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Any way to leverage points for disney trip or cruise?

Any way to leverage points for disney trip or cruise?

Old Mar 27, 12, 2:12 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Any way to leverage points for disney trip or cruise?

Disney has two kinds of gift cards -- a kind that you can use for the disney store for merchandise and a kind you can use at the parks or on cruise lines to pay for your trip.

If you put everything on your room or charge a cruise, you can get 2x from chase sapphire for travel expenses. Is there any better way to leverage this? Like get rewards for buying the giftcards? I don't seem to find any way, but I know people can spend thousands on disney trips so this question has to come up from time to time -- not really finding anything searching "disney" though.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 2:29 pm
  #2  
 
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It's hard to find loopholes with Disney to offset expenses. I see Disney as money that "has" to be spent, since I have small kids. So even if it's not the best redemption at a cost per point, it's still saving me $$. One "trick", or way that I paid for our last Disney trip was via AA miles. Going through AAvacations, I booked a 5 night stay at an inexpensive Disney hotel, and lined it up with the dates Disney was running their free dining program. The hotel for 5 nights was around 30K AA miles, but again, nothing fancy. Saved me about $400 for the 5 nights, but I got free food the whole trip. Then the park hopper passes I spent about 80K miles (2 adults, 1 child over 3, and children under 3 are free). I got a 6 day pass, and it would've been about $900. So all in the trip cost me around 125K AA miles, and saved me about $1300 (plus all the free food we got). Not the best redemption ever, but I didn't have a problem with it.

All in we spent about $300 the whole time we were down there, and that was mostly at a Princess Dinner (which wasn't included on our free food), and some souvenirs.

Edit to add: If your dates are flexible, go during the Free Dining times in Disney World (don't have it at Disney Land I don't think), but don't tell too many people! It's a great deal and don't want everyone to do it! It easily saved us $100-$150 per day. It included 2 meals a day for each ticketholder (so the under 3 don't get it), and it used to include 2 snacks a day. I think in 2012 they changed it to only 1 snack a day. The dates are usually in the off season (Oct/Nov, April/May, etc).

Last edited by DavidAL; Mar 27, 12 at 3:51 pm
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Old Mar 27, 12, 3:23 pm
  #3  
 
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Originally Posted by DavidAL View Post
It's hard to find loopholes with Disney to offset expenses. I see Disney as money that "has" to be spent, since I have small kids. So even if it's not the best redemption at a cost per point, it's still saving me $$. One "trick", or way that I paid for our last Disney trip was via AA miles. Going through AAvacations, I booked a 5 night stay at an inexpensive Disney hotel, and lined it up with the dates Disney was running their free dining program. The hotel for 5 nights was around 30K AA miles, but again, nothing fancy. Saved me about $400 for the 5 nights, but I got free food the whole trip. Then the park hopper passes I spent about 80K miles (2 adults, 1 child over 3, and children under 3 are free). I got a 6 day pass, and it would've been about $900. So all in the trip cost me around 125K AA miles, and saved me about $1300 (plus all the free food we got). Not the best redemption ever, but I didn't have a problem with it.

All in we spent about $300 the whole time we were down there, and that was mostly at a Princess Dinner (which wasn't included on our free food), and some souvenirs.

For me, if you're not all that into Disney, which I am not, but have kids, this is a great return for miles. I realize those 125K miles could be used for a high-cost premium plane ticket, but for me that isn't real money saved, since a ticket I'd actually purchase would be coach. This is real $$ saved right there!
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Old Mar 27, 12, 4:03 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by DavidAL View Post
It's hard to find loopholes with Disney to offset expenses. I see Disney as money that "has" to be spent, since I have small kids. So even if it's not the best redemption at a cost per point, it's still saving me $$. One "trick", or way that I paid for our last Disney trip was via AA miles. Going through AAvacations, I booked a 5 night stay at an inexpensive Disney hotel, and lined it up with the dates Disney was running their free dining program. The hotel for 5 nights was around 30K AA miles, but again, nothing fancy. Saved me about $400 for the 5 nights, but I got free food the whole trip. Then the park hopper passes I spent about 80K miles (2 adults, 1 child over 3, and children under 3 are free). I got a 6 day pass, and it would've been about $900. So all in the trip cost me around 125K AA miles, and saved me about $1300 (plus all the free food we got). Not the best redemption ever, but I didn't have a problem with it.

All in we spent about $300 the whole time we were down there, and that was mostly at a Princess Dinner (which wasn't included on our free food), and some souvenirs.

Edit to add: If your dates are flexible, go during the Free Dining times in Disney World (don't have it at Disney Land I don't think), but don't tell too many people! It's a great deal and don't want everyone to do it! It easily saved us $100-$150 per day. It included 2 meals a day for each ticketholder (so the under 3 don't get it), and it used to include 2 snacks a day. I think in 2012 they changed it to only 1 snack a day. The dates are usually in the off season (Oct/Nov, April/May, etc).
In order to get free dining, I thought you had to buy your package through disney with their tickets (and pay rack rate for the room)? But you could do it through AA and used miles?? That IS a great deal!

For us, we used united/CO miles for tickets to FL last year and I transferred AMEX MR to delta during their 50% bonus promos back when one could still redeem 11K delta points for a $100 AMEX gift card (so ultimately 1.3 cents per MR redemption). So that's how we paid for food and tickets. We have a timeshare, so we exchanged into a 2 bedroom at Boardwalk through RCI. That was only maint fees plus exchange fee for the week, about $600.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 7:54 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: SF Bay Area
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I'm also on the hunt for Disney deals/points maximizing opportunities. They are hard to find!

