Changes Coming To Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free Benefit?

Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige® Card is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.

Update: It seems like this is an error on Citi’s website, as they’ve confirmed there are no plans for such changes as of now. The fourth night free benefit can be used multiple times per year, and the below reference to the Citi Prestige Card “overview” has been there for months. See my updated post for more details.

You know the saying: “when it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

That’s how I’ve long felt about the Citi Prestige Card, which is the hottest all around credit card, in my opinion. It offers a fantastic sign-up bonus of 50,000 ThankYou points after spending $3,000 within the first three months.

Those 50,000 points can be redeemed for $800 worth of travel on American, or transferred to one of Citi’s fantastic ThankYou partners, like Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

But the sign-up bonus is only a secondary reason to get the Citi Prestige Card. The real reason to get it is because of the long term perks the card offers, which more than offset the $450 annual fee.

The card offers a $250 annual airline credit, which can be used for any purchase directly with an airline. If you spend at least $250 per year with airlines (which I think almost everyone reading this does), that lowers your real “out of pocket” with the card to $200 per year.

Citi-Prestige-Airline-Credit

Other than the above, what do you get for $200?

Plaza-Premium-Lounge-London-Heathrow - 15
Receive lounge access with both Priority Pass and American with the Citi Prestige Card

The single most valuable perk of the Citi Prestige Card is fourth night free hotel benefit, which I’ve gotten so much value from. In the first year alone, I’ve saved over a thousand dollars on hotels using this perk.

While there are a few programs which offer fourth night free hotel benefits, I don’t know of any which do it as “no strings attached” as the ones offered on this card. You can book any publicly available rate at thousands of hotels around the world (virtually all chain hotels are included, and even many independent hotels) and they’ll refund you for the cost of the fourth night.

You earn points and stay credits with your preferred program as you usually would, so it’s like booking directly with the hotel. See this post for more details on how the booking process works, and everything you need to know, though suffice to say that it’s an awesome benefit.

St-Regis-Bali-Lagoon-Villa - 4
I used my fourth night free benefit at the St. Regis Bali

While the card is valuable all around, this is the perk which truly will give you outsized value. And as I’ve said from the beginning, I can’t imagine it’ll stick around in its current form forever. Citi is subsidizing this benefit, as the hotels have nothing to do with this benefit — Citi is retroactively refunding the cost of the fourth night, unbeknownst to the hotel.

While the terms & conditions of the Citi Prestige Card haven’t been updated to reflect any changes to this benefit, reader Ben pointed out that the “Compare Cards” page on Citi’s website has the following verbiage regarding this benefit (bolding mine):

Enjoy a $250 air travel credit each year, complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club® lounges, plus hundreds of VIP lounges through Priority Pass Select, and an annual worldwide 4th night stay at any hotel property

“An annual 4th night stay” suggests the benefit can be used once per year, which is different than the current policy, where there’s no limit.

Now, it’s entirely possible that this is a typo due to departments not communicating correctly. At the same time, I’ve long said the benefit is too good to be true, and if they were to make a change, I’d say the above policy is the most reasonable change they could make.

You should still be able to book multiple fourth night free stays with the Citi Prestige Card, so if you don’t have the card yet, it’s another reason to pick it up. And if you already have the Citi Prestige Card and are considering using this benefit, perhaps make your bookings sooner rather than later.

Mark this as “developing,” as it’ll be interesting to see whether this restriction is applied at any point, or if it’s just poor phrasing on the part of Citi on one page of the internet.

Bottom line

The Citi Prestige Card is such a well rounded card, as it offers a great sign-up bonus, great return on everyday spend, and great perks. Those are the three things I look for in a card, and the Prestige checks all the boxes, and then some.

Right now the card offers outsized value, so if you haven’t yet applied you really should consider doing so. Even if the fourth night free benefit were limited to one stay per year, I’d still say the card offers incredible value.

Do you think the fourth night free benefit on the Citi Prestige Card will be restricted to once annually?

Comments

  1. Oops, you won’t be able to pump the card as hard anymore… Maybe the golf rounds are a killer benefits, aren’t they?

  2. I just checked site for Prestige and it says no limit so maybe they already “fixed” it (?) I’ve wondered how many people actually take advantage of this great benefit. If it goes mostly unused, it might stick around but as you state if it’s too good to be true and is heavily used, it’ll be pared back. Even one night a year will make the card “annual fee neutral.”

  3. @ Ricky — This only appears when you go to Citi’s website and click “Compare Cards,” and then select the Citi Prestige Card. It’ll be listed under the card overview.

  4. @lucky @Ricky — just checked the “Compare Cards” function, and it’s still there right under the picture of the card. If it makes you feel any better, as you scroll down the list of benefits, in the “Travel Benefits” section, it still says “4th night free at hotels.”

    We’ll see. I have taken advantage of this perk, and if it goes away, the only real benefit to me over the Amex PRG is 3x points at hotels. I mostly fly Delta, anyway, and have the Amex Platinum, so I’m covered on lounges.

