Are The Disney Visa Card Perks Worth The Cost?

For consumers who love everything Disney, a Disney-branded rewards credit card — one with no annual fee — might seem like a match made in heaven. Indeed, fans of the famous cartoon mouse will be able to display their allegiance each time they make a purchase, with a choice of 13 different card designs. Classics like Mickey Mouse and Sleeping Beauty's castle are naturally a staple, but newer themes, including "Star Wars," "Toy Story," and Marvel, are also on offer.

However, digging a little deeper than just aesthetics, the Disney Visa issued by Chase isn't such a slam-dunk decision, even for the biggest Disney fans. Although it entitles cardholders to a discount on certain dining, merchandise, and cruise ship purchases — though many limitations, restrictions, and blackout periods exist — rewards from purchases build slowly and aren't very versatile.

Also, if you're considering visiting Disney theme parks in Paris or Tokyo, note that this card has a 3% foreign-transaction fee, which is a third-degree budget faux pas when traveling. Beyond the cute factor, is the Disney Visa worthy of a coveted slot in your credit card wallet?

The welcome bonus is reasonably obtainable

New cardholders of the Disney Visa will receive a welcome bonus of $150 (increased to $250 for a limited time) in the form of a statement credit after spending $500 on the card within three months of opening the account. Granted, some other cards offer much more lucrative sign-up bonuses, but $150 isn't terrible considering that the Disney Visa has no annual fee and the spending requirement is quite modest. If you can catch the special $250 bonus offer for spending $500 that's running at the time of writing, all the better.

Cardholders will also receive a 10% discount on select Disney dining, merchandise, and purchases on board Disney cruise ships. As well, there's a 0% APR for six months following the purchase of select Disney vacation packages using the card. Though personally, we'd recommend trying to save part of your income for your next vacation rather than financing it with a credit card.

Six months interest-free may seem like a no-brainer; however, if you somehow fail to pay for your vacation within that window — and let's face it, life has a way of dealing out financial surprises — the variable interest rate jumps to a whopping 19.24% to 28.24%. Finally, Disney Visa cardholders enjoy the opportunity to take special photos with Disney and "Star Wars" characters in private locations when visiting the theme park.

Rewards for spending aren't that generous, however

Perhaps the least attractive aspect of the Disney Visa is the relatively disappointing rate at which spending earns you rewards. The Disney Visa card rewards all purchases, whether they're Disney-related or everyday spending like gas and groceries at a flat 1% back. There are no bonus categories, no promotions, nada. Just a consistent 1% back, which isn't so great in a world where other fee-free credit cards offer 1.5% or even 2% cash back on purchases. In any case, you'll want to avoid the pitfalls that accompany credit card rewards or else the costs could outweigh the benefits.

Worse still, the 1% back the Disney Visa rewards its cardholders isn't even in the form of cash or statement credits. Instead, you'll accumulate Disney Reward Dollars in increments of $1, which can then only be used on eligible Disney (or "Star Wars") purchases. For example, you could spend the dollars at Disney theme parks, Disney stores, or on Disney cruises. Though it's a bit niche, tickets for Disney and "Star Wars" films showing at AMC theaters are also up for grabs with Disney Reward Dollars.

The process to redeem rewards is clunky, too

The convoluted process to redeem Disney Reward Dollars somehow makes earning them even less appealing. The first step is for Disney Visa card account holders to obtain a separate Disney Rewards Redemption Card, which functions much like a prepaid gift card. You can source the redemption card online, over the phone, or while visiting a Disney theme park, but you'll need to have earned at least 20 Disney Reward Dollars to get one, which means spending a rather significant $2,000 on the card.

Once it's established, you can reload your Disney Rewards Redemption Card in increments of 10 Disney Rewards Dollars as they're earned from credit card spending. On a positive note, any Reward Dollars that have been loaded onto a Redemption Card never expire; still, the process seems overly complicated and much less flexible than good old-fashioned cash back that can be spent anywhere for anything.

There's also an annual-fee version of the card

Chase, the issuing bank for the Disney Visa card, also offers the upgraded Disney Premier Visa card. Though the latter credit card carries a $49 annual fee, a more generous sign-up bonus and accelerated rewards earning probably justify paying said fee. For example, at the time of writing, you can earn a limited-time $400 welcome bonus for spending $1,000 in the first three months. However, the typical welcome bonus for the Disney Premier Visa is $300, which is still double the (regular) bonus amount of the fee-free version. Albeit, the spending requirement to earn the larger welcome bonus is higher, but not prohibitively so.

Additionally, the Disney Premier Visa card earns cardholders 2% back on gasoline and grocery store purchases, as well as on spending at restaurants and on qualifying Disney purchases. Compare this to the regular Disney Visa card, which earns 1% across the board, and it's clear the Premier version can prove much more valuable for racking up everyday spending.

The Disney Premier Visa card has a few other perks in exchange for its annual fee, including 5% back on purchases from,, and Perhaps more importantly, however, Premier cardholders can use their Disney Rewards Dollars toward airfare purchased with the card, though this does require making a request to the user's account portal following an airline purchase. For example, 20 Disney Rewards Dollars can be used to deduct $20 from the cost of a qualifying flight that's already been paid for with the card.

Except for the novelty factor, better card options exist

Since the standard Disney Visa card issued by Chase has no annual fee, there's really no terrible downside to signing up for it, aside from the fact that you're using part of your overall credit card and credit limit allowance. For example, Chase, who's the issuer of both Disney Visa cards, denies card applicants who have opened five or more new credit card accounts in the past 24 months (the dreaded 5/24 rule). To be clear, that's five or more new credit cards with any issuer, not just from Chase; other credit card issuers may approve applicants with five or more newer accounts.

At any rate, if you still want to move forward with a Disney card, it's probably wiser to sign up for the Disney Premier Visa card and its perks, even though it has a modest annual fee of $49 per year. Consider that the increased welcome bonus of $300 (temporarily $400) versus $150 for the standard Disney Visa will cover paying the annual fee for a period of at least three years. Also, spending is rewarded at twice the rate of the no-fee card in popular categories like gas, groceries, restaurants, and yes, Disney parks and merchandise.

Just know that the bespoke artwork on your Disney credit card comes with some pretty mediocre benefits and rewards. For a more holistic rewards approach that includes travel to and from Disney theme parks or cruises, you'll likely do better getting cash, airline miles, or travel rewards from alternative cards. Only die-hard fans of the mouse need apply for the Disney Visa.