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Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is the number one destination on many families’ travel wish lists, however, Disney ticket prices are expensive and can cost a family hundreds of dollars. To lower the overall trip costs, there are lots of different ways to save on hotels using points. In this article, we’ll look at different hotel options for every points budget.
1.1 Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
1.2 Hyatt Place Orlando Convention Center, Orlando
1.3 Hyatt Place Orlando Lake Buena Vista
1.4 Hyatt House Across from Universal Orlando Resort
1.5 Cards to Help You Earn Hyatt Points
2.1 Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort
2.2 Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs Area
2.3 Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – Disney Springs Area
2.4 Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
2.5 DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Disney Springs
2.6 Cards to Help You Earn Hilton Points
3.1 Walt Disney World Swan and Walt Disney World Dolphin hotels
3.2 Marriott Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
3.3 Residence Inn Orlando Convention Center
3.4 Marriott’s Harbour Lake
3.5 SpringHill Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings/Western Entrance
3.6 TownePlace Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings/Western Entrance
3.7 Sheraton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort
3.8 Cards to Help You Earn Marriott Points
4.1 Holiday Inn Club Vacations At Orange Lake Resort
4.2 Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Lake Buena Vista
4.3 Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark
4.4 Cards to Help You Earn IHG Points
5 Other Hotels You Can Book on Points
6 Final Thoughts
This list is by no means exhaustive, as there are hundreds of hotels in the Orlando area for any budget. My intent is to help you narrow down your choices and make it easier for you to decide where to stay.
If you want to save on your Disney vacation, you’ll find World of Hyatt points extremely valuable. Hyatt has a few family-friend properties, some of which are about 20 minutes drive away while others are on Disney’s doorstep.
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress – Category 3, 12,000 points
This is a great value hotel with shuttles to Disney Universal and SeaWorld with a view of Disney fireworks. There’s a club lounge, so if you have an Explorist status you can use your Club Access Awards to get access to the club lounge and enjoy free breakfast, snacks and appetizers in the evening. World of Hyatt Globalists get these perks regardless when booking standard rooms. As a category 3 hotel, it’s a great bargain.
Hyatt Place Orlando Convention Center, Orlando – Category 2, 8,000 points
This hotel offers a great value at just 8,000 points a night. Hyatt Place hotels offer free breakfast and have big rooms where families can spread out. It’s about 20 minutes away, so plan accordingly.
Hyatt Place Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Category 3, 12,000 points
This hotel is practically next door to Disney World and offers free shuttle to Disney parks. Like all Hyatt Place hotels, it offers free breakfast to World of Hyatt members. The rooms are huge and have two queen beds and a sofa bed, which is perfect for families with kids.
Hyatt House Across from Universal Orlando Resort – Category 3, 12,000 points
This hotel is closer to Universal Orlando, as the name implies, but still not too far from the Disney parks. The big rooms are perfect for families, and there are suites with a kitchenette.
Hyatt Place Across from Universal Orlando – Category 3, 12,000 points
This is another great bargain hotel from Hyatt. Breakfast is included and there’s a self-service laundry on site, so you can pack lightly.
Cards to Help You Earn Hyatt Points
Hyatt is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner; the points transfer 1:1 and the transfer is instant. There are a few cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points including the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. Each of these cards comes with some very useful bonus categories to make earning points easier.
The Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card is of course another option, though the points are restricted to Hyatt uses. The card earns 9X at Hyatt hotels, 2X on transportation, dining and airline tickets. You can also earn 2X at gyms and fitness clubs and 1X on everything else.
You also get one free night at any Category 1-4 hotel every year after your cardmember anniversary. Additionally, you’ll earn an extra free night at any Category 1-4 hotel if you spend $15,000 a year.
The annual fee is $95 — not waived the first year — is subject to Chase 5/24 rule.
There are a few reasonably priced options near Disney where you can use your Hilton Honors points and you won’t have to worry about resort fees as Hilton doesn’t add them to award stays.
If you have at least a Silver status with Hilton, you can book four nights on points and get the fifth night free. Gold or Diamond elite status is easy to get with one of the American Express co-branded Hilton credit cards. Gold and Diamond elites also get free breakfast for themselves and one additional guest. This could be another way to save a little on food costs.
Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort – standard rooms start at 40,000 points
This resort offers a free shuttle to the major theme parks, large suites for families, free breakfast, multiple pools and other amenities that make this resort perfect for families.
Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs Area – standard rooms start at 50,000 points
One of the Official Walt Disney Hotels, this Hilton offers a free shuttle to theme parks, access to Disney FastPass+ service, Disney’s Extra Magic Hours and Disney Character Breakfasts.
Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – Disney Springs Area – standard rooms start at 50,000 points
This is another Official Walt Disney Hotels and comes with all the Disney perks. The hotel has two heated outdoor pools, an arcade and can watch nightly Epcot fireworks from your balcony!
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek – standard rooms start at 40,000 points
This also an official Official Walt Disney Hotel, which means free park shuttles and other perks. The resort has a lazy river, a golf course and a beautiful spa, so there’s something for everyone in your family.
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Disney Springs – standard rooms start at 40,000 points
The DoubleTree is another great all-suites hotel and is perfect for families. It’s an only all-suites hotel inside Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney Springs Area and is one of the official Official Walt Disney Hotels.
Cards to Help You Earn Hilton Points
There are a few cards issued by American Express that can help you earn a good stash of Hilton Honors points.
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card earns 12X at Hilton hotels, 6X at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations and 3X on everything else. For business owners, the Hilton Honors American Express Business Card earns 12X at Hilton properties, 6X on select business travel purchases and 3X everywhere else.
Both of these cards come with complimentary Hilton Gold Status and each has a $95 annual fee, which is not waived the first year.
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is another great card that can help earn free nights. This card has a substantial welcome bonus after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. Its annual fee is $450, which is not waived the first year.
The card also comes with a complimentary Diamond status that gets two guests free breakfast at all Hilton brands and access to the Executive Lounge (if one is available). Another great benefit of Diamond status is access to suite upgrades. One of its greatest benefits is a free weekend night certificate.
Other benefits include:
- $250 Hilton Resort Statement Credit at participating Hilton Resorts
- Priority Pass Select membership
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- $250 Airline Fee Credit
- Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
- TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee reimbursement
The card earns 14X at Hilton properties; 7X on flights booked directly with airlines and car rentals booked directly with car rental agencies; 3X on everything else.
The welcome bonuses with these cards vary, but we’ve seen bonuses between 125,000 and 150,000 Hilton points.
One of the greatest features of Marriott Bonvoy program is the ability to book four nights and get the fifth night free. This is a great way to stretch your Marriott points.
However, with the recently introduced changes to the Marriott Bonvoy program come many challenges. Marriott will soon introduce standard, peak and off-peak pricing. Right now we don’t know when this is going to happen or how Marriott is going to define the peak period.
I would think that any time during school vacations the hotels in the Disney area will be priced at peak rates. The rates below are current rates, and if you are planning a Disney trip anyway, I would recommend booking your Marriott stay sooner rather than later.
Walt Disney World Swan and Walt Disney World Dolphin hotels – 50,000 points
The two mainstays of Marriott’s Disney properties are not as attractive as they used to be. Each hotel costs 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night and availability is tight during peak travel season.
Marriott doesn’t waive resort fees on award bookings, so in addition to 50,000 points, there’s a pretty hefty resort fee of $30 per night. In my opinion, there are much better options in the Disney area where you can spend your Marriott Bonvoy points and the cash rates for these hotels are often quite reasonable.
Marriott will be introducing off-peak and peak award rates this year. During off-peak dates, you’ll need 40,000 points while during peak dates, you’ll need 60,000 points.
Marriott Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center – 35,000 points
This is a huge, sprawling resort in a convenient location to visit Disney and Universal resorts. There’s an on the site water park, adults only pool, and a unique glass atrium showcasing different Florida attractions.
Off-Peak – 30,000 points
Peak – 40,000 points
Residence Inn Orlando Convention Center – 25,000 points
I am a big fan of Residence Inn hotels, especially for stays longer than a couple of days. You get a big suite with a kitchenette, free breakfast and evening social hour with snacks. You don’t have to have an elite status with Marriott to enjoy free hot breakfast, it’s included in the room rate.
Off-Peak – 20,000 points
Peak – 30,000 points
Marriott’s Harbour Lake – 35,000 points
This is Marriott’s Vacation Club property that’s bookable with points. The rates start at 35,000 points, and you can book a larger two bedroom/two bathroom villa with a fully equipped kitchen for 45,000 points.
