Sunday, March 10, 2013

My Free Trip to Disney & How You Can Get One Too: Part One

How I am using Credit Cards and Rewards Points to my advantage to take a FREE Trip to Disney 

Part One

Recently, I decided that with some hard work and perseverance I could really make all these credit cards work for me.  All we ever hear or see in the news is how dangerous they can be and credit cards can be a slippery slope but when you use them as they were meant to they are a huge benefit.

First step is making sure you are out of credit card debt.  If you have previous debt it can really end up pretty confusing or frustrating trying to set everything up. Since applying for cards and closing accounts only messes with your credit score for a few days, I did the next step over a couple weeks, weeding out the paid off cards I had never closed (mostly store cards) and then applying for the ones I wanted to use this year.

Also, I found out which cards I wanted to try and get to possibly pay for our hotel stay using the great resources at Million Mile Secrets for the most part and a couple articles from WDW Prep School. My goal is to meet these in the next 6 months (March to September) so that I can then redeem all points come October to go down this winter for a Christmas trip but I know this may not happen and am fine with that!

Now I have at my disposal the following credit cards to start my earning:

1.  Disney Visa Rewards Card I know the premiere card will always earn me double the points but I ardently believe that I do not owe a creditor any more money than interest.  I have had a Disney Visa for so long that under the area on the front where is says "cardmemeber since" mine says literally "day one".  That being said, I have both accounts.  For the purposes of this trip I will be using the PREMIERE version so I could take advantage of the sign up bonus gift card on my birthday trip and then get the double points but I plan to close the account prior to my one year anniversary and go back to using the regular as not to get a second annual fee. 
Goal: This will be used to earn enough money to pay for our park tickets (including Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party since I want to go over Christmas break) so I am looking to earn at least $650 but since I can use the leftover for dining and purchases, this is just the start. 

2.  Starwood Rewards American Express Card FYI, this will charge you an annual fee after the first year so be weary of when you apply.  I am planning to close this and my Premiere Disney card before the fee is charged next February unless I am wowed by something amazing with either card.
Goal: This will be used (in conjunction with the teacher discount if needed) to cover our stay at the Swan and Dolphin. We are shooting at earning 40,000 points/ 4 nights. 

3.  Jet Blue American Express Card I have in the past used the Southwest Chase rewards card to get the opening bonus-- the points from opening the card alone paid for me and my husband to fly to Florida round trip (and after a delay snafu where we were delayed almost 6 hours in the airport on the way back the company reimbursed us for all of our points which paid for a second roundtrip Florida flight).  That being said, we prefer Jet Blue for flights so we stick with that rewards card. If you love Southwest I do recommend the Chase card though!
Goal: This will be used to pay for our flights.  I am trying to save up 44,000 points to purchase flights roundtrip.

4.  Discover Escape Card Of all the cards I have ever had, this has the best rewards redemption and earnings. Once you have earned 10k points you can get cash $100 cashback on travel purchases.
Goal: This will be used to spend in the parks or if I don't meet the goal amounts somewhere else along the way... basically I want to try and get $300-400 cashback to spend so that would be 30k-40k in points.

Additionally, I will be earning some money with PayPal.  I will be saving all the earnings from my Etsy shop too but am hoping it doesn't come to that for our trip.  If you are crafty, Etsy is a great way to showcase your creativity and make some money!  If not maybe you could earn yourself a few bucks by cleaning out the closest and selling stuff on Ebay- I often sell old designer bags I never use or vinylmation I didn't really want from a blind box to make some trip money off Ebay!

I will also be using the SavingStar and Ibotta grocery coupon apps.  Whatever I make here I will keep in my PayPal account and use towards our food on the trip!

Lastly, I have been using the Checkpoints app to rack up some points so I could start off right- with a travel guide!  It took me about two weeks of checking in wherever I went and scanning things at the grocery store but I got myself up to 3250 points which got me a $10 Amazon gift card and a copy of the 2013 Birnbaum Guide!

Since I placed my order the price on the guide had risen but you can get any of the lovely books in the image below for $10 or less with your Checkpoints Amazon gift card if you choose to use the app to rack up some points for a planning book!!

I hope I have piqued your interest as I truly believe that this is something I can really "make happen".  I appreciate any comments or questions below and check back soon for more tips and to see my monthly updates! ;)


  1. We love using our credit card points for holidays. didn't save enough this year for disney, but managed to get 3 free tickets for Busch Gardens. I wish they would have a Canadian version of the Disney credit card here though :(
    Have fun saving up.

  2. Very cool! We use our Disney Visa rewards redemption points for trips too! Any extra can be used toward food/souvenirs too!

  3. MouseEarredPirateChildMarch 12, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    This is so cool!! I'm glad I am not the only o one trying to do something similar. Currently my husband and I are trying to get to California for the D23 Convention. This will definitely help with this. I'll be waiting for part two!!

  4. MouseEarredPirateChildMarch 12, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    By the way also try ShopKick! it is a similar program to check point but you can get gift card codes immediately to your phone for resellers such as CVS, Target, and more (places where they sell Visa Gift cards...and that is almost as good as Paypal or cash!!)

    1. I have a couple friends who LOVE shopkick! I am not really a shopper so its not as helpful for me! lol! I have started using Viggle though since you can check into TVshows and get points. Although I usually just find a really long news program and check in then go about doing other things! lol!