Checking-In to the Disney® Visa® Card from Chase
You’ll always have a piece of the Happiest Place on Earth in your pocket when you own the Disney® Visa® Card from Chase – unfortunately, your wallet might not be so thrilled. Although this is the no annual fee version of the Disney credit card, which allows cardholders to earn Disney Reward Dollars (DRDs) at no cost, only the heaviest of card users will yield any viable return. However, the card does offer modest in-theme park savings that could offset its weak earning potential.
Frequent Disney-goers (i.e. Disney annual pass holders) and families planning a Disney vacation will find the most use out of this card for its special financing options, in-park savings, and cardholder-exclusive access. Those hoping for dramatic savings or preferential treatment will likely be underwhelmed, whereas those hoping to minimize their out-of-pocket costs while at theme parks will be the most disappointed.
How it Works
No Bonus Categories: Disney Visa credit card owners will earn an unexciting flat rate of 1% in Disney Reward Dollars for every dollar spent. They may offer bonus offers from time to time, which could help expedite the accumulation of Reward Dollars – but the frequency of which cannot be determined.
It would require spending $100 to earn a single DRD (Disney Reward Dollar), which in turn only has a cash value of $1 when redeemed. To break it down, here’s how much you would earn at various spending levels:
- $5 will earn $0.05 worth of Disney Reward Dollars
- $500 will earn $5 worth of Disney Reward Dollars
- $5,000 will earn $50 worth of Disney Reward Dollars
It’s especially disappointing that this card doesn’t offer earning bonuses even when it’s used in a theme park, as one would expect. Regardless of your spending style, reward earnings with this card will be weak at best. Those who prefer strategic spending with bonus categories to maximize the return on their reward cards will be disappointed and quickly find that the only “strategy” involved boils down to spending as much as possible.
Reward Dollars Available Once Per Month: All earnings from Disney Visa transactions will post at the close of each monthly billing cycle. Refunds or returns could result in a deduction of Disney Reward Dollars and possibly in a negative rewards balance.
The redemption process is rather cumbersome as cardholders will have to jump through a surprising number of hoops before being able to spend their earnings (i.e. obtain a Redemption Card). In terms of the actual redemption, the only available avenues are Disney-related purchases (although this can take several forms) within the United States.
Fortunately, there is a modicum of flexibility, as Disney Reward Dollars can be used for partial payment and used with cash or credit cards. Each Disney Reward Dollar is equivalent to $1 regardless of where RDRs are redeemed.
- Disney Hotels & Resorts – Use Disney Reward Dollars towards your accommodations and/or room charges at most Disney Resorts (U.S. locations only). This can include incidentals for covering room upgrades or other charges. However, cardholders may be eligible for exclusive resort discounts when using either Disney Visa credit card for the booking – keep an eye out for deals that are better off being paid for without using rewards.
- Theme Park Admission Tickets – Includes both ticket admissions and annual pass memberships at Disney Hollywood Studios®, Disney California Adventure® Park, Disneyland® Park
- Theme Park Vendors – Many park vendors and restaurants will accept Disney Reward Dollars as a form of payment and will even return used reward dollars to your account in the event of a refund. This also includes additional in-park activities such as guided tours, photo passes, and more. Visit this page to see the complete list.
- Merchandise – Applies to all U.S. Disney store locations (including shopDisney.com) outside of Disney theme parks.
- Disney Cruise Line – Can be used on all cruises booked either through DisneyCruiseLine.com or via phone at 800-951-3532. Disney Reward Dollars can only be applied towards any onboard costs such as dining, Internet, or shore excursions.
- Movie Tickets – Disney is partnered with AMC theaters to allow cardholders to pay for tickets to Disney, Disney-Pixar, and Star Wars movie tickets. Note that tickets can only be purchased digitally, either through the app or at AMCTheaters.com. In order to pay with your Disney Redemption Card, simply load your card as a form of payment.
How it Works: Prior to the redemption of any earnings, cardholders must obtain a Redemption Card which acts as a reloadable prepaid gift card. They are accepted anywhere that a Disney gift card could be used and there are three available ways to obtain a Disney Redemption Card:
- Online: Link your Disney account to your Disney Visa credit card account. In addition to requesting a Redemption Card you can track your rewards balance and transfer your reward dollars.
- Phone: Call the number on the back of your Disney Visa card of contact Chase Card Services (1-800-300-8575).
- In-Person: Visit designated Guest Relations booths at a theme park location to pick up a card or reload your existing one. This is the only option where cards can be obtained immediately without wait. Available theme parks: Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Springs, Disneyland Resort.
How to Use: Cardholders are responsible for keeping track of their Disney Reward Dollars balance (on the card) and for transferring their earnings from their account to the actual card (DRDs can also be moved from a Redemption Card back to the account – although there is no utility in this feature for standard Disney Visa cardholders). Disney Reward Dollars will expire after five years if they are not loaded onto a Redemption Card – so it’s advisable that all earnings be loaded onto a card at all times.
