chase Southwest personal card -50k points, $2k spend in 3 months
2) Chase Southwest business card - 50k points, $2k spend in 3 months
3) US Bank Club Carlson card - 85k points, $2.5k spend in 3 months

Any thoughts on this? We typically spend $1500 to $2k per month on cards, so reaching spend shouldn't be an issue.

I'm also considering applying on the same day for some of the Citi Hilton cards because we stay at Hilton sometimes and I don't currently have any Citi cards. Thoughts?

Finally, we are likely moving summer of 2014 (job transfer) and thus will need to take out a new mortgage at that time. That gives me well over 1 year, so I think we should be ok on the new mortgage. Does this make anyone nervous for me?

Thanks for helping a newb!
security6 is offline  
Old Feb 1, 13, 6:44 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 118
Hotels - One possibility is the Holiday Inn near Downtown Disney. You can walk to Downtown Disney(<10 minute walk) and it shares its own free bus system with about 5 other hotels nearby(Hilton, Wyndham, Best Western and Double Tree). I dont know the point cost with the new point structure. It used to be 25000 points which wasnt a great deal considering a room is usually $100-120 night. You can get a Chase PC card giving 80K points and it gives you instant Platinum status(admittedly not worth a lot).

There is a hilton right across street from downtown disney and it gives you access to extra magic hours but IMO its a bad value in terms of points.

I have walked by the Carlson(its a Radisson) nearest Disney. Its nothing special from outside but it does get good reviews.

Wyndham also across from Downtown disney but I do not know much about them or their rewards program. I know they did a big devaluation recently.

Another possibility is to get the AMEX Starwood card and stay at the Dolphin/Swan. It only gives 25K signup and you need to spend 5K. If you and wife both got one and got the bonus with spend you would have 60K points. Its 10K per night and you get 5 nights for the point cost of 4. The Swan/Dolphin are within walking distance of Epcot and use the Disney bus system. but you dont get to use the magical express(disney bus to/from airport). With 6 people though not sure how far that would go.

For airlines, it really depends on where you are flying from. You mentioned Southwest. Anyone else fly nonstop to Orlando?

How many nights do you plan on staying? Do you plan on renting a car?

Originally Posted by security6 View Post
I'm looking to take my family of 6 to Disney World late this year or early next year. Southwest has a direct flight to Orlando, and I understand Carlson hotels has some good deals on hotels in the Orlando area. I have a (fake) credit score of 760 and low utilization. Currently have a handful of credit cards, 3 chase cards, 1 amex, and a handful of other cards (most with a 1% cast back reward, some with 2% of 3% for special categories). Most rarely get used, and I pay off the other's each month.

Looking to apply for the following cards:

1) Chase Southwest personal card -50k points, $2k spend in 3 months
2) Chase Southwest business card - 50k points, $2k spend in 3 months
3) US Bank Club Carlson card - 85k points, $2.5k spend in 3 months

Any thoughts on this? We typically spend $1500 to $2k per month on cards, so reaching spend shouldn't be an issue.

I'm also considering applying on the same day for some of the Citi Hilton cards because we stay at Hilton sometimes and I don't currently have any Citi cards. Thoughts?

Finally, we are likely moving summer of 2014 (job transfer) and thus will need to take out a new mortgage at that time. That gives me well over 1 year, so I think we should be ok on the new mortgage. Does this make anyone nervous for me?

Thanks for helping a newb!
pointnoob is offline  
Old Feb 1, 13, 6:46 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 118
BTW, be careful of trying the 2 browser trick. There are a lot of reports that Citi has changed its policy on this and is not allowing it especially if you call in for reconsideration.

Originally Posted by security6 View Post
I'm looking to take my family of 6 to Disney World late this year or early next year. Southwest has a direct flight to Orlando, and I understand Carlson hotels has some good deals on hotels in the Orlando area. I have a (fake) credit score of 760 and low utilization. Currently have a handful of credit cards, 3 chase cards, 1 amex, and a handful of other cards (most with a 1% cast back reward, some with 2% of 3% for special categories). Most rarely get used, and I pay off the other's each month.

