My Latest Experience Using The Citi Prestige Fourth Night Free Benefit

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The fourth night free on the Citi Prestige Card is my single favorite benefit offered by any credit card. This benefit has saved me thousands of dollars. For example, in my first year of card membership, the benefit saved me over $2,000, and it has saved me even more since then.

About a month ago I discovered that these fourth night free bookings could actually be made by email, with the Citi Prestige’s concierge. Previously I always called, which was a time consuming process. It was still totally worth it, but if I can help it, I’ll avoid spending 30 minutes on the phone.

When I wrote about my positive experience making a fourth night free booking by email, some commented that they didn’t have as stellar of an experience. I wasn’t sure if I just got lucky or what, but I figured I’d report back on my second experience of making a Citi Prestige Card fourth night free booking by email.

Ford wanted to plan a birthday trip to Hawaii. I’ve been to Hawaii maybe three times in my life, so I was open to the idea, even though it’s not a place I’d ever ask to go. I’ve never been to Hawaii with Ford, so I imagine just by going with him I’ll enjoy it more than in the past. I figured this would be the a good opportunity to check out the Andaz Maui, as well as a couple of other properties.

Andaz-Maui

We decided to book four nights at the Andaz, so I made the booking by email. Since others reported frustration with the Citi Prestige concierge by email, I figured I’d share the email I sent:

Hi there,

I was hoping I could make a booking using the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit. Here’s the info:
Hotel: Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
Room:
Dates:
Rate:
AAA number:
Last four digits of credit card:
World of Hyatt loyalty program number:

Please let me know if you need any further information. It could be great if you could lock this in.

Best,
Ben

20 minutes after sending the email I received an automated message saying that they were working on my request, and that it would be 24-48 hours. However, six hours later I received an email confirmation with all the information, the amount of my fourth night refund, and the reservation also showed up in my World of Hyatt account. I should also note that this all happened on a Friday, so it wasn’t even during normal business hours.

The Andaz Maui is known for playing games with availability (both free night availability and confirmed suite upgrade availability), so there wasn’t free night award availability for my dates.

World-of-Hyatt

However, I probably wouldn’t have used points anyway. The hotel is a Category 6 property, meaning a free night would cost 25,000 points, or a Points + Cash booking would cost 12,500 points plus $150.

The paid AAA rate (which is why I included my AAA number in the above email) is $393 before taxes and fees.

EY-2

The all-in cost for four nights is $1,945.46. However, as a Globalist member I don’t have to pay the resort fee, which is $166.64. That brings down the four night cost to $1,778.82.

EY-1

Then I’ll be refunded $444, meaning the total out of pocket will be ~$1,335. For that I’ll earn:

  • ~4,500 Citi ThankYou points (triple points on hotel spend by paying with the Citi Prestige Card)
  • 10,000+ World of Hyatt points (6.5 points per dollar spent on the ~$1572 of pre-tax room spend — you earn points even on the reimbursed fourth night, since Hyatt doesn’t even know you’re getting that)

So I’m earning 15,000+ points (without a promotion), which I value at ~$225, bringing down the out of pocket to ~$1,100, or ~$275 per night.

I consider that to be a better deal than outright redeeming Hyatt points, and even a better deal than a Points + Cash booking (I value those at ~1.5 cents each).

Bottom line

I’m continuing to get tons of value out of the Citi Prestige Card fourth night free benefit. It’s tough to beat getting a fourth night free on just about any publicly available rate, especially since it’s reimbursed on the back-end. That means you still earn points and elite credit for all four nights. I’m also still impressed by how good their service is by email.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

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Comments

  1. I just did a Citi Prestige 4th night booking using email as well for the St. Regis and they actually emailed me back with two options.

    Rate #1: SPG Member Exclusive: Flexible rate
    Total for the Stay (including Taxes): 3,156.70 USD
    4th Night Rate Credit: 789.17 USD
    Total with 4th Night Rate Credit Applied: 2,367.52 USD

    Rate #2: Luxury Privileges. DAILY BUFFET BREAKFAST, ONE 100 USD RESORT CREDIT PER ROOM, PER STAY, UPGRADE ON ARRIVAL IF AVAILABLE, EARLY CHECK-IN/LATE CHECK-OUT IF AVAILABLE. VIP TREATMENT.
    Total for the Stay (including Taxes): 3,221.12 USD
    4th Night Rate Credit: 805.28 USD
    Total with 4th Night Rate Credit Applied: 2,415.83 USD

    I didn’t know they had access to Luxury Privileges, was pleasantly surprised they gave me this option.