  5. As someone who is playing the Doral blue monster course in 2 weeks (where the pros played this week) and last year using my golf benefit in Cabo at courses going for 300+ dollars a round. I can tell you that the golf benefit is a great perk of the card!

  6. It’s something of a throw-away benefit for me anyway. I tried to use it recently for a small boutique hotel (the kind where I actually like to stay), and after literally days of waiting and almost an hour total on the phone, the concierge concluded they couldn’t do it because of the weird payment system the hotel uses (involving PayPal, if I recall correctly).

    Other recent long hotel stays have been work-related and there are all sorts of requirements that prevent use of this benefit (e.g., required use of a corporate or conference-related travel portal).

    In all, I wouldn’t cry too hard if they eliminated the benefit entirely.

  7. I just got the card for this benefit. Will they let me cancel the card and refund my money of they remove the 4th night free perk? So annoying.

  8. The T/Cs say “enjoy a 4th night free”, which is ambiguous. But I just went to Compare Cards, and all I see is: “4th night free at hotels”; nothing about “annual”.

    Of course, they did fairly recently change the benefits of the Premier card. So maybe this is upcoming, and it was accidently posted sooner than intended, and was taken down once that came to their attention.

    So it could well be a preview of future changes they are planning. Nevertheless, having advertised this benefit as basically unlimited, if they do intend to change it, they would have to give advance notice to current cardholders.

  9. @ Robert Hanson — I still see it listed. When you go to citicards.com and click on “Compare Cards” on the main page, add the Citi Prestige Card, and under the “Overview” section you should see it listed.

  10. I have two reservations with Citi for a 4th night free for my upcoming summer vacation. At EUR 550 each night that is a EUR 1100 savings that I hope they do not change.

  11. @ jana — You can cancel the card at anytime. Just trying to understand how different people use the card, so I’m curious, do you not think the card would be worthwhile without it? Keep in mind that before you’re billed for your second year’s annual fee you’ll be getting two $250 airline credits, so you might as well keep the card for a year and get a total of $500 in airline credits for a $450 annual fee, not accounting for all the card’s other great benefits.

  12. @lucky Using this as a business card to tack on a free hotel night at the end for ourselves 🙂

  13. https://www.citi.com/credit-cards/credit-card-details/citi.action?ID=citi-prestige-card still reads ‘Extend your trip with a complimentary night at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4-consecutive-night booking. There’s no limit to the number of times you can use this benefit, so go ahead and stay a little bit longer.’ however footnote references https://www.citi.com/credit-cards/additional-info/citi.action?ID=AdditionalInfo-CitiPrestige which does NOT have information on this benefit.

    Then there’s https://online.citi.com/US/JRS/portal/template.do?ID=GACBenefits&JFP_TOKEN=X7XGA4S5#/hotels which says ‘Enjoy a complimentary 4th night at any hotel property when your stay is charged to your card. Extend your stay with a complimentary night at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4-consecutive-night booking. There’s no limit to the number of times you can use this benefit, so go ahead and stay a little bit longer. Reservations must be made through the Citi Prestige Travel Advisor and you must pay for your stay with your card.’ Foot note contains: ‘ou will enjoy a complimentary fourth night with no black-out dates, when you book four consecutive nights at any hotel booked by a personal travel advisor designated by MasterCard (the “designated travel advisor” is Carlson Wagonlit Travel). Bookings made through other methods such as, travel agents, websites or directly with a hotel will not qualify. Rate quoted must be equal or lower than best rate available at hotel’s website. To receive your complimentary night you must: 1) Make a reservation for a minimum, consecutive four-night stay by contacting the Citi Prestige Concierge, to book directly with a designated travel advisor. 2) Fully pay for your stay with a Citi Prestige Card. Hotel imposed fees and incidental guest charges are the cardmember’s responsibility. The value of the complimentary night will be the actual rate on that applicable fourth night of the reservation, even if the rate is different from the rate on other nights. You will be charged the total cost of the stay at checkout and will receive a credit to your credit card statement for the cost of the complimentary night (and the applicable taxes) within two billing periods following the month in which travel was completed. If you book a special pre-paid rate, this may require upfront payment in full at time of booking, you will receive a credit to your credit card statement within two billing periods following the date of purchase. This benefit can only be used by each primary account. All travel must be booked and travel started for this benefit by December 31, 2014. Please see International Complimentary Night Hotels and Resorts Program in the Citi Prestige Card Terms and Conditions.’

    Hard to tell…

  14. I’m chatting to a rep. Bad news 🙁

    I’ve considered applying for Prestige for a while now
    […]: at 10:35:33
    However today I’ve read about a terms change on Prestige “4th night” benefit
    […]: at 10:36:00
    It has changed to “an annual worldwide 4th night stay”
    […]: at 10:36:06
    What effect does it have?
    […]: at 10:36:18
    Is it once a year now?
    Alysia: at 10:36:36
    That is correct.
    […]: at 10:37:08
    So that’s reducing the value of this benefit?
    […]: at 10:37:23
    Not that I ever had it…
    Alysia: at 10:38:14
    That is correct, however, there are no longer foreign transaction
    fees with this card.
    […]: at 10:38:32
    That’s not very unique
    […]: at 10:38:47
    Most travel cards dropped transactions fees at this points as you may know
    […]: at 10:39:04
    Is this change effective immediately and for existing users as well?
    Alysia: at 10:39:56
    Please allow me a moment to check on that for you.
    […]: at 10:40:44
    OK
    Alysia: at 10:41:40
    Thank you for your patience.
    Alysia: at 10:42:01
    This does effect everyone, existing or new and it is effective.

