Tip of the Week 4/29/07--Disney Visa Card
The first thing I'd like to point out is that it offers 1% back on all purchases. Chase Bank, the card provider, does not offer bonus points for making purchases at Disney destinations or stores. Nor do they offer bonus points for gasoline, grocery, or pharmacy purchases that many other cards do.
The Disney Dream Reward Dollars (DDRD), or the points you receive from your purchases, are equal to $1. Basically, this means that for every $100 you spend using the card, you’ll earn 1 point. You can earn up to a total of $750 in DDRD’s each year but that means you’d have to spend $75,000 on your card. This is hardly enough to cover a trip to Disney World and remember, that’s if you spend $75,000! On a $1,000 credit card bill, you’ll earn 10 points. The points are then transferred to a special points card, and once the points are transferred to the card, they cannot be switched back and will expire in a year. You need a minimum of 20 points to transfer to the Disney Rewards Card, so you’ll need to spend $2,000 first.
Reading the literature that comes with the card can be confusing. Chase Bank says that you can pay your monthly bills with the card and earn points faster. For example, if you pay for your phone, Internet, and cable each month using the card, say about $250 a month, at the end of the year, you’d have 30 DDRD points. The literature makes this seem like you’d be earning bonus points but a quick check of our math tells us that $250 per month multiplied by 12 months is $3,000. This of course equals 30 points. So really, you’re only paying bills that you have anyway by using the card, there are no bonus points. By the way, there is a very limited list of utility companies that accept Visa for payment. None of the utilities where I live in Connecticut were on the list.
The card does offer some discounts to special events and tours in the parks. In most cases, the discount is 20% off the published rate of the tour. So for a $60 tour you would save $12. That’s actually not too bad and adds up quickly, especially when you have to purchase more than one or two.
There are also some benefits that come with the Disney Visa card but this sounds better than it actually is. These offers change from time to time but most recently they have been offering a Character Meet ‘N’ Greet Event at EPCOT (but only at 4:30, mind you), a complimentary 5x7 group photo with characters (but a second one will cost you the full price), and a 10% discount on ‘select’ merchandise (select being the key word and note that it’s only available at the World of Disney at the WDW resort—sorry New Yorkers!) This discount excludes gift cards, videos, DVD’s, snacks, literature, film, and most collectable merchandise offered in the store.
Redeeming those DDRD points is no easy task either. There are only a handful of redemptions locations throughout WDW. For example, to use your points to make a purchase in the Magic Kingdom, you’d be limited to the Emporium, Pirates Bazaar, Fantasy Faire, and Briar Patch. For dining, your options are Crystal Palace, Cosmic Rays, Casey’s Corner, and Liberty Tree Tavern.
If you’re looking for your credit card to give you rewards, I suggest one of the many cards that offer up to 5% back. On my Citibank card that offers 5% on gas and grocery purchases, it took me less than one year to earn $300 in cash back. I used it to pay for my airfare to WDW on JetBlue. In addition, I wasn’t limited to spending my points at Disney and I earned them faster. With the Disney card, I would have had to spend $30,000 to earn 300 DDRD points. That would take me a lot longer than one year. I do have the Disney card but all I tend to use it for is the advanced notices that come with my statement but thanks to the internet and Lou's podcast, I'm usually aware of them ahead of time anyway.
My advice, search for a card that will get you to your Disney vacation faster, but don't rely on the Disney Visa Card to be much help.