Citi Prestige’s Fourth Night Free Is Still My Single Favorite Credit Card Perk

In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!

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

A few months back some major changes were announced to the Citi Prestige Card. It used to be my single favorite credit card by a long shot, though now that several changes have been made, it sure doesn’t seem quite as lucrative by comparison.

Citi-Prestige

Just today I used this card’s best benefit again, and it reminded me that this card is still incredible, even if it’s not quite as good as it used to be.

The Citi Prestige Card has a $450 annual fee, though you get a $250 annual airline credit. That credit can be used towards any purchase directly with an airline, be it the cost of a ticket, the taxes on an award ticket, baggage fees, etc. Therefore I value this benefit more or less at face value.

Citi-Prestige-Credit-1

Before you’re billed the first year’s annual fee you’ll actually receive two of these credits, so you’ll be “up” $50.

However, long term let’s say that the card’s “out of pocket” cost is $200 per year (that’s the $450 annual fee minus the $250 airline credit). Let’s forget about the Global Entry fee credit and the Priority Pass membership and some of the other perks for a moment.

This card continues to offer a fourth night free hotel perk, which I consider to be the single most lucrative perk offered by any credit card. In the first year I’ve had the card, that perk alone has saved me over $2,000.

Andaz-West-Hollywood-Hotel-29
I‘ve used the fourth night free benefit at the Andaz West Hollywood many times

How does the Citi Prestige Card’s fourth night free benefit work?

While a lot of credit cards offer some type of “free night” hotel benefit, there are usually major strings attached. Citi Prestige’s fourth night free benefit is the most straightforward out there. To sum up the basics:

  • You need to call the Citi Prestige concierge to book (that service is provided by Aspire Lifestyle Concierge)
  • They can book virtually any chain hotel for you, and even many independent hotels
  • They can book pre-paid rates, AAA rates, promotional rates, etc.; if the rate is publicly available, they can book it for you and apply a fourth night free
  • You earn points and stay credits for your stay as if you booked directly with the hotel
  • Citi reimburses the cost of the fourth night on the back end, so you even earn stay credits and hotel points for the full cost of the four nights (you need to use your Citi Prestige Card to pay for the stay)

For a bit more on the process, see my previous post about this benefit.

St-Regis-Bali-Resort - 2
I used the fourth night free benefit at the St. Regis Bali

What’s changing about this benefit?

Unfortunately the fourth night free benefit wasn’t completely unaffected by the recent changes to the card, though the changes could have been much worse. As of July 23, 2017, the fourth night free benefit will be calculated based on the average nightly rate of your complete stay, and taxes will no longer be included in the statement credit.

While I don’t love that taxes are no longer being reimbursed for the fourth night, this could have been much worse. They could have limited the dollar amount that can be saved through this benefit, or the number of times you can use it. In the grand scheme of things these changes aren’t a big deal at all.

W-Hotel-St-Petersburg-Russia - 10
I used the fourth night free benefit at the W Hotel St. Petersburg

Bottom line

While I’m disappointed in the changes that have been made to the Citi Prestige Card I think that this card continues to offer an incredible value proposition. On the most basic level, you’re paying $200 per year “out of pocket” (assuming you value the airline credit at face value) for an incredible fourth night free hotel benefit.

You’ll come out even on the card just by using it once at a $200 per night hotel. However, you can get so much more value out of this, as you can use it over and over, and can even use it at super high-end hotels that go for $1,000+ per night.

For those who have the Citi Prestige Card, have you used the fourth night free hotel benefit recently?

Regarding Comments: The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  1. I love the idea of this perk but in practice I have only used it once or twice. It has made me realize I rarely spend 4 consecutive nights in one place. The times I do I’m usually using free nights, points, or just renting an apartment via AirBnB.

  2. I agree this is a great perk. However, with the CSR this is fast becoming the ONLY reason to use this card. Also, most people with full time desk jobs has on average of 2 weeks of paid vacation a year, which severely limits their ability to use this perk consistently.

