How to Stay at Disney Hotels Using Points

How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points

For a lot of families, saving up for a Disney vacation is a big deal! And staying at Disney Hotels can make that vacation even more magical. There are lots of hotel options that allow you to stay near Disneyland in California, Disney World in Orlando, or Disneyland Paris on points. But here are some ways you can use your points to stay at a Disney Hotel. Or check out my post all about Disneyland Paris.

Throughout the post, I will use screenshots I took from different portals searching June 1-4, 2022. These aren’t necessarily the best value dates — I’m just using these as a point of comparison.

Table of Contents

    Rent Disney Vacation Club Points to Stay at Disney Hotels

    How it Works

    Essentially Disney has timeshare owners that buy into the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) that have points that allow them to book stays at Disney Hotels and Resorts.

    DVC rooms are called villas and vary in size and how many people they can accommodate. Studio Villas sleep 4-5, 2 bedroom villas sleep 8-9 or 3 bedroom Grand Villas sleep 12.

    You can rent points from a DVC owner who is not using all of their points that year. My friend Kim has a very detailed post on this process on her blog — so definitely read that if you are interested in this method!

    How to Use Points

    If you want to pay with points, you’ll need to book using an online broker that accepts credit cards — and it will have to code as a travel expense. Based on Kim’s experience, using David’s Vacation Club Rentals works for that.

    Cards like the Capital One Venture and Venture X allow you to “erase” travel purchases that you make with points. If you have 100,000 points, you can erase a $1,000 travel purchase.

    What It Costs

    In my sample search for June 1-5, 2022, these are the rates for 4 night stay at the cheapest option.

    Disney World

    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    The cheapest option is staying at Animal Kingdom for $760 total, or $190 per night in a Studio Apartment that sleeps 4.

    Disneyland

    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    The only option for Disneyland listed is the Grand Californian. It comes out to $418 per night.

    Best Credit Cards for This Method

    My two favorite cards for using this method would be the Capital One Venture and Venture X. You can read my full post on the Venture X and see the other benefits I love on this card.

    Even better — you and your spouse could both get the cards and combine your points to offset your travel purchase — and save even more!

    Capital One does offer you the option to refer a friend (or spouse) but will only award you referral points if that person has never had any account of any kind with Capital One before.

    Capital One Venture – Earn 75,000 bonus points
    • $95 annual fee
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more
    • Also worth considering the Venture X which has more benefits and the same offer.

    Capital One Venture X (see current offers)
    • $395 annual fee
    • $300 annual travel credit when booking through Capital One’s portal
    • 10,000 points every year on account anniversary (worth at least $100)
    • Easy airport lounge access for your whole family
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more

    Stay at Marriott’s Swan or Dolphin Properties at Disney World

    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points

    How it Works

    Marriott has two properties at Disney World that are actually on the Disney Property — the Swan and the Dolphin.

    Both hotels offers free resort shuttles to and from the parks plus special Disney benefits like free parking at the resort. Certain benefits such as FastPass+, on-site character dining and Extra Magic Hours are currently suspended. You can read about all the benefits here.  

    How to Use Marriott Bonvoy Points

    Both hotels cost between 40,000 and 60,000 points per night, depending on the dates and whether they are considered standard, peak, or off-peak. In March, Marriott is switching to variable pricing, so prices may be less predictable. With Marriott, if you stay 5 nights with points, your lowest cost night will be free.

    You will still pay a $35 per night resort fee.

    The easiest way to see availability and prices is to use the Flexible Dates calendar when you are booking. You can see in May 2022 there is a lot of availability with prices all over the place.

    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points

    Best Credit Cards for This Method

    There are 4 different credit cards you could open to earn a bonus with Marriott points. Two are issued by Chase and two are issued by American Express. You cannot open the Marriott cards from Chase if you have the ones from American Express and vice versa. The card I’d recommend would depend on current offers. I’d suggest waiting till you see an offer of at least 100,000 points per night.

    Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless – 5 free night offer!
    • $95 annual fee
    • 1 Free Night Award annually after your Card account anniversary (up to 35k)
    • Earns 6 points per $1 at Bonvoy (Starwood / Marriott) properties and 2 points per $1 on everything else.
    • After holding this card for 1 year, you can upgrade to the Ritz Carlton card, which is one option for families to get airport lounge access.
    American Express Marriott Bonvoy Business card (see current offers here)
    • $125 annual fee
    • Provides 1 free night certificate every year on account anniversary (at a hotel up to 35k points)
    Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card (see current offers here)
    • $450 annual fee
    • $300 annual Marriott travel credit
    • Priority Pass airport lounge access for cardholder + 2 guests
    • 1 Free Night Award annually after your Card account anniversary (up to 50k)

    Offset Disney Hotels with Capital One Venture Miles

    How it Works

    Just like if you are buying Vacation Club points — you will need to book using an online service that accepts credit cards — and it will have to code as a travel expense.

    Cards like the Capital One Venture and Venture X allow you to “erase” travel purchases that you make with points. If you have 100,000 points, you can erase a $1,000 travel purchase.

    What it Costs

    Disneyland

    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    Options for Disneyland start at $442 per night. Note that the Grand Californian costs $350 more per night booking direct with Disney vs. booking with the Vacation Club hack.

    Disney World

    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    Rates at Disney World start at $508 per night when booking direct.

    Disneyland Paris

    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    Disneyland Paris doesn’t offer an option to just book the hotels. But a package that includes hotels and park tickets for 2 adults and 2 kids costs $2390 total or averages out to $597 a night.

    How to use Points

    My two favorite cards for using this method would be the Capital One Venture and Venture X. You can read my full post on the Venture X and see the other benefits I love on this card.

