Disney World: 5 Great Hotels to Book With Points

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Disney World: 5 Great Hotels to Book With Points

Million Mile SecretsDisney World: 5 Great Hotels to Book With PointsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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I’ve written about how to take a Disney vacation for cheap using miles and points.  And how you can get airfare and a 5-night stay at Disney hotels Dolphin and Swan from just 2 credit cards!

There are so many hotels near Walt Disney World where you can stay using points or weekend night certificates.  So how do you choose?

Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
You Can Stay at the Disney Swan Hotel Using Starwood Points, but There Are LOTS of Other Great Options Near Walt Disney World!

I checked TripAdvisor for the best hotels close to Walt Disney World.  Here are some top picks you can book with hotel points!

Big Hotel Stays With Small Money at Disney

Link:   Travel Smarter With TripAdvisor – Finding the Right Hotel

Link:   Hotel Hustle

Link:   Award Mapper

Emily and I always check TripAdvisor before we book a new hotel.  And to see where we can use points for hotel stays, we search HotelHustle (which even shows if award rooms are available) and AwardMapper.

While the Disney Swan and Dolphin resorts are the only on-site Disney hotels you can book with points, there are dozens of other hotels near Disney to choose from.

1.   Hilton

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is a Hilton category 6 hotel.  Depending on the season, an award night costs 40,000 to 50,000 Hilton points.

It’s very highly rated on TripAdvisor and is right next to Disney parks like Epcot.  Folks love the extensive pool and lazy river.  And there’s a free shuttle to the parks!

Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Pool Was Voted #1 Fantastic Hotel Pool by TripAdvisor in 2012

This is a huge resort with over 1,000 rooms and 12 restaurants.  So if you’re looking for a quieter stay it might not be your best choice.

For an award stay at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, you could use the 2 weekend night certificates you earn with the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card .  Or book a night using points from the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card.

Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
Little (and Big) Kids Will Love Relaxing in the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek’s Lazy River

Remember, there are lots of ways to earn Hilton points!  This includes transferring Citi ThankYou, Virgin Atlantic, Hawaiian Airlines, or American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton.

And if you’re paying for all or part of your visit, read my post about which cards earn the most for Hilton stays!

2.   Hyatt

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Emily and I love Hyatt for their terrific service and amazing hotels.  We’ve had fantastic stays at hotels like the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Park Hyatt Paris – Vendome, Park Hyatt Milan, and Hyatt Regency Maui.

The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is consistently ranked 1 of Orlando’s top resorts.  TripAdvisor reviewers rave about the beautiful landscaping, excellent service, and variety of activities.

Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
The Lagoon-Style Pool at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Is ~5 Minutes From Disney World by Free Shuttle

A Hyatt category 4 hotel, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress costs 15,000 points per night.  And there are plenty of ways to earn Hyatt points!

This could be a good spot to use the 2 nights you earn with the sign-up bonus for the Chase Hyatt card.  Or use the night you earn each year you keep the card! 

Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
Lots of Quiet Spots to Chill Out at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

If you don’t have enough Hyatt points, transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for award nights.

3.   IHG

Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista

There’s a good reason why the Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista is a TripAdvisor Travelers Choice winner, and currently ranked #10 of all hotels in Orlando.

Emily’s friend stayed there with her family last year and she said it was a great choice.  Every room is a suite – with kitchen, living area, and spacious bedrooms.

Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
Plenty of Room to Spread out With Your Family at the Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista in Orlando

Award nights here cost 35,000 IHG points.  But you could save a LOT of money because:

  • Full buffet breakfast is included
  • You’ll have a full kitchen and living area, and there’s a supermarket across the road to buy groceries
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, this hotel offers free drinks (wine, beer) and snacks / dinner (like hot dogs, chicken nuggets, nachos, salad, or burgers) for all guests – no elite status needed
  • Free shuttle to Disney parks, only a couple of miles away
Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
Every Room Is a Suite at the Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista, and the Pool Is Kid-Friendly

You could get almost 2 nights at the Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista from the Chase IHG card, which has a 60,000 point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements.

And it’s easy to earn extra IHG points.  For example, with the Chase IHG card, you’ll earn 2 IHG points per $1 you spend at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.

You could transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to IHG.  Or use the IHG points and cash trick!

Or use the cardholder anniversary night from the Chase IHG card to stay an extra night!

