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There are two Disney-branded Visa credit cards on the market, the Disney® Visa® Card and the Disney® Premier Visa® Card, both issued by Chase. The former has no annual fee, but the Premier version comes with a few additional perks. Here's a rundown of the benefits of the two Disney credit cards and whether the cards are smart options for consumers.
Cash back on all purchases, plus bonus for some categories: You'll earn at least 1% in Disney rewards on all purchases regardless of which card you choose. But if you choose the Disney® Premier Visa® Card, you'll earn an additional 1% (for a total of 2%) on purchases at official Disney companies or at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery stores. A lot of people who love Disney have families, so earning extra cash back on gas, groceries, and restaurant purchases is especially helpful.
Affordable annual fee: These cards won't cost you a lot of money. The basic Disney® Visa® Card is free, and the Disney® Premier Visa® Card only comes with a $49 annual fee.
Savings and special events on Disney vacations: Ever want to meet your favorite Disney character? You can get a complimentary "character experience" with a Disney or Star Wars character at certain Disney properties with this card. At Disney properties, you'll also get a 10% discount at certain dining options and on merchandise purchases over $50. If you take a Disney cruise, you'll get unspecified "savings," or you can get 10% off a vacation package to Castaway Cay.
Disney vacation financing: You can finance a vacation package at 0% APR for six months if you charge it to your card. However, most financial experts would advise caution here because it's not a great idea to take on debt for non-essentials. Besides, if you save up to pay in advance, you'll earn interest on that money.
Savings and special events at Disney stores: Finally, at Disney stores, you'll also get 10% off and get access to special in-store cardmember events.
Limited use of rewards: The cash back you earn from purchases are called Disney Rewards Dollars and can only be used for one thing: More Disney purchases from official Disney businesses (although you may be able to use your rewards at certain movie theaters to watch Disney movies on the big screen). The only other exception is with the Disney® Premier Visa® Card, which allows you to redeem your rewards for a statement credit towards airline tickets.
Super clunky rewards redemption process: You'll have to order a physical "Redemption Card," which acts as a sort of separate debit card for your rewards. You're then responsible for loading the Redemption Card on your own with your rewards, which you can only do if you have a minimum of 10 Disney Rewards Dollars saved up from your purchases (it's 20 for your first transfer, however). In other words, you can't just get a simple, automatic statement credit, which is what all of the best rewards credit cards do.
Sign-up bonus: If you opt for the Disney® Premier Visa® Card you'll get a $200 statement credit if you spend at least $500 within the first three months. The regular Disney® Visa® Card only earns a $50 statement credit, but you'll get it after you make your first purchase. These may sound good at first, but they're actually much less than sign-up bonuses on similar, non-Disney® cards.
Foreign transaction fee: You won't want to use this card if you plan on going to the Paris Disneyland, or any other international Disney properties for that matter. That's because there's a 3% foreign transaction fee, which easily wipes out the 2% cash back you'll get from Disney purchases, even if you spring for the higher-end Disney® Premier Visa® Card. Be careful if you go on a Disney cruise out of the country, too.
You'll likely need a credit score that's good or better (670 or higher, according to FICO) to get the Disney® Premier Visa® Card. The Disney® Visa® Card is probably easier to qualify for if your credit score isn't as high, and is likely available to those with fair credit or better (580 or higher). There's a lot of things that go into approving you for a credit card, so having this score doesn't mean you'll automatically be approved, and vice versa.
If you're just looking for a way to earn cash back that you can use towards Disney vacations, there are much better travel rewards cards and general-purpose rewards cards out there. These cards will earn higher cash-back rates which can propel you towards your Disney vacation even faster, and your rewards aren't limited to just Disney purchases.
But that's not where the magic of this card lies. This card also offers unique Disney experiences and events that you can't get elsewhere. Earning cash-back rewards while you're out spending money at Disney anyway is just an added perk.
Outside of the sign-up bonus, we calculate that you'd need to spend at least $2,450 every year on Disney purchases in order to earn enough cash back to offset the annual fee on the fancier Disney® Premier Visa® Card. That, plus the added hassle of managing a complicated rewards redemption system leads us to recommend you choose another card, unless you really, really want those extra perks -- which many Disney fans will.
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