I’ve long stated that I find using points to book Disney World vacations can be a good value, since you can’t get huge discounts off of published Disney prices. I like to book my Disney World tickets with Chase points and bank points can be great for booking Disney hotels. One potential discount source I hadn’t explored yet is using the Citi Prestige 4th night free at Disney World.
One of my Disney tinkering buddies, Robert Dwyer over at Milenomics, had a great post on his experience using the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit at Disney a year and half ago. (I’d highly recommend reading his most recent, very informative Disney hotel booking experience.) Things have changed since then, including the addition of being able to book online. I poked around with Citi for a couple of hours doing research from something else and thought I’d share what I’ve learned.
The Citi Prestige unfortunately doesn’t have a sign up bonus as of this writing, but those of you with the card can save almost 25% on your Disney World hotel stays of four nights fairly easily.
You can use the Citi Prestige 4th night free at Disney World using cash, points, or both, but prices can vary
One thing to understand when comparing prices is Citi has two different divisions at play that can both apply the 4th night free benefit to your stay. The first is the Citi Concierge, who basically act as a travel agent. When you use the Citi concierge you can book with cash only. The benefit, however, is the Citi Concierge can match Disney prices and apply discounts that you may find online.
If you want to book with points or cash and points, you will be using Citi’s Connexion “travel agents”. I use that term loosely because as far as I can tell they just search the Citi Thank You website the same way you can. A rep confirmed with me that she cannot match Disney’s prices or apply discounts. Connexion negotiates a rate with Disney, which is discounted from their standard rack rate but generally different (and more expensive) than some of Disney’s public discounted rates.
What that means is, you should compare prices you see online at Citi’s Thank You portal with Disney’s website. If the price is close enough or if you want to use points, use the convenience of booking online. This also gives the added benefit of getting your savings instantly. If you want to stack discounts or want the lowest cash rate because you are using cash ONLY, find the lowest rate on Disney, and call Citi Concierge to get the lowest rate. Do note that you need to pay in full at first (at checkout) and will receive the 4th night free as a statement credit in one or two business cycles.
Also, remember if you have your Citi Thank You Premier linked to your Prestige, you can use points at a rate of 1.25 cents per point, otherwise you only get 1 cent per point.
Take a look at the price comparison below:
The difference in price between Disney and Citi’s online portal
The lowest price I found on the Disney website was $978.77. Citi Concierge matched this price on the phone when paying with CASH ONLY. However, if you do the math on Citi’s online (4th night free) price, the total would have been $1056.95 before the 4th night free discount. The 4th night free discount makes it cheaper than Disney, but Citi’s online portal isn’t matching Disney’s lowest rate.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s go through the simple steps to book with cash only or with points.
Booking Disney hotels with the Citi Prestige 4th night free, cash only
1. Call 1-561-922-0158
2. Press “2” to get to the concierge
3. Tell the concierge you’d like to use your 4th night free benefit to book a hotel stay
They know the drill.
4. Look up what discounts and prices are available are online before you call
This will save you a lot of time. Before I call I look at the Disney World hotel site and check for the biggest discounts. Note what the name of the discount is (like “Enchanted Room offer”) and prepare to feed that to your agent. I’d strongly suggest knowing and writing down what hotel, room type, and discount you want before calling.
5. Feed the hotel, room type, and discount to your agent
I think they actually use the Disney website to search as well but it’s helpful to direct them. I tried a couple searches and the agent pulled up exactly what I found online. People I trust say that like Chase agents, they have been able to apply discounts via Citi as well. (I haven’t done this myself yet, though. Feel free to leave data points in the comments).
6. Pay for your stay with your Citi Prestige card
That’s what the terms and conditions say, but, I’ve heard that sometimes it doesn’t quite work that way in practice. I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable trying anything though. Probably.
7. Your 4th night free reimbursement should come within 1 or 2 billing cycles
Booking Disney hotels with the Citi Prestige 4th night free, points or cash and points
Honestly, since you can’t apply discounts, if you plan on using points or cash and points you might as well just book online. Log in through Citi’s website, go to rewards, and search for your hotel. One trick here is specify “Disney” in the hotel name/search bar to cut down your options to mostly Disney properties.
The 4th night free rate will show automatically, telling you how much you saved and your average rate per night. Once you go through booking you can always change the ratio of points/cash you’re using.
Like I said above, I’ve found in general the rates online (which would be the same if you called the back of your card and asked to use Thank You rewards) to be a tad higher than the lowest you can get at Disney. Of course, points can be better than cash, so weigh your options. Since I don’t have a Thank You Premier anymore I generally avoid doing this.
The best benefit of booking online (or through a Thank You agent) is you get the discount automatically built in to your rate, so you never have to worry about waiting for the reimbursement. Bear that in mind if you have cash flow concerns.
Overall, I appreciate the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit giving me options at Disney. Booking with Chase points still reigns supreme in my opinion, though. If I could combine Disney and other discounts while paying with points this would be VERY good, instead, I just think of it as something nice to have. Still, any money saved at Disney works for me. Let me know what works for you in the comments!
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Debra Baca says
So we did this the last time we stayed at WDW in 2016, only we doubled our value because we did a split stay and were able to collect two 4th nights free in one trip! The reason was because we traveled with my mom and brothers for the first part of the trip and stayed in an Art of Animation family suite. My husband joined us halfway through, adding a 7th person and the need for more space and privacy, so we switched over to AKL-Kidani in a two bedroom suite. Boom! $1200 in savings, $400 for AoA, and $800 for AKL.
We were even able to apply the fall discount when it became available, I switched resorts from OKW when AKL went on sale, and I handled most of the details through email. I’m not sure if Disney’s rules have changed, but we only had to pay for the first night up front, not the whole stay, on a room only reservation.
We used this feature extensively during the past year with DL APs, figuring 4 nights was a perfectly long trip each visit. I don’t like to eat up my points on hotel stays, generally, so this is a great alternative!
Very nice. Four nights is actually a good length, so with multiple trips (or stays) the savings definitely adds up. How did you like the AoA family suite?
Debra Baca says
We loved it! Maybe not so much the bus rides to and from since there are so many people also standing in that line, especially at night. The room was perfect, everyone marvelled at the Finding Nemo theme. Next time, my great nephew and his family will be with us, so we’ll have to try the Cars suites for him.
This article is a little confusing. It seems that you’re missing the point of the Prestige 4th night free and that you actually have to spend real money to get the real value from it. The online option is worthless for the most part. I tried using it recently to tie 4 nights onto a longer trip to help off set some of the cost with points. The reservation never showed up on My Disney Experience. I finally called Connexion and they told me that Disney wouldn’t be able to verify my reservation until 24 hrs before check in! unless you’re somehow swimming in UR points the Prestige 4th night free can be the most useful hack at Disney, especially if you want to go somewhat big. We’re staying 12 nights in the middle of June. Four at the French Quarter, 4 at Animal Kingdom and 4 at the Yacht Club. We received the promotional discounts and saved almost 1K with the 3 free nights. You also get 3x on every night including the nights you get reimbursed for.
Def agree, online option doesn’t do much for me, but maybe it’s good for some people. Doing stays in multiples of 4 is definitely the way to go. Did you ever figure out how to link to MDE earlier than 24 hours out?
No I just cancelled. Too bad because there was the $50 promotion if you recall. Actually the worst part is that I had reserved Coronado Springs and when I went to re book with concierge there weren’t rooms available there which is why we ended up at the French Quarter ( which i’m perfectly happy with btw). My wife really wanted those newly renovated rooms though.