Friday, April 26, 2013

Finance Review: Disney Visa Card from Chase

Pros: Lots of fun benefits if you happen to be a fan of the Mouse House
Cons: Reward points collect very slowly
The Bottom Line:
Rewards are magic
They don't collect too quickly
Yet they're fun to use

A Magical Credit Card for Disney Fans

As a huge Disney fan, I couldn't pass up a chance to get a Disney Visa.  I signed up as soon as I got the offer.  And my card does say "Card member since Day 1" as a result.  As a result, I'm not sure exactly how long I've had the card, but it's been multiple years.  I find I don't use it that often, but it is very fun to have.

The biggest think I look for in my credit cards are the fees.  This one has no annual fee, which is one of the big reasons I signed up.  The interest rate is variable.  Mine is down at 10.9% for purchases and 18.74% for cash advances, but I've been getting notice from all my credit cards that the rates will be going up soon.  I expect this one will be no different.  And keep in mind that the rates are variable.  I expect that if you have poor credit or miss a payment, your rate will be much higher.  Speaking of late or missed payments, they'll ding you for that, too, to the tune of $15 to $39 depending on how often you've done it.  Frankly, all of these things are standard operating procedures for all credit card companies, so they should come as much of a surprise.

The card is run by Chase, so you get top notch service.  Chase has a great web site where you can do everything from see your current statement to paying your credit card bill or paying other bills using your credit card.  Better yet, if you have more than one Chase card, you can link them all together with one log in.  That's what I've done, and it makes it nice to see what I am doing with my various rewards cards every month.  I pay my bill using my bank's on-line payment services, and I've never had a problem with my payment getting to the correct place.  The Chase site even lists the current promotions for card members and keeps track of your rewards for you.

Speaking of never having a problem, I can't remember every having to call customer service.  On the one hand, that means that things go as they should.  Of course, I can't tell you how customer service is as a result.

But enough about the nuts and bolts.  Let's talk some magic.

The magic starts with your card itself.  You can choose from one of seven designs when you get your card.  I currently have one marking the 50th anniversary of Disneyland.  I'm going to miss it when my card expires.  They also offer cards with characters like Nemo, Tinker Bell, or a combo of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy.

Then there are the reward points you get on every purchase.  For every $100 you spend, you get 1 point.  And they do round up or down.  $52 gets you one point, but $145 also gets you one point.  Once you've accumulated 20 points, you can call and get a $20 gift card usable at any Disney theme park, Disney Store, or  The points expire after 5 years, and you don't get any extra points for shopping at Disney with the card.

The benefits keep coming if you go to the parks often.  You can get 0% APR for six months on select packages to the resorts or any of the Disney Cruise Line or Adventure by Disney vacations.  You'll also get a $50 on board credit when you arrive on your ship.

Surprisingly, you get better benefits if you go to Disneyland with this card than you do at Disney World.  Both places give you discounts on the Behind the Magic tours and special member only meet and greet times with the characters.  At Disney World, you can get a 10% discount when you use the card on a purchase over $50 at the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney.  At Disneyland, you get that discount there as well as at all pin trader locations, most of the regular stores, and even three restaurants per park.  You can also get a free stroller rental at Disneyland.

Once a quarter, Disney sends out a six page brochure letting you know about the latest happenings with the company.  True, it is basically an ad.  But I love getting the news.  Besides, it also lets you know about limited offers.  Currently, members get a buy one get one free deal on any of Disney's shows on Broadway.

In addition to Chase's site, also gives you information on the card.  It is just a basic site to try to get you to sign up, but it is great if you want to check on current promotions.

Because of how long it takes to get rewards, I find I don't use this card all that often.  (And yes, I know that is a vicious cycle.)  I did recently get my first reward card.  It was easy to call and request.  The card came in the mail.  And I had no trouble using it at Disney World.

I do take advantage of the discount when I am at Disneyland, however.  I am addicted to pins, so I have saved quite a bundle with this card right there alone.

Honestly, the Disney Rewards Visa Card is designed for the Disney fan.  If you go to the parks at least once a year, it's worth it for you.  Otherwise, you probably won't really get to take advantage of the benefits enough to make it worth having unless you just want to show off to the world how big a Disney fan you really are.

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