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Editor’s note: This is a alternating post, consistently adapted with new advice and offers.
Any first-timer planning a vacation to above U.S. affair parks like Universal or Disney is in for sticker shock. Alike in the time of coronavirus, prices accept remained steady. Between esplanade tickets, themed auberge rooms, skip-the-line passes and souvenirs, the costs add up quickly. In the chase for savings, families will acquisition it easier appropriate now to use credibility to save money on trips to Universal Orlando than Walt Disney World.
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The Chase Ultimate Rewards affairs can be a jack-of-all-trades in accoutrement the costs of a Universal Orlando vacation. Let’s accede your lodging.
Universal Orlando Resort has three Premier-class hotels: Loews Royal Pacific Resort, The Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. Reservations at anniversary of these hotels accommodate Express Passes, Universal Orlando’s cut-the-line canyon that are admired at up to $179 per person, per day. For a ancestors of four, Express Passes can calmly beat $500 in costs daily, so it’s best to book hotels that advise the passes if you appetite them. (If you’re visiting during a active time of year, you may allegation the canyon to abstain curve and see and do more.)
The lower tiers of Universal Orlando hotels don’t accommodate Express Passes but do action aboriginal admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. That’s abundant if anyone in your ancestors has their affection set on aggravating Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, a roller coaster with a awfully continued delay (and no Express Canyon line). Some of the Universal auberge options that don’t accommodate Express Passes additionally can be absolutely family-friendly. For example, the Aventura Auberge has ancestors rooms.
Related: TPG’s complete adviser to Universal Orlando
All Universal Orlando hotels are accessible for booking through the Chase Ultimate Rewards biking portal. The amount of your Chase credibility will alter based on the agenda you hold. You’ll get the accomplished amount if you accept the Chase Sapphire Reserve®: your credibility are again anniversary 1.5 cents anniversary against booking travel.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Agenda and Chase Ink Business Preferred® Acclaim Agenda both action hardly beneath (1.25 cents) in amount per Ultimate Rewards point adored for travel, while the Chase Freedom® agenda will accommodate you with a amount of aloof 1 cent per point. However, if you accept the Sapphire Reserve, you can alteration the credibility you accept becoming on your added Chase Ultimate Rewards cards, like the Freedom, to Sapphire Reserve and again redeem at 1.5 cents each.
The advice for the Ink Business Preferred agenda and Chase Freedom has been calm apart by The Credibility Guy. The agenda capacity on this folio accept not been advised or provided by the agenda issuer.
One baby admonition aback booking through the Ultimate Rewards biking portal: The “price” in credibility that you see displayed in the chase after-effects doesn’t accommodate taxes, so it is acceptable chaste a bit. Credibility prices and banknote prices alter by date; on a analysis date in mid-December, the Universal Orlando hotels ranged from 8,000 to 20,000 Ultimate Rewards credibility per night.
The Chase Ultimate Rewards aperture offers a array of Universal Orlando esplanade tickets for redemption. (It additionally sometimes sells Disney tickets — but not always.) Ultimate Rewards will allegation a $10 accessibility fee that can be paid in points. The taxes on the Ultimate Rewards aperture are beneath than if you bought your tickets through Universal Orlando’s website, so that helps. The admission awash by the Chase portal, on a sample one-day admission for aiguille canicule in April, was $5 to $8 added than aback purchased anon from Universal.
Like Disney World, Universal Orlando accuse altered prices depending on the day you appetite to visit. It’s anniversary attractive at the admission agenda afore you book to see if you can ambition cheaper dates. Alike alive from a Saturday to Friday or Sunday in April would save you $10 per admission on some weekends.
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At the aforementioned time, Universal Orlando can sometimes action admission deals that may or may not be accessible in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. For example, there’s currently a accord area you get two canicule chargeless aback you buy a two-day admission that gives you admission to all three parks. Appropriate now, that accord is in the Chase portal, but that isn’t consistently the case.
Finally, accede a Universal anniversary canyon if you’re visiting during a aiguille time. Our ancestors of four begin we could save money purchasing anniversary passes instead of affairs two-day esplanade tickets with Express Passes. We sacrificed the all-day Express Canyon advantage for one that starts at 4 p.m. every day and concluded up with a year’s anniversary of Hogwarts for the amount of two (times four) canicule of tickets.
Related: Is a Universal Studios anniversary canyon anniversary it?
Related: Best acclaim cards for Disney and Universal vacations
Just as you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards credibility at a fixed-value to book an official Universal Orlando auberge room, you can use your Citi ThankYou credibility to do the aforementioned via the ThankYou biking site. Those with a Citi Premier℠ Agenda or Citi Prestige® Agenda can redeem credibility at a anchored 1 cent per point amount against travel.
The advice for the Citi Premier Agenda and Citi Prestige Agenda has been calm apart by The Credibility Guy. The agenda capacity on this folio accept not been advised or provided by the agenda issuer.
Related: How to get the best out of one day at Universal Studios
Additionally, Prestige cardholders can book a three-night break and again use the card’s fourth-night-free anniversary that is accessible for any auberge appointed through the ThankYou aperture application the agenda (using points, banknote or a admixture of the two). (Learn how to redeem Citi ThankYou credibility for best amount here.)
However, aback it comes to affair esplanade tickets, application ThankYou credibility isn’t as acceptable a accord as application Chase points, aback activities banknote out at aloof 1 cent per point, alike with the Prestige or Premier cards.
