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I’ve written extensively about the Citi Prestige® Card, a card that comes with a lot of perks, including the following:
- A $250 annual airline credit
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
- A great points earnings structure
- No foreign transaction fees
However, one perk I’ve overlooked until now is the complimentary fourth night free benefit at hotels, which the Citi Prestige® Card also offers. When I first read about the benefit I assumed it was a gimmick, as many cards have hotel benefits and “free night” perks associated with them.
But the more I study this benefit, the more I realize that this might just be the most valuable perk of the card.
Citi Prestige® Card Fourth Night Free Benefit Basics
Here are the basic details of the fourth night free offer:
- To take advantage of this benefit you have to call a Citi Prestige Concierge, who can help you with making your reservation (your booking will ultimately be made by Carlson Wagonlit Travel)
- When you make your booking, the fourth night of your stay will be free (as I’ll explain below, this is potentially very different than getting 25% off the stay)
- The cost of the stay will be equal to or less than the best flexible rate available directly with the hotel
- You’ll earn full points and stay credits for these stays — this is like booking with a travel agent directly and not like booking with a discount agency or consolidator
- You’ll be charged for the entire stay at check-out, and then will receive a statement credit for the cost of the fourth night of the stay
- You can use this benefit as often as you’d like, though it’s limited to the primary card member
Citi Prestige® Card Fourth Night Free Benefit: The Good
There are a few things which make this benefit especially awesome.
First of all, the fourth night of your stay is refunded, as opposed to the average nightly rate for one night. This is an important distinction, and can be hugely beneficial in markets where the nightly rate is highly dependent upon the day of the week.
While this is an extreme example, take a look at the rate I pulled up for the Delano Las Vegas for a couple of weeks from now. The nightly rate for the first three nights is $249, while the nightly rate for the fourth night is $899. That means the fourth night is more expensive than the first three nights combined, and that’s what would be refunded. That’s an amazing perk.
As I said above, you also earn full points and stay credits with your preferred loyalty program for stays booked using the fourth night free benefit. Also, keep in mind that since the cost of the fourth night is refunded to your credit card as a statement credit, you’ll still earn full points and stay credits for all four nights.
In other words, if your fourth night was somehow refunded at check-out, you’d probably otherwise only get stay credits for the first three nights. And you otherwise certainly wouldn’t earn points with your hotel loyalty program for the refunded fourth night.
Lastly, the fourth night free this applies even at luxury and non-chain hotels. If you’re a luxury hotel junkie, this is hugely valuable. This is an opportunity to get the fourth night free at all properties of Four Seasons, Aman, Ritz-Carlton, Taj, etc. Getting a “no strings attached” fourth night free at all those properties is something no other card offers, as far as I know.
Get a fourth night free at Amankila in Bali
Citi Prestige® Card Fourth Night Free Benefit: The Bad
The downsides of the fourth night free benefit are what you’d expect:
- You have to pay for your hotel stay with the Citi Prestige® Card, so if there’s another card that would give you a higher return, you can’t use that in conjunction with this benefit; that being said, you can’t go that wrong using this card to pay for hotels, given that you earn 3x points
- You can’t book corporate rates, advance purchase rates, AAA/senior rates, etc., in conjunction with the fourth night free perk, so in some cases the savings won’t actually be ~25% over what you’d otherwise pay
Put another way, take the below rates at the Andaz West Hollywood.
The AAA rate is ~10% lower than the best available rate. Then I purchased Hyatt gift cards for 10% off last year, which I could use in conjunction with that rate. And I used the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express for the purchase, which earned me 5% cash back plus one Starpoint per dollar spent. So in that case I’d just about break even using that perk vs. the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit.
Citi Prestige® Card Fourth Night Free Benefit Terms
Here are the full terms of the fourth night free benefit:
INTERNATIONAL COMPLIMENTARY NIGHT HOTELS AND RESORTS PROGRAM TERMS AND CONDITIONS
You will enjoy a complimentary fourth night with no black-out dates, when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel booked by a personal travel advisor designated by MasterCard (the “designated travel advisor” is Carlson Wagonlit Travel). Bookings made through other methods such as, travel agents, websites or directly with a hotel will not qualify.
To receive your complimentary night (via a statement credit) you must:
- Make a reservation for a minimum, consecutive four-night stay by contacting the Citi Prestige Concierge, to book directly with a designated travel advisor
- Fully pay for your stay with a Citi Prestige Card
Receive one complimentary night (room rate for the fourth night and applicable taxes only) for any consecutive four-night hotel stay booked directly with a MasterCard designated travel advisor. Hotel imposed fees and incidental guest charges are the Cardmember’s responsibility. The value of the complimentary night will be the actual rate, as provided by the designated travel advisor, on that fourth night of the reservation, even if the rate is different from the rate on other nights. Cardmember will be charged the total cost of the stay at checkout and will receive a credit to the credit card statement for the cost of the fourth night (and the applicable taxes). If the cardmember books a special “pre-paid” rate this may require upfront payment in full, at time of booking. Payment in full is defined as pre-payment for the total of all four consecutive nights. Only one complimentary night is eligible per each stay. A stay is consecutive nights booked and stayed on one reservation and does not include back-to back stays. Back-to back stays are stays at the same hotel booked on two reservations (as an example, you book four nights at a hotel on one reservation for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and book another four nights on another reservation for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. In this situation, you would only be eligible for one complimentary night for the 8 night stay). Rates provided will be equal to or lower than the lowest publicly-available fare at the hotel’s official website. The benefit can only be used by the primary account cardholder.
Citi Prestige® Card Fourth Night Free Bottom Line
At first I assumed this benefit was a gimmick, though the more I’ve looked at it, the more valuable it seems. Because of how the benefit is structured, there are instances where you’ll come out way more than 25% ahead, while there are instances where you’ll come out way less than 25% ahead.
But it’s a great option to have, especially since it also works at non-chain hotels. If you’re someone that frequently stays at luxury hotels, you can easily save thousands of dollars a year with this benefit.
I don’t know of another credit card which offers such an awesome, no strings attached free night benefit just for having the card.
How valuable do you find the fourth night free perk on the Citi Prestige® Card?