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Episode 856 - Paying For The Magic

PodcastEpisode 856 is now available for download.

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Questions can be emailed to questions@wdwtoday.com or use this form

Show Notes

Hosts: Matt Hochberg, Len Testa, Mike Newell, & The Fabulous Annette Owens


  • Episode 855 - Paying For The Magic

  • Today, we discuss the ways we pay for going to WDW, including frequent flier miles, and reward points.

  • Running Time: 24:03

Episode 856 - Paying For The Magic | 7 comments | Create New Account
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Episode 856 - Paying For The Magic
Authored by: FigmentRules on Monday, March 28 2011 @ 12:37 PM CDT
I'm a fan of American Express Membership Awards, Continental OnePass and Marriott Rewards. I do tons of business travel, so those have really been nice perks. I've found the best value to use the points for Amex is to exchange them for gift cards. For example, a Home Depot $500 gift card is 50,000 points. That would also get me a round trip plane ticket, but like Len said, it has to be long haul to make it worth using the points for air travel. I've decided, though, by the time you're Marriott Platinum, you never want to stay in a Marriott on vacation. ;-) I hope those Marriott points don't expire!

One of the things we like to do for walk around money is to go ahead and put some money on a Disney Gift Card then we're not dealing with the signing and receipts--especially when we're staying off property!

We're working on bringing our 14 year old niece with us for a trip. What are some ideas for giving her spending money? I was thinking a Gift Card would be good. How much money per day, or for a 6-day trip, would be appropriate, considering meals would be covered otherwise?
Credit cards
Authored by: wdwtodayfanclub on Monday, March 28 2011 @ 09:05 PM CDT
Signing up for credit cards with promotions have been my best bet. For instance Southwest had a DING where if you sign up for a Chase Southwest Visa credit card you get 2 free roundtrips after your first purchase. Even after the $59 annual fee, 2 roundtrips for $59 is as steal. We are going this August to the World and spent $150 for 4 roundtrip tickets from St Louis.
I'm surprised more people dont play the credit card bonus game. I fly free to Vegas every year thanks to those promotions.


We are not Disney nerds, we are enthusiasts
Episode 856 - Paying For The Magic
Authored by: obafgkm on Tuesday, March 29 2011 @ 08:57 AM CDT
I was surprised that there was no discussion about Starwood Preferred Guest, considering two sites on property are the WDW Dolphin and the WDW Swan, which belong to the Starwood program. In March 2011 I was able to stay two nights at the Swan in a suite with my Starwood points, and paid a total of $20 plus tax (because the Swan and Dolphin both charge a $10/night resort fee no matter how the room is paid for).

I would not have been able to stay at a deluxe resort without the use of Starpoints.

(I also used Amtrak Guest Rewards points to travel from the Northeast to Orlando on Amtrak (not the Auto-Train) in a bedroom for free, but I believe Newell mentioned that program in the show).
Episode 856 - Paying For The Magic
Authored by: Boots on Thursday, March 31 2011 @ 09:32 PM CDT
Airtran has a pretty decent frequent flier program as well - it's similar to Southwest in that they count flights not miles, but it has one advantage over Southwest in that you can cash in 8 credits (8 one way flights) for a free one way ticket. Southwest makes you wait until you have flown 8 round trips, or 16 one way trips, before you can cash in rewards for a roundtrip flight. Airtran also offers you the option of cashing in flight credits for business class upgrades starting with very few credits.
Episode 856 - Paying For The Magic
Authored by: Paul on Friday, April 01 2011 @ 06:19 PM CDT
Please note that everything said about Southwest was referring to the old program, which ended on 2/28. The new Rapid Rewards program does not count flights flown, it's a point system. You get 6 points per dollar spent (on the cheapest fare - more points on the more expensive categories), and can redeem 60 points per dollar (again, for the lowest fare categories). No longer is it 16 one-way trips for a free round trip, no longer do your points expire (as long as you have activity within 2 years, ALL points stay active). No longer are any flights or seats blacked out - every seat can be purchased with your points.