Looking to apply for the following cards:

1) Chase Southwest personal card -50k points, $2k spend in 3 months
2) Chase Southwest business card - 50k points, $2k spend in 3 months
3) US Bank Club Carlson card - 85k points, $2.5k spend in 3 months

Any thoughts on this? We typically spend $1500 to $2k per month on cards, so reaching spend shouldn't be an issue.

I'm also considering applying on the same day for some of the Citi Hilton cards because we stay at Hilton sometimes and I don't currently have any Citi cards. Thoughts?

Finally, we are likely moving summer of 2014 (job transfer) and thus will need to take out a new mortgage at that time. That gives me well over 1 year, so I think we should be ok on the new mortgage. Does this make anyone nervous for me?

Thanks for helping a newb!
pointnoob is offline  
Old Feb 1, 13, 9:24 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 19
Thanks for the reply. We've been do Disney once before (stayed on the property), so we're thinking of renting a car and staying off-site. We'd probably do 5 to 7 days. I'm trying to convince the wife to not do Disney so we can try other stuff (Lego, Seaworld, universal), but I'm not sure I can convince her.

There are two Carlson properties that are near Disney, each one is only 9k points per night. That combined with the "last night free" promo with their credit card, makes it a deal that is hard to beat. I only travel once every 6 weeks, so it's hard for me to rack up lots of non-credit card hotel points.

No other airlines go non-stop out of Milwaukee, but Chicago is close enough that we could do that if it makes sense. Chicago has non-stop flights to Orlando on United, American and US Airways. With 4 kids, non-stop is greatly preferred. I was drawn to Southwest due to the companion pass. I already have 2200 points with them this year, and I don't think getting another 7800 would be too difficult.

Originally Posted by pointnoob View Post
Hotels - One possibility is the Holiday Inn near Downtown Disney. You can walk to Downtown Disney(<10 minute walk) and it shares its own free bus system with about 5 other hotels nearby(Hilton, Wyndham, Best Western and Double Tree). I dont know the point cost with the new point structure. It used to be 25000 points which wasnt a great deal considering a room is usually $100-120 night. You can get a Chase PC card giving 80K points and it gives you instant Platinum status(admittedly not worth a lot).

There is a hilton right across street from downtown disney and it gives you access to extra magic hours but IMO its a bad value in terms of points.

I have walked by the Carlson(its a Radisson) nearest Disney. Its nothing special from outside but it does get good reviews.

Wyndham also across from Downtown disney but I do not know much about them or their rewards program. I know they did a big devaluation recently.

Another possibility is to get the AMEX Starwood card and stay at the Dolphin/Swan. It only gives 25K signup and you need to spend 5K. If you and wife both got one and got the bonus with spend you would have 60K points. Its 10K per night and you get 5 nights for the point cost of 4. The Swan/Dolphin are within walking distance of Epcot and use the Disney bus system. but you dont get to use the magical express(disney bus to/from airport). With 6 people though not sure how far that would go.

For airlines, it really depends on where you are flying from. You mentioned Southwest. Anyone else fly nonstop to Orlando?

How many nights do you plan on staying? Do you plan on renting a car?
security6 is offline  
Old Feb 1, 13, 9:29 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,183
Originally Posted by security6 View Post
Thanks for the reply. We've been do Disney once before (stayed on the property), so we're thinking of renting a car and staying off-site. We'd probably do 5 to 7 days. I'm trying to convince the wife to not do Disney so we can try other stuff (Lego, Seaworld, universal), but I'm not sure I can convince her.

There are two Carlson properties that are near Disney, each one is only 9k points per night. That combined with the "last night free" promo with their credit card, makes it a deal that is hard to beat.
There are 4, actually -- 3 Radissons and one Country Inn & Suites. The CI&S is 15k, 2 of the Radissons are 9k, and the 3rd Rad is 38k. Naturally, the 38k is the nicest, and is also the closest to Disney, but the 9k Radissons are a much better value if using points.
gloreglabert is offline  
Old Feb 1, 13, 11:40 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 118
We usually do both Disney and something else. Last year we took a taxi to Universal. It is nothing like it was in the 90s the last time I had been there. Went to Islands of Adventure and they had a lot there. Harry Potter, Dr. Suess etc. Going to check out Legoland this year. I think Sea World is kind of meh but if you have not been there before it is worth seeing. I would definitely work on the wife to do more than just Disney especially if you do 7 days.