Redemption Card Requirements: Cardholders must earn 20 Disney Reward Dollars before they are eligible to order one from Chase (i.e. spend $2,000) before thinking about using their Disney Visa rewards. The Redemption Cards can take up to three weeks to arrive, so plan accordingly if you want to use your Disney Reward Dollars on your vacation.
Today’s Bonus Offer
New cardholders will earn a $50 statement credit after making their first purchase with their new Disney Visa Card. There is no purchase minimum, but it may take up to 8 weeks for the statement credit to be issued. Our take? It’s better than nothing, but this card’s sign-up bonus won’t put a dent in your total for a Disney Vacation.
Getting Under the Sheets with the Disney® Premier Visa® Card
The main benefit of being a Disney Visa cardholder is that it can unlock discounts at certain vendors, dining establishments and hotels as well as provide exclusive access to special events such as character experiences. While the savings likely won’t be anything to write home about (mostly a few 10% discounts here and there), they do offer some form of preferential treatment for cardholders.
Additionally, those planning a Disney vacation will find this particularly useful as all cardholders can enjoy 6 months of 0% APR financing on select vacation packages. This offer is not exclusive to a promotional period for new cardholders and can be utilized several times. Vacation Packages must be booked by you or a travel agent through the Walt Disney Travel Company, Disney Cruise Line or Adventures by Disney Travel Services, Inc.
- Disney Vacation Financing: 0% promotional APR for the first six months following the purchase date, provided cardholder’s account is not past due on the date the package is purchased.
- Disney Cruise Line Savings: 10% discount for each Castaway Cay Getaway Package; savings also apply to select onboard purchases like activities and souvenirs.
- Shopping and Dining Discounts: Save 10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at select locations and 10% off select dining locations on most days at the Disneyland® and Walt Disney World® Resorts.
- Exclusive Character Experiences: Enjoy access to exclusive photo opportunities with Disney and Star Wars characters. These experiences are held in private locations that vary depending on the resort where you are residing.
- Disney Store Perks: Save 10% on select purchases at Disney stores (both in and outside of the theme park) and online. Cardholders also enjoy special access to exclusive Disney Visa cardmember events held at your local Disney store.
“Suite” Perks That Make the Disney® Premier Visa® Card Worthwhile:
- Ability to redeem rewards for movie tickets: The closest option to a “practical” perk, those who primarily partake in Disney through film will be able to redeem their rewards much more frequently for AMC Theater tickets – particularly useful for non-Florida residents who may not be able to visit a Disney theme park on a regular basis.
- Special financing for vacation packages (that can be used over and over again): Cardholders can partake in 0% financing as long as they keep their account open, making this card surprisingly valuable for long-term use.
- Customizable Card Design: Both the Disney Visa and the Disney Premier Visa are the only customizable credit cards offered by Chase. Cardholders can choose from nine Disney-themed images ranging from Tinkerbell to Darth Vader, to classic Mickey Mouse.
“Reservations” About the Disney® Premier Visa® Card:
- Weak Earning Potential: A lack of bonus categories means this card falls flat in terms of redeemable awards. Disney fans hoping to earn enough to make a dent in their vacation plans would be better off pocketing the returns from a generic cash back card. Instead, this card is really only useful for enhancing the cardholder experience.
- Reward Redemption is Bulky at Best: Instead of being able to redeem your earnings straight away, doing so requires the intermediary step of obtaining a separate card (the Redemption Card). Then, earnings must be manually loaded onto the card in order to be redeemed. The entire reward redemption process is one hurdle after another and is quite off-putting – especially compared to the ease of other rewards cards.
- Disney Reward Dollars Expiration: Disney Reward Dollars expire every five years, and while not a terribly short period of time, could be problematic for families that were hoping to save up their DRDs for a large Disney getaway. Fortunately, this expiration does not apply to rewards that have been transferred to a Redemption Card.
While it’s nice that Disney offers this workaround – why make Disney Reward Dollars expire in the first place? This spells trouble for those who might take longer than 5 years to earn enough rewards (20 Disney Reward Dollars) to receive their Redemption Card in the first place. If you won’t spend $2,000 within five years, this card is not the one for you.
Time to Check-Out
If a trip to see Mickey and the Gang is your first impulse whenever you have a spare weekend, you’ll likely be able to squeeze some value out of this card – just not from Disney Reward Dollars. While the Disney Visa Card can be counted on to provide you nominal savings once you’re in Disney territory, spendable rewards will likely be hard to come by, no matter how big of a fan you may be.
If you want to attempt to go the Disney Reward Dollars route, you’ll most likely have to make this your primary credit card. This could throw a serious wrench in your plans if you’ve already got a multi-card strategy when it comes to making purchases. As such, most cardholders will find value out of this card from the discounts it provides when booking at Disney resorts or dining/shopping within the theme parks.
This card is ideal for Disney Annual Passholders who will most frequently take advantage of the 10% in-park discounts, as well as those with an upcoming Disney vacation who will utilize the 0% APR special financing on vacation packages.
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