Between ticket prices, hotels, meals and airfare, a trip to Disneyland can be quite costly for the average person. If you’re traveling as a family, airfare in particular can really add up.
With the right points strategy, however, you can save quite a bit on this portion of your trip expenses, leaving more money for tickets, food, and other exciting adventures. Here are some of the cheapest ways to fly to Disneyland using points and miles.
There are five relatively convenient airport options if you’re traveling to Disneyland. The closest airports to the park are Long Beach (LGB) and Orange County (SNA). Since these are smaller airports than Los Angeles (LAX), there will be fewer direct flights. Fares (cash and using points) might also be slightly higher as a result. That’s something to keep in mind when you’re planning your trip.
- Long Beach (LGB): 13 miles away.
- Orange County (SNA): 15 miles away.
- Ontario (ONT): 34 miles away.
- Los Angeles (LAX): 40 miles away.
- Burbank (BUR): 42 miles away.
Ideally, the airport you decide to fly into should be secondary to choosing the cheapest flight, but you’ll want to keep in mind the costs of getting from the airport to your hotel, too. If you’re traveling with a large group and you have a bunch of gear to lug around, reducing your commute from the airport to the park might be worth the extra cost.
Cheapest flight options
If you’re redeeming miles, you may not have to make the decision between cost and convenience because your frequent flyer program may charge the same number of miles for flights into all of the above airports. Let’s get into it.
Southwest Airlines may not be the most glamorous airline, but it’s family friendly, and everyone gets two free checked bags. That’s invaluable when you’re traveling with kids and can’t get away with just bringing a carry-on. Southwest has a strong presence in Southern California, flying into all five airports near Disneyland.
The great thing about Southwest is that they price out award redemptions based on fare prices. This can work out very well if you book a Wanna Get Away fare in advance or during a fare sale. Better yet, use the Low Fare Calendar to find the cheapest fares six months in advance.
For example, we were able to use the Low Fare Calendar to identify the lowest rates between Denver and Long Beach as $83 each way. This fare was available on several dates in November and December 2019 when we last checked.
Using points, these fares required as few as 4,644 points each way.
The welcome bonus from the Southwest credit cards are one option for covering airfare on Southwest.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
Southwest is also a Chase Ultimate Rewards® transfer partner, so you can use points earned from the following credit cards to cover airfare for a Disneyland vacation:
Turkish Airlines miles
At 7,500 miles each way, Turkish Airlines offers one of the lowest flat-rate domestic award redemption rates out there. Turkish Airlines is a Star Alliance member, meaning you can use those miles to fly to the Los Angeles area on United.
The fastest way to get your hands on Turkish Airlines miles is by transferring them from your Citi ThankYou account. If you’re low on points, you can apply for the Citi Premier℠ Card if you think you’ll spend enough in your first few months to earn the sign-up bonus.
» Learn more: Citi Premier review: It’s not the premier card available
JetBlue operates flights to Long Beach, Ontario, Los Angeles and Burbank. If your dates are flexible, use JetBlue’s Best Fare Finder to find the best fare on points or cash. On a long-haul route like Boston to Long Beach, you can find one-way fare as low as 7,900 points on select dates between November 2019 and March 2020.
In addition to their co-branded credit cards, JetBlue is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards®, Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards. The following credit cards can help you get more points for a JetBlue flight:
- JetBlue Card
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- American Express® Gold Card
- Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
- Citi Premier℠ Card
- Citi Prestige® Card
The bottom line
Airlines miles and points are a great way to cover travel expenses to anywhere, but especially Disneyland. With everything else being so expensive, it can make a big difference. You can allocate the money saved on airfare towards Fastpasses, Magic Morning Tickets and lots of delicious treats while enjoying everything the park has to offer with your family.
How to maximize your rewardsYou want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
- Airline miles and a large bonus: The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- No annual fee: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
- Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
- Premium travel rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business travelers: The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
How to budget for a family trip to Disney
5 ways to save money even after Disneyland ticket prices increase