    I am an example of the above-referenced desk person. I’m seriously having a debate about whether or not to cancel this card after the $250 credit resets in January. I’m tempted to keep it until July to keep enjoying the Admiral Club benefits. But I am also tempted to save myself $450 bucks. Decisions >.<

  3. lucky – this perk sees to be unusable for almost all Aman properties due to the “no casita” rule – have you found any way around this?

  4. I’ve used this twice in past couple of months. i do not find the concierge service to be quick or reliable. In both cases I called, gave the information about where/when i wanted a reservation and was told I’d get an email in about 48 hours. After 4-5 days I called back only to find out that in the first case, nothing had been done. In the second, a reservation had been made but no case record had been created in their system. After time on hold the rep “found the reservation confirmation from the hotel in their “inbox” and made a case record for me. But if I hadn’t followed up and stayed at the hotel and paid for the hotel stay with my Prestige, I would not have gotten the fourth night free until I realized it never credited and called back and asked them to research.
    Overall, I’m not at all impressed. In my case, the benefit has been a hassle, and at some point, 45 minutes on the phone in 2 calls for a free night at a hotel isn’t worth my time. It would have to be a really expensive stay for the math to work for me.
    YMMV.

  5. I’ve used this benefit a ton, especially earlier this year when my wife and I decided to take a sabbatical from our jobs and travel the world and were living in hotels. I do have two ways that this benefit could be improved. I wish there would be a way to utilize this benefit by booking online. It was tough at times to make reservations while traveling overseas as wait times were often 15+ minutes and a lot of the Aspire concierge agents seem to be very incompetent. Lots of my calls would average 45 minutes just to make a hotel reservation. Also, would be great if we can leverage this benefit with Virtuoso bookings.

  6. Having to call is really a huge hassle, and such a waste of resources on Citi’s side. Why not just let guest book themselves and submit receipts later to get the last night refunded? BTW do you know what engine the concierge uses to book the hotels? If it’s some non-chain hotels that are available on , say, Orbitz, would they be able to book them? How about hostels? Is there a lowest limit of the nightly rate?

  7. I love 4th night free benefit of CP. However, its redemption sucks. Case in point is my last check out on Sept 5, 2016. Six weeks passed by and still dont have credit on my card.

    To avoid long waiting time on the phone, here’s what I do:
    1) get all booking details – hotel name, address, check in and check out dates, preferred rate
    2) send an email to Citi Concierge
    3) you will receive a confirmation email with case ID indicating that response will be provided within 24-48 hrs
    4) once the booking details arrived, call Citi Conciege and provide the case ID to the representative

    If they dont have your card number and loyalty number, they will ask for it. This will typically last for 4-8 mins.

  8. Yeah on the rare occasions I do spend 4 nights in a row in the same place, it’s normally a super expensive place where I’m using points. So this Thanksgiving will be the first time I actually use it

  9. I’ve used this once this year and have a second one booked for next month, saving me nearly $500. Already have one booked for February as well.

    Great for long weekends…

  10. Has anyone had trouble getting SPG points for a past stay booked thru Citi? I used the 4th night free benefit at a Starwood property for the first time in late August and am still trying to get the points. My SPG confirm email and the info in my online account said it was a flexible rate but the points never posted. The first agent I talked to said it was ineligible because I “didn’t book it directly with Starwood” which I didn’t think was true so I tried HUCA and the second agent said she could see that it was an eligible rate “at one time” but it wasn’t letting her process it and there was nothing she could do. I have sent it off to the research department but who knows what they will say.

  11. The last time I (tried) to use this benefit, the concierge told me Citi no longer reimburses rates that include breakfast, and if a rate is available that does not include breakfast that that is the rate that has to be booked. Lucky have you run into this?

  12. I use the fourth-night free benefit regularly. In the past few months, I’ve used it three times. At first, the credit posited quickly, but now I’m still waiting for one from a mid-August stay along with two others in early September.

