How to visit Disneyland using points and miles

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Have you been searching for the best deals to visit the happiest place on earth? Look no further: we’ve scoured the internet for you, and the best Disneyland discount we’ve found is opening credit cards and using the welcome bonus points to pay for Disney trips. After researching this for years, we’ve taken multiple Disneyland, Disney World and Disneyland Paris trips mostly paid for with credit card points and miles!

Here’s how we’ve used points and miles to book hotel, airfare and Disneyland tickets for our family of five:

DISNEY ADMISSION: THE EASIEST WAY TO BUY DISNEYLAND TICKETS WITH CREDIT CARD POINTS

One way to buy Disneyland tickets using points is through Citi ThankYou Points and the Citi Premier credit card:

Using Citi Thank-You Points: We’ve purchased Disneyland tickets using Citi ThankYou points that we earned opening the Citi Premier card . You can earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening). You’ll end up with with approximately $840 to spend on Disney tickets; if another family member opens a card, you’ll have $1680. My spouse and each opened one of these cards, one at a time, and put all our regular spending on the open card (groceries, gas etc.), paying it off every month.

To use the welcome bonus towards tickets, simply cash them out as a statement credit.

Read about five other ways to buy Disney tickets with credit card points:

DISNEY HOTEL: TWO WAYS WE’VE BOOKED HOTELS AT DISNEYLAND USING POINTS

If you don’t have a friend to stay with, or an Airbnb you’re staying in, you’ll need to book a hotel using credit card points. We have done this multiple ways, which I’ll outline for you below.

TIP: Start collecting hotel credit card points first, so you can book your lodging before it fills up.

Booking a Hotel Using Marriott points

For one Disney trip, we used Marriott points to book five nights at a Springhill Suites within one mile of Disneyland. We earned the points opening Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit cards during a sign-up bonus (one for me & one for my spouse, one at a time) and put all our regular spending like groceries and gas on the open card, paying it off every month.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Open a Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card and earn 100,000 points after spending $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Booking a Hotel Using Hilton Points

Another year, we used Hilton points to book the a Home2 Suites within one mile of Disneyland. We earned the points opening Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Cards (earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership, terms apply) We opened one for me & one for my spouse, one at a time–and putting all our regular spending like groceries and gas on the open card, paying it off every month.

For a list of hotels bookable with points and miles that we recommend near Disneyland, refer to this blog post:

HOW WE BOOK AIRFARE USING MILES

If you don’t live close enough to drive to Disneyland, you’ll need to book airfare. Many points & miles travelers prefer Southwest Airlines for Disney trips: this Disney Points Podcast episode includes which credit cards to open to earn SW Airlines miles, and explains how to earn one or two BOGO SW companion passes per household!

TIP: Collect airline credit card points second, after hotel credit card points, so you can book flights before they fill up.

We use Alaska miles to fly our family of five roundtrip to Disneyland from Oregon, To collect the points, my spouse and I each opened an Alaska Airlines Signature Visas cards during a sign-up bonus, one at a time, and put all our regular spending on the open card (groceries, gas etc.), paying it off every month.

Learn more about an Alaska Airlines VISA here.

Here’s info on which airport to fly into, and a list of 24 different cards you can open to earn points to book flights to Disneyland.

TIMELINE

Depending on how fast you spend money, YMMV as to how long it will take to open all these cards and collect all the points needed, but we estimate 12-18 months if you’re earning points and miles for hotel, airfare and tickets (you need ~1-3 months to open each new card, hit the minimum spend and collect your points & miles. Don’t forget to strategically charge large expenses to cards to help you immediately hit the minimum spend (we’ve put braces for our kids on credit cards, and house projects on credit cards). Start early! And remember, be a responsible credit card user: pay off your cards, don’t go into debt, keep track of annual fees.

Before you Begin

If you are new to credit card points and miles, STOP! Read this blog post so you understand the importance of an overall credit card strategy, involving banks that will limit the number of cards you can open in a certain time period.

TAKEAWAYS

Don’t let finances hold you back from your dream Disney trip–there’s lot of ways to get creative and earn points and miles for Disney.

Learn more about how we travel for almost free on Instagram @almostfreetraveling and join the conversation on facebook.com/almostfreetraveling

Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired.