  2. When in Maui it’s worth checking the local vacation rental agencies. For $2,000 it included a month in a newly remodeled one-bedroom condo overlooking the beach, a/c, rainshower in the stone tiled bathroom, washer/dryer, and access to the nearby resorts facilities. Hope you get to build lasting memories with your loved one of seeing giant turtles and fishes of every color imaginable while snorkeling!

  3. @JoeMart. I’m intrigued. Can you share any links as I’ve never seen a place like you describe for $2,000/month? I’m currently spending a month in Tasmania in a beautiful new 1 br with ocean views for $1,800/month.

  4. I rarely stay 4 nights in one place when traveling so I finally had a chance to use the 4th night free benefit as we will be in Munich for 4 nights in July. I requested the AAA rate (E184) at the Aloft via email and they asked for me to call in with my card number. I did that and heard nothing for a couple of days. I followed up with another email and they again asked me to call in with the card number. I wrote back that I had done that and asked them what was going on. In the meantime I booked a better rate using the SPG Best Rate Guarantee with a lower rate I found on booking.com minus 20%. Still never heard back from Citi but my new rate (E120) paying for 4 nights is better than the AAA rate with the 4th night free. So much for the benefit.

  5. I thought booking through the Citi concierge would make the stay ineligible To accumulate hotel specific points. Can you please confirm?

  6. @ John — Nope, Citi Prestige fourth night free bookings are absolutely eligible for points accrual.

  7. @lucky. Please check your math.

    I think you forgot to subtract out the $444 Citi Pretige rebate so you are actually looking at $1,778 – $444 = $1,334 – $250 in points value = $1,084 in total out of pocket cost effectively meaning $271 per night. Ohh. And did you intentionally leave out the double Hyatt points promo bonus that’ll net you another roughly 7,500 Hyatt points thus bringing your real total down to about $975?

  8. @Lucky, thanks for the reply.

    Knowing that I could be earning 3x TYP + 4x SPG (Platinum status) complicates things. Haha. Should I be earning 2x + 4x with the AMEX SPG card without the 4th night free benefit or 3x TYP + 4x SPG with the 4th night free benefit?!

    I guess cash is better than the extra point on TYP, not to mention the value discrepancy between the two. What do you think?

  9. @ John — The fourth night free benefit is definitely the better value there, especially since I’d say three TYP are worth roughly the same as two SPG points.

  10. @Lucky, thanks again…

    Now I need to figure out if SPG would let me cancel my reservation without incurring any penalties, so can I rebook with Citi Prestige making use of the 4the night free benefit. I have to do this before my wife finds out. Haha

  11. I’m really envious. The Australian version Citi Prestige just announced a massive devaluation (thanks to our reserve bank’s decision to cap the interchange fee at 0.8%), so from Jun 15 onward the point earn will be between 0.3-0.4 per dollar (depending on transfer partner) down from current 1:1. Also any spent on government charges (this include parking fees on a street parking, Australian post) will not earn any points.

    Our 4th night free is booked via hotels.com so no point earn from hotels and no status recognition.

    We pay 3.4% foreign transaction fee on our Citi prestige too.

    The only thing that hasn’t gone down is the annual fee. Still at whopping A$700 (US$525), and no travel credits whatsoever in that annual fee.

    Many of us will cancel our cards. No way we will spend that much annual fee for a card that earns 0.3-0.4 point per dollar.

  12. Hi Lucky,

    Just wanted to let you know that as of 3 weeks ago (in my case), Citi stopped honoring the 4th night free on hostel bookings even though hostels are not excluded in the terms and conditions.

    I’m still going back and forth with Citi on this and my main points are as follows:

    1: How does Citi even differentiate between a hotel and a hostel? Many hostels don’t even have the word hostel in the name. Also, I used this benefit at hostels 5 times last year, and Citi insists I used it 2 times, showing me there is no definitive way for them to make a distinction between hostels and hotels.

    2: Citi’s own travel booking portal lists hostels in the search results when searching for hotels. Both Reykjavik Hostel Village and Oddsson are hostels, but considered hotels according to Citi’s search engine, yet the 4th night free isn’t honored at these properties.

    Unfortunately Citi has yet to provide an answer other than the generic “Hostels are not included in this benefit…”. They’ve been giving me the same canned response with no logic or explanation whatsoever.

    Let me know if you have any insights.