4.   Marriott

JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes / Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes

You could use Marriott or Ritz-Carlton points to stay at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes.  Or, get away to the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes!  They’re actually part of the same resort, but you’ll pay fewer points when you stay at the JW Marriott.

Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
Which Would You Choose? The JW Marriott or the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, Orlando?

You’ll pay 35,000 Marriott points per night at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes.  Or 40,000 Marriott points per night at the Ritz-Carlton.

Both hotels have access to on-site golf, kayaking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.  So unless you really prefer the Ritz-Carlton, the Marriott hotel is a better deal!

Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
You Can Enjoy the Outdoors With Activities Like Fishing and Kayaking at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes

Marriott and Ritz-Carlton points can be used at either hotel chain.  You can earn points from the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card or the Chase Ritz-Carlton card.  Sometimes there are improved sign-up bonuses!

Or transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Marriott if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) card.

5.   Wyndham

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

Wyndham recently made big changes to their award program.  And now every Wyndham hotel costs 15,000 Wyndham points per night, even their most expensive resorts!

The Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek is 1 of Wyndham’s top hotels.  Visitors love the many pools, hot tubs, and waterslides.

Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
Choose From Multiple Pools at This Huge Resort

This hotel is located right next to Disney parks, and there’s a free shuttle.  It’s a family-friendly resort, with pirate-themed waterslides and bunk beds in some rooms!

Disney World 5 Great Hotels To Book With Points
Kids Will Love the Bunk Beds, and Parents Will Appreciate the Privacy!

You can earn enough Wyndham points for 3 nights at this resort with the Barclays Wyndham Rewards card.  After spending $1,000 on purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account, you’ll earn 45,000 Wyndham points.

That’s a great deal!

Bottom Line

If you don’t want to use Starwood points to stay at the only 2 Disney hotels you can book with points, there are plenty of other great hotel options close to Disney parks!

You’ll find lots of family-friendly amenities and activities.  And most hotels have a free shuttle to the parks!  Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, and Wyndham all have hotels near Disney you can book with points for Big Travel with Small Money!

These are just a few of my top picks for hotels near Disney.  Do you have a favorite I’ve left out?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Every time I take my family to WDW, I agonize over whether to pay to stay on-site or use my myriad points for a free hotel stay off-site. Here’s the problem with not staying at an actual Disney hotel (and BTW this includes the Swan & Dolphin, even though they are within the physical bounds of WDW)… you will miss out on a lot of the most popular attractions at every park (well, or you’ll wind up waiting in line for 2+ hours for each one potentially, and try doing that with small children). The problem is with Disney’s new FastPass+ system, which allows you to book advance ride times online. Disney resort guests can book their FastPass+ selections 60 days in advance, while non-resort guests can only do 30 days, and unless something has changed recently, that includes the Swan & Dolphin, which aren’t really Disney resorts (though they do get to share some benefits like extra magic hours). Want to meet Anna & Elsa from Frozen? Try out the new 7 Dwarfs ride? Good luck if you’re staying off-site.

You are absolutely correct, Andrew! This is one reason I always stay onsite at WDW.

In addition to the FastPass issue you mentioned, when you stay at a Disney Resort Park hotel, there is no need to pay for and mess with a rental car. They pick you up at the airport and take you back when your vacation is over. We hate dealing with rental cars on vacation.

You don’t even have to deal with your luggage! They mail you tags to put on your bags at your home airport and Disney takes them directly to your hotel room when you land.

When you leave, you put more tags on your luggage in the Disney hotel lobby and you don’t have to deal with luggage again until you see them on the luggage carousel at your home airport.

One of the deal-breakers is the details for the shuttle service. I’ve read lots of comments over the pile of choices (my own research) that the advertised free shuttle service is few and far between – and none seem to be around for those of us who like to close down the park. The best choice seems to be locations at DD – thanks for the comment about WLBVR, Bill. Good to know.

Thanks for the list. I think you would make it even better if you listed a sample rate next to each hotel. Just something to see the value a little more clearly.

Curtis Callaway

I love the Hyatt Grand Cypress. Great rooms, decent location to the parks, and amazing grounds. A great family resort.

I would argue that the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort is a better choice for park access.

You are right across the street from downtown disney, which gives you immediate access to every park / hotel since it is the transportation hub. They also have shuttle for the morning so either way works great!

Pretty reasonable paid rates to.

Actually, there is no direct Disney transportation from Downtown Disney to the parks. They would not want to miss out on that $20 parking fee at the parks.