Staying off property can be nice because you can drive or walk to restaurants that will be far cheaper than Disney which is a plus although you have to pay for the car rental and parking but with 4 kids its probably worth it but staying on/near Disney definitely has its pluses.

On the airlines, sounds like Southwest is the way to go for you.

Originally Posted by security6 View Post
Thanks for the reply. We've been do Disney once before (stayed on the property), so we're thinking of renting a car and staying off-site. We'd probably do 5 to 7 days. I'm trying to convince the wife to not do Disney so we can try other stuff (Lego, Seaworld, universal), but I'm not sure I can convince her.

There are two Carlson properties that are near Disney, each one is only 9k points per night. That combined with the "last night free" promo with their credit card, makes it a deal that is hard to beat. I only travel once every 6 weeks, so it's hard for me to rack up lots of non-credit card hotel points.

No other airlines go non-stop out of Milwaukee, but Chicago is close enough that we could do that if it makes sense. Chicago has non-stop flights to Orlando on United, American and US Airways. With 4 kids, non-stop is greatly preferred. I was drawn to Southwest due to the companion pass. I already have 2200 points with them this year, and I don't think getting another 7800 would be too difficult.
pointnoob is offline  
Old Feb 2, 13, 6:48 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: HSV
Programs: HHonors Gold, SPG Gold
Posts: 880
I would 2nd the recommendation for the SPG AMEX. The Swan and Dolphin are in really good locations on Disney property (easy walking distance to Epcot; 10-min walk to Hollywood Studios).

Plus -- and to me, this is big -- the Swan/Dolphin give you Magic Hours. Those are usually the best hours of the day where the non-Disney guests get kicked out and the lines get (much) smaller.

Not having Magic Express is painful and the cab fare from MCO to Disney is absolutely shocking (I think the last time we did it, the fare was over $50). BUT... the advantages of staying on property are huge.

Another possibility... put together a Hilton HHonors app-o-rama. The Hilton in Downtown Disney is (technically) on Disney property. As such, it also gives access to the Disney bus system as well as Magic Hours. I don't think it includes Magic Express, though.

One other note: I don't know about other travel sites, but I'm 99% sure that the CC travel sites that utilize Travelocity as the back-end should allow you to book rooms at Disney hotels. That method would give you all of the normal Disney resort perks. I know that USBank uses Travelocity for their booking engine. I don't know how American Express does it, but the Disney resorts show up in their search results.

Last edited by AUDirt; Feb 2, 13 at 7:29 am Reason: Note about Downtown Disney Hilton
AUDirt is offline  
Old Feb 2, 13, 6:55 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 756
If you are planning to get a hilton card as a throw-in, I'd get the no fee Amex card instead of the Hilton (unless you meant Hilton Reserve for gold status). The amex card has access to AXON reserves (google it), which are quite valuable, and since its no annual fee, you can keep it forever.
dcpilgrim is offline  
Old Feb 2, 13, 9:43 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 118
The Hilton at Downtown Disney does NOT give you access to the disney bus system. It has its own bus service that it shares with the Holiday Inn, Doubletree and some other hotel. The one disadvantage of that bus system is that if you are going to Magic Kingdom you get dropped off at the ticket and transportation center which requires you to get on the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom(can be a goodly line to get on if you go at a busy time). The disney bus system drops you off directly at magic kingdom. Hilton does have access to the extra magic hours. It also has a character breakfast but i think it is only on Sundays.

If he is getting a car then the Magical Express is kind of irrelevant if they get car from airport. Mears runs a bus system from airport which is more economical than a cab and it is pretty good.

Originally Posted by AUDirt View Post
I would 2nd the recommendation for the SPG AMEX. The Swan and Dolphin are in really good locations on Disney property (easy walking distance to Epcot; 10-min walk to Hollywood Studios).

Plus -- and to me, this is big -- the Swan/Dolphin give you Magic Hours. Those are usually the best hours of the day where the non-Disney guests get kicked out and the lines get (much) smaller.

