If the House of Mouse is your happy place, you may be thinking about getting a Disney-branded rewards credit card. There are two possibilities, both issued by Chase.
But given their lackluster, inflexible rewards and clunky redemption process, neither version of the Disney credit card deserves top-of-wallet status. They do offer some exclusive perks, but most people seeking a FastPass to Disney-related savings will be better off with a general rewards credit card that can put a lot more Mickeys in your pocket.
Here are five things to know about the Disney credit cards:
1. The 2 cards differ in fees, bonus offers and rewards
Disney credit cards come in two flavors, and both allow you to choose among several possible Disney-themed card designs, from Tinker Bell to "Toy Story."
The Disney Rewards® Visa® Card
The Disney's Premier Visa® Card
Here's a glance at how they stack up:
Disney's Premier Visa® Card
Disney Rewards® Visa® Card
• 2% in rewards at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney locations.
• 1% in rewards on all other purchases.
• 1% in rewards on all purchases.
Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Get a $50 statement credit after first purchase.
2. Rewards are mediocre
These are not cash-back credit cards. Instead, your rewards come in the form of Disney Rewards Dollars:
The Disney Rewards® Visa® Card offers a flat 1% back in rewards on all purchases. This means that if you spend $100 — whether on groceries or dining, or specifially on Mickey merch — you'll earn 1 Disney Rewards Dollar back.
The Disney's Premier Visa® Card offers better value, earning 2% back in rewards at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney locations. All other spending earns 1%. So if you fill up your gas tank for $50 with the card, you’ll get 1 Rewards Dollar back.
These are not competitive rewards rates; the Disney Rewards® Visa® Card is especially paltry, considering the industry standard for flat-rate rewards cards is 1.5% back on everything.
The Disney's Premier Visa® Card is a slight improvement, but you can find several rewards cards that out-earn it — and in cash back, not "Rewards Dollars" — without requiring an annual fee at all. The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, for instance, offers 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% back when you spend and another 1% when you pay the bill.
The sign-up bonuses on the Disney cards are similarly meager. Some no-annual-fee cards can snag you bonuses of $200 or more. Others with annual fees can offer bonuses worth up to $1,000 or more, depending on how you redeem.
Nerd tip: You can use both Disney cards anywhere that accepts Visa. But if you're headed to, say, Disneyland Paris, keep in mind that both Disney cards charge a foreign transaction fee of 3%. That could get pricey.
3. The redemption process is limited and cumbersome
Disney Rewards Dollars are worth $1 each — when redeemed toward eligible goods or services. So, first, the good news about what qualifies there: With the Premier version of the card, you can use your Disney Rewards Dollars as a statement credit toward airline travel. Redemptions start at 50 Disney Reward Dollars for a $50 airline statement credit.
But beyond that, Disney Rewards Dollars can be used only on eligible Disney or "Star Wars" spending such as Disney theme park visits, Disney cruises, Disney and "Star Wars" movies, and shopping at Disney's online and brick-and-mortar stores.
And for those options, the rewards redemption process is clunky:
Once you've accumulated a minimum of 20 Disney Rewards Dollars, you can contact Chase and order a Disney Rewards Redemption Card, which functions similarly to a prepaid card but can be used only on qualifying purchases. You can either wait for the card to be mailed to you or pick it up from Guest Relations at a Disney theme park. You need to have earned at least 10 Rewards Dollars to reload the card.
The Disney Rewards Dollars expire after five years, which means if you were hoping to accumulate a stash of points over time to pay for a Disney trip, you'd better make sure you do it within that time frame.
If a visit to the Magic Kingdom is more of a once-in-a-lifetime thing and you rarely buy the merch, you might find it much easier to just earn cash back to spend any way you like, or earn general travel rewards to book your hotel, flight or cruise. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, for example, gives you 2 miles per dollar spent on anything; miles can be redeemed for credit against any travel expense at a rate of 1 cent apiece. The annual fee is $95, but it comes with a substantial sign-up bonus that covers that fee for several years.
4. Cardholders enjoy exclusive benefits and discounts
If you're a frequent park hopper, these Disney cards could provide solid savings. Both cards offer discounts, which can be notoriously hard to come by at the Happiest Place on Earth. Cardholders save 10% on select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at select locations within the resorts and also 10% off select merchandise at Disney Store locations and shopDisney.com. Select dining locations within the parks also offer 10% off when you use your card, but it should be noted that there are blackout days when that discount isn't available.
The cards also get you a juicy 15% off select guided tour and recreation experiences at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The savings here can be significant. For example, a one-day Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour can cost up to $349 per person before tax, which means cardholders would save about $52.
5. Both cards offer a 0% intro APR
If you don't want to have to pay for your entire vacation all at once, both Disney cards come with a 0% intro APR offer good for six months after each time you buy a qualified Disney resort package or cruise. That's six months of breathing room to whittle down a bill that's likely to be several thousand dollars. As of September 2020, the ongoing APR on each card is 15.99%.
Information about the Disney's Premier Visa® Card and the Disney Rewards® Visa® Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the issuer of these cards.