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One of the hottest credit cards on the market right now is the Citi Prestige Card. It comes with a suite of perks which make it a keeper long term, even with the $450 annual fee.
What makes the Citi Prestige Card so awesome? Here are just a few of my favorite perks:
- Points can be transferred to one of their airline transfer partners, or redeemed towards revenue flights on any airline
- A $250 annual airline credit (with your first year’s annual fee you actually get two of those — that’s $500 of airline credits with your first year’s $450 annual fee)
- A fourth night free hotel benefit
- The most comprehensive Priority Pass membership offered by any card
- A $100 Global Entry fee credit
It’s reasonably easy to quantify the value of many of those benefits, and I think almost no matter how you crunch the numbers, you’ll quickly come out ahead with the card. The one benefit which potentially has a ton of value — but which is tough to quantify initially — is the fourth night free hotel benefit.
When I first applied for the Citi Prestige Card I assumed it was a gimmick, though over time I’ve learned just how valuable of a benefit it can be. I finally made my first fourth night free booking today, so figured I’d share my experience.
Using The Citi Prestige Card Fourth Night Free Hotel Benefit
To use the benefit I phoned the Citi Prestige number on the back of my card, and was connected to a travel concierge. They took down all the details for the hotel stay I was trying to make, including the hotel, date, room preference, etc.
The trick here is that these bookings are actually made by
Carlson Wagonlit Travel (now Aspire Lifestyles), so the Citi Prestige concierges can’t make them for you. They told me that I should get an email with a quote within 24 hours.
I didn’t hear from them within 24 hours, and given that my stay is coming up soon and there are only a few rooms left for sale, I phoned them back after 24 hours and and asked when I should realistically expect to hear from them.
They said there was quite a backlog of requests, though they explained that I could also be connected directly to a travel advisor who can book the hotel if I knew exactly what I wanted. In other words, if you’re just shopping around then they recommend waiting for the email quote, while if you know exactly what you want to book, they can connect you directly to an advisor to process the booking.
The Citi Prestige concierge conferenced in a Carlson Wagonlit Travel agent. I explained that I wanted to book the Andaz West Hollywood on a AAA rate. She confirmed that she could book a pre-paid rate, AAA rate, or AARP rate using this benefit (but she couldn’t book a corporate or other promotional rate).
The AAA rate was the same as the advance purchase rate, and she was able to book it within a few minutes. She added my Gold Passport number to the reservation, so the booking showed up almost immediately in my Hyatt Gold Passport profile.
She further explained that I would be charged the full amount at check-out, and then within one to two billing cycles the cost of one night would be refunded to my Citi Prestige Card. That’s awesome news, given that it means you get full stay/elite credits for all nights, and also earn points based on the entire rate, even the amount that’s refunded.
Ultimately this saved me a lot of money, lowering my average nightly rate from $257 to $193 pre-tax, which is the lowest rate I’ve paid at that hotel in a long time. And the fact that I earn Hyatt points on the total amount is the icing on the cake.
I actually went ahead and booked two upcoming stays at once.
As a reminder, there’s no limit to how many times you can take advantage of the benefit, though it’s limited to the primary card member on the Citi Prestige Card. You also can’t book back-to-back stays at the same hotel and use the fourth night free benefit on both. In other words, if you wanted to stay at the same hotel for eight nights and get the fourth night free benefit on both stays, you’d need at least one night between the two stays at the same hotel for that to work.
The Citi Prestige Card fourth night free hotel perk is a huge benefit of the card, and one I’ll undoubtedly be using a lot. The fact that as of recently you can use it on AAA, AARP, and pre-paid rates, makes it all the more lucrative.
Previously I thought of the benefit as only being marginally worthwhile, since I figured I’d be paying a slightly higher rate to get the fourth night free, but now I’m truly booking the best available rate and getting the fourth night free in the process.
Have you used the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit yet? What was your experience like?