My Almost Free Disney Vacation:
Part One - The Basics
Part Two - Airfare
Part Three - Hotel
If you haven't been with me long, I began this hobby just one year ago this week! This "hobby" is what I call "The Miles and Points Game". It involves using the bonus points that credit cards give out in order to travel for free...by spending virtually little to no money on the cards! See the other posts for more details!
So, we have covered the airfare and hotel for all 11 of our family that took this vacation. For my immediate family of 5, we spent $40 total on airfare and $120 on the hotel for 6 nights. Still under $200! Now comes the tough part of the bargain - Disney World tickets...for 5 days!
As you may know, there are many places to buy your Disney World tickets and they come with a variety of options. You can get Base Tickets (one park per day), Park Hoppers (multiple parks per day for a hefty fee), add-ons, etc. Base tickets are the cheapest and allow you to go to any of the 4 parks on any of the days, but only one park per day. Ticket prices recently went up in February 2014, ours were a bit cheaper last year. I LOVE undercovertourist.com for finding the cheapest tickets! Check out the prices there. If you are going without points, I'd buy your tickets there, they are very reliable - some of my family got their tickets there for this trip!
OK, back to the point. Now, I mentioned that I have only been doing this a year now. I have read and read and read about this, but my family was still somewhat skeptical at the time. They were excited about getting their hotel and airfare for basically free, so they weren't too worried about paying for the Disney tickets. Therefore, they did not seek out another card for that purpose. (Hence, buying them at undercovertourist.com) BUT, I am adventurous and have stellar credit, so I wasn't worried and figured I'd go all in! We decided on 5-day base tickets (one park per day) since we had 4 kids and figured they would be napping in the afternoon.
I was researching cards that could be used to reimburse travel expenses with points and came across the AMEX Blue Sky card. At the time, you could earn 30,000 bonus points after spending just $500! CRAZY! The offer now is just 7,500 points, bummer. With this card, you purchase anything that is coded as a "travel" expense and then you trade-in increments of 7,500 points for every $100 you want to reimburse from your card. No Annual Fee. Hmmmm...the wheels were turning.
But Disney tickets aren't exactly a "travel expense", right? Then...the light bulb went off. Or "on" I should say! The credit card erases anything that codes as "travel", right? Well, what if I bought the Disney tickets at a "travel" agency!?!?
Applied, approved! And hubby? The same!
So, since 30,000 points translates into $400 in reimbursed travel expenses, that was a total of $800 that we could get reimbursed! SCORE!
And guess what...it worked! We needed 3 tickets because of the ages of the kids and each were between $270 and $290ish. I forget the exact total... Anyhow, we used our AAA membership and headed there to buy the tickets!
On one card, we bought 2 tickets for a total of just under $600. We used all 30,000 points to get reimbursed our $400! Then, the other card bought the last ticket for just under $300. Because the ticket was not an exact $300, we traded in 15,000 points for a $200 reimbursement. We could have traded in an extra 7,500 points to cover the 90-ish dollars, but didn't want to waste any of it since we knew that we could use it for other expenses in the future.
Overall, we spent a total of just under $300 for our 3 tickets for 5 days! Not too shabby! :)
So, again, I have done LOTS of bargain hunting for tickets and there is absolutely no one I have found that can beat undercovertourist.com. And they are reliable. I can vouch for that! But if you are trying this out, consider a travel card that can reimburse anything coded as 'travel'.
When looking at cheap or free travel, you kind of have to think "out of the box" when maximizing your budget. I thought ALOT about how to get outside of that box! And EVERY bit of energy, time and chaos was totally worth it! I can't WAIT to tell you about it!
Did you like this post? Share it with someone who may be able to use it. Or pin it for later if you are planning a trip to Disney!
And check out the other posts about Disney to get you started on saving on other things there!