Changes To Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free Booking Process

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There’s no need to panic, this is actually good news… at least based on my experience so far.

Why the Citi Prestige Card is awesome

I’ve written extensively about the Citi Prestige Card, which I view as the all around most lucrative card out there, 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. These include:

Why I love the fourth night free hotel benefit

The single benefit on this card I’ve gotten the most value out of has been the fourth night free hotel benefit. With my first year’s annual fee, this perk has saved me well over $1,000, and that doesn’t account for all the other awesome perks of the card. What makes this benefit so awesome is that it’s as “no strings attached” as a free night offer gets.

You can book a stay with the fourth night free at tons of hotels, and it works even on pre-paid rates, AAA/senior rates, most promotional rates, etc. You earn points for your stay as if you booked directly through the hotel as well (and by paying with the Citi Prestige Card you also get triple points on hotel spend).

St-Regis-Bali-Lagoon-Villa - 4
I’ve used the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit at the St. Regis Bali

I’ve described this benefit in great detail, so for those not familiar with it, here are the previous posts I wrote about it, which I’d recommend reading up on:

There has been a change in how the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit works, which I figured I’d cover.

What changed about the fourth night free hotel benefit

The concierge Citi uses for the Prestige Card seems to have changed very recently. They used to use Ten Lifestyle Concierge, while now Citi uses Aspire Lifestyles Concierge. I can’t chime in on which is better, since I can’t really say I’ve paid much attention as to which services I’ve used in the past, given that most credit card concierges are really white-label services.

But this switch in concierges has changed one thing drastically. Previously you’d call up the Citi Prestige Concierge, and then they’d have to connect you to a Carlson Wagonlit associate to book the fourth night free hotel benefit. Carlson Wagonlit is a huge travel agency, and some found the process to be a bit of a pain, given that they sometimes couldn’t connect you directly. Instead they’d take down your contact information and then call or email you with a quote within a day or so. Given how quickly hotel rates can change, that could get quite annoying.

Now that Citi has switched services, the Citi Prestige Card concierge can book a hotel using the fourth night free benefit directly. That means they don’t have to conference in an associate from Carlson Wagonlit, so it should make the process significantly faster.

Before anyone is worried, the terms of the fourth night free benefit haven’t changed. I’ve confirmed that it’s still possible to book pre-paid rates, AAA rates, etc., and get the fourth night free.

Park-Tower-Hotel-Knightsbridge-London - 3
I’ve used the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit at The Park Tower Knightsbridge

Bottom line

The fourth night free benefit on the Citi Prestige Card has been the single most lucrative credit card benefit for me over the past year. I’ve always found the booking process to be fairly painless. This will shave a few minutes off that process.

If you don’t yet have the Citi Prestige Card, this benefit alone should be enough reason to consider it. It’s probably the single perk I get the most emails about from readers, as they’re amazed by just how well the perk works. Heck, just the other day a friend texted me the following:

Citi-Benefit

Have you tried the new Citi Prestige concierge since the recent switchover?

(Tip of the hat to Alok)

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Comments

  1. Ben – any idea if the 4th night free with Citi can be combined with free night certs?

    i.e. I have two free night certs from Fairmont and I want to use those in conjunction with 4th night free, only having to pay for 3rd night?

    I imagine I’d book with Citi concierge, then call Fairmont and see if it could be applied to two nights. Curious if you or anyone else has any experience with success/failure on trying this?

  2. @ Lawrence — In this instance you couldn’t combine them with free night certs. All four nights need to be paid using the card and same rate, and I don’t believe there’s any way to add the Fairmont certs after the fact.

  3. Will you still earn status on hotel programs with this benefit? I know some of them require you to book directly on their website for a qualified stay.

  4. @ Mo — Yep, you absolutely still earn points and stay credits. This is the same as booking through a corporate travel agent, which is eligible for points/status accrual.

  5. Ten Lifestyle concierge was absolute garbage. I nearly canceled the card because Ten’s service was so worthless. It would take them three days to respond to basic restaurant requests, and they were never able to deliver on what I asked for.