There are several alternation hotels amid abreast Universal Orlando Resort, which gives you lots of opportunities to use those auberge points. During our visits aftermost year, I watched a Hyatt House acceleration out of the arena and it is now accessible for business. Hyatt House is an accomplished best for families.
Many apartment affection a kitchen and abstracted bedrooms. Hyatt is a 1:1 alteration accomplice of Ultimate Rewards, so it’s accessible to use your credibility for a chargeless stay. You can additionally use credibility from the World of Hyatt Acclaim Card, and alike the anniversary Category 1–4 accolade provided by that card, to book the Hyatt House Across From Universal Orlando Resort or Hyatt Place Across From Universal Orlando Resort. Both are Category 3 backdrop with nightly redemptions that alpha at 12,000 Hyatt credibility per night.
Related: How to accept the appropriate auberge for your Universal Orlando vacation
This Hyatt House is a Universal Accomplice property, which agency you’ll get assertive discounts in the parks and at CityWalk, Universal’s dining, arcade and ball venue. You can airing from the auberge to the parks or adore chargeless appointed shuttle service. Combine this with a admission accord through the Chase Ultimate Rewards aperture and you could go from spending bags of dollars on a Harry Potter-themed vacation to spending banknote on your abracadabra baton and Butterbeer.
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Related: TPG’s adviser to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando
If you don’t accept a lot of credibility or afar accessible at the moment, there are still agency to save on a Universal Orlando vacation. Look for discounted Universal Orlando tickets on Undercover Tourist. Alike aback there’s a amount admission on tickets at the parks, Undercover Tourist will usually accept anniversary at the earlier prices for a abbreviate time. Accomplish abiding to pay with your Chase Sapphire Reserve to acquire 3 credibility per dollar on the biking allegation via Undercover Tourist. However, if you acquirement tickets by themselves anon from Universal, they will acceptable cipher as “entertainment” on your acclaim agenda statement. This makes earning 2 credibility per dollar via the Citi Premier Agenda a appealing acceptable choice.
Related: The best acclaim cards for ball spending
As a ancillary note, not all abatement admission sites are created equal. We assurance Undercover Tourist based on acquaintance and its solid reputation. But affected affair esplanade tickets are a absolute thing and will bite you if you don’t use accepted sense. If a accord seems too acceptable to be true, it apparently is.
American Express is the official acclaim agenda of Universal Orlando. That agency you’re acceptable for a scattering of benefits, including 10% off assertive dining affairs and 10% off commodity aback you absorb $75 or more. There’s alike an American Express lounge in Universal Studios affair park. To admission that in-park lounge, you allegation accept purchased a multi-day esplanade admission or anniversary canyon with an American Express agenda anon from Universal Orlando.
From time to time you’ll additionally acquisition appropriate targeted Amex Offers that absorb Universal — like this accomplished $100 abatement aback spending $500 on a booking anon with Universal Orlando. Check your anniversary generally to see what deals you’re offered.
Speaking of American Express, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, one of the three hotels that advise Express Passes, is bookable via the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts program, accessible to those with The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Aback booking a break via FHR, not abandoned do you get Express Passes but you additionally get adulatory breakfast for two daily, aboriginal check-in, backward checkout and a $100 aliment and cooler acclaim per stay. There is generally a two-night minimum.
Related: Inside a $3,000 Universal Studios VIP tour
Finally, the anniversary Circadian Getaways auction is addition way to save on Universal Orlando. It comes up already a year, usually about the alpha of May. In 2019 you could acquirement a affidavit for two nights at baddest Loews hotels, including Loews Royal Pacific, including Express Passes, for a absolute of $325. There are abstruse blackout dates with these deals, but if you accept date flexibility, spending $325 to break abutting to the Universal parks for two canicule and get Express Passes for the accomplished ancestors is an angry deal. The 2020 adaptation of Circadian Getaways has been adjourned to a approaching date in the fall.
Last, but far from least, fixed-value credibility from acclaim cards such as the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Acclaim Agenda and Barclaycard Arrival Additional World Elite Mastercard (currently bankrupt to new applicants) can accomplish it actual accessible to book a auberge or alike an absolute Universal Orlando vacation amalgamation and again use credibility on the card(s) to pay off some or all of the charge. That actuality said, we’re additionally a fan of appointment those Venture and Spark rewards to airlines and hotels.
Related: 5 agency Universal Studios is bigger than Disney
Believe it or not, a Universal Orlando vacation can amount a ancestors added than Disney World if you’re not careful. However, blockage at baddest hotels at Universal offers the befalling to cut the band on abounding rides and that’s a huge plus, abnormally if you can advantage credibility or discounts to break there. Beyond that, aloof accepting the appropriate acclaim agenda in your wallet can accomplish a aberration aback it comes to discounts and maximizing credibility for your abutting vacation. With anniversary algid Butterbeer ambience you aback about $7, you allegation all the advice you can get.
Featured angel address of Summer Hull/The Credibility Guy.
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SPONSORED: With states reopening, adequate a meal from a restaurant no best aloof agency curbside pickup.
And aback you do absorb on dining, you should use a acclaim agenda that will aerate your rewards and potentially alike account appropriate discounts. Thanks to acting agenda bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may alike be able to account a meal at your admired restaurant for free.
These are the best acclaim cards for dining out, demography out, and acclimation in to aerate every meal purchase.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions bidding actuality are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, acclaim agenda issuer, airlines or auberge chain, and accept not been reviewed, accustomed or contrarily accustomed by any of these entities.
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