Why You Should Make Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Bookings Before July 23, 2017

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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.

As was first announced last year, the Citi Prestige Card is making two changes to this benefit later this year:

  • 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.

Fourth-Night

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.

LAS-VEGAS

Delano-Hotel-Las-Vegas - 12

Bottom line

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.

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Comments

  1. The 4th night free benefit more than covered the annual fee for the card in my personal experience, not to mention the lounge use.

  2. In some cases, the new rules will be favorable to the consumer. For example:
    Night 1: $199
    Night 2: $399
    Night 3: $399
    Night 4: $249

    In the old system, you would get $249 back.Under this system, you will get $311.50 back. The loss of the taxes is a negative, but I think it will sort of be a wash going to average nightly rate credited back vs. actual 4th night credited back.

  3. I think that unless you are gaming trying to get an expensive 4th night, you will likely not be any worse off with the average night credit. It’s likely that you will be better off since there is a greater chance that one or more of the first three nights is more expensive than the 4th. The no tax credit is always a loser though. I just cancelled this card since the annual fee was coming up and in the last two years I only used it for $200/year. I didn’t want to pay $450 to break even.

  4. I think that unless you are gaming trying to get an expensive 4th night, you will likely not be any worse off with the average night credit. It’s likely that you will be better off since there is a greater chance that one or more of the first three nights is more expensive than the 4th. The no tax credit is always a loser though. I just cancelled this card since the annual fee was coming up and in the last two years I only used it for $200/year. I didn’t want to pay $450 to break even. YMMV

  5. Are there any rumors about changes to this card? It’s odd that Citi devalued it so much right before the CSR was introduced and the Amex Plat was enhanced. I’m having a hard time convincing myself to hang on to it once my next AF comes due.

  6. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Citi Prestige card, but don’t have one yet. I’m glad to hear you still feel it’s a card worth choosing, that fourth night free is definitely a huge benefit.

  7. Who is cancelling their prestige after their AA lounge membership expires?

    No chance I keep this card. Saphire
    Reserve kills it. I can understand lucky but I hate hotels, a great airbnb kills them for me with a kiddo.

  8. “Many people got disproportionate value this way”… I beg to differ. While you guys have lots of time to “play” the system, most people don’t stay in vegas Tuesday to Friday. And with most I mean 99% of them lol.

  9. @Cory
    I thought the AA lounge access is already gone, regardless of what expiry date is on the card.

  10. @Corey – raising my hand

    @Martina – no, you still have a couple months, can’t remember the exact date

  11. I have found that many times hotels themselves offer a fourth night free (charging X, X, X, 0 on a per night basis). With the current Citi fourth night free policy, there is no benefit for such reservations. With the new policy, am I correct in assuming that one would still get a credit for the average cost (namely 3X/4) in this case? That actually seems like a pretty positive improvement in my case, as two out of the four times I could have used the benefit in the last year have fallen into this situation.

  12. Got the card about couple months ago. Just used it to book for Four Seasons in Colombia for next year. Will be getting over $800 rebate back. Plus hotel is running a promo for 3rd night free. My rate was basically two nights for four nights stay. Amazing! Will be using it to book for my St Barths trip this fall and Scandinavian countries next year! This card will save me well into thousands each year if not tens of thousands. Should have gotten onto the train sooner!

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