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I’ve written quite a bit about the Citi Prestige Card. I’d argue it’s the all around hottest card out there right now, 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:
- A sign-up bonus of 40,000 ThankYou Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first three months — those points can be transferred to one of their airline transfer partners, or redeemed for flights on any airline
- A $250 annual airline credit
- A fourth night free hotel benefit
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
The single benefit on this card I’ve gotten the most value out of has been the fourth night free hotel benefit, which I’ve used quite a few times.
I’ve described this benefit in great detail, though it’s still something I get asked clarification questions about from readers on a daily basis. As a starting point, here are the previous posts I’ve written about the benefit:
- Citi Prestige Card Fourth Night Free Hotel Benefit Details
- My Experience Using The Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free Benefit
- Is The Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free Hotel Benefit A Gimmick?
- Which Hotels Are Eligible For Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Hotel Benefit?
- How Quickly Does The Citi Prestige Fourth Night Credit Post?
- More Citi Prestige Card 4th Night Free Data Points
- Don’t Forget About Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Benefit
- More Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free Experiences
This benefit has saved me over $2,000 this year alone, which is insane. As I said above, for me it has been the single most valuable credit card perk of 2015.
With that in mind, I figured I’d address five misconceptions that many people seem to have about this benefit:
You don’t earn hotel points when booking with Citi Prestige
Most hotel chains don’t award you points if you book through a third party site. However, the exception is if you’re booking through what’s essentially a corporate travel agency. Carlson Wagonlit handles the fourth night free benefit on behalf of the Citi Prestige Concierge, and the stays booked through them are absolutely eligible for points accrual in all programs.
So you do earn points as usual on stays booked using the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit.
The benefit can only be used in conjunction with the flexible rate
There are all kinds of cards offering “free hotel night” promos, though they usually come with tons of asterisks. Often you have to book the flexible rate to take advantage of them, or sometimes they have even more inflated rates.
With the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free you can book virtually any paid, publicly available rate using the benefit. This includes flexible rates, pre-paid rates, AAA rates, AARP rates, etc. Corporate rates are excluded, however (as they aren’t publicly available).
For example, for my recent stay at the St. Regis Bali I booked a “Hot Escapes” rate, and was able to use the fourth night free benefit in conjunction with it.
Who wouldn’t want to save on a place like this?
Not many hotels are eligible for the fourth night free benefit
In the past I explained how to search which hotels participate in the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit by using the Carlson Wagonlit website. In general a vast majority of chain hotels participate, so if you want to stay at a Sheraton or Park Hyatt or Renaissance, it’ll almost certainly be on the list. And even many non-chain hotels participate.
On top of that it appears you can even use this benefit at some hotels which don’t otherwise belong to the Carlson Wagonlit network. Reader Cathy sent me the following email a few days ago reporting her success booking another property:
I just wanted to let you know that I contacted Citi Prestige Concierge with a request for a 4th night free stay at a hotel that was NOT on the CW website.
Very happy to tell you that I was successful!
Just wanted to let you know so you can pass on my story to your readers if they ask!
I used the email service and did not call Citi Concierge. They got back to me, by phone, within 24 hours and hooked me up. Awesome.
The hotel refunds your fourth night directly
For the Citi Prestige fourth night free hotel benefit, the fourth night is refunded directly through your Citi Prestige Card, and not through the hotel. Actually the hotel has no clue that you’re getting the fourth night free.
Instead the cost of the fourth night is refunded a few weeks after you pay for the stay. In case of a pre-paid stay, this means you could actually be reimbursed before your stay. In case of a flexible rate where you pay at check-out, this means you’ll be reimbursed a few weeks after your stay.
It’s great that Citi refunds the fourth night and not the hotel directly, since it means you’ll get elite qualifying nights for all four nights (including the free one), and also earn points in the hotel loyalty program for the full cost of the stay, pre-discount.
The booking process is complicated
Some people expect the booking process to be complicated. If approaching it right, I’ve always been able to complete the whole process in ~15 minutes or less. You have a couple of options for going about booking:
- You can call the Citi Prestige concierge, and tell them you’re ready to book right away and know the rate you want, and they can connect you to a Carlson Wagonlit associate:
- Some concierges might say they can only connect you right away if your stay is within a week, though I’ve usually been able to get around that by telling them there’s limited availability and I needed to book ASAP or the rate could change (which is usually true)
- Otherwise the concierge will take down your information and request, and then within 24 hours you’ll receive an email with a rate quote; then you just have to phone up the concierge to book
- You can email the Citi Prestige concierge, and the whole process can be started by email, which should allow you to complete everything within 24 hours or so
But the handful of bookings I’ve made never took me more than 15 minutes (or so) on the phone, so I have found the process to be extremely easy.
Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit bottom line
I can’t say enough good things about the Citi Prestige Card as a whole, and specifically about the fourth night free benefit. It’s something any semi-frequent traveler should be able to get outsized value from.
Have you used the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free hotel benefit?