My Experience Using The Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free Benefit

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One of the hottest credit cards on the market right now is the Citi Prestige Card. Not only does the card have a great sign-up bonus, but it comes with a suite of perks which make it a keeper long term, even with the $450 annual fee.

What makes the Citi Prestige Card so awesome? Here are just a few of my favorite perks:

It’s reasonably easy to quantify the value of many of those benefits, and I think almost no matter how you crunch the numbers, you’ll quickly come out ahead with the card. The one benefit which potentially has a ton of value — but which is tough to quantify initially — is the fourth night free hotel benefit.

When I first applied for the Citi Prestige Card I assumed it was a gimmick, though over time I’ve learned just how valuable of a benefit it can be. I finally made my first fourth night free booking today, so figured I’d share my experience.

Citi-Prestige-Card-Hotel-Benefit

Using The Citi Prestige Card Fourth Night Free Hotel Benefit

To use the benefit I phoned the Citi Prestige number on the back of my card, and was connected to a travel concierge. They took down all the details for the hotel stay I was trying to make, including the hotel, date, room preference, etc.

The trick here is that these bookings are actually made by Carlson Wagonlit Travel, so the Citi Prestige concierges can’t make them for you. They told me that I should get an email with a quote within 24 hours.

I didn’t hear from them within 24 hours, and given that my stay is coming up soon and there are only a few rooms left for sale, I phoned them back after 24 hours and and asked when I should realistically expect to hear from them.

They said there was quite a backlog of requests, though they explained that I could also be connected directly to a travel advisor who can book the hotel if I knew exactly what I wanted. In other words, if you’re just shopping around then they recommend waiting for the email quote, while if you know exactly what you want to book, they can connect you directly to an advisor to process the booking.

The Citi Prestige concierge conferenced in a Carlson Wagonlit Travel agent. I explained that I wanted to book the Andaz West Hollywood on a AAA rate. She confirmed that she could book a pre-paid rate, AAA rate, or AARP rate using this benefit (but she couldn’t book a corporate or other promotional rate).

The AAA rate was the same as the advance purchase rate, and she was able to book it within a few minutes. She added my Gold Passport number to the reservation, so the booking showed up almost immediately in my Hyatt Gold Passport profile.

Andaz-WeHo

She further explained that I would be charged the full amount at check-out, and then within one to two billing cycles the cost of one night (including tax) would be refunded to my Citi Prestige Card. That’s awesome news, given that it means you get full stay/elite credits for all nights, and also earn points based on the entire rate, even the amount that’s refunded.

Ultimately this saved me a lot of money, lowering my average nightly rate from $257 to $193 pre-tax, which is the lowest rate I’ve paid at that hotel in a long time. And the fact that I earn Hyatt points on the total amount is the icing on the cake.

I actually went ahead and booked two upcoming stays at once.

As a reminder, there’s no limit to how many times you can take advantage of the benefit, though it’s limited to the primary card member on the Citi Prestige Card. You also can’t book back-to-back stays at the same hotel and use the fourth night free benefit on both. In other words, if you wanted to stay at the same hotel for eight nights and get the fourth night free benefit on both stays, you’d need at least one night between the two stays at the same hotel for that to work.

Bottom line

The Citi Prestige Card fourth night free hotel perk is a huge benefit of the card, and one I’ll undoubtedly be using a lot. The fact that as of recently you can use it on AAA, AARP, and pre-paid rates, makes it all the more lucrative.

Previously I thought of the benefit as only being marginally worthwhile, since I figured I’d be paying a slightly higher rate to get the fourth night free, but now I’m truly booking the best available rate and getting the fourth night free in the process.

Have you used the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit yet? What was your experience like?

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Comments

  1. Ben,

    Do you think this also work for one of the all-inclusive brands (Hyatt Zilara or Hyatt Ziva) that Hyatt offers?

  2. Waiting 24 hours for a quote could be a deal breaker for many. Hotel prices change all the time and waiting to hear back from a travel agent feel too Stone Age for me. Thus, it is a great benefit but you have to plan in advance and have time to book it.

  3. @ Santastico — Agreed, but if you know what you want they’ll connect you directly to an agent, which eliminates the wait time. In general I hate having to book by phone, but ultimately I’ll gladly get on the phone for 10 minutes to save a lot of money.

  4. I’m looking to book for nights and I Regency Tokyo, which has a discounted rate for “4 nights or more”. Will I be able to book at this rate and get the fourth night free? If not, I assume they can look at the Hyatt daily rate? If so, will I still be able to get an award suite upgrade using 6000 points? Hyatt says the bookings have to be made with a minimum of the Hyatt daily rate.

  5. @ Dave — You could use it on the Hyatt Daily Rate, Advance Purchase Rate, etc. But not on the promotional rate. If you book the Hyatt Daily Rate then you could use points for a suite upgrade.