    Thanks!

  13. @lucky. Glad you got it fixed. But in fixing it, you still have another math error.

    You now write: “So I’m earning 15,000+ points (without a promotion), which I value at ~$225, bringing down the out of pocket to ~$1,100, or ~$225 per night.”

    $1,100 for 4 nights is NOT $225 per night, that would be $900. It is $275 per night which is ok rounding for the $271/night I mentioned in my original comment.

  14. @ Mark — Not my day on the math front, clearly. Appreciate the correction. Should be correct now. 🙂

  15. @Lucky. Nope. Still not right…you changed the wrong number from $225 to $275. Hehe.

    It now reads: “So I’m earning 15,000+ points (without a promotion), which I value at ~$275, bringing down the out of pocket to ~$1,100, or ~$225 per night.”

    Flip your $275 and $225 figures in that sentence and you’ll be all good.

  16. The Globalist breakfast benefit for two will price out at over $100 per day. You’re going to love breakfast at Ka’ana Kitchen. I’m intrigued what kind of upgrade you’ll get as this is the most notoriously stingy Hyatt in the WOH system with upgrades.

  17. Citi Prestige India books via hotels.com and thus the stay does not accrue any points. I wish we had it similar to the US where all rates were bookable by them.

  18. @Lucky
    I wouldn’t risk it at this property with upgrades. Might be worth it to cough up the $300 to get confirmed in an ocean view. They’re at 85% capacity year round and rarely have any ocean view rooms left at check-in. No fun to be facing a mountain in Hawaii

  19. @Priya
    Last year, I tried to book a hostel using the Citi Concierge to get the forth night free and they told me that the benefit did not apply to hostels (I was not happy about this). I am impressed that you were able to do this until 3 weeks ago. I hope that you are able to get the policy changed. I am curious about how you plan to push them on this matter.

  20. @lucky. Bravo. 🙂

    Re Andaz Maui. Stayed there a year after it opened and again two years ago. It was my favorite Hyatt property in the world but it has gone way downhill and I’m worried it may have gone further downhill in the last two years from what I’ve heard and read. Property feels worn out. I was lucky enough to get free upgrades to partial ocean view suites on both stays and highly recommend that if there’s any way you can swing it. The breakfast is AMAZING and I still have dreams about how yummy it is. Hope you and Ford have a great stay but just want your expectations to be properly set.

  21. I just returned from that hotel last week. For globalist they have a mediocre breakfast that does not compare to what others are getting. Not even salmon, just bagels and some fruits.
    I went to the regular breakfast the rest of the time and I got rightfully so charged in full for all days.
    Manager and front desk agent refused to waive it even though the benefits explicitly said full breakfast. Customer care told me up to property.
    Sad panda here

  22. @ Steve Fleming — Ouch, really?! How do they corner off the breakfast that Diamonds get? Is it served somewhere else, or how does it work? You don’t have pictures, by chance, do you? This makes an interesting story in and of itself…

  23. Hi Lucky,

    I had a similar experience as Mark… visited the hotel a few years ago shortly after they opened (using the CC two free nights). I had a wonderful stay; breakfast, dinner (omakase at Morimoto), spa/massage, pool service all fantastic. But friends have stayed recently and they indicated that the hotel is not doing an acceptable job with maintenance and upkeep. Reviews on FT indicate the same. I wouldn’t cancel/change your trip, but it’s good to know ahead of time.

    Recommendations in the area: go to Sarento’s for dinner (make a reservation early to get an oceanside table). Visit Big Beach down the road in Makena for a relaxing afternoon in the sun (or Little Beach if you want to be an exhibitionist). Pick up sandwiches/snacks to-go at The Market in Wailea Gateway shopping center.

  24. Does the 4th night free credit provided by Citi always match the estimate?

    The reason I ask is that I just used the benefit on a property that had a Stay 5, Pay 4, where the 5th night cost was $0 ($1,000 per night, so my rebate should be $1,000). However, the concierge estimated my credit as the average ($800). Do I need to call back and have them fix that or will it work itself out once I get the final bill?

    Any information would be much appreciated!

  25. Beware when booking through Citi Prestige and waiver of globalist resort fees. Hyatt said that they can’t waive resort fees as it is an ineligible rate since it was booked via travel agent/Citi Prestige (even though the stay earned points, etc).

  26. @Allison – congrats on stacking the 4th night free. As of June / July this year that will not be possible. As far as the benefit concerns, you need to call them.

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