    Without this perk, I might rethink the card especially since I now have a Chase Sapphire Reserve as well. Most of the latter’s benefits duplicate those of the Citi Prestige, but the 100,000-point bonus was too tempting to pass up. The bottom line, though, is a $150 annual charge plus points that more than wash that out. My problem now is wondering which card to use.

  13. Just used on a four night stay in NYC saving me over $500. Plan to do the same for Los Angeles for another $300 or so. Agree it has to be the right situation but I have already used it twice and would estimate I can get $400-$800/year on this without too much hassle. The downside is that the new Citi rules will actually cause me to renew for $450, instead of going for another card and getting the bonus, (since you have to wait 2 years after closing it). I guess good call on their part.

  14. They took the golf benefit away. The 4th night free is a way for Lucky to promote the card and get clicks. it’s a nightmare to book. Imagine if Citi reimbursed the cardholder for the delays
    Basically they signed up as many as they could with all the great credits. They cut the credits. They hope most will not notice for a while if ever and rake in the high card fee.

    Those who do notice switch to Chase sapphire

  15. What hotel brands are OK to book with Citi Concierge, so hotel elite membership perks will be honored?
    Should it be a specific rate code, like HHonors only rate, etc. ?

  16. I’ve used it a couple of times and it saved me over $500. The thing I’ll miss more are the three free rounds of golf. I’ve played five great courses, I probably never would have paid to play, and plan to play four more before the benefit expires. Is there another card that offers anything similar?

  17. Oh look he used the fourth night free benefit at the Andaz West Hollywood many times! And it’s only about $400 a day! So if you’re willing to spend $1200 for a hotel to sleep in for 3 nights, this is piece of cake! Most of us spend $1200 in a month. It’s crazy how out of touch this blog has become with the reality of the country. Not long ago this kid was picking up coke cans from the trash to redeem for My Coke rewards..lol

  18. I still have $36 left for credit on my Prestige. Can I purchase a airline gift card and get $36 back on it?

  19. I called and booked a few hotels in the past two weeks. It was a huge difference from all of my previous experiences. They no longer use Carlson Wagonlit travel, rather it was the Citi Concierge making the reservation. It was nice that I didn’t have to do the emails back and forth, but she was uninformed about hotels as she’s not a travel agent. She also said she could only book the lowest rate available, nothing with breakfast, or other specials, as they have in the past. I was also told they didn’t know what hotels had Matercard World Elite benefits and that those benefits could not be combined with 4th night free. Just in August I booked the Four Seasons in Austin and was able to get a host of MasterCard perks, and 4th night.

    It looks as though the MasterCard World Elite benefits are no longer associated with the card.

    Really disappointed in where the card is headed and with the reduced 4th night benefit, its losing its appeal.

  20. @royco – must say I agree with you other than your last douche comment about Coke bottle caps. It’s unnecessary and adds nothing. I will say I find myself going to other blogs more and more. This blog is losing perspective. This is not a blog FOR a travel blogger and I’m curious to know why Ben feels this is the best card out there because HE has saved x amount without recognizing the average Joe wouldn’t save nearly that amount. Would it still be considered a no-brainer 3 years ago when you were more down to earth? The average person doesn’t stay at a hotel for 4 plus nights all too often. Like others have said if they do they’re using points, corporate card etc. I recognize some do but I would suspect the overwhelming majority of people would NOT find this card a no brainer any longer. Just my opinion. YMMV.

  21. Ben I think you should recognize not everyone can use their personal cards for work unlike yourself. It’s just the way it is and more power to you.

    What I don’t understand is when anyone asks or questions anything about referrals, not being grounded etc, the bloggers are silent.

    In my view, it’s irresponsible to tell the average person the prestige has the single best perk when we all known, I would argue yourself included, the CSR for the average consumer has by far the best perk for the average consumer not spending 500 a night in a hotel. Which I would argue just proves how removed you have become.

