2019 marks the 30th anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios® at Walt Disney World® Resort. And, now more than ever, Disney’s Hollywood Studiosis the perfect place to step into the amazing worlds of Pixar stories like “The Incredibles,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Toy Story,” and very soon, “Cars.”
There are three retailers of which I’m aware that sell Disney gift cards at a discount. I am deliberately excluding websites such as raise.com and gift card granny as I have heard mixed reviews regarding the validity of the gift cards purchased through these sites. The retailers I am discussing are legitimate businesses which sell brand new gift cards at discounted rates as a benefit of having a membership or credit card with them.
At 5% off the value of the card, Target offers the highest discount of the three. The only requirement is that you must pay with a Target REDcard. This card comes in three varieties. The Target debit card links to your existing checking account, thus allowing you to receive 5% off purchases without accumulating credit card debt. The Target store card can be used for all of your Target purchases and Target Mastercard can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. There are exclusions to the 5% discount and some of those exclusions are gift cards, but as of right now Disney gift cards are eligible for the discount. It is worth noting; however, that Target has recently changed their policy regarding using Target gift cards to purchase Disney gift cards so I would not be surprised if they stop allowing the 5% discount as well. In addition to being the retailer with the highest discount, Target also sells e-gift cards on their website, allowing you to receive your gift card instantly via email and saving on the amount of used cards you accumulate as you pay off your vacation.
The Sam’s Club discount of 4% is almost as good as Target, but it requires a membership. Their are two options for membership. The basic membership at $45 a year is all you need to be able to purchase the discounted Disney gift cards and to be able to shop in the club as well as online. In addition to the discounts on Disney gift cards, you can purchase a variety of entertainment and dining gift cards in club and online. Some of these gift cards are discounted as much as 20% so it is more than worth the $45 a year if you enjoy dining out. If not, you can take advantage of the bulk discounts and instant savings on grocery items and other essentials. The Plus membership is $100 a year and has all the benefits of the basic plus a few others. The most noteworthy of these benefits are free shipping and the ability to earn cash back. The cash back is earned at a rate of $10 for every $500 you spend. This works out to 2% cash back but you only earn in increments of $10. That means if you spend $999, you still only get $10 cash back. There are several exclusions to the cash back benefit and one of those exclusions is gift cards. So if you are purchasing the membership only to buy gift cards, then choose the basic membership. I chose the Plus because I didn’t read the fine print until it was too late and, despite buying quite a few groceries and a $600 sofa, I only earned $30 in cash back by the end of the year. However, the free shipping option allows you to purchase your Disney gift cards online where they are discounted approximately 4.67% instead of 4% so it may be worth it if you are paying off an expensive trip.
Sam’s Club is one of few retailers that still allow you to purchase Disney gift cards with their store gift cards (you can use Walmart or Sam’s Club gift cards). This is the reason most of my gift cards came from Sam’s club because I use reward apps and websites which pay out in the form of Walmart gift cards and then use those to buy my Disney gift cards.
There is no BJ’s Warehouse in my area so I have not tried this option, but a little online research shows that they offer $100 Disney gift cards for $95.99. It was unclear whether or not I needed a membership to actually make the purchase, but I found that they offer an online-only membership for $10 a year. This would make BJ’s a better deal than Sam’s Club; however, to my knowledge, there are no reward programs which provide BJ’s gift cards nor do I know if a Disney gift could be purchased with a BJ’s gift card as most stores do not allow this.
If you have no interest in earning free Walmart gift cards through rewards apps, then Target is currently the best place to buy discounted Disney cards, assuming you qualify for a REDcard. If you don’t qualify or if Target ever stops offering 5% off on Disney gift cards, then BJ’s is the next best deal. However, if you want to earn free gift cards, then you are better off signing up for a Sam’s club membership and following my blog for tips on how to earn free gift cards. My personal strategy is to use Sam’s Club for my free gift cards and then Target if I need to purchase some to finish paying off my vacation.
There are several pros and only a few cons to using Disney gift cards to pay for your Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line vacation.
The pros are as follows:
- It is more secure as there is no need to give your credit number to make a payment. A valid credit card will still be required at check-in and to make dining reservations, but it is possible to book and pay off the entire vacation package without a credit card.
- If you put all of your vacation savings onto Disney gift cards, there will be no temptation to use the money for other purposes.
- It’s convenient. Disney gift cards can be bought online as well as at several popular shopping locations including Wal-mart, Target, and Best Buy.
- Gift cards can be purchased with credit cards, cash, or, at some retailers, with other gift cards, thus allowing the use of multiple tenders that may not otherwise be available.
- You may be able to get free gift cards through reward programs, such as Disney Movie Rewards and Best Western Rewards.
- Last, but not least, you can buy Disney gift cards at a discount from Target, Sam’s club, and BJ’s.
*Follow this blog for future posts in which I will give more details on obtaining discounted and free gift cards*
The only cons are:
- If you have to cancel your vacation for any reason, whatever refund you are entitled to will be refunded to the original payment type. This is not an issue if you plan to rebook for another time, but it could be a problem if you are cancelling for financial reasons and need the money for another purpose.
- It’s a bit more time-consuming than making a payment with a credit card. The gift cards come in increments of $25, $50, and $100. You can use disneygiftcard.com to combine them onto one card up to $1000 to make the payment process smoother, but it still takes more time than just paying with a credit card.
- If you purchase physical gift cards rather than e-gift cards, you may find yourself with a lot of empty gift cards by the time your trip is paid off. This isn’t a huge con but it just seems wasteful.