More Citi Prestige Card 4th Night Free Data Points

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I’ve written extensively about the Citi Prestige Card. I’d argue it offers the all around most compelling value proposition of any card at the moment, between the sign-up bonus, perks, and return on everyday spend.

The card has a $450 annual fee, though has so many benefits which more than justify the annual fee, in my opinion. Among other things, these include:

But for me the single most lucrative benefit of the card has been the fourth night free hotel benefit. I was skeptical of the benefit when I first applied for the card — after all, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But I’ve now tried it on four stays, and have already saved about ~$1,000. And that’s just in my first few months of card membership.

Andaz-West-Hollywood-Hotel-14

For those of you not familiar with the benefit, here are posts I’ve written about it, which explain the rules, process for booking, etc.:

The way the benefit works is that you actually pay for the entire stay at check-out (or on a pre-paid rate, in advance), and then later receive a statement credit for the cost of the fourth night. That’s a great system, since it means you earn elite qualifying stays/nights/points with the loyalty program for the full amount spent.

Four-Nights
I received four elite qualifying nights for a stay booked with the 4th night free benefit

In mid-July I provided an update on how long it takes for the hotel credit to post to the Citi Prestige Card. The terms state that statement credits will post within 1-2 billing cycles after check-out.

At the time I provided two data points, though now all four of my statement credits have posted, so I figured I’d provide a further update. I’ve heard some people say they had issues with it posting, so I wanted to report that wasn’t the case so far.

Here’s a summary of the time that the four stays were charged to my Citi Prestige Card, and then when the credit actually posted to my account:

  • Hotel stay charged June 2, credit posted to my account July 11
  • Hotel stay charged June 9, credit posted to my account July 11
  • Hotel stay charged June 16, credit posted to my account July 16
  • Hotel stay charged June 21, credit posted to my account July 17

Citi-Prestige-4th-Night-Free

As you can see, the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free credit is far from instant, but does seem to pretty consistently post within a month or so of the date the stay is charged.

More importantly than the timing, I’m happy to see that the credit has been posting consistently without needing to call/follow up.

W-Beijing

Bottom line

The Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit really is a huge perk, and for me the single most valuable benefit of this card. Being able to get a fourth night free on the published rate from a hotel is huge, and has sort of changed how I book hotels. I used to often spend three nights at a time in hotels, but with a fourth night free, why not go ahead and extend the stay a bit?

Do you have the Citi Prestige Card? If so, have you used the fourth night free benefit yet?

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Comments

  1. I have an ethical question. I travel Sunday to Thursday every week and stay at the same hotel. Would it be unethical to submit the hotel bill and then pocket the statement credit?

  2. There was a pretty good thread on flyertalk on this. I’m in the camp if your employer pays for the annual fee, then the credit should go back to them. If not…it’s yours. But I would also ask myself if my employer found out what would they do….and go from there.

  3. Being able to get a fourth night free on the published rate from a hotel is huge,

    Published meaning not a corporate rate?

  4. @John You have to book thru the number on the back of the Prestige Card, which leads to a reservation made for you by Carlson Wagonlit travel. Whatever lowest rate they offer is the rate you pay, which is then eligible for the 4th night refund. All stays that are not booked via this method are not eligible for the 4th night.

    Like Ben’s previous posts, its good to check the rates yourself first before calling Prestige since rates may differ. Sometimes even with the 4th night benefit the stay may still be more expensive when booked thru Prestige/CarlsonWagonlit

  5. While the 4th night free is a great benefit (I’ve done 3 stays and waiting for the post) – – Citi needs to do a far better job on the booking process. Call.. wait… get to a rep. Then they will mail you back withing 24-72 hours with a rate… then you have to call back again to book. Getting them can be a real pain. After trying for 2 days a couple weeks ago.. I had to escallate to citi (with a threat to get my $450 back) to reach a rep.

    Since I can book a hotel within 2 min… it should not take days and multiple calls to do the same thing. Hopefully citi will fix this ASAP.

  6. @Al Dickinson I think if you tell them you already have a hotel and dates in mind and are ready to book, they’ll connect you to someone to make your reservation for you. That’s what I did and was connected right away. I received an email confirmation of my reservation shortly after I was finished with the call

  7. The one time I’ve used this benefit, the credit didn’t post within the stated 1-2 billing cycles of when the card was charged. After some phone support games, I was told to write and mail a paper letter to Citi. They then replied by mail that my dispute *with the hotel* had been resolved in my favor. Great… except the poor hotel did nothing wrong; the problem was with Citi or Carson Wagonlit or some intermediate system.

    The someone from the hotel called me to ask about it, I told them the deal, they myst have called Citi from their end, and a week or so later, the “dispute” charge was re-reversed and the proper credit appeared instead. So it ended well, except for all the hassle for multiple parties, and the fact that the innocent hotel had to get dragged into the middle of it.

    I haven’t tried to use the benefit again yet.

  8. I have a Prestige card but I haven’t used this benefit and I highly doubt I ever will. Simply put, I rarely stay in hotels, maybe 2-3 times per year, and when I do it’s either for the weekend or, if traveling for work, I’m paying with the corporate card.

    I guess I’m one of the people who make it possible for this benefit to exist – if everybody used it then I think Citi wouldn’t be able to offer it 🙂 So enjoy it!

  9. To be clear, no, “corporate” or specially negotiated rates can’t be used, as noted already above. The closest you can get is AAA rates, which apparently work.

    On the ethics front, and with all due respect to the Flyer Talk thread on the topic, there are only two issues: first, could the paper trail even possibly create a problem for you and, second, even if you were to pass along the savings, how would the six-weeks-later crediting process really work in actual real-world practice? After all, passing along “savings” that never materialize would be an issue. So would an FX mismatch if currency rates change.

