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The fourth night free offered with 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.
What makes this benefit so great is that you it’s valid on a vast majority of publicly available rates, including pre-paid rates, AAA rates, promotional rates, etc. Also, the reimbursement by Citi happens on the back end, which means that you earn elite qualifying nights, hotel points, etc., based on the rate of all four nights, rather than only based on three nights.
- They’ll reimburse you for the average nightly cost of the four night stay, rather than for the cost of the fourth night (many people got disproportionate returns this way, like if you book a Vegas hotel on Tuesday through Friday night, where the last night is more than the other three nights combine)
- They’ll no longer reimburse you for the cost of the taxes on the fourth night; in some markets this doesn’t have much of an effect, while other markets have substantial taxes, where it could make a bigger difference
These changes kick in for bookings made as of July 23, 2017. I mention this because you can potentially get the old rules applied to stays after July 23, as long as you book before then. Now, keep in mind that hotel rates are often highly variable, so I wouldn’t recommend making a pre-paid hotel booking that you think will go down in price. However, if you can make a flexible booking or find a good deal, I’d absolutely lock something in. For example, I made a booking at the Andaz Maui for later this year, and got the reimbursement applied based on the old rules.
Just to give an example, hotels in Mexico often have a VAT of 16%, which is significant. For example, take the below rate breakdown at the St. Regis Punta Mita.
Similarly, take the below stay at the Delano Las Vegas, where the first three nights are $119 each, and the fourth night is $279.
While I wish no changes were being made to the Citi Prestige Card, these program changes don’t materially alter my impression of the benefit. Getting a fourth night free when booking the best publicly available rate while also earning points is awesome. That being said, if you’re planning travel for later this year, you might as well lock something in under the old rules, especially if it’s a hotel with high taxes or a higher rate on the fourth night.