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Ken and his wife Emily write about using points and miles (and saving money) on Disney trips at Mousehacking.com. So I’ve asked them to share their tips on booking Walt Disney World hotels with Chase Ultimate Rewards points!
Ken and Emily: If you’re a Disney fan, you know their amazing parks and experiences keep travelers coming back! Many folks who visit Walt Disney World don’t consider using miles and points to offset the hotel cost of their trip, because most Disney resorts don’t belong to a loyalty program.
More seasoned travelers know they can book the on-site Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin using Starwood points. But did you know you can book other Disney resorts with flexible points like Chase Ultimate Rewards?
Use the Chase Travel Portal to Book Walt Disney World Resorts
Booking a Disney resort gets you terrific perks beyond the convenience of staying right on Disney property, like early access to parks and FastPass+ reservations.
If you have a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can use your points to book flights, hotels, car rentals, and activities through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. And that includes booking some Walt Disney World resorts!
But the value of your points depends on the cards you own. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each when you use them to book travel through the portal.
Folks with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred, Chase Ink Plus (no longer available), or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) get a value of 1.25 cents per point when they book through the portal.
And if you have the Chase Ink Business Cash, Chase Freedom, or Chase Freedom Unlimited, your points are worth 1 cent each unless you combine them with points from one of the cards listed above.
Keep in mind, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your spouse or a member of your household. This makes it easy for families to combine points for a Disney trip!
How to Search for Walt Disney World Resorts in the Chase Portal
Step 1. Sign-In to Your Chase Ultimate Rewards Account
At the top of the Ultimate Rewards Screen, click “Use Points”. Then select “Explore & Book Travel” from the drop-down menu.
Remember to use your Chase card account that gives you the best value per point. For example, if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Freedom, you’d want to book travel from your Chase Sapphire Preferred account to get the better rate of 1.25 cents per point.
Here’s a post on how to move your Chase Ultimate Rewards points between accounts.
Step 2. Search for Resorts in Orlando
Next, click “Hotels,” and enter your travel dates and a city or airport code. If you’re familiar with Disney, you’ll know that Walt Disney World is technically scattered across Bay Lake, Florida and Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
But because the portal lists some resorts as being in Orlando, being overly specific could hurt your search results. So it’s best to search using Orlando’s airport code, “MCO”.
Remember to also include the number of people traveling.
Step 3. Filter by “Disney”
The search engine will return results across the Orlando area, but you want to narrow them down.
On the left side of the results where you can search by hotel name, input “Disney” and hit enter.
By doing this, you’ll end up with 2 pages of search results instead of 20 or more!
Step 4. Evaluate Your Options
You’ll notice the shorter list of hotels still includes resorts NOT managed by Disney. Some resorts, like the Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, have “Disney” in their name despite not being actually managed by Disney.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to filter these out. You’ll just have to visually scan for Disney-managed hotels. If you’re completely new to Walt Disney World, check the Walt Disney World Resorts website or Wikipedia for a list of Disney hotels.
Step 5. Complete the Booking
Once you’ve settled on your resort, click “All Rooms” to see available room rates.
Again, not all room rates will necessarily be available.
Once you click “Book,” you’ll be taken to the booking screen, where you’ll be given the option to pay for all or part of the booking with points. This is especially useful if you don’t have enough points to pay for the entire booking, or if you are more comfortable saving some points and spending some cash.
Once you’ve booked, you’ll get an email from Chase that includes your hotel confirmation number. Be sure to use that number to link your stay to your “My Disney Experience” account at Disneyworld.com.
Which Resorts Can You Book?
There are 32 Walt Disney World resorts in total. The search example above listed 27 available locations, but your experience will vary depending on your travel dates. I’ve almost always seen a good variety of options, including budget, moderate, and deluxe resorts.
How Many Points Do These Resorts Cost?
The number of points you’ll pay per night depends on 2 factors:
- How much Disney is charging for the hotel
- Which Chase Ultimate Rewards card you’re using
Remember, in the portal, your Chase Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5, 1.25, or 1 cent each, depending on which card you’re using. Book with the card that gives you the best rate!
Your search results with show both the cash rate and the points required per night. Some things to know:
- The rates that are displayed in the search results are typically the same as Disney’s lowest, pre-tax rate. If a deal is available on the Walt Disney World website, it is usually reflected in the portal’s prices as well
- The points required per night do NOT include tax
- The portal does NOT have access to Disney’s entire inventory of room types. While a “Standard Room” might be available through the Walt Disney World website, you might find only a more expensive “Club Level” option in the Chase portal
- The tax rate in the portal may differ from that of the Walt Disney World website or your favorite booking site
Is This the Best Use of Your Ultimate Rewards Points?
In many cases, you’ll get more value from your Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you transfer them to airline and hotel partners, like United Airlines or Hyatt.
If the cash cost of a Disney resort is high, you might spend more points per night compared to making an award booking at off-site hotels. But for cheaper rates, you’ll could spend fewer points than for a regular award stay.
That said, the best use of miles and points is for travel that’s important to you. And using Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book Disney resorts gives you the flexibility to pay for all or part of your booking with points.
Transferring Points to Hotel Partners for Non-Disney Award Stays
Link: Hotel Hustle
You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton. Each of these chains has hotels on or very near to Walt Disney World, and most offer free shuttles to the parks.
To find hotels you can book by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points, search Hotel Hustle for hotels in Orlando, and select only the hotel chains above (selecting Marriott will also include Ritz-Carlton, because they’re essentially the same frequent-guest program).
Here are examples of hotels you can book with sample prices:
- Hyatt Place Orlando / Lake Buena Vista – 12,000 Hyatt points or ~$190 per night
- Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress – 15,000 Hyatt points or ~$250 per night
- SpringHill Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings / Western Entrance – 20,000 Marriott Points or ~$150 per night
- Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark – 15,000 to 35,000 IHG points or ~$160 per night
This is by no means a complete list!
Note: You might spend fewer points booking some of them through the Chase portal, rather than transferring the points to the hotel chain for an award stay. Always compare prices before you book!
Flying to Orlando Using Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
If you’re planning to fly to Orlando, there are plenty of ways to get there using Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
If there’s a seat sale, transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest may be your best bet, especially if you have the Southwest Companion Pass. That’s because the price of an award ticket is tied to the cash cost of the flight.
Or if you live in the Midwest or on the East Coast, transferring your points to British Airways for award flights on American Airlines may be a better deal. That’s because you’ll pay only 7,500 British Airways Avios points one-way for flights less than 1,151 miles.
For example, one-way flights from Chicago to Orlando on American Airlines costs 7,500 British Airways Avios points per person. That flight usually costs between $100 and $200.
Those same 7,500 points would be worth between $75 and ~$113 if you booked the flight through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, depending on which card you’re using.
Your points are worth different amounts, depending on the cards you have. And you’ll pay fewer points when the cash price of the hotel is lower. It’s always best to compare prices to award stays at off-site chain hotels.