Not having Magic Express is painful and the cab fare from MCO to Disney is absolutely shocking (I think the last time we did it, the fare was over $50). BUT... the advantages of staying on property are huge.

Another possibility... put together a Hilton HHonors app-o-rama. The Hilton in Downtown Disney is (technically) on Disney property. As such, it also gives access to the Disney bus system as well as Magic Hours. I don't think it includes Magic Express, though.

One other note: I don't know about other travel sites, but I'm 99% sure that the CC travel sites that utilize Travelocity as the back-end should allow you to book rooms at Disney hotels. That method would give you all of the normal Disney resort perks. I know that USBank uses Travelocity for their booking engine. I don't know how American Express does it, but the Disney resorts show up in their search results.
pointnoob is offline  
Old Feb 2, 13, 2:46 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: HSV
Programs: HHonors Gold, SPG Gold
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Originally Posted by pointnoob View Post
The Hilton at Downtown Disney does NOT give you access to the disney bus system. It has its own bus service that it shares with the Holiday Inn, Doubletree and some other hotel. The one disadvantage of that bus system is that if you are going to Magic Kingdom you get dropped off at the ticket and transportation center which requires you to get on the monorail to get to Magic Kingdom(can be a goodly line to get on if you go at a busy time). The disney bus system drops you off directly at magic kingdom. Hilton does have access to the extra magic hours. It also has a character breakfast but i think it is only on Sundays.

If he is getting a car then the Magical Express is kind of irrelevant if they get car from airport. Mears runs a bus system from airport which is more economical than a cab and it is pretty good.
Good to know. I knew it provided magic hours and I thought it provided the access to Disney busses.

Of course, the Hilton is very near Downtown Disney which has extensive bus transportation everywhere.

OP, one quick tip for you if you stay on Disney property. The Disney-published guide will tell you to transfer busses at Downtown Disney if you need to connect. If you wind up staying elsewhere on property, i.e. Swan/Dolphin, and decide to eat at another resort like Grand Floridian, DO NOT transfer busses at Downtown Disney. It's unbearably slow. Get to the nearest park and board the bus you want.
AUDirt is offline  
Old Aug 5, 13, 2:37 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Posts: 166
Best CC for Disney Vacation

My wife and I are taking our 3 kids to Disney World in about 6 months. Flights have already been booked with United Miles, but I'd like to get two more cards (one for each of us) to earn as much cash or disney rewards as possible in the next 6 months. We generally spend 3-5k per month on credit card. I have several Chase cards already, so those are probably not an option. Thanks!
cfield is offline  
Old Aug 5, 13, 2:51 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Posts: 1,689
If you have a Kroger family grocery store nearby I'd say go for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred. You can buy Disney gift cards there with 6% cashback which can be used to buy tickets, food, merchandise, etc. Plus you will earn fuel points for money off gas. There is a $250 bonus signup for the card floating around somewhere... I think it was on creditcards.com
skitch23 is offline  
Old Aug 5, 13, 4:58 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: BOS
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Posts: 624
Best CC for Disney Vacation

Fixed-point cards, like the Barclay Arrival, are good for travel expenses, like Disney vacations, that traditional miles can't touch.
augustus21 is offline  
Old Aug 5, 13, 5:50 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Fixed point?
cfield is offline  
Old Aug 5, 13, 7:53 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 498
looking back, had I known that I would be applying for a lot of chase cards during the summer, I would not have gotten the disney chase card (the free one). That being said, the extra savings at shops in the parks was nice. It would be a much better card if it gave you savings at ALL the restaurants and Meet n greets at each park. If you are not planning on doing other chase appilcations AND are not looking for a good sign up bonus, the disney card might be useful to use in the park. Again, this is not for the sign up bonus. it is for the savings at stores.

premier
$49 fee
$200 disney gift card after you spend $500 in 3 months
10% off $50 + purchases at disney store and disney.com
2% cashback in certain categories, 1% on the rest

non fee card

$100 disney gift card after you spend $500 in 3 months
10% off $50 + purchases at disney store and disney.com
1% cashback on all purchases

http://disneyrewards.com/apply/learn...wards-cards-a/
aeneas3 is offline  

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