    Even better — you and your spouse could both get the cards and combine your points to offset your travel purchase — and save even more!

    Capital One does offer you the option to refer a friend (or spouse) but will only award you referral points if that person has never had any account of any kind with Capital One before.

    Capital One Venture – Earn 75,000 bonus points
    • $95 annual fee
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more
    • Also worth considering the Venture X which has more benefits and the same offer.

    Capital One Venture X (see current offers)
    • $395 annual fee
    • $300 annual travel credit when booking through Capital One’s portal
    • 10,000 points every year on account anniversary (worth at least $100)
    • Easy airport lounge access for your whole family
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more

    Book Disney Hotels Through Bank Portals

    Many banks have portals that allow you to book travel directly through them and use your points — or earn bonus points. These portals operate similar to Expedia and are powered by different search engines.

    How it Works

    When you book through the Chase, Citi, or Capital One portals, you will be able to use your points to cover all or part of your purchase.

    Rates can vary widely by bank portal and the value for your points will fluctuate based on the credit card you hold with that bank. I did these searches for a Chase Sapphire Preferred, a Citi Premier, and a Capital One Venture X.

    What it Costs

    Disneyland

    You might find some dates where the Citi portal for Thank You points includes options to book Disneyland Anaheim hotels, but on the dates I was searching it wasn’t available.

    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    These are the rates when booking through the Capital One portal — rates are higher than Disney for these dates — so you’d be better off booking directly with Disney and then erasing your purchase with your points.

    Disney World

    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    The Capital One rate for booking at Animal Kingdom — remember renting Vacation Club points only was going to cost $190 a night!
    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    These were the cheapest options I saw on the Capital One portal for those dates.
    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    If you were going to book the Swan or Dolphin — it actually might be better to book through a portal like Capital One rather than using Marriott points — or you could do a combo of both options.
    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    The rates for the Swan and Dolphin are slightly higher if you book through the Citi portal using Thank You points.

    Disneyland Paris

    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    These were the rates for the Paris hotels! Yikes! But I have seen them off-peak for much lower — sometimes $250 per night.
    How to Stay At Disney Hotels with Points
    These were the cheapest nightly rates I found — these were through the Capital One portal. Another plus when booking through the portal is that you earn 10 points per dollar! And then you can still go back and erase your purchase with your points.

    How to use Points

    The best card option for using this method would be the Capital One Venture, Capital One Venture X, or Citi Premier. You can read my full post on the Venture X and see the other benefits I love on this card.

    Even better — you and your spouse could both get the cards and combine your points to offset your travel purchase — and save even more!

    Capital One Venture – Earn 75,000 bonus points
    • $95 annual fee
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more
    • Also worth considering the Venture X which has more benefits and the same offer.

    Capital One Venture X (see current offers)
    • $395 annual fee
    • $300 annual travel credit when booking through Capital One’s portal
    • 10,000 points every year on account anniversary (worth at least $100)
    • Easy airport lounge access for your whole family
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more

    Citi Premier – Limited time 80,000 point offer!
    • $95 annual fee
    • Thank You Points can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Avianca, Turkish Airways, Choice and more. Points double when transferred to Choice!
    • You can also redeem points through the Citi Travel Portal. 50,000 points = $625 of travel BUT prices seem a bit inflated vs. directly booking with hotels
    • See my full guide to the card here

    Book Disney Hotels on Hotwire

    Disney Resort hotels are sometimes listed on Hotwire, especially closer in. Here is a great video from 10xTravel on how to find them

    https://www.instagram.com/katiestraveltricks/?hl=en

    How it Works

    When you book with Hotwire, it automatically codes as a travel expense.

    Cards like the Capital One Venture and Venture X allow you to “erase” travel purchases that you make with points. If you have 100,000 points, you can erase a $1,000 travel purchase.

    How to use Points

    My two favorite cards for using this method would be the Capital One Venture and Venture X. You can read my full post on the Venture X and see the other benefits I love on this card.

    Even better — you and your spouse could both get the cards and combine your points to offset your travel purchase — and save even more!

    Capital One does offer you the option to refer a friend (or spouse) but will only award you referral points if that person has never had any account of any kind with Capital One before.

    Capital One Venture – Earn 75,000 bonus points
    • $95 annual fee
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more
    • Also worth considering the Venture X which has more benefits and the same offer.

    Capital One Venture X (see current offers)
    • $395 annual fee
    • $300 annual travel credit when booking through Capital One’s portal
    • 10,000 points every year on account anniversary (worth at least $100)
    • Easy airport lounge access for your whole family
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more

    Earn Swagbucks to offset your Disney Hotels cost

    This method won’t get your Disney hotel paid for directly, but it is a great way to earn some extra cash that you can mentally earmark for your Disney stay.

    How it Works

    First you’ll sign up for Swagbucks. Swagbucks has different ways to complete deals to earn “Swagbucks.” Here is their description from their website.

    If you’re new to Swagbucks — I so appreciate if you use my referral link when opening an account.

    Then you complete various offers to earn “Swagbucks.” 1000 Swagbucks is worth about $10. Some offers allow you to earn 25,000 Swagbucks ($250!)

    You can then redeem those Swagbucks for gift cards to a number of places or just transfer them straight to your PayPal account.

    How to Find Worthwhile Offers

    Doctor of Credit regularly posts deals from Swagbucks that are money makers.

    I’m starting a Swagbucks challenge on March 1 to help people earn $500 in 1 month on Swagbucks. Join my private Facebook group for all the info and to join the challenge!

    Questions? Comments? Let me know!

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