Don’t Forget About Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Benefit

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I’ve written quite a bit 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:

Admirals-Club-LAX-3

In my opinion almost everyone will get value out of the sign-up bonus and airline fee credit, while a vast majority of people would get value out of Admirals Club access, a Priority Pass membership, and in particular the fourth night free hotel benefit.

The fourth night free hotel benefit is one which has saved me over a thousand dollars in my first few months of card membership. And I’ve written about the benefit several times, since at first I assumed it was a gimmick. After all, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

But this isn’t. It’s actually every bit as valuable as it sounds. Here are the posts I’ve written about the benefit so far:

Given how often I’ve written about the benefit, you’d think it would be at the top of my mind.

Well, I’ll be in New York soon, and needed to arrange hotels for about 4-5 days. New York is rarely a market with amazing hotel deals, so I found myself feeling pretty indifferently about my options.

Eventually I started looking at options through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (offered through the The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN and The Platinum Card® from American Express). Not only does it offer added benefits, but they also often have promotions whereby you can get the third or fourth night of a hotel stay free.

For example, the W New York Times Square (which I really don’t love), was $340 per night, with a fourth night free benefit and a $100 food & beverage credit. So that’s ~$255 per night, which was certainly looking like one of the better options.

AmEx-FHR-Rate-1

Yet oddly while pondering which option to go with for a couple of hours, I never once thought of the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit. With this benefit you can book pre-paid rates and AAA rates, so I could have booked a $306 rate with the fourth night free, which would have brought the cost down to ~$230 per night. Now that’s an attractive price! I realize that wouldn’t come with the $100 food & beverage credit, but I don’t value that at anywhere close to face value at a Times Square hotel.

Citi-Prestige-Rate

What did I end up booking? The Andaz 5th Avenue, which is probably my all around favorite value in NYC, was available for $356 per night on a AAA rate.

Andaz-5th

By using the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit, I knocked the rate down to ~$267 per night. For New York City that’s a pretty unbeatable value, in my opinion. Staying there will also get me “real” room service breakfast, which is much more valuable than anything I’d get staying at an SPG property in New York City.

The process of booking the Andaz 5th Avenue took all of 15 minutes on the phone (as usual I explained to the agent that I knew exactly what I wanted to book, and requested to be transferred to one of the Carlson Wagonlit agents, rather than having them call me back).

Bottom line

As far as I’m concerned the fourth night free benefit continues to be the biggest perk of the Citi Prestige Card. It has been a while since I’ve used the benefit, so after spending a couple of hours searching for the best deals in New York City (in particular promotions through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts), I had the epiphany that I have access to the single most lucrative fourth night free benefit out there, valid at most major hotels over virtually any dates.

Have you been utilizing the fourth night free Citi Prestige Card benefit lately?

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the write up Lucky. Just curious. What are the benefits of booking with Carlson Wagonlit instead of directly with Hyatt?

  2. @Graham – Duh…I just realized Citi uses CWT for the hotels. Another question, is it possible to feed the agent the corporate code for specific hotel chain?

  3. @Pegasus haha no worries. I don’t believe CWT allows for corporate code rates (they do have to make their money), but i could be wrong. Will defer to others on that one.

  4. My husband has Hyatt diamond status. Can I book under his name and put my name as additional guest in room and pay with the Citi Prestige to get the 4th night free?

  5. @Emile – You’ll still have to go through CWT to get the 4th night free. Once you have the res, call Hyatt directly to add your name as 2nd guest on the res.

  6. @Thomas – no government rates through the 4th night free program.

    I’m trying this out for an upcoming trip to Beijing. A bit concerned that while I was emailed a confirmation that has the prepaid rate and my spg number in the reservation, my card hasn’t been charged and the stay isn’t showing up on my spg app. Is it normal for such a booking to take more than a week to sync up?

  7. I just called them yesterday to book. As with the past 4 times in the past 5 weeks, i said “i know what/where/when/how much put me thru…I was told “we are no longer allowed to do that unless you are booking < 1 week". They DID say they'd guarantee to get by to me within 24hrs w/ the quote…they took about 4 1/2 hrs.

