Credit Cards, Hotel Cost, Travel, Travel Cost

One of the best ways to earn Hilton Honors points (which can give you free rooms at the Hilton Hotels and Resorts) is to to sign up for one of the two types of Hilton-sponsored credit cards.
 
Hilton Family
Hilton Family
American Express Hilton Surpass card
Credit card rewards with the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express
 
One Hilton-sponsored card is the American Express Hilton Surpass card.  It has a $75 annual fee.  There is usually a sign up bonus offered with the card; the bonus varies from 60,000-100,000 Honors points, which are credited to your account after you spend a certain amount within the first 3 months of card membership.
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Credit Cards, Hotel Cost, Travel, Travel Cost

One of our favorite hotel credit cards is the IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card from Chase, which is affiliated with the InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) family of hotels including Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites, and other hotel brands.  If you do a lot of paid travel with stays at IHG properties, you can really enhance your paid and free stays with this card.  The card is currently issued as a MasterCard, with a $49 annual fee (the fee for which is currently waived for the first year).… Read the rest

Credit Cards, Disney Cruise, Disney Gift Cards, Disney Parks, Flight Cost, Food Cost, Hotel Cost, Planning, Ticket Cost, Travel Cost

I had the great privilege and honor to be invited back on my favorite podcast, Rope Drop Radio, to discuss various ways to take Disney vacations for less money. 

Derek and Doug, the hosts of Rope Drop Radio, are two dads who love Disney.  Their goal is helping you navigate the Disney Parks and never missing a rope drop!  They want to share tips and tricks, travel plans, and must sees to help you have an amazing Disney trip! 

You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.Read the rest

Flight Cost, Travel Cost

Transportation is one of the first things you will want to plan when you’ve settled on Orlando as a destination.  There are two things to think about with regards to transportation: getting to Orlando from your home or original destination, and traveling around Orlando once you have arrived.… Read the rest

Disney Cruise, Flight Cost, Hotel Cost, Planning, Travel Cost

Planning | Travel | Boarding | Sea | Sea | Tortola | St. Thomas | Star Wars Day | Castaway Cay | Go Home

Our 7 Night Eastern Caribbean Star Wars Day At Sea cruise on the Disney Fantasy didn’t start out as one of our normal cruises.  As we discussed in our post about planning an off season cruise, we had originally planned to book our standard spring break cruise for 2017, but finances got in the way.  We instead picked a different destination for spring break, and in October 2015 we booked what we thought would be a standard 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Fantasy.  In January 2016, Disney announced new Star Wars Day At Sea cruises for 7 night sailings on the Disney Fantasy — and in March 2016, we received notification that our cruise had been switched to the Star Wars theme.  Interestingly, the price of the cruise almost immediately went up by 50%.  We weren’t upset that it got changed, but I probably never would have booked it for that price, even with the Star Wars addition.… Read the rest

Food Cost, Hotel Cost, Shopping, Ticket Cost, Travel Cost

When we plan a Disney World trip, we break the trip into 5 basic components.

Transportation

This is the cost to get you and your family to Disney World.  Transportation costs vary based upon the way you choose to arrive in Orlando, the distance involved, and the level of luxury you desire.  Driving from three hours away in a small family car is going to cost a lot less than driving 24 hours in a large SUV.  Flying usually costs more than driving, especially if a rental car is involved once you land.  You can, of course, skip the rental car and just use Magical Express if you are staying on Disney property!… Read the rest

Disney Cruise, Travel Cost

Disney Cruise Line just released the Summer 2018 cruise itineraries and prices.  I wanted to be able to analyze the prices across all the itineraries and sailings in order to find a good deal.  I found that I could generate the web page from Disney Cruise Line with my preferred sailing party (2 adults and 2 children) and select the times.  This generates a web page that looks like this:

I can then expand all the triangular arrows (at left of each listed cruise) to see more details about the prices, like this:

If I copy and paste the information into a text file, I can generate the following spreadsheet by running it through a program I wrote, which will generate the following spreadsheet (which I loaded into Google Sheets):

The spreadsheet allows me to break down prices on a price per day (PPD) basis, which is really what I’m after.  You can also sort it based on whichever column you want, including date, sailing, or price per day.… Read the rest

Credit Cards, Planning, Travel Cost

We have a pretty good supply of credit cards we can use to earn points.  We always try to spend in the bonus categories on the cards that make the most sense.  (Note, when mentioning the number of points earned in each category, that is for each dollar spent.)  Here are some of our main categories that we spend money in:

Disney Gift Cards – We use a Chase Ink card to buy Target Gift Cards at Staples in order to Stack onto the Target 5% off.… Read the rest

Flight Cost, Hotel Cost, Planning, Travel Cost

We eagerly awaited the release of the 2017 Spring Itineraries from Disney Cruise Line.  We’ve taken Disney cruises for our past three spring break vacations and have always enjoyed them.  We haven’t been too adventurous with the spring break cruises: they have all been 5 night cruises on the Disney Wonder, with two sea days, and port days in Cozumel, Mexico and at Disney’s private Bahamian island, Castaway Cay.… Read the rest