    The average person doesn’t stay at the ritz, fly first on xyz airline 90% if the time or go to Laos or wherever for their SO’s birthday. The face you can is great. But I think it needs called out that us not the normal fir most.

  22. @ Shawn — Maybe it’s semantics, but what perk are you referring to with the CSR? I totally agree that the CSR is better than the Prestige for everyday spend. My point was simply that I think the Prestige has the single best perk. I can’t think of another card that has a perk I value more. I’m not saying the perk is worth it for everyone, but am quite clearly trying to lay out under which circumstances it makes sense. If you can get more than ~$200 per year out of the fourth night free perk, you’ll come out ahead on this card. That’s all I’m saying.

  23. The card works extremely well for me. I have been traveling in Asia since September 3rd and I have used the 4th night free nine times on this trip. Eight times with Starwood and once with Hyatt. All eight Starwood stays were over a Friday or Saturday night and earned triple points on all four nights.

    Because of the fourth night free I have found myself staying less on points at hotels and focusing more on earning Starwood points for their airline transferability. I will finish this year with about 600,000 Starwood points which should feed my international First Class fetish for a while.

    It generally takes a fifteen minute phone call to make the reservation. I wish they had a direct line to the Concierge so you don’t have to go through the prompts. Quality of the reps is a little variable but I have never had to hang up and call back.

  24. Ben,

    I think an average person would value the CSR 1.5 redemption more. I don’t remember the last time I stayed 4 nights in a row at a single place. Another thing to consider is that if you want the cheapest rooms, many websites have discount codes that would lower the average room cost. Citi is able to provide the 4th night totally free because the free night is being offset by the commission it’s getting from the first 3 nights. This is also why the luxury resort collection (Amex/Visa Signature) are able to provide extra perks like food credit/room check out for the same price as the standard rate.

  25. I have used this only once in June for a non-refundable prepaid hotel for my August stay (saving around $260), so far no credit yet and I was suppose to receive that credit within 1-2 billing cycles (for prepaid). I sent an email a week ago and they forwarded to the reconciliation team.. it may take up to 10 business days, so far “nada”.

    I was going to use it for two more stays in December/January, but I think I will cancel this CC after all at the end of the year.

  26. Called up once to book a hostel in Singapore and the concierge lady found the property I wanted then stopped and said, “wait is this a hostel? The 4th night benefit cannot be used at hostels.” I said yes, what difference does it make? You’ve found it in your system at the same price I see…

    No luck in booking simply because it was described as hostel. I asked where it says this in rules and she couldn’t say. So stupid.

    I’ll get my travel credit again next January and cancel/product change the card before next annual fee, especially with all the negative changes. Would only keep with some kind of retention bonus. Maybe it’ll be easy when I explain I’ve only been using CSR lately – not sure how it works.

  27. @Luis – The reason you cannot book the hotel online is because Citi is acting as your travel agent for booking the hotel; maybe they get 15% (+or-) as a fee. So they get app. 45% of your free night for being a travel agent, you get the 55% benefit free at their loss (looks like a free night to us). They do this to attract more of your business.

  28. @Luis – You must realize that Virtuoso and Citi are in essence two different travel agencies competing for your dollar. I love Virtuoso, and I also like a night free. Push comes to shove, pick which benefit serves you better for each booking. You cannot have both.

  29. I don’t know why people are complaining about this card. It is a traveler’s card, not a golf card, not an American Airlines discount card. Personally I think our own community may be partially responsible for benefits being reduced. People reap benefits, drop the card, never spend money on it other than the spend down. Like it or not, banks issuing these cards are not stupid. When they realize that the travel hacking community is costing them too much money, they cut back. I think it is entirely possible that if every hacker kept every card for at least two years, and actually let a bank make a few bucks off of them, that you would not see the removal of Amex points recently, or the drop of Citi benefits. Back to the original topic, my wife and I have both used the air travel benefits and have easily booked hotels in 15 minutes without a problem. Our next hotel benefit is in the Fairmont Chateau Frontenac in Quebec. We are actually making money on this card quite easily. Again, it is a traveler’s card. If you do not travel more than once or twice a year, it may not be for you. The Priority Pass has also been a nice perk.