    I also noticed they first transferred me to a rep in Florida. I..e all my previous had been France. It looks like they added another call center to deal with the "higher than expected call volume". That can be good/bad as they more they pay out..the less likely the benefit will stick around.

    THAT said, I was told at the hotel I couldn't get a bill from them b/c I booked thru a service and had to get it from them (CWT) instead. I've also seen a slight interesting "note" to the service from the mgrs at the property, as they are aware of the 'deal' and believe an earlier post/comment may be correct, the hotel foots at least some of the "free night" cost…as since they've become aware…I've ceased to get ANY room upgrades and given the standard response "we've got you in the room level you've booked"…even though I've become their top tier elite status, shortly before the change in their tune, and SHOULD be getting an upgrade to a nicer/ bigger room….when available.

  8. Brian, you got off easy :-). When I called on Monday, the concierge refused to put me straight through to the travel specialist. I told the concierge exactly what I wanted (a 4 day prepaid rate at a Westin – very straightforward); they told me I’d receive my booking info in 24 hours. 24 hours later, I received an EMAIL message from Citi Concierge telling me the travel specialists were still working on my request, and I’d have an update in another 24 hours. I’m now at Hour 46; still no word……

  9. I think Citi has comes a long way to compete with Chase but this booking service is either has to go or dramatically improve……..from government days I remember CWT as being broken to dead…………how much is our time worth to put up with their horrible customer service………..contrast that with AMEX Concierge who just finalized my French Laundry reservation on the third try…….it was painless for me and extremely professional……now if they could just issue a card with bonus restaurant spend I would be giddy………..

  10. There was no purpose to this post except to once again pitch the Prestige card. Absolutely nothing new. What’s worse is that you’ve had so many posts on just the 4th free night benefit – even more specific than the Prestige card itself. You’re the best Ben and I’ve been reading you for over 6 years, but you can do better than this lame sales pitch of the Prestige for the millionth time.

  11. One other thing to be aware of with the Prestige card is that if you are a Citi banking customer you get a discount on the annual fee. As a gold customer I get a $100 discount on the annual fee, not sure what the discounts at other levels are.

  12. Great benefit, but PITA to book. I knew exactly the property I wanted (and verified it’s one that Carlson Wagonlit works with). Told the agent that but she refused to put me directly in touch with the booking person, saying they could not do that. This was Friday afternoon. Received an email Saturday mid-day indicating volume was high and would it be ok if they got back to me by 11pm ET. Received another email that night asking if ok to push to Sunday. Anyway, Sunday night, two days after my request they got back to me. Then when I emailed them back asking them to book, they called and said they didn’t have my credit card number. Once on the line, the rep had to then transfer me to the booking agent to complete.

    In the end, all the hassle was worth it to save $614 at a London hotel, but if they’re going to keep this program (and I have my doubts about the viability of this as a long-term benefit), they need to improve the booking process.

  13. I don’t think the benefit will last much longer, someone has to lose money on it. I also tried it and got an email 24 hours later that they were still working on it, and then got my results 4 hours later which gave me options which I already knew. As mentioned, AAA and AARP rates are the only discounts you can get. Even that may not last I think.
    BTW, I also feel the credit card pitches are becoming way too excessive and blatant here. That, in conjunction with the malware spewing ads is something that needs to go to bring things back to what made the site good in the first place.

  14. Update: I received a proposal 72 hours after making the initial request. The booking process was a little cumbersome, but worked out OK. The travel planner added my SPG number to the reservation, and it immediately showed up on my SPG account.

  15. What if I recently renewed my Citi Executive AadvNtage card that gets you membership to Admirals club. Do you think they will transfer the $450 fee so I don’t have to pay again? Should I just wait till next year and cancel this card for the Citi Prestige?

  16. I just called Citi Prestige to use the 4th night free benefit. It seems like they are now using MC Travel Services as the travel agent instead of CWT. Anyone else experienced this? Could this possibly open the door to being able to use the benefit by booking online instead of having to call?

    They didn’t have all the room types as what I saw available on the hotel website but the rates are about the same but the addition of the World Elite benefits (including free breakfast for two) appear to add quite a bit of value.

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