Staying on Disney Property with Credit Card points!
Over on my instagram account, one of the most common requests I get is for more information on how to pay for a trip to Disney World with points and miles. There are plenty of ways to pay for hotels in the Orlando area with points, but there’s something pretty special about staying at a Disney hotel, not to mention the added perks (more on that in a bit). So today I’m going to get even more specific and teach you how to book Disney hotels with points and miles.
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Benefits of Staying at Disney Properties
There are so many reasons that people prefer to stay at Disney’s hotels and resorts. For us it’s the feeling of never leaving the Disney bubble (its an expensive bubble, but we love it none-the-less). Here are a few more of the perks and benefits of staying at Disney properties.
- First Access to Disney Genie+ Selections and Advance Dining Reservations
- Early Theme Park Entry
- Free Transportation Around the Parks
- Unbeatable location
- Never having to leave the Disney bubble
- Free parking at the parks (there is a charge to park at the resorts)
Ways to Pay for Disney Hotels with Points and Miles
Using Marriott Points to Stay at Disney Hotels
Your first option when it comes to staying at Disney hotels with points and miles is to use Marriott points to stay at either the Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin, or Walt Disney World Swan Reserve. All 3 are owned and operated by Marriott, so any Marriott Bonvoy points you earn can be used to book these hotels on the Marriott website.
Tip: An important thing to keep in mind is that when booking a stay at a Marriott property with points, every 5th night you stay is free. So if you have enough points for 4 nights, you might as well stay for 5! It’s just one of the great perks of booking with points.
The easiest and fastest way to earn Marriott points is by applying for Marriott co-branded credit cards. These are offered by both Chase and American Express.
Marriott Credit Card Options for Staying at Disney Hotels with Points
For the most up to date card offers click on the card images below!
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless from Chase
Marriott Bonvoy Bold from Chase
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant from American Express
Marriott Bonvoy Business from American Express
Because there are Marriott cards available from both banks, the rules about which cards you qualify for can be a bit confusing. Here is a great chart made by The Points Guy that helps illustrate your elligibility.
To apply for any of the cards shown above, just click on the card image!
How to stay at the Walt Disney World Swan with points
Rooms at the Swan range from 40,000-60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night. This is a category 6 hotel close to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
How to stay at the Walt Disney World Dolphin with points
The rooms at the Dolphin also range from 40,000 – 60,000 points per night. This is also a category 6 hotel close to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
The rooms at the Walt Disney World Dolphin are the only rooms that can accommodate 5 people. So if you’re a family of 5 like ours, that’s important to keep in mind.
When it comes to Disney hotels, you don’t ever want to try to sneak an extra guest in because your My Disney Experience app which is tied to your tickets and early park entry will be affected if all guests are not represented on your hotel booking.
How to stay at the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve with points
The Swan Reserve is the newest of these 3 properties and is also bookable for 40,000-60,000 points per night depending on the dates. Also a category 6, but just a bit further from Hollywood Studios and Epcot. This hotel is about a 10 minute walk to the Disney boat launch with access to 2 of the nearby parks.
Using Capital One Points to Stay at Disney Hotels
The next option for staying at Disney hotels is to use Capital One miles to “erase” your travel purchases. Using Capital One Miles this way will make your points worth about .01 cent per mile. There are definitely ways to get more value out of them, but this is by far the easiest and most straight forward way to redeem your points. And if staying at a Disney hotel is a priority, this will do the trick.
Something to keep in mind is that you have 90 days to “erase” a travel purchase before it’s no longer available. So while you can book these travel plans before you have the points in your account, you’ll want to make sure you have them before the 90 days are up.
Here are 3 ways to use this method.
Booking Direct with Disney
If you book a hotel or vacation package with Disney or a travel agent, the purchase should code as travel. That’s great news because Capital One allows you to erase these travel purchases from your statement with your miles. It essentially removes the cost of the charge from your statement making it free!
Even if the purchase you make is more than what you can cover with the miles you have, you can still apply the miles to partially cover that purchase.
For example, in this photo you can see that we only have 1,496 miles available (we just redeemed a lot for a trip to Hawaii so I’m not sad about it!). So when I try to “erase” a $256.19 travel purchase I can opt to apply my miles to cover a portion of the cost.
Renting DVC Points and Erasing the Travel Cost
The method described above should work on any Disney hotel booked through Disney. But, some of those Disney hotels can be upwards of $1000 a night. Especially the top tier Disney Deluxe resorts. Using a big chunk of my hard earned points for one night feels a bit underwhelming. That’s where this next trick comes in.
One of my favorite ways to save money on Disney hotels is by booking Disney Deluxe Villas through a Disney Vacation Club broker like David’s Vacation Club Rentals. What does that mean exactly? You can read all about it in my post dedicated to Renting DVC Points.