18 responses to “How to visit Disneyland using points and miles”

  1. […] Planning a trip to Disneyland and wondering where to stay? Here’s 17 walkable (within one mile) hotel options you can book using IHG, Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt points, including links to credit cards to open in order to earn the points (read more about how to pay for hotel, airfare and Disneyland tickets using points and miles). […]

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  2. […] In order to buy Disneyland tickets in 2021, learn this four-step process, including how Disneyland reservations work (read more about how to use points and miles for hotel, airfare and Disneyland tickets): […]

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  3. […] nothing I like more than discussing how to save money in Disneyland. We’ve already covered how to pay for Disneyland tickets, airfare and hotel using points and miles; today, we’re tackling ways to save money on food and merchandise on your next magical […]

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  4. […] teenagers, we visit for four or five days at a time. These trips can get expensive, so we learned how to pay for hotel, airfare and Disneyland tickets using points and miles. However long your trip is–and however old your kids–sometimes taking a break midday is […]

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  5. […] One of the great things about Disneyland’s Anaheim, California location is it’s proximity to many Los Angeles airports. As far as which airlines fly into Disneyland, most do, and there are four Los Angeles airports to fly in and out of on your next Disneyland trip, so today we’re looking at which airport to use for Disneyland trips and why. Don’t miss our note on ground transportation at the end, and read more about how to use use miles to fly into any of these airports for almost free). Always consider flying into one airport and out of another, based on your itinerary, and find out how we use points and miles to book hotel, airfare and Disneyland tickets. […]

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  6. […] There’s lots of credit cards you can open to earn miles good for booking airline tickets to Disneyland. Read here to find out which airport to fly into for Disneyland vacations, choose an airline that offers regular, reasonably flights between your airport and one of the Los Angeles airports on the list, and choose a corresponding card below to open and begin banking miles! (Check out the current bonus at each of the links below–sign-up bonus amounts fluctuate, but generally opening one card earns enough miles for at least one round-trip flight to Disneyland). Find out more about how we use points and miles to book hotel, airfare and Disneyland tickets. […]

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  7. […] We took our usual Thanksgiving vacation trip to Disneyland with a couple other families, and eating our way through the Disney Festival of Holidays at California Adventure park was a highlight! We bought a Sip & Savor pass to share within our group of five adults, and I’m sharing the highlights here today (read more here about how we used points and miles to book this Disney trip!). […]

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  8. […] we planned our first free Disneyland trip on points and miles, I did the logical thing and opened Marriott cards for me and my husband. Marriott owns lots of […]

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  9. […] The Happiest Place on Earth. What made it even suiter is that we paid for it with Hilton Honors (read more about how we use points and miles to book almost free Disney trips). You can earn the points you need to book this hotel free by opening a Hilton Surpass Amex […]

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  10. […] Booking airfare with credit card sign-up bonuses is easy; here’s five different ways to do it (read how we use points and miles to book entire trips). […]

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  11. […] 2019, we paid for Disneyland tickets, hotel and airfare using points and miles. To buy the tickets, my spouse and I each opened a Citi Premier card during a sign-up […]

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  12. […] talked a lot about booking hotels, airfare and Disneyland tickets using points and miles; today we’ll discuss using points & miles to book trips to Walt Disney […]

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  13. […] You might like: How to Visit Disneyland Using Points & Miles […]

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  14. […] Recently, after embarking on a vacation to Disneyland and arriving at our hotel, we checked our email and found an inquiry from a guest asking to book our home last minute. We hadn’t left the house in renting condition, but in hindsight I wish we had–the cost the last-minute renter would have paid would have covered our spending in the parks, making our vacation totally free (read more here about how we pay for Disneyland trips using points and miles). […]

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  15. […] Finally, the size of your party might matter: if it’s just you and a friend, an extra $20 might not matter, especially if you’re already buying Photopass. If adding Genie Plus to your entire family’s tickets is a financial hardship, however, do not worry! You will still enjoy the magic of the parks, even if you sometimes have to navigate longer lines (read about how we pay for Disney trips using credit card points and miles). […]

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  16. […] Cruising with Disney is a dream vacation for many, and today we’re reviewing how to book a Disney cruise using credit card points (read more about how we book free Disney park trips using points and miles). […]

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  17. […] How to visit Disneyland using points and miles Where to Stay Near Disneyland using Points […]

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  18. […] research, I began opening the cards they recommended. The great thing is that I’ve funded multiple Disney trips using this method, but along the way I discovered that there are ways to be more strategic about […]

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