    Once you answer those two questions, and if there’s any doubt whatsoever, all lawyers you might talk to would all give you the exact same advice; namely, when in doubt, disclose.

    Pretty simple, huh? Personally, I wouldn’t sweat it. It’s a credit card, not a magic carpet. Just charge it and forget it. That’s how credit cards are used. If you get the credit, great. If not, no harm done.

    Cynics among you will sneer that that’s why God created corporate travel portals and corporate credit cards — to avoid just this kind of thing. Cynics!

  10. Almost three months since my stay and the credit has not posted. Called Citi concierge and was told to wait.

  11. Dumb question – no reason this won’t work on a 5 or 6 night stay I’m assuming, right?

  12. Hi David W. Thanks for the comment. I just called them with a reservation for 4 nights at the Hyatt in Ho Chi Min ($335/night… so a good time to use it). I gave them the dates/rate and they insisted they had to email me the quote after their specialist look at it. I told them about your comment. The reply was “we are too busy with a backlog”

    Seems like it’s just 15 seconds of work….sigh

  13. Booking thru the number on the back of the Prestige Card? Are those nights good for IHG elite status? I remember most hotels want to book with them directly to credit your nights. Thanks very much.

  14. @John, I think there are a couple things to consider:

    – Is this the exact hotel, rate, and number of stays you would otherwise charge to your company without the benefit? I.e. are you changing anything about it to “fit” your perk?

    – Would you feel OK if you boss, peers, and direct reports knew exactly what was going on? If all were to be known?

    – In general, do you see this a “secret” you wouldn’t want people finding out about? If so, it may be crossing the line.

    On one hand, you are simply getting a perk from a personal credit card (like extra points) for your work stays, which sounds to be the norm in your industry. On the other hand, you are getting reimbursed with cash twice for the same exact expense, and keeping it slightly secret, which may cross some ethical lines.

    I suppose if I were you, I would get it out in the open. I would send an email to the appropriate person saying, “Just so you know, my personal credit card awards some pretty great benefits for my hotel stays including points and statement credits. I just want to be 100% in the open that it is OK for me to be receiving those. Thanks.” Then you have it in writing and I think you’ll sleep a lot better. I imagine they will say “great” and will not expect you to pass on the benefits (but they might…). Getting it in the open, and even recommending the card to your coworkers, may do a lot to relive any perceived ethics violations.

    A little extra spending money is always nice, but in 10 years you’ll be glad you took the “straight line” approach. I promise.

  15. The benefit is between your card issuer and you, and has nothing to do with reimbursement of expenses. If you got 2% cash back, you wouldn’t reduce expense reports 2%.

  16. @Al Dickenson @DavidW: I booked a reservation about a month ago. Even though it was a Saturday afternoon, the Citi rep said they needed to e-mail me within 24 hour with available rates, etc. I (gently) insisted on being connected to a CWT rep since I knew which hotel and which dates I wanted. The rep connected me, but only after telling me (twice!) that he was making an exception to their policy. The CWT rep, on the other hand, was very professional and very accommodating. She even calculated the exact amount of fourth-night credit that I should expect to see on my statement.

    No data on how long he credit takes to post–I haven’t taken the trip yet.

  17. I’m on the side of it being dubious ethics, and tantamount to cheating. I understand the lag issue, but often the credit will appear on the same bill. So I just wouldn’t use the card in that situation to keep it simple (if it’s your only card, I’d have to consider it more).

    However the advice above is good – if you disclose, then there is no ethical violation.

    However, I believe in the case of no ethical violation, it is taxable income under tax law.

  18. @ Matt – what if you got 50% back? I got that rebate several times on an Amex offer.

    I might agree that 2% is not significant enough to worry about, but 25% sure is, and if an employee submitted expenses 33% higher than he actually paid on all hotel stays, and it was a lot of money (say over $2k), then it could be a firing offense at my company.

  19. @lucky

    Do you check the stays against AAA rates or other discounted publically available rates? I often find these promises of savings illusory when you have such a restricted choice of booking methods.

  20. @John
    I guess if you’re asking the question, then you feel it’s a bit sketchy/questionable, and you know you shouldn’t be doing it.

    Also, does your company give/make available to you a company card to use to charge against and/or require you use that card??

  21. Ben, if hotel has promo that 4th night is free .. Ie marriott But at checkout 4th night is taken off the bill , would you still get the 4th night credit from citi?

  22. As i understood that citi reimbursing only cost for the night stay, but taxes, fees, resort fee charged for all 4 nights. Am I correct?

  23. @ marina — The fourth night credit actually includes taxes/service fees, though not resort fees, assuming they’re charged separately.

  24. @ David — If the promotion is offered by the individual hotel as opposed to through the Citi Prestige Card then you typically wouldn’t earn credit for the fourth night.

  25. I just tried this for the first time. Called customer service and the rep who answered said since I knew the hotel I wanted they would book it immediately. I got the confirmation within 90 minutes. Pretty simple. Maybe they have listened to the complaints but for me it was simple. I was off the phone within 15 minutes.

  26. I’ve been wondering. I currently have 40k TYP from opening a CitiGold checking account. If I were to get a Prestige, would i be able to use the 4th night free perk and then use my points to redeem against the hotel purchase for essentially 4 nights free?

  27. The time between payment and credit varies depending on when you book the hotel. I had to pay in full upfront when I booked the Hilton Dubai in Dec, I checked out of hotel on 2/12, and my credit appears the same day I checked out, on 2/12.

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