    Very happy to hear they’ve switched providers, and the new ability to book the free night direct is awesome.

  6. @ Ricky — It should be somewhat accurate, yes. In general, almost all major chain hotels are eligible, and whatever publicly available rates the hotel offers would qualify.

  7. Bookings are still made through Carlson Wagonlit though, right? Only that Aspire can book directly whereas Ten Lifestyles had to call up someone from ‘headquarters’ (i.e. Carlson Wagonlit) to book?

  8. I am puzzled why people think that this benefit would be “too good to be true”. You can easily get coupons for Orbitz that give you 15% off on any two night stay; or do the Priceline/Hotwire thing to save even more. Given how rarely people stay for four nights in a row, I don’t see how this feature would be difficult to afford for Citi.

  9. @ Chris — Well because Orbitz is at a minimum getting a 10% commission when they book hotel stays, and for a vast majority of non-chain hotels are getting an even larger commission. Also keep in mind those stays aren’t eligible for points/status accrual. With Citi, as far as I know, they’re basically paying for this benefit out of pocket, as the hotels aren’t in on it.

  10. There is no need to limit yourself to chain hotels. I asked them to find me a boutique hotel in a particular area of Bali and they found 2 in my price range.

  11. Ben, do you know if you can book Hyatt using this 4th night free and then use an upgrade cert after the booking is complete?

    Thanks

  12. Anyone have any experience changing a 4th night free reservation with Hyatt? I want to keep the same dates, but the rate went down so I want to update it. Can I can update directly on the Hyatt site or do I have to call the concierge?

  13. I had completely forgot about this benefit!

    I had planned to stay at the Royal Pacific in Orlando for 3 nights and then use points for an airport hotel for the 4th…thankfully I just cancelled, called up my Citi concierge, and not only was I able to get the 4th night free, I was able to get a much better rate! (324 vs 379 pn). Total savings, approx 489!

  14. @ RickHansen — You’d have to call so the concierge can rebook, and the corresponding rebate will be updated as well.

  15. I booked last night via them and did not get the information saying what the 4th night free benefit / credit would be. They used to send that in the confirmation email. Did you get that when booking?

  16. @ Matt — Hmmm, seems it’s not in there for me either, but I’m not worried, since it was confirmed over the phone.

  17. My experience with using this benefit when Carlson was providing the concierge service was really seamless. When they had to dig up quotes for three different hotels in small, non-chain hotels in the Pacific, they did call me back within 20 minutes and it was the same concierge who did. And he was able to book the hotel for me. Basically, any hotel that has online published rates even on its own website, they will get for you.
    My question here is: if you are staying 8 nights, or 12 nights, does this mean every fourth, eighth and twelfth night is free? Anyone try this?

  18. @ Amir — Nope, you can only get this benefit once per stay, and you can’t book consecutive stays at a single hotel. What you can do, however, is:
    — Book four nights at one hotel, and then four nights following that at another hotel
    — Book four nights at one hotel, stay somewhere else another night, and then book four nights at that same hotel

  19. Can authorized users get the 4th night stay free as well? Or does it have to be the primary cardholder? And if it’s only the primary cardholder, can they book, and prepay, for stays for other people?

    Thanks!

  20. @Lucky, in your response to @Lawrence you said that all four nights need to be paid at the same rate using the card. That is absolutely not the case. I’ve had a 4 night Hyatt stay, which included a comped night as service recovery, work for the Prestige benefit. You yourself have posted about using the card to reimburse a much more expensive fourth night. Frequent Miler has also had success getting reimbursement for a 4th night while paying for the stay with a different card. I actually just did what Lawrence was proposing, booking a 4 night stay at a Fairmont with the use of a third night free certificate. I just finished the stay so the reimbursement may take a month or two to post, but everything I saw in my reservation paperwork leads me to believe Citi will payout for the 4th night.

  21. I don’t have this card but I’m contemplating getting it if I could use the fourth night free benefit in Anguilla. I wasn’t able to find anything in Anguilla through http://www.cwtvacations.com/home.aspx. I’m assuming that I would be out of luck there even though other OTAs have access to hotel inventory in Anguilla? Or is there somewhere I could call (I don’t currently hold the card) to find out for sure?