You can buy Disney gift cards at some supermarket chains. I know Giant Eagle sells them (and I think you can buy them online). Target sells them as well. So if you shop through an online shopping portal and combine that with using a credit card that gives you bonus points for grocery stores, that will give you a little points boost.

I've set a Google Alert for "Disney Gift Card." That is how I found the Giant Eagle link.

Good luck!

Last edited by womanofaction; Mar 27, 12 at 7:56 pm Reason: forgot a word
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Old Mar 27, 12, 8:31 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by womanofaction View Post
Target sells them as well. So if you shop through an online shopping portal and combine that with using a credit card that gives you bonus points for grocery stores, that will give you a little points boost.
Good tip -- can you buy Target gift cards anywhere and get miles for doing so?

I've been reading on-line that you can also buy disney gift cards at Walgreens pharmacies. If true, this means you can get 6x Hilton points by using the Hilton Amex for drugstore purchases. Maybe there's a way to leverage this if there's any way to buy Walgreens gift cards for miles???
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Old Mar 27, 12, 10:43 pm
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Here's a lodging tip - if you want to stay on-property, there a lot of websites where timeshare owners sell/barter their lodgings on-line. You can get nice multi-room suite-like lodgings on property at lower cost than you'd pay simply booking the rooms, and get all the benefits of staying on property.

Its been a long time since I did this, but last time we stayed at a property that was walking distance from Epcot and close to a lot of dining & shopping, so it was an excellent stay for the price we paid.

And the place had a kitchen and everything so you can save on meals by dining in, which kids probably appreciate more anyway. Only so many times you want to pay $15 for Mac & Cheese, right?

I think the place we stayed was the Beach Club or something. Oh yeah, it also had great pools & a waterslide on property.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 11:03 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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How do you redeem AA miles for Disney passes? I don't see that option on the website.

My sons are 5 and 7, we have been considering Disney Land but didn't think we could afford it yet.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 11:08 pm
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by birdseye View Post
How do you redeem AA miles for Disney passes? I don't see that option on the website.

My sons are 5 and 7, we have been considering Disney Land but didn't think we could afford it yet.
Via aavacations. I think you can only book them as an add on to a hotel booking. It's an optional package with the room.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 11:17 pm
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by Innerloop View Post
Here's a lodging tip - if you want to stay on-property, there a lot of websites where timeshare owners sell/barter their lodgings on-line. You can get nice multi-room suite-like lodgings on property at lower cost than you'd pay simply booking the rooms, and get all the benefits of staying on property.

Its been a long time since I did this, but last time we stayed at a property that was walking distance from Epcot and close to a lot of dining & shopping, so it was an excellent stay for the price we paid.

And the place had a kitchen and everything so you can save on meals by dining in, which kids probably appreciate more anyway. Only so many times you want to pay $15 for Mac & Cheese, right?

I think the place we stayed was the Beach Club or something. Oh yeah, it also had great pools & a waterslide on property.
Walking distance to Epcot sounds like Disneys boardwalk villas

http://disneyvacationclub.disney.go..../resorts/more/
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Old Mar 27, 12, 11:19 pm
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Originally Posted by jeautk01 View Post
Walking distance to Epcot sounds like Disneys boardwalk villas

http://disneyvacationclub.disney.go..../resorts/more/
Disney Beach Club Villas
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Old Mar 27, 12, 11:35 pm
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Originally Posted by DavidAL View Post
Via aavacations. I think you can only book them as an add on to a hotel booking. It's an optional package with the room.
aavacations wants to bundle airfare, which I don't want to do. When I search AA "Hotel Awards" in Anaheim, CA, I don't see any Disney add ons available.
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Old Mar 27, 12, 11:51 pm
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Originally Posted by birdseye View Post
aavacations wants to bundle airfare, which I don't want to do. When I search AA "Hotel Awards" in Anaheim, CA, I don't see any Disney add ons available.
You should be able to select hotel only, plug in the dates, and pick a disney hotel. I used it last in October, but I'll look tomorrow and see if it's changed. PM me questions and Ill help out. I think there's some free dining dates in April if you want to go soon.

Mods, maybe we should merge the thread here and in the CC forum both started today about Disney. Just a thought.
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Old Mar 28, 12, 12:09 am
  #14  
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If mods want to merge it is ok with me, but while I like all the advice about timeshares and the dining pan I hope the original question doesn't get lost. It is how to buy disney giftcards for a cruise or resort stay and do better than the 2x that you get if you just pay directly with chase sapphire. I think that is a milesbuzz question, but of course defer to the mods where it belongs.
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Old Mar 28, 12, 12:16 am
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by lkar View Post
If mods want to merge it is ok with me, but while I like all the advice about timeshares and the dining pan I hope the original question doesn't get lost. It is how to buy disney giftcards for a cruise or resort stay and do better than the 2x that you get if you just pay directly with chase sapphire. I think that is a milesbuzz question, but of course defer to the mods where it belongs.
I agree it's a MB topic, not a CC topic.

Just thinking outside the box, and haven't tried it. What about buying eBay GC's via staples/OM/OD with chase ink bold for 5x points, and buying Disney points and GC's from eBay? Not sure, but if you could buy those eBay GC's via the UR portal, via staples, then you'd get 9x points. Don't know and haven't tried it though.
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