Visiting Disneyland or Disney World is one of the quintessential American family trips. If you have a large family like me, considering a few days in the magical world of Disney might make your head spin and your hand tighten around your wallet. Between hotel stays, meal plans, tickets and airfare, the cost of a Disney vacation really stacks up.

Fortunately, the world of points and miles can offer a solution to at least a portion of the expense of your trip. Would you believe that you can get a family of five to Orlando, Florida, to visit Mickey and his friends with just two cards?

Follow along and we’ll put together the flights and hotel for your family’s stay near Disney World in Orlando. Completing the minimum-spending requirements on just two cards, one from each the flight and hotel sections, will produce enough points to get your entire family of five experiencing the magic of Disney.

Outlining the Plan

Most families are heading on a Disney vacation while their kids are off school. So we’ll demonstrate rates and pricing for a summer trip. If you are an off-peak traveler, these strategies will work even better.

I’m a family of five, so I understand what it’s like to try and plan a trip for the whole family. I wanted to take this challenge to show other families how they can put together a trip for everyone with just two cards.

The Card Options to Get Your Family to Orlando

British Airways Visa Signature® Card

When I started putting together this trip, I figured there was no way I could do it by signing up for just two credit cards, but I proved myself wrong. Don’t tell my wife! Because we’re only receiving two welcome bonuses to complete this trip, we’ll have to get the whole family’s flights with the miles earned with just one credit card.

The trick of getting your whole family to Orlando by applying for just one card is picking an airline that offers low fares to your destination and a card option that earns enough points to get you there. With five travelers, this is no cinch!

The British Airways Visa Signature® card comes to the rescue with its hefty welcome bonus. Wait, are we going to fly British Airways to Florida?

Not exactly. Because British Airways is a member of the Oneworld alliance, we can use British Airways Avios to book flights on American Airlines-operated flights. American Airlines flies several direct routes to Orlando.

The key with using Avios is making sure you’re booking a direct flight. You can book American Airlines reward flights through the British Airways Executive Club program for as few as 9,000 Avios each way. The catch is that each leg counts as a separate award flight. So a flight connecting in Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT), will cost 18,000 Avios total. Because we need each ticket to require less than 20,000 Avios, that won’t work.

Another trick is that the British Airways website doesn’t always show the availability of its partners, notably American Airlines. To combat this, we’re going to use another Oneworld partner Alaska Airlines to search for award space.

We recommend using Alaska’s search engine for Oneworld flights because you can select which airline’s availability you’d like to view and eliminate flights with stops. If it shows up as bookable on the Alaska Airlines site, you can book this award space on any Oneworld partner. You can complete your reservation on ba.com, but if you can’t find it, you can call the reservation number at 877-767-7970 to complete the booking.

The following direct flight from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Orlando on American Airlines shows up on the Alaska website:

Although Alaska prices this flight at 12,500 Mileage Plan miles, British Airways requires 9,000 Avios for flights under 1,151 miles.
If your home airport is between 1,151 and 2,000 miles from Orlando, then your award price will be 11,000 Avios, in which case you might be just a few thousand Avios short from booking tickets for your whole family.

American Airlines has direct flights to Orlando from the following airports:

  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Washington (DCA)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT)

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

If you happen to be above 5/24 and can’t get approved for the British Airways card, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Card is the next best card to make your trip to Disney a reality.

The Venture X has a lot of redeeming qualities including:

  • Supplemental car rental collision coverage
  • TSA Precheck once every four years
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • $300 credit for travel booked on Capital One’s travel portal
  • 2X miles on all purchases

Although the card has a high annual fee, the $300 travel credit offsets most of the fee and makes it comparable with the British Airways card. You could even use that credit to book your hotel for the trip!

Venture Miles transfer to British Airways Avios at a ratio of 1:1. When booking this trip over the phone, you want to make sure to call British Airways, confirm availability for your reward flight, then transfer your Venture Miles to your Executive Club account while you’re on the phone with the agent and complete your booking.

Where to Stay as a Family of Five in Orlando

Traveling with a family is a completely different animal than traveling solo or as a couple. There’s a limit to how much a kid can tolerate in one day, and parents are no different. At some point in any family trip, you just need some space from each other.

That is why I swear by staying at Embassy Suites where most rooms are two-room suites. Having a door in your hotel room is an overlooked feature to singles, but it’s a lifesaver for families. Whether you need to lay the little one down for a nap, separate two feuding children or set the kids in front of the television and sneak away for five minutes of peace and quiet, this small item is an immense luxury.

The Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort is situated just 6.2 miles from the Walt Disney World Resort. It’s within 7.8 miles from the Magic Kingdom Park and 2.9 miles from SeaWorld Orlando. In addition to the close proximity, the property offers complimentary shuttle service to Disney property.

This property is built with families in mind. A splash pad, tennis courts, basketball courts and an outdoor pool give your kids something to do outside of the park. Embassy Suites’ breakfast offers cooked-to-order eggs, waffles and an omelet station. You also have the opportunity for refreshments at the nightly manager’s reception.

The property adds a $24.95 resort fee per day to your stay, so “free” might be a loose usage of the word. We don’t like resort fees, but don’t worry. If you book award nights at this hotel through Hilton Honors, you won’t pay any.

You can book an award stay at the Buena Vista Resort for 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night for a standard room. Remember, the benefit to the Embassy Suites is that the standard room is a two-room suite. Many hotel programs don’t make two-room suites available for points bookings.

Let’s look at the card options to book your stay at the Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort.

Credit Cards for Your Stay in Orlando

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card earns a lot of Hilton points to help your family book their stay. The bonus is good for at least two nights, giving you plenty of time for a full weekend at Disney. As the bonus fluctuates over time, you can sometimes squeeze a third or fourth night out of it as well.

This card also earns Hilton Honors Gold status, which gives you access to Hilton’s Fifth Night Free program. If you happen to have Hilton Honors points already or you are able to earn more, you can stretch a four night reward trip into five with this benefit.

If you are looking for a longer stay and are willing to look past the title of “two-card trip” you could also grab the Hilton Honors American Express Card for some additional points. For those of you with Membership Rewards points sitting around, you can also transfer those to Hilton at a rate of 1:2.

Capital One Venture X

Here comes the Venture X again. If the Surpass Card isn’t for you, the Venture X Card could be an option. Because the Venture X gives you a $300 hotel credit for reservations booked through Capital One Travel, you can put that credit to work and redeem your Venture miles to cover the cash cost of the rest of the stay.

As long as any resort fees, room service charges or other incidentals included in your bill categorize as travel on your Venture X statement, they’re eligible for purchase eraser. You’ll also earn 5X miles if you book the stay through Capital One Travel. Over the summer, I found typical cash prices to be about $250 per night.

You could offset the cost of this three-night stay with your $300 travel credit and erase the rest of the stay with Venture Miles. Just remember, you must book your stay through the Capital One portal.

Of course, the drawback here is that the $300 hotel credit is really a refund of money you already spent on the annual fee, but if the Venture X makes sense for you long term anyway, this is a great way to use that credit.

Keep in mind that using a third-party site for your reservation prevents you from earning Hilton Honor points for your stay.

Using Points for Disney Tickets

While getting your family to Orlando for nearly nothing is a great feat, the expensive part of the Disney trip is in the park tickets. You can use points and miles to purchase park tickets by purchasing ticket packages through online travel agency sites, such as Expedia or Orbitz.

As long as the purchase codes as travel, you can erase the charge with your Venture Miles. Because park tickets are expensive, you probably won’t be able to cover flights, stays and tickets on two cards, but who says you’re limited to two?

The Value of a Two-Card Trip to Orlando

A trip to Orlando for a family of five may seem prohibitively expensive. With the high prices of park entry, taking a large chunk out of the cost of a Disney trip provides space in the budget to enjoy some extra activities while visiting the parks.

Round-trip flights on American Airlines are $288, bringing the cost of a family of five to $1,440 including fees but not including baggage costs.

We already determined that a three-night stay at the Embassy Suites Orlando Buena Vista would run us $751.34.

This trip is valued between $2,200 and $2,450, including five round-trip tickets and a three-night stay for your whole family.

You could easily find yourself not far from shaking hands with Mickey, having tea with the princesses or entering Jedi training by applying for just two cards. Your family can save over $2,000 on their trip to Disney!

Final Thoughts

I know a lot of families that have put their trip to Disney on the back burner due to the pandemic or their financial situation. Although there are a lot of things that can derail family travel plans, money doesn’t have to be one of them.

Using the strategies in this article can help you save thousands of dollars on your next family trip. Those savings can be used for extra Disney experiences, such as the Disney Genie+ or Disney’s Perfectly Princess Tea. The money also can stay in the family budget, allowing you to complete a trip that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to take.

If you want to see the results of other families who saved money on their travels to Disney, be sure to join our 10xTravel Insiders Facebook group and search for “Disney.”