Essentially you are renting points from Disney timeshare owners who can’t use their points which saves you a ton of money. Companies like David’s Vacation Club act as the middle man to arrange these transactions between owners and renters.
We have been using their service for years and they really make the process easy and straightforward. There are no hidden fees in their pricing, and the quoted price you see on their “Cost Calculator” is exactly what you will pay if there is availability for your chosen room type and resort.
Room types available range from studios that sleep 4-5 people to 3 bedroom villas that sleep 12. Renting DVC properties will also save you the nightly parking expense charged at Disney hotels (at Deluxe Resorts that’s $25 per night).
What does this have to do with points? Purchases made through David’s Vacation Club will code as travel on your Capital One card. So while you could book these same rooms through Disney and erase the purchase, you’ll pay twice as much.
Booking through a DVC broker is like getting a 50-60% discount on the same room AND you get to erase the transaction!
An example of the potential savings from booking this way can be seen below:
Here is what it would cost to book 5 nights in a 2 bedroom villa at Animal Kingdom Lodge if reserved on the Disney World website.
And here is what it would cost if you booked that same exact room through David’s Vacation Club. That’s a 52% savings!
Disney Hotels Available to Book with DVC Points
- Animal Kingdom Villas (Kidani Village and Jambo House)
- Bay Lake Towers
- Beach Club Villas
- Boardwalk Villas
- Villas at the Grand Floridian
- Old Key West
- Polynesian Village
- Riviera Resort
- Saratoga Springs Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge
- Copper Creek Villas at Wilderness Lodge
- Grand Californian (DisneyLand)
- Hilton Head Island
- Vero Beach Resort
- Aulani Resort & Spa
Book Disney Hotels in the Capital One Portal
Depending on your travel dates, some Disney hotels are available to be booked through the Capital One portal. The good thing about booking this way is that you will get a slight discount in the portal compared to other third party booking sites. Plus, if you have the Capital One Venture X card, this booking would qualify for the $300 travel credit that comes with the card.
PLUS you’ll earn 5x points on all travel booked through the portal and paid for with a Capital One travel card.
Just as an example, let’s say you book 4 nights at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort at the price shown below. You’ll spend $1144. You can erase that purchase with 114,400 points AND you’ll earn 5720 points for making the purchase.
Here are a few listings I found in my quick search.
I was even able to find DisneyLand hotels on the portal!
Cards that can be used for Capital One Purchase Erasers
- 75,000 point sign up bonus (after $4,000 spend in 3 months)
- $300 travel credit when booked through the Capital One travel portal
- 10,000 bonus miles each year on our card anniversary
- $100 Global entry/TSA pre-check credit
- Lounge access for up to 15 people in Priority Pass and Capital One lounges
The Capital One Venture Card
The Capital One Venture Card is a great card for beginners because of its lower spending minimum and lower annual fee. This card had a $95 annual fee and earns 2x on every purchase and has a global entry/TSA pre-check credit.
For up to date welcome bonus offers click on the card below!
Capital One VentureOne Card
The Capital One VentureOne card is the baby brother of the Venture cards. Its minimum spend is smaller at $1000 in the first 3 months, but so is the welcome bonus. This card will earn you 40,000 Venture Miles once you meet the minimum spend requirement. That’s worth $400 in travel.
The VentureOne earns you 1.25x miles per dollar spent.
Apply for a Capital One Card
To apply for any of these cards using my referral link, click on this link and then click on the last card listed under “Our Favorites.” You can find all 3 of them on that page!
I so appreciate you using my referral links as this helps me to provide free content here on my blog and my Instagram account!
Other Ways to Save on Disney World Hotels
While Swagbucks is not a way to earn miles and points, it is a way to make easy money that you didn’t have before and to use it to cover expenses like your Disney hotels!
Over the course of 3 months last year I was able to earn over $1500 between my husband and I to help cover the cost of Universal Studios season passes. So the earning potential is substantial if you take advantage of the biggest offers.
Each Swagbuck is worth .01 cents, so an offer for 20,000 swagbucks would be worth $200. Once you have at least $3.00 worth you can cash out your earnings for either gift cards or cash.
To get your rewards as cash you will redeem your swagbucks for a PayPal gift card. The dollar amount will then be transferred to your PayPal account where you can move the money to your personal bank account.
If you do not have an account you can sign up for Swagbucks here!
I’m always looking for new ways to save on Disney vacations, so if you know of other ways to save on Disney hotels, let me know in the comments!
More Disney Savings Tips
- How to Rent DVC Points and Save a Ton on Your Disney Vacation
- The Ultimate List of Free Disney World Souvenirs
- The 10 Things You Need to Buy on Amazon Before Your Disney Vacation
- How to Eat Cheap at Disney World
- Planning a Trip to Disney World on a Budget
- How to Use Chase Offers to Save on Disney Gift Cards
- 11 Unexpected Disney World Expenses
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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.