  22. @ Jen — You do need to have the card to find out more about the benefit. I’d guess there are some properties participating in Anguilla, though I can’t guarantee it.

  23. @ progapanda — To clarify, I meant the same rate type, not the same exact price. In other words, you can’t book night one on a AAA rate, night two on a pre-paid rate, night free on a flexible rate, etc.

  24. @ Bob — It’s limited to the primary cardmember. The booking has to be in the name of the primary cardmember as well, though sometimes it’s possible for another person to check in as a second guest. All depends on the hotel.

  25. What if the rate changes over the stay? I’m looking at a Thur-Mon property where it’s $220 for the Thur night then $290 the other 3 nights. How would that work?

  26. I called back the Concierge and let them know I did not get the information on what the 4th night free credit amount would be as usual and they sent an updated email with it.

  27. That’s awesome to hear. One more question, could I make 2 reservations at the same property, same dates and get the benefit on both reservations? (book 2 rooms basically)

  28. While great news for most – after some trial and error I was once connected to the best CW Travel Agent and since then have contacted her directly for all of my travel needs, bypassing the annoyance of 20 minute phone calls and 24hr waiting periods.

    I got an email from her yesterday saying that she can still assist me with any reservations already booked, but that she can no longer book/alter future reservations for me. She made sure to let me know that it’s not me, it’s her.

    Here’s to hoping that it doesn’t take so long to find “the one” to replace her in the new system…

  29. Besides the CITI Prestige can be applied to more hotels, for the most luxry hotels, I believe the amex fhr program is better, right?

    A lot of free third or fourth night and a lot of other perks.

  30. Like Matt, I too didn’t get the information on what the 4th night free benefit would be. Previously the confirmations had provided this detail. I have emailed them back and am awaiting a reply.

    I had called yesterday to get a new, better rate on a reservation I booked last month. It was definitely nice to be able to deal directly with the agent who would be handling that change.

  31. Hi Lucky, I just called Citi Prestige Concierge to make a hotel reservation and want to get benefit from the 4th night free benefit. The direct book with Citi Prestige Concierge is awesome but when I told them I want to book an AAA rate, the representative said they couldn’t do that cause “they don’t have access to AAA rate.” I’ve actually booked with them before and was successfully get the AAA rate. I’m not sure what happened…

  32. Do you just copy and paste chunks of your previous posts when ever you do one of these?
    And is this change significant at all, because it seems fairly arbitrary and not really worth mentioning

  33. @ Kyle — Correct, I copy and paste much of the first part. People who read these posts often don’t have background on the card, which is why I do it.

  34. @ Ken — I suppose anything is possible, but personally I don’t think we’ll see a higher publicly available offer anytime soon. I think it will go down before it goes up, though I could certainly be wrong.

  35. @ Tony — Hmmm, that might be an instance where it makes sense to hang up and call again. There will always be misinformed agents out there.

  36. @ Eyan — Yeah, all depends what you’re looking for. FHR is great in terms of additional benefits, though you have to book the flexible rate and there are a very limited number of hotels. With the Citi Prestige fourth night free you can book a pre-paid or discounted rate, and there are lots more eligible hotels.

  37. @Rickhansen. You actually can change the reservation yourself without calling the concierge. I’ve done it 5 times and each time I’ve still received the reimbursement. The main thing is that the confirmation number MUST stay the same or you will not get the benefit. If the confirmation number changes, the benefit is lost. The concierge will tell you to call them but based on my 5 previous reservations, changing them yourself still works.

  38. @Tony. Simple solution, I’ve done it several times. After the reservation is booked, either go into the reservation system to update the rate or call the hotel reservation line. The main thing is the confirmation number must stay the same. It definitely works.

