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I’d argue the single most well rounded credit card is the Citi Prestige Card, thanks to its excellent sign-up bonus, great return on everyday spend, and almost too-good-to-be-true perks. The single most valuable perk of this card is the fourth night free hotel benefit, which I’ve written about extensively.
In addition to the 40,000 point sign-up bonus upon completing minimum spend, the card offers:
- 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
While several credit cards offer “free” hotel night benefits, they almost always come with a bunch of terms. In the case of the Citi Prestige Card, the perk is as “no strings attached” as it gets. You can use the perk for virtually any publicly available rate.
I use it all the time for stays with Hyatt and Starwood, where I’ll book a pre-paid or AAA rate using the Citi Prestige Card benefit, and then the fourth night is reimbursed after the stay. Perhaps best of all, as far as the hotel is concerned you paid for all four nights (since the refund happens behind the scenes and directly to your credit card), so you even earn hotel points, stay credits, etc., for the “free night.”
In January Citi made changes to their concierge service, which has actually simplified the booking process and make the perk even more valuable, in my opinion.
I’ve covered the fourth night free benefit in great detail, though I learned something new about it the other day, which I suspect some of you will find valuable.
I’ve often been asked whether the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free perk can be used in conjunction with a fourth night free offer from the hotel directly. I’ve always said the answer is “no,” and while that’s still the case, there is a way to score two free nights on a Citi Prestige Card booking.
Let me explain.
How to score two free nights on one stay with the Citi Prestige Card
A friend made me aware of this a while back, though I didn’t have a chance to test it out until today.
Basically my friend explained that he booked a hotel which was offering a fifth night free directly, and he was able to combine that with a fourth night free offer through the Citi Prestige Card. As he explained it, as long as the first four nights show the full rate, you can combine it with the fourth night free.
I was skeptical, so decided to test it out myself.
I noticed that the Four Seasons Punta Mita is offering a fifth night free promotion (there’s also a third night free promotion, but remember that we want the full rate to display for the first four nights, or else we can’t use the Citi Prestige Card perk).
When you look at the cost of a stay, you’ll see that while the front-end shows an average nightly rate of $520, the back-end reservations system shows a rate of $650 per night for the first four nights, and then a rate of $0 for the last night. That’s the key to making this work.
So I called the Citi Prestige Card concierge on two occasions to verify, and both times the agents agreed — the above is eligible for the fourth night free benefit.
In other words, if booking the above with the Citi Prestige Card, you’d be refunded for the total cost of the fourth night. Including the 29% tax and service charge that comes out to $838.50.
So the fourth and fifth night would be completely free, and the total after the refund would be $2,515.50.
I clarified this in both instances and said “just to clarify, I can combine the fourth night free offered by Citi with the fifth night free offered by Four Seasons?”
One agent responded “as far as Citi is concerned, as long as the fourth night cost is full price, that’s what will be reimbursed. They don’t care what you get directly from the hotel after that.”
Here’s the cherry on top. The company which handles the Citi Prestige Card concierge, Aspire Lifestyles Concierge, is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner. That means you’ll get the following perks when booking with them:
- Daily full American breakfast for two people per bedroom, served through In-Room Dining or in the hotel restaurant (including buffets)
- Food and beverage credit of USD100
- Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in (excluding signature suites and villas)
Circumstances under which this won’t work
Just for the sake of research, I decided to inquire about a similar offer for a five night stay at the St. Regis Punta Mita. The St. Regis Punta Mita has a fourth night free offer.
My initial assumption was that this wouldn’t work, given that you can’t combine two fourth night free offers. After all, both Starwood and Citi would be taking off the cost of that fourth night.
However, when I looked at the rate description, I noticed that the discount was actually averaged into the cost of the five nights. In other words, the normal rate is $625 per night, though with the fourth night free, the rate was averaged down to $500 per night.
Since the fourth night rate wasn’t $0, I figured there was some hope.
While the agent saw the rate, he said it wouldn’t work, even though there’s the same rate for all five nights. His explanation?
“When the reconciliation team goes to verify this booking, they’ll see that the fourth night is free from the rate description, and they won’t be okay with that.” So I suspect some agents might be willing to book it since there is a cost associated with the fourth night in practice, but in theory it shouldn’t be allowed. Like I said, both of the (competent) agents I got denied that request.
The Citi Prestige Card fourth night free hotel benefit is incredible, and I get emails and comments all the time from readers talking about how delighted they are by it. Most assume there are a bunch of “catches,” and then are delighted when they actually go to book.
While this only works under certain circumstances (where the first four nights are charged at the normal rate), the ability to basically get two free nights on a five night stay is awesome. You just have to find hotels which have a fifth night free, where the first four nights show the standard cost. This is pretty common at Four Seasons, and perhaps there are other hotels out there as well.
This is a huge win for those who like to book luxury hotels, especially since Aspire Lifestyles is a Four Seasons Preferred Partner.
Unfortunately this doesn’t work when a hotel is offering a third or fourth night free, however.
Have you ever combined the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free perk with another promotion to maximize your stay?