Disney World is a must-see destination... but it's very expensive for families! Check out these Travel Hacking tips to save money on Disney World park entrances and on-site purchases with AIR MILES miles!
As parents of two young children (2 and 4 years old), Disneyworld will be one of our next family vacation destinations.
We had this goal in mind when we planned our credit cards strategy for the year to come.
The goal is to save money at Disneyworld on the main expenses items of the trip:
After our tips showing you how to drastically save money on accommodation through Marriott Bonvoy points, you’ll find below our strategy to save money on Disneyworld park entrances and purchases with AIR MILES!
Save money at Disney World with AIR MILES miles
Let’s see how to use the two types of AIR MILES reward miles: CASH Rewards and DREAM Rewards, in order to save money at Disney World
CASH Rewards vs DREAM Rewards
In your AIR MILES account, you have the option to set the percentage of miles earning in 2 different accounts:
- CASH Rewards
- DREAM Rewards
Generally, one option is chosen over the other, and we avoid opting for 50-50.
While others will bet everything on the CASH rewards in order to buy Disney gift cards at a discount in Jean Coutu pharmacies as you will see below!
DREAM Rewards vs CASH Rewards: It’s up to you to choose according to YOUR strategy.
Let’s look at the two possibilities together.
AIR MILES CASH rewards for Disney World
First, the AIR MILES CASH rewards. This is the easy solution for many AIR MILES collectors.
In this case, 95 AIR MILES reward miles = $10 (equal to 10.5 cents / CASH Reward mile).
During some promotions, the value may be better: 85 CASH Reward miles = $10 (equal to 11.8 cents / CASH Reward mile).
AIR MILES CASH Rewards can be credited on a grocery, gas or pharmacy bill from some merchants, or for an electronic voucher with other AIR MILES partners.
But there’s a nice tip for Disney World: Disney gift cards from Jean Coutu pharmacies.
Disney gift cards at Jean Coutu pharmacies with AIR MILES CASH Rewards
What can you pay for with Disney gift cards? Lots of things:
- Hotels (Disney)
- Meals in the parks
- Park entrances Tickets (Florida, California)
- Disney Cruise Line
- Disney Store Stores in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico
- Disney PhotoPass
Gift cards can be used on Internet and merged on one virtual card on the Disney Gift Card website (maximum $1,000 per virtual card)
The cards are immediately converted into US currency at the rate of the day, with no conversion fee.
Here, by taking advantage of Jean Coutu’s recurring CASH rewards exchange promotion (85 AIR MILES reward miles = $10), you could easily use your CASH rewards to save on your trip to Disney World!
Especially with CASH rewards miles easily earned through various promotional events (Mega Miles) or with AIR MILES credit card welcome offers!
Here are the best current credit card offers:
AIR MILES DREAM Rewards for Disney World
Then there are the AIR MILES DREAM rewards. With DREAM Rewards, you can generally look for an even greater value of your miles.
In this case, there is no known value for the DREAM Reward miles: it will vary for each use. So it will be up to you to take out your calculator to see if you’re making a good deal or not!
Of course, you must try to get a higher value from the DREAM miles than if they had been earned in CASH Rewards. So you should get between 10.5 cents and 11.8 cents / DREAM Reward mile (as shown above with the CASH reward miles).
Generally, there is a common agreement that it is possible to getbetween 15 and 20 cents per DREAM Reward mile. And in some cases as with short-haul airline tickets it is even possible to go up to 25 or 30 cents per DREAM Reward mile.
For Disney World, DREAM Rewards become interesting for theme parks tickets.
Tickets to Orlando Parks with AIR MILES DREAM Reward miles
On the AIR MILES website, in the DREAM Rewards catalog, there is a section called “Fun & Attractions in the United States“.
You will discover all the theme park tickets options:
- Disneyland Resort California
- Orlando Universal
- Universal Studios Hollywood California
Here is a table showing the various options available in April 2019 for theme parks entrances tickets with DREAM Reward miles:
|Walt Disney World||FL||Adult||Base||5||5,995|
|Walt Disney World||FL||Adult||Base||7||6,400|
|Walt Disney World||FL||Adult||Hopper (CA)||5||4,500|
|Walt Disney World||FL||Adult||Hopper (CA)||7||4,750|
|Walt Disney World||FL||Kid||Hopper (CA)||5||4,200|
|Walt Disney World||FL||Kid||Hopper (CA)||7||4,450|
|Universal Orlando Resort||FL||Adult||Hopper||1||2,375|
|Blue Man Group||FL||Adult||1||750|
|Blue Man Group||FL||Kid||1||475|
|Legoland / Sea Life||FL||Adult||Resort||1||1,275|
|Legoland / Sea Life||FL||Adult||Hopper||1||1,225|
|Legoland / Sea Life||FL||Kid||Resort||1||1,195|
|Legoland / Sea Life||FL||Kid||Hopper||1||1,150|
|Universal Studios Hollywood||CA||Adult||1||1,350|
|Universal Studios Hollywood||CA||Adult||2||1,950|
|Universal Orlando Resort||FL||Adult||3 parks||2 + 2||3,975|
|Universal Orlando Resort||FL||Adult||2 parks||2 + 2||3,250|
NB: On the date this article was written, the Canadian Resident offer for Walt Disney World was no longer available on Disney’s website (but was still available on AIR MILES’ website whereas the end date was March 15, 2019). The Canadian Resident offer is usually valid from late August to mid-March.
This offer is really interesting because it includes the “Hopper” option. A 7-day ticket will cost you 4,750 DREAM Reward miles. It will save you about CA$680 vs. the offer on Disney’s website for the same option. It’s a value of 14.3 cents per DREAM Reward mile.
So let’s take the example of what exists today both on AIR MILES and on the Disney website with tickets to Disneyland Resort (California) with Hopper for 5 days: 4,750 DREAM Reward miles.
The same ticket, on the same terms, is sold for US$395, which equals to CA$530.
Here, 4,750 DREAM Reward miles save you $530 or 11.2 cents per DREAM Reward mile. We are therefore in the low range of DREAM Reward miles valuation (10.5 – 11.8 cents).
In the past, it was possible to get 15 to 20 cents per DREAM Reward mile (especially when the Canadian dollar began to fall against the U.S. dollar)… but AIR MILES seems to have adjusted this.
In this case, the use of Dream Reward miles is not the most optimal. It’s up to you to do your calculations to make a good use of your DREAM Reward miles.
For park tickets and other expenses at Disney World, and in order to to what you really want, AIR MILES CASH miles are probably the most appropriate solution.
By purchasing Disney gift cards from Jean Coutu pharmacies at the right moment (85 CASH Reward miles = $10), you will be able to reload your virtual Disney gift card and use it as you wish for any expense at Disney (park entrances, meals in parks, souvenirs, etc.).
To earn AIR MILES bonus miles easily, there are a dozen of credit card offers.
As mentioned above, a card that comes with no fee for the first year can earn you a welcome bonus of 3,000 AIR MILES miles, enough to save you over $350!
2 significant others could, for example:
- each apply for this card
- add the same AIR MILES collector number
- earn CASH Reward miles on the same AIR MILES account
- and save more than $700 on Disney purchases!
It is possible for 2 people to earn more than 20,000 AIR MILES bonus miles in one year! You just have to strategically plan your expenses in order to unlock welcome offers.
In addition, here are the 3 most interesting offers for cards that are free, year after year, and require no minimum income!