  30. It’s a hell of a perk. I have a couple Four Seasons stays coming up where I need big suites to entertain clients/colleagues, and I’m getting $2700 back on one stay, and $1300 on another. Can’t beat that.

  31. Used this last week at a Starwood Luxury Collection Hotel. Stay posted as non-qualifying and Starwood say it’s because I booked through an agent. If this is how it goes I’ll be canceling the card when the fee hits next month, there is no other reason to keep it beyond this perk.

  32. Mike – I think you’re just as “out of touch” with the average person as lucky is! I’m willing to wager most people don’t “travel” – they go on holiday about once a year and will most likely stay in the same hotel for more than 3 nights.

  33. Ben – I get what you’re saying and I think it’s great you are able to use this benefit. You have built an awesome blog and have the ability to stay at many FHR properties as part of your job. I would do that as well. So yes in your case I can see why you would value that benefit.

    I travel way more than most. Twice a month generally all for pleasure. The last time I used this benefit was in Budapest in April. I just don’t travel for longer than 4 nights unless it’s on points, VRBO so we have more room with the kids etc. I think this is the general person. Understanding there are people who can get major value out of this card I think the majority of people will get more value out of the CSR 3x on travel and restaurants or really even with the Amex platinum.

    I’m not trying to be critical and I love your blog but sometimes I do feel you’re out of touch with the average traveler which I consider myself a part. Sure I’ve stayed at the Hyatt vendome, park Hyatt Vienna, intercontinetal’s before but it’s occasionally. So if I maybe can get one or two stays out of a card which nixed AA club access and golf (which I value more in my situation) is it worth keeping? I would say no. The point isn’t just to possibly break even.

  34. My card renewal comes up in April. I am spending 4 nights in 1 place in May, but am using IHG points for it. Other than that, most of my travel after April is likely to not make 4 nights and I won’t be able to get good value out of this card anymore, so I am probably going to cancel (especially since we will lose Admirals Club access). I’ll be under 5/24 by then and can get Chase Sapphire Reserve for the Priority Pass lounge access.

  35. Lucky,
    While the is benefit looks good on paper, it has been a nightmare for me to use and redeem . In every instance of my 7 times using it, I have had to call multiple times to get my credit back. Right now, I am 8 weeks later waiting for a credit of over $1000. Complete BS. Also BS, they say they cannot use it for individually owned properties, even if they are in a huge data base of a system. They credited me back one night in Hawaii for a condo that was operated by Aqua hotels, yet turned me down for a property in MX, even though it was offered on a huge database system of a hotel reservation website. They said the condo was individually owned so it didn’t qualify as it was considered an apartment rental. It was offered on booking.com, hotels.com , kayak.com all that stuff. Complete crap, IMO. And on top of it, they do not get the best rates. I am staying at your recommended Sofitel Hotel in Cartagena, CO in the next month and the rate I got from Citi concierge was 20% higher than if I booked on Accord’s website or others’. They said they could only book on the hotel website and without any member rates. Still, with the 4th night free (if I ever get it, after calling a million times) it saved me money. I don’t know, it think the whole thing is messed up and the customer service is horrible. I mean, horrible. I have had some of the most idiotic agents ever answering the phone there…they have zero clue what they are doing. Overall, it is probably worth it, but the hassle of it all is a PITA.

  36. @Lucky — It seems like people are reporting very different anecdotal experiences with the Citi 4th night free benefit, perhaps partially because of the recent change in the concierge provider. I’ve had the card for a year but never used the 4th night benefit yet. I’m interested in potentially using it a luxury or bespoke hotel/resort.