  15. @ JW — I wouldn’t put too much weight into what the rep said. I just spoke to the concierges and they weren’t aware of such a change. The fact that the rep references foreign transaction fees having just been eliminated suggest she may not be on top of things.

  16. Yeah – I think that was just a clueless rep and I think it was sloppy writing of that blurb in the compare cards page. My guess is that they meant to say “annual” in front of the airline fee credit.

  17. Meh – mixed views here. The concierge was very helpful and even changed the reservation when rates dropped 20%. The hotel had all the correct information and applied my status so when we arrived everything was taken care of. The problems were that the concierge service calls started taking a lot longer (especially hold times) after the switch in concierge services. Then the charge appeared twice on my credit card (once from the hotel and once from Citi travel something) which is an issue for those of us that use these cards heavily and a couple thousand in extra charges reduces our overall limit. And the credit hasn’t appeared though apparently that takes an extra cycle.

    And over a month after my trip, I still don’t have points applied to my hotel membership account. While the benefit has been valuable, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time emailing and calling to get things sorted out.

    Plus as a business traveler I rarely stay in a hotel longer than 2-3 nights so its only for personal vacations which are not as frequent.

  18. This is another terrible post based on speculation that only raises questions and eyebrows from all sides. Why don’t you report on facts instead of pointing out little things that may lead to changes, especially when those changes are a bad thing for consumers? Stop doing that please!

    Need to promote your credit card partner? Find an alternative way. Your readers know you do it often and make up some good excuses to “remind” us of the cards. So does TPG. But keep being creative instead of speculative on program changes.

  19. Nooo! I hope this is just an oversight/typo…this is one of the best perks of this card IMO. I’ve used it twice so far and have two more booking pending where it should be applied. If this change is made, I hope existing reservations are included at least. Citi has replaced Chase as my go-to at this point, just hope it doesn’t sour too fast 🙂

  20. According to another prominent blogger in this points world, Citi has confirmed changes to the 4th Night benefit are NOT coming. Was a mistake. 4th night free is still as many times as you want as long as it’s booked through their concierge. #PHEW!

  21. @Al
    How is this post “promoting” the Prestige card? If anything, the thing to do regarding “promoting” the card is to not mention the devaluation and bury the lead in any general card evaluation articles. The people on that complain about the articles seem to forget that a big part of these articles is to stay on top of the points game, and they have free-will of not reading them.

  22. Here is a question that I am sure has been asked before, but it just occurred to me. If one of your purchases during the first 3 months is an airline ticket and receives the $250 credit, does that $250 still count towards the $3000 spend?

  23. I couldn’t help but think all the bloggers that are constantly saying things like “this benefit is too good to be true” or “take advantage of this offer while you still can” has killed off another lucrative benefit/offer. I’m looking at you TPG who’s constantly pumping this card and all the free nights they get out of it.

    I don’t have this card yet, but it is on my radar and it would be a shame if they eliminated this benefit.

  24. I agree with Al. Too much talk about good benefits and alas, reps ffrom the company will kill the benefit because they do read the blogs. It happened with the credit card funding of Citigold accounts because all the bloggers talked about it. All the talk about great First class deals to Panama and alas, those great fares are no more. Let sleeping dogs lie and stop talking about things too good to be true because a company rep will see the post (and they probably already have), look into it, agree with you and poof, it’s gone.

  25. Meh – even if it’s true, the 4th night benefit is probably the least useful to me. I wander around a lot when I travel, and so rarely stay in one spot for 4 nights at a time. Now, what I really should do is learn how to play golf, and use the three free rounds per year. That alone can be worth more than the annual fee, even if you don’t use the $250 air credit.

  26. Hi Ben, I am intrigued with this card for the Prestige Club access, $250 airline credit and 4th night. I already have a Lifetime Admiral’s Club card, so that I don’t need. Do they have a discount if the Admiral’s Club isn’t needed.

    Chase had a similar card for Continental Club access, and a year later they gave a reduced rate to Lifetime President’s Club members and I got the card then. I primarily keep that one for ability to use First Class line at check in and boarding.

  27. @ David M — There’s no reduced rate if you have an Admirals Club membership, though the other benefits of the card still more than justify the annual fee, in my opinion. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  28. For what it’s worth, I just checked on archive.org and went to the Citi website, and this verbiage has been there since at least September of last year. I have a feeling that it’s more a case of miscommunication than an actual change happening to the card. http://i.imgur.com/AU5OGP3.png

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