Today’s Tuesday Travel Tip: Get a 5% Disney Gift Card discount at Target. This could save you a few hundred dollars on your next Disney trip.

Target RedCard and Disney Gift Card

 Erin Benge first shared this tip in an interview she did with me on Affording Disney: Expert Tips for Disney Savings. I took her advice and saved me almost $300 on our upcoming vacation. I’m sure I’ll come up with something to do with the extra cash! Erin’s expert tip: Buy Disney gift cards using your Target RedCard. You’ll get an instant 5% discount off the face value of the gift cards. That means if you buy $1000 in Disney gift cards, you’ll only pay $950. You’ve instantly saved $50 that you can put toward your travel expenses. I did some research and found a lot of conflicting information about this, so I decided I needed to try it out for myself and report back to you.

5 Tips for Using the RedCard to Get a 5% Disney Gift Card Discount at Target

  • You can buy Disney gift cards and get the 5% Target RedCard discount at the register.
  • There is a limit to how much you can buy at any one time, and no one can really tell you what your limit is. I was able to buy between $1000 – $1200 at a time, but your mileage may vary. I suggest starting early and buying $250-$500 in a single transaction, then increasing the amount each time.
  • You will have to wait until one transaction clears the RedCard system (generally 1-2 business days after the transaction clears your bank) before you can make another large RedCard purchase. In my experience, this process took about a week. 
  • If you try to make a purchase with your RedCard and the system rejects it, pay with your regular credit or debit card, then call customer service. They can credit your bank account with the 5% discount.
  • Expect to buy a lot of gift cards. Most Target stores only carry Disney gift cards in $25 and $50 increments. This is what my final stack of gift cards looked like:
A Lot of Disney Gift Cards

That’s almost 120 Disney gift cards!

#1 Tip for Using the Target RedCard to Save on Your Disney Vacation:

Start buying gift cards early! You have to pay off your Disney vacation within 45 days of arrival, and it takes about a week for each transaction to clear. You probably won’t be able to buy enough gift cards in one transaction to pay for your vacation all at once. Your local Target store probably doesn’t have that many Disney gift cards in stock, and you’ll hit your daily spending limit.

Lots of Disney Gift Cards

If your vacation total is $6000, plan to start buying Disney gift cards about 8-10 weeks before your balance is due. This will give you a little extra time in case Target doesn’t have as many gift cards in stock as you need, or if your daily purchase limit is lower than you’d like and you need to break it up into smaller purchases.

A Note about Target RedCard Security

While Target has assured consumers that their recent security breach has been fixed, there is still the chance that there could be residual security concerns. I spoke with a security expert recently to ask whether I could in good conscience still recommend that my readers shop at Target using the RedCard (or any other credit or debit card!). Here are his tips:

  • Watch your account carefully. If you have the Target RedCard credit card, monitor your account online for any fraudulent purchases and report them immediately. If you have the RedCard debit card, watch your bank account. The RedCard debit card works just like writing a paper check, so you will not know if a fraudulent purchase has been made until it hits your bank. However, many banks are on high alert for out-of-the-ordinary purchases from Target and your bank may confirm with you before clearing the purchase. (Note – I got a call from my bank because of several thousand dollar purchases at Target.)
  • If you used your Target RedCard after Thanksgiving, consider reporting it stolen and ordering a new card. Unfortunately, you would not know if your card number has been stolen and sold until it is used, which may not happen right away.
  • Consider opening a second checking account and linking your Target RedCard to it instead of your primary account. Deposit only the amount you need to cover your Target RedCard purchases. This way, even if your RedCard is compromised, your primary checking account will not be touched.

The Bottom Line

Disney Gift Card

Paying for your vacation using Disney gift cards purchased with the Target RedCard can save you several hundred dollars off the total cost of your vacation package. You’ll need to plan ahead and expect to spend some time scraping the silver security coating off a hundred or more gift cards! I will use my Target RedCard to buy Disney gift cards again, however, given the recent security breach at Target, I will also take precautions to protect myself. Thanks for joining me for Travel Tip Tuesday! Have you used your Target RedCard to buy Disney gift cards? Will you do it again, or has the recent security breach put Target squarely on your “Do Not Shop” list?