  6. @lucky: I guess this benefit would be my second option in case Amex FHR does not offer the hotel I need. When booking using Amex FHR you have several hotels that offer 4th night free and many other benefits. And as a plus you can do that all online. 🙂

  7. I booked an upcoming Hyatt 5-night stay this way a couple of weeks ago. Since I already knew what I wanted, they conferenced in the Carson Wagonlit agent, and the booking showed up on my Hyatt profile immediately. I didn’t even realize there was a “wait 24 hours for an email’ option, not that I’d have wanted to use it.

    Because it was a non-refundable room, the Carson agent said I’d be issued the 4th night refund 1-2 billing cycles from the day I booked, not the day I stayed there. That could be handy to know for people who want the refund a little sooner.

    The rate I got was the same as the best rate showing on regular hotel booking websites that day, so I didn’t lose anything by using this option to book. I haven’t gotten the refund yet (or completed the actual hotel stay), but so far, so good.

  8. Usually refunds reduce the amount of points you get in a month. Is this card different?

  9. Luis – I use the AAA rate frequently. Most of the time I am not asked for my card, but occasionally I am. Your mileage may vary.

  10. Thanks Lucky

    Usually refunds lower the amount of points you get in a given month. Is this card different?

  11. Lucky,

    Hyatt has 50% off rooms at their ZIlara Cancun property. The same rate shows up on several travel agencies websites. Would these rates be valid for the 4th night benefit?

  12. @ David W — My guess is that they wouldn’t be eligible, but it can’t hurt to call and ask.

  13. @ Beachfan — Sorry, to clarify, I meant that you’d earn the full Hyatt Gold Passport points for the entire amount spent, as opposed to all the credit card points.

  14. @ SonomaWine — You mean Diamond benefits and Gold Passport points? Yep, you get those on these rates.

  15. Do ThankYou points transfer to AA/US, or is the only way to use them on AA/US is through credit redemption?

  16. Recommendation: Ask to talk with a CWT rep directly, don’t wait until they contact you 24-48 hrs.
    Also, be aware that the hotel you want has to be in their GDS system and for some remote location this can be one hotel, when expedia shows more than 60 hotels.Not sure if their inventory matches Orbitz, definitely not Expedia companies or Priceline companies.

  17. @ Danny — Only as cash towards the cost of a ticket. They can’t be converted into AAdvantage miles.

  18. I know this is not up your alley, at all, but do you know if this works for hostels as well? What is defined as a hotel?

  19. I used this benefit for my Europe trip last month. Called Citi and then they conference in the Carlson Wagonlit agent. Booked Pullman Munich at prepaid rate. It didn’t show up on Accor website even though I provided my Le Club number. Then I called the hotel to make sure they have my Le Club number.

    I was told that it will take 1-2 months before the 4th night refund shows up. But it actually just took about a week after the booking, before my stay at Pullman Munich.

    I got stay/night and Accor points correctly a few days after check out.

  20. @ Andy — It can’t hurt to call and ask, but for the most part I don’t think it would work for hostels, since presumably they’re not part of the travel agency’s system.

  21. @ Louis — I haven’t asked myself, but I know others have mentioned at least some of them aren’t.

  22. Lucky, I got the impression that what they meant by “promotional rates” was rates that required a special code they wouldn’t have access to, like a corporate or government code. If it’s a publicly available sale rate, they should be able to book it. At least, I’ve read of people getting the sale rate from the hotel’s website.

  23. @ Lisa — That’s a good point, I guess it does depend on what kind of promotional rate we’re talking about.

  24. Booking through Carlson Wagonlit Travel agent, would this be a Starwood Hotel’s Qualifying night, earning toward elite status? If you book an SPG hotel through hotels.com/Expedia/etc you don’t get credit – but I have never booked SPG through a travel agent. I always book on SPG.com

  25. Does anyone know if the 4th night free will apply if you book a regular room and then upgrade to a suite on the 4th night? For example: Room rate is AAA for $350 a night on Sat, Sun and Mon… then on Tues night book a Suite for $1000. Will they credit the $1000 suite since it was on the 4th night or will they void it because the other 3 nights was in a regular room? I’m doing that this weekend and I wanted to get clarification. The reservation area is closed right now. Thanks in advance!

  26. @ Josie Aguilar — Nope, has to be the same room type throughout. You can’t book different room types on a single reservation in this instance.

  27. Any idea if you can book multiple rooms for the same dates, getting the fourth night free for both?

  28. Hi,
    would like to know 4th nights free benefit will apply to one for four at OTANI TOKYO GARDEN TOWER .
    Thanks,
    Vanna

  29. For this benefit – does the rate at which you order the room has to be the one published on the official website of the hotel? or can it be a rate at 3rd party booking websites, like booking.com, orbitz.com, venere.com etc? Please note, that if you cannot ask for the price that shows at 3rd party hotel websites, that takes much of the edge of the benefit, in my humble opinion, since many times you can find rates on those sites, which are lower by 15%-40% of the official website…

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