Universal American Express Card from GE Money Review

Perks and points at Universal theme parks

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A must-have card if you're planning a vacation to Universal Studios. You get low-rate financing for six months, plus other benefits - like express entry and priority boarding for certain rides and attractions - for no annual fee.

Who the Universal American Express Card Is For

  • People who want to earn rewards and other bonuses towards Universal Studios vacations and merchandise.

Credit Rating Required

  • Fair to excellent (660+)

About the Universal American Express Card

Pros

  • 2.99% financing for first six months.
  • Express entry and priority boarding at Universal theme parks.

Cons

  • High APRs.

Rewards

  • Two points per dollar spent on select Universal Studios theme park purchases
  • One point per dollar spent everywhere else
  • Double points on first $400 of gas and grocery purchases each year
  • Triple points on select in-park purchases for registered Universal Studios Annual Passholders

APRs

  • 19.9% or 23.9% on purchases and balance transfers, depending on credit history.
  • 2.9% for first six months.

Fees

  • No annual fee.
  • Late fee: Up to $35.
  • Balance transfer fee: 4% of balance.
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%.

Universal American Express Card Review

Like the Disney Rewards Visa Card, this card is probably as valuable for the perks you get as much as for the rewards.

First the rewards: You get two points per dollar spent on select Universal Studios theme park purchases, one point per dollar on all other purchases.

You also get two points per dollar spent on the first $400 of gas and grocery purchases per year. If you're a registered Universal Studios Annual Passholder, you earn triple points on select in-park purchases.

The points are redeemable for Universal Studios theme park tickets, tours, annual passes and vacation packages, cash, travel rewards and gift cards for retail stores and restaurants.

You need a minimum of 2,500 points in order to redeem them. Points expire after five years, one year if you fail to make a purchase within that time.

Now the perks: The card makes you eligible to receive Universal Express Plus Passes. At the Universal Orlando Resort, the passes allow you to bypass the regular lines for Twister Ride it Out and Jurassic Park River Adventure. At Universal Studios Hollywood, the passes give you special priority boarding access on Jurassic Park: The Ride. You pick up the passes at the park when you present this credit card and your Annual Passholder card.

Plus there's a low 2.99% APR for the first six months, so you can take a few months to pay for your vacation at a reasonable rate of interest. However, after that, the rates rise sharply, to 19.9% or 23.9%, depending on your credit history, so you definitely don't want to be carrying a balance after the intro period.

Recommendation

If you're planning a vacation to Universal Studios theme parks in the near future, this is the one credit card you'll need. In addition to the points you earn, you can bypass the lines on certain attractions. Since there's no annual fee, it's a no-brainer.

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