  39. Just booked three separate 4-night stays today and made up my annual fee in one afternoon.

    However-they did not seem to have access to the AAA rate. In my experience the AAA rate will get you the “prepaid” rate, but with the ability to cancel as if it wasn’t a prepaid rate. On all 3 reservations (booked with 3 different agents) they just quoted me the prepaid rate, and when I asked about the AAA rate they either said they didn’t have it or just reiterated the prepaid rate but said it was non-refundable.

    I’m for sure going on all three trips, so the prepaid rate didn’t much matter to me, but its a data point for you.

    They also could NOT figure out how to add my loyalty number for Marriott or IHG. Easy fix to add afterwards, but kind of annoying.

  40. My past few experiences with Ten Group and Carlson Wagonlit have always been quite a drag. I use to be able to connect to talk to a travel advisor (Carlson Wagonlit agent) in getting the quote I want directly. But sometimes later last year, they changed the policy that you are no longer allowed connected directly with a Carlson Wagonlit agent for quote, but only through the Citi Concierge at Ten Group which always take over 24 hours. When requesting quote for specific rate and specific room category, they often get back with quote of wrong rate and wrong categories than I requested, getting a right quote takes days of back and forth which was just frustrating. Will see how (in)competent the concierges at Aspire are….

  41. One interesting experience I just had was when asking for a specific non-chain hotel in Taipei. The Citi concierge went out and grabbed the expedia rate. I got the usual email confirmation with the hotel, rate, and what the credit would be. The charge posted on my card from expedia.com. I’ll gladly give up the expedia points for the 4th night free 🙂

  42. I think they actually made the transition today. I booked on 1/20/16 (yesterday) with Carson Wagonlit and on 1/21/16 (today) I booked with Aspire. They couldn’t find my information and couldn’t book the hotel for me. I had to call Citi back again and get transferred several times before a Citi agent called Aspire and had them pull up the information somehow. The last Aspire agent that helped me book was able to help me book the hotel with a AAA rate in about 10 min (~1/2 the time of Carson Wagonlit) and add my loyalty number in without a problem. Looks like they’re going to have issues in the beginning due to IT but they seem like a better shop overall

  43. @ Pam. Where are your boutique hotels on Bali? We want to try the Lovina Beach Resort on the north coast, so I will be calling Citi Concierge Sunday evening MST…

  44. @Guston
    It should be 1-561-922-0158.
    Good luck getting a hold of someone though. I don’t know if it’s the snow storm in the east coast causing it but I can’t get a hold of anyone for the last 20mins.

  45. New to Prestige here thanks to your link! I tried to book 4th night free in Osaka with the Concierge today (30 min to get an agent). Due to a good corporate rate, the agent couldn’t find a rate that beat mine. Anyhoo, some questions:

    1. SPG doesn’t break out cost of individual nights, is there a best way to view cost of each night that I’m not aware of? I’m not convinced that searching for cost of 1 night stay for each of the 4 nights yields the answer/the cost of a combined 4 night stay. Does another chain do this better? I want to benefit from that free 4th night as much as possible.
    2. Have you ever seen the Concierge have a better rate than what’s published on the hotels’ websites (i.e. AAA, AAPR, discount/prepaid etc.)?

    Thx

  46. Lucky, some hotel chains, such as New Otani, provide better rates or packages for their loyalty members. New Otani has a New Otani Club (free signup for all) rate that includes breakfast, for instance. I understand that the Fourth Night Free benefit is only for publicly available rates (which I think may be why Gov rates don’t work). Any idea whether a rate set aside for loyalty program members apply? I’d hate to have Aspire book the room and only find out after the fact that it doesn’t apply for the benefit.

  47. So if a hotel is offering a 3rd night free, or a special package rate, the 4th night free benefit can be used in combination with that public package/offer?

  48. I was excited for this card and the 4th night free. I have so far found my first experience to be terrible.

    I checked the CWT and Mastercard travel site for the hotel I’m looking for and called the concierge line armed with the exact hotel, dates, etc.

    After holding for 25m, I spoke for about 10m with someone who took the info and put me on hold. After another 25m I was disconnected. I called back and gave up after another 20m on hold. I used the email contact which says they’ll get back to you in 4 hours. This was early afternoon yesterday, and yet to hear back from them.

