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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I used the fourth night free benefit at the W Hotel St. Petersburg
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?