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Old 11-28-2011, 09:24 AM   #31
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Well hey, I get lots of bonus items myself via credit card reward incentives. Sometimes I don't even use them in the biggest bang for your buck fashion, I instead select something that we really want.

I'm already running nearly every expense I can through credit cards and between my husband's business travel and my kid's college tuition we've made out like bandits this past year.

Enjoy your trip.
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Old 11-28-2011, 11:24 PM   #32
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I've been around a long time as well, and we also use AMEX points for stays at WDW, though in our case we take it a step further and always use them to stay at Xmas. WDW's own rates are sky high at Xmas and we find value resorts to be too noisy for our tastes in any case, so the SPG no-blackout policy suits us very well.

(And yes, we also like to use the Cash+points strategy wherever possible for maximum bang for the buck, but I haven't seen one of those at S/D for years now. They are much more common for major cities; we do them quite often in DC, NYC and Chicago.)

When we are gunning for points we channel everything through the Amex, including utility and fuel payments and all of our urban travel. I do have a Chase Disney Visa for the discount opportunities, but I don't consider their point system to be worth bothering with for the most part. We'll use it to pay down an onsite hotel bill, but those points are a major PITA to redeem, IME, so I don't make an effort to collect them. SPG points are much easier to accumulate AND to redeem, IME.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:52 AM   #33
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I don't understand the skepticism showing up in this thread. We put everything possible on our Amex, and DH uses it for his reimbursable expenses for work. I think the only recurring bills that don't accept amex are the water bill and the mortgage. We even make our charitable donations on the Amex where possible (more and more organizations take cards, including our church). We get bonus reward points for gas and groceries and travel expenses. We kept saving up our points and now we are going on a vacation to Europe just on points (well, flights and hotels are on points, I'm sure I'll be able to spend plenty of additional cash). Took a while to save up that much, but it did happen.
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Old 11-30-2011, 09:54 AM   #34
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This is great advice. Thank you.
2003 - CR
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Old 11-30-2011, 10:33 AM   #35
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I think its a great tip. I've been thinking about getting one myself. I know right now they give you 10000 points as a sign up bonus and theres no annual fee for the 1st year. If I don't want to use the Starpoints at Disney Starwood has hotels all over the world and as someone else mentioned you can use them for airfare. I think it's pretty smart to use any kind of rewards credit card to pay for everyday expenses and then pay it off but still benefit from getting the points or rewards etc
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Old 11-30-2011, 10:57 AM   #36
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I've had the Starwood Amex for years. I've had many wonderful vacations getting Dolphin/Swan rooms for points. I've also used Starwood Points all over the Country.

My dd really loved it when I had night in Manhatten for my dd's 13 yr. birthday with a few friends overnight it was great. Also if I didn't have enough points in Orlando I'd go to Safari for 3000 points a night. I find it flexible.
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Old 11-30-2011, 12:33 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by marie1203 View Post
Right now we have over $600 dollars to use in our next trip, and we used all our points in March.
Wow, you've charged $60,000 on your Disney Visa in 8 months?
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Old 11-30-2011, 02:13 PM   #38
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The AMX Plat points are great. We run everything we can through it and have to pay it off every month. We also are enrolled in Hilton Honors so you can double dip, airline points and hotel points. I think we have about 600,000 HH points and 200,000 Delta mile each.
We also look at the price of a flight/room to see if it's cheaper to pay or use points to get the best bang for our buck.
For example, Choice Privilege points would need 30,000 pts for a one night stay that costs only $87 or you can get a one day/ any day car rental from Hertz for 7,500 points that would cost you $60 a day. I go with the car rental
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:13 PM   #39
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I normally wouldn't read all the way to page 3 on a post like this since I'm familiar with the cc bonus game. However, I was intrigued by some posters hostility to the OP. Glad to see some others have come to support the original post. There may be people on here - especially new folks - that don't realize there's another on-site option much less a way to stay there for points. While it's not a cc I'm going to get anytime too soon, I appreciate the OP's willingness to share his/her story and possibly help others.

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Old 11-30-2011, 05:07 PM   #40
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I like using my Disney VISA. I know, I know, there are other cards that are a better deal, but having points to use exclusively at Disney guarantees that DH can't argue against another trip; it's really the only way to use the points! BEsides, there's no annual fee, which is also nice. Every, every, everything goes on the VISA and is paid at the end of the month. I rack up about $500 worth of points a year; fortunately, we frequently are able to earn 2X, 3X, or 5X points. $1000 "free" Disney dollars makes a huge dent in the cost of a value resort room and 7 day base tickets for two adults (especially if we go during free dining and use DME!)... although it's usually DD and me traveling; DH (as you might have guessed) has a limited tolerance for trips to Disney!
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:09 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Marionnette View Post
Well, if that was your point...

I could use my Disney Visa, get 1 point for every dollar spent and use it to pay for a discounted room at a value resort. I would get free transportation from the airport and access to EMH.

And it would cost me a lot less than 10K points per night.

Your strategy is nothing new.
Disney Visa only gives you 1%. You get $1.00 for every $100 spent.

Originally Posted by kaytieeldr View Post
And the reminder is appreciated. You shouldnt be put upon simply because you don't post much, or because the charge card you use to earn the free room nights is unfamiliar to one or more posters, or because your typical expenditures on necessities are higher than what some posters consider reasonable.
I thought the same thing.

I do use the Disney Visa. I know it doesn't give great rewards, but I put just about everything on it & then pay it off at the end of the month. These charges do add up. I have a few hundred dollars each year to spend on one of our trips. We usually "piddle" it away at CS meals, snacks & things like that.

I also have the SW Visa that I use for my business. We get numerous free flights a year that way.

Originally Posted by LoveBWVVBR View Post
This intrigues me! I always pay contractors by check. Is that considered paying cash? If so, what is your strategy for getting the cash discount? Do you just ask them if they give a discount for paying cash? I just assumed that everyone wrote out a check to the AC people, the roofing people, etc. I mean, how to you pay a contractor with a credit card?
Don't hold me to this, but it's usually because the contractor won't be reporting the income that they will accept the cash. Don't flame me, it may not be all contractors everywhere, but for the ones that I know, this is the case.
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Old 11-30-2011, 10:54 PM   #42
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Regardless of all the hostility, the best point on here that MANY disboard members may not know is that S/D ARE Starwood properties. I have known this for years, but I am sure there are a ton of members that do not even realize this.
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:12 AM   #43
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I actually opened a Starwood AMEX just for the express purpose of using it to get stays at the Swan/Dolphin. I got a sizeable bonus for signing up at the time. But then the free dining promo came up and so I'm probably staying at a mod instead, and now have all these Starwood points for some future use.

I had a Disney Visa, and honestly got tired of the 1% reward. I know lots of people like it, it's simple, and every place takes Visa. But if I'm going to play the credit card rewards game, I'm going to get the most out of it I can.

My current go-to card is the AMEX Blue Cash Preferred. Grocery stores 6%. Gas and Dept. stores 3%. Everywhere else 1%.

And at my grocery store they sell gift cards. And that's the key. It shows as a grocery purchase. Plus sometimes those gift card purchases get you an extra fuel discount, and getting $1 off a gallon is pretty sweet. Of course that gets paid by the Kroger gift card I bought at the Kroger store.

It does make my bookkeeping complicated, but I can deal (not sure about DH though).
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:51 AM   #44
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Thank you everybody for the feedback, it was certainly a lively discussion.
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:27 AM   #45
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Thanks for the post OP! I enjoy the Swan very much also.

At the moment I am using the Royal Caribbean card (also 1 point per $1) for everything. I am allowed to use it monthly to pay DS college tuition/room/board and I think I will have enough points for a free cruise in 2013!

PSA (for anyone just starting out) any cards/points will only work for you if you are paying them off each month. If you have interest on the loan then you lose any financial advantage you gain on the points.
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