    I’m back on hold trying to do this again. Anyone have any similar experiences or tips?

  49. @Mike
    First off, CWT is no longer working with Citi. It’s now https://www.aspirelifestyles.com/en. Their number for Citi Prestige users is 1-561-922-0158. The moment you reach them, ask them to take down your number and call you back in case the call drops. If they are incompetent, call the number on the back of your card and tell the agent the issues you stated here and the agent should straighten things out.

  50. Has anyone else had lots of problems with the new Aspire service? I first had a representative tell me that the hotel I wanted wasn’t eligible for the 4th night free, since the rate includes food and some other extras (apparently not true). I went ahead and booked the hotel directly since I was dealing with 30-40 minute wait times to just get someone on the line, and the (small) hotel was already near capacity. Now I’ve been trying for a week to get Citi/Aspire just to call the hotel and cancel/rebook my exact same reservation so that I can get the 4th night free. I have spoken to them at least 6 times…I called Citi to complain twice and got little help from them (they did give a small statement credit).

    With service like this, I will be hesitant to continue to pay the high annual fee for the Citi Prestige and would be very hesitant to recommend this “benefit” to any friends of mine. Perhaps even worse than the long hold times is the fact that they don’t offer to call you back when your place in the queue comes up…even Delta does that!

  51. Hi Lucky,

    I have had the Citi Prestige (Australian issued card) for a number of years and after reading this post decided to use this benefit – OMG, I wish I used it earlier!!! The concierge agent just used hotels.com website and we were able to talk through the booking in one phone call, she gave me a pricing straight away, no need to wait for them to return your email or be transferred to a hotels.com agent. Instantly saved > $700!!! And best of all, the discount was taken straight off the reservation, so no need to pay in full then get refund.

  52. Hi Lucky –

    I generally use Expedia to make Hotel bookings and am a part of their loyalty program. Do you think its possible to ask the concierge to make a 4 night Hotel booking using Expedia and then avail the 4th night free benefit?

  53. Hi Lucky, I just booked Conrad Bali for 4 nights. I got a credit for room rate only (no tax, no service charge credit). When I called them back about the credit, they amended the credit to include taxes, but not service charges. Still a good deal, but 4th night free is misleading. It is not free. You pay for service charge.

  54. Can you use this benefit to book 4 nights twice, consecutively, at the same hotel and get the 4th night free for both bookings?

  55. Do you have to prepay for the hotel with citi? Or do you pay at arrival? In other words, is the booking refundable?

    Also, say I book for 5 nights, but then want to change to 4. Will I get a full refund for that change and still get my 4th night free?

  56. Does anyone know if you only gonna stay 8 nights? Since we know we can’t stay at the same hotel for 8 nights straight, Can we just simply switch hotels? Do I need to call them twice ( make 2 booking in two separate order, hope CWT doesn’t aware I have another booking already.)

    thanks much

  57. I can’t seem to find a Conrad hotel in London with this 4th night free. I don’t see a list of hotels with this new aspire group.

  58. And all you had to do was spend $12k to get that $3k reimbursed 😉 Not many people that would drop that kind of cash on hotel stays in a single year.

    With that said, it’s absolutely excellent for business travelers who have 4+ night stays where they can pay with their own CC and get reimbursed by their company. Just outstanding in that case.

  59. I used Siri for the last post and did not read it before posting. Sorry

    Does this still work with Hyatt points and night credits? I have heard conflicting reports.

  60. If I”m staying 12 nights in a city, can I 1) book the exact same hotel for 3(+1) 3(+1) 3(+1) and get each of those nights for free? or 2) Just book 3 different hotels with a ‘free’ night in between?

  61. Jeremy,

    You need to stay at another hotel for at least one night. I’d recommend with 12 nights you would do the 3+1 three times, and you could go back to the first hotel for the third set.

  62. I was trying to book a 10 night stay in Bali, using this offer twice in 2 different hotels in Bali. However, the concierge refused to book 2 stays mentioning that the zip code has to be different with a minimum of 24 hour gap between the stays. Anyone run into this issue before?

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