Off-Peak – 30,000 points
Peak rate – 40,000 points
SpringHill Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings/Western Entrance – 25,000 points
The hotel is located a few minutes from the park and the room rate includes breakfast. You won’t get lazy rivers and luxurious pools at this budget property, but you will get a room big enough for the whole family and free breakfast. The hotel has great reviews on Tripadvisor, the guests praise it for being a family friendly property.
Off-Peak – 20,000 points
Peak – 30,000 points
TownePlace Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings/Western Entrance – 25,000 points
This is the closest Marriott property to Walt Disney World, the rooms have living areas and full kitchens. The hotel has 4.5 stars review on Tripadvisor. The guests praise it for location, value and great service.
Off-Peak – 20,000 points
Peak rate – 30,000 points
Sheraton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort – 25,000 points
This hotel is very close to the parks and offers a free park shuttle. It is located just a few blocks from the entrance to Walt Disney World Resort and features a full-service spa, two pools, and kids activities.
Off-Peak – 20,000 points
Peak – 30,000 points.
Cards to Help You Earn Marriott Points
There are a few cards issued by Chase and American express that can help you earn Marriott points.
Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card by Chase earns 6X at Marriott hotels and 2X on all other purchases. The annual fee is $95, not waived the first year. The card is subject to Chase 5/24 rule.
Another great option, not subject to the Chase 5/24 rule, is the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card. The card earns 6X points at Marriott hotels, 4X at U.S. restaurants and U.S. gas stations and wireless phone services and 2X on all other purchases.
IHG cardholders can book a three nights stay on points and get the fourth night free. So if you are considering one of the IHG properties for your Disney vacation, consider getting an IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card before you go. Usually, the welcome bonus on this card is 80,000 points, but we’ve seen it go as high as 120,000 points. The card comes with Platinum Elite Status and is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations At Orange Lake Resort – 40,000 points
The room is actually a two bedroom, two bathroom villa that sleeps eight. Talk about finding a great value hotel redemption for the whole family! The resort has multiple pools, water slides, mini-golf courses and other amenities to keep the kids occupied when you aren’t visiting the parks.
Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Lake Buena Vista – 35,000 points
Conveniently located and very close to all parks with free park shuttles. The hotel recently underwent a major makeover and features tropics-inspired outdoor sundeck, oversize heated pool plus lots of different daily activities for kids and adults.
Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark – 35,000 points
An all-Suite Holiday Inn Resort offers free breakfast and dinner for kids under 11. The hotel has a huge water park with slides and whirlpools, 3,000 square foot arcade, 4-D theater and a food court. There’s free transportation to Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld.
Cards to Help You Earn IHG Points
The standard welcome bonus for the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card has often been 80,000 IHG points. However, we’ve seen the welcome bonus reach as high as 120,000 points.
The card earns 10X at IHG hotels, 2X at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants and 1X everywhere else. The card comes with Platinum Elite Status and is subject to Chase’s 5/24 rule.
Other Hotels You Can Book on Points
If you don’t have any Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton or IHG points, don’t worry, you still have lots of options. If you have Chase Ultimate Rewards points, the Chase travel portal is a great place to start.
If you have Sapphire Preferred or Ink Preferred, your points are worth 1.25 cents each for hotels booked through the portal. If you have a Sapphire Reserve card, then your points are worth 1.5 cents each.
Here’s an example of what you can find on the portal. The price in points will depend on the hotel’s cash rate.
If you have Citi ThankYou Points and a Citi Premier credit card, you can redeem them for hotels at 1.25 cents per point in the Citi Travel Center — including at Disney properties. Just like with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, the amount of points needed is tied to the hotel’s cash rate.
If you are booking one of the chain hotels through the portal, you won’t earn hotel points or receive elite benefits. However, if you aren’t chasing status, or if you are saving a significant number of points by booking through the portal, the savings might be worth it.
If you have one of travel “eraser” cards, such as Barclaycard Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture, you can book any hotel you like, including unique properties such as Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Just pay for your stay with a travel “eraser” card and apply points to “erase” the charges.
There are a few advantages to booking hotels through Chase and Citi travel portals or with an “eraser” card. You don’t need to worry about blackout dates, redemption rates, sticking to big hotel chains, and you can stay exactly where you want.
As you can see, there are lots of options for award stays in the Disney area for any points “budget”. If you’re willing to spend more points and stay at one of the Official Walt Disney Hotels, you will get perks not available at other properties. However, all hotels offer easy access to Disney and you’re sure to have a magical time!
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Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.