    I see that some people are saying the benefit isn’t allowed at Aman resorts, and others report it not being valid with rates that include breakfast and other such restrictions. Has this been a recent change in your experience as well? I wonder if you used the Citi Prestige for your recent stays at the Aman resorts you visited in Asia? I also notice that many upscale hotels will frequently offer free 3rd, 4th, or 5th night offers — as you’ve previously documented. It seems like there has been varying reports on the ability to stack these with the Citi benefit. The big question is if Citi is starting to be much more restrictive with utilizing this benefit?

  37. In my experience, I have never had a problem. You can not get the orbitz rate, or some other third party deal. I found the deals I wanted on the site of the hotel of my choice, then called citi, booked it with no problem. I think that a lot of people may be trying to go through a 3rd party booking agent and then trying to get citi to match those rates. It simply does not work that way. The way to work it is to go to the hotel of your choice, find your rate, and then book it through citi. You simply can not stack this deal.

  38. God, all of the commenters on this site are insufferable.

    1) No better perk – correct and factual. CSR does not reimburse you for a 4th night, thereby turning this card into a profit center. If you literally do one trip with 4 nights somewhere you make a profit on this card. Use the CSR for everything else.

    2) I don’t stay anywhere for 4 nights – then you don’t travel anywhere. I am sorry, but 2 nights in anywhere other than Indianapolis isn’t enough. I’ve done 4 nights in a number of major European cities. I’ve done 3 nights in even more places without this card.

    3) I am “insert lame desk jockey position” and I only get 2 weeks off and can’t use this card – once again, you suck. Take an extended weekend off, boom, 4 nights. Take a Thurs/Friday off and roll it into a holiday weekend – boom, 4 nights.

    And finally, bitching about a person writing a blog and making money is lame as fuck. You benefit from the reviews, the pictures, the suggestions, but you get all pissed because someone makes a referral fee from a card? You complain because people on this blog aren’t staying in hostels to highlight the cheapest travel experience possible?

    Simple ass people. Not everyone who reads this site is poor or low income. Not everyone who reads this site is looking for the most bare bones experience possible. Not everyone who reads this site only takes 2 days per city. So before you piss and moan about the site not catering to McDonald’s workers traveling on credit card points, realize that the site caters to a number of different income levels and travel experience levels. If you want nothing but purely frugal travel, check out another site. But jesus christ, stop whining like a little girl. A broke ass little girl.

  39. Lucky, looking at a Hotel which has a breakfast & 4th night free rate and T&C’s suggest fourth night will be credited on check-out. How (if at all) would this be combined with Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit?

  40. @porky
    The 4th night benefits from Prestige it totally separate from the whatever deal the hotel is offering. For instance I am booked into a resort in Mexico this Feb that offers fifth night free. Since I booked via Citi I will get that and also another night from the card benefits, i.e. I will only be paying for 3 nights. Win!

    As long as the concierge can book the same offer with the hotel when you call them you are golden. The confirmation they send you will specifically outline the terms and rebate you receive after the stay.

    Hope that helps.

  41. @DougG, thanks for that.

    Another question, can the benefit be used 2x when you split a reservation in the same hotel? For example, say I book a 4-day stay prepaid (via Aspire), and then book a points stay for day 5 (3rd party OTA rate or points), and then book another 4-stay (via Aspire).

  42. I opened a Citi Prestige card and received it on Dec 2, and activated same day. I didn’t spend anything eligible for airline credit until Dec 15, yet they ended the billing cycle on Dec 13. Do you know why the billing cycle was that short, and if there is anything I can do? I had no idea the billing cycle would be that short.

    Thanks!

    PS -Love the blog – I’ve opened several credit cards through your link, and 5 of my friends all opened cards through your link for an upcoming trip because of the 4th night credit

  43. I’m wondering if there’s any way I can cancel this card before the actual stay? Can I prepay and receive the credit for a November stay, and cancel the card in July?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *