Guide to the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit

How to get the most out of the popular perk

Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Guide

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There’s been some great news this week for luxury card lovers: The Citi Prestige card just introduced a slew of new benefits, including increased rewards rates on dining and travel. Cardholders will also enjoy a more flexible travel credit as well as cell phone assistance for damage or theft (beginning in May 2019).

Unfortunately, there are also some less exciting changes to the card, such as a higher annual fee beginning in September. The renowned fourth night free perk for hotel stays is sticking around. But starting in September, cardholders will be limited to two uses of the benefit per year. The Citi Prestige Concierge is also going away on Sept. 1, limiting booking options to the ThankYou portal – either by phone or online.

Despite new limitations, the fourth night free benefit is still one of the most lucrative credit card perks out there. If you shop carefully, you can rack up substantial savings on hotel stays.

What is the 4th night free benefit?

 Citi Prestige cardholders who take advantage of the fourth night free perk can enjoy highly discounted hotel visits. For any hotel booking of four nights or more, you can receive a discount equal to the average nightly rate of your stay (excluding taxes and fees).

Recently, Citi instituted a two use per year limit on the perk, effective Sept. 1, 2019. But don’t be dismayed – smart shoppers can still get extraordinary value out of the benefit, even if they only use it twice per year.

How the 4th night free perk works

Until the two-use limit is applied on Sept. 1, Citi Prestige cardholders can use the fourth night free benefit on as many hotel stays as they wish. There are a few other restrictions to consider, however.

The fourth night free offer is only applicable to hotel stays four nights or longer. You only get one fourth night free per stay, so eight-night stays won’t earn you two nights free. In the same vein, group bookings or bookings with more than one room still only get the discount applied to one room, for one night.

When you book a fourth night free, you’ll have to pay the bill in full up front. For longer stays at nicer hotels, this could be a pretty hefty charge. Booking a fourth night free also works like booking directly with the hotel, so you can’t match rates advertised on travel sites like Expedia or Priceline.

How to book a 4th night free

There are a couple different ways to book your fourth night free stay, each with its own set of pros and cons. You’ll probably get the most value out of booking through the Citi Prestige Concierge, either by phone or email. For a simpler way to book, you can also make reservations online through Citi ThankYou Travel Portal.

Unfortunately, the Citi Prestige Concierge will no longer be available starting Sept. 1, 2019. This is a huge drawback for hotel chain loyalists, as you will no longer be able to enjoy elite status benefits on a fourth night free stay. However, booking through the ThankYou portal comes with its own perks, including the ability to use ThankYou points for a portion of your purchase.

Booking through the ThankYou portal

Booking your hotel stay with a fourth night free offer with ThankYou is very simple. You can easily search for hotels on the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal based on your travel dates and destination and filter down to properties eligible for the fourth night free perk. You can also call 1-800-ThankYou to book by phone.

Once you make your selection, you have the option to pay for your stay using your Citi Prestige card, ThankYou points or a combination of the two. Your discount will be applied immediately at checkout when you pay in full for your stay.

This can be a huge benefit to users looking to pay less up front. When you book through the Citi Prestige Concierge, you pay the full stay amount (including the fourth night). Your fourth night free discount is then awarded as a statement credit after the charge for your stay goes through. However, if racking up points is your goal, you’ll earn less on the smaller upfront charge.

The biggest downside to booking through the ThankYou portal is that you won’t be able to apply your hotel loyalty membership. For most hotels, you also won’t be able to receive your elite status perks – including late checkouts or free breakfast. Since you are limited to rates available on the ThankYou Travel Portal, you can’t utilize any additional promotions, such as AAA or military discounts.

Booking through the Citi Prestige Concierge

You’ll have to do a bit more research beforehand to book your fourth night free stay over the phone with the Citi Prestige Concierge (available until Sept. 1), but you can potentially get a better deal. Simply let the operator know that you are looking to book a fourth night free stay and feed information about the hotel you’d like to stay at and travel dates.

With this booking method, you can let whoever is booking your reservation know about any additional promotions or discounts you want to take advantage of. Just be ready with any promo codes necessary.

If the hotel you are staying at is offering its own promotion – like an upgraded room with a certain length stay or a third night free – you can combine it with the fourth night free perk to get incredible savings. You can also apply any hotel loyalty memberships to your reservation and take full advantage of hotel points, stay credits and elite status.

Unfortunately, you will have to pay for your reservation entirely with your Citi Prestige card. You won’t be able to redeem rewards points. You will also have to pay for the full stay up front. Your fourth night free discount will be applied as a statement credit around 10 days after the charge shows up on your card – often after you’ve completed your stay. On the plus side, you’ll earn more rewards points for the larger charge.

What’s the best way to book a 4th night free reservation?

While booking through the ThankYou portal has its own perks, you’ll want to take advantage of the Citi Prestige Concierge until it goes away on Sept. 1. It is much easier to stack promotions and get a better deal with this option.

 

Citi ThankYou Travel Rewards Portal Citi Prestige Concierge

Pros:

  • Don’t have to wait to be reimbursed for your 4th night (discount applied immediately)
  • Can pay completely or partially with ThankYou points
  • Clear visibility of all your hotel options
  • Stack promotional offers and discounts to get a better deal
  • Earn hotel loyalty points and elite status benefits
  • More rewards points with a bigger upfront charge

Cons:

  • Can’t apply any additional discounts (AAA, military or hotel promotions)
  • No hotel loyalty points or elite status benefits
  • Fewer rewards points with a smaller upfront charge
  • Can’t pay for stay with ThankYou points
  • Have to wait for reimbursement to receive your 4th night free discount
  • More research required to know which deals to ask for

After Sept. 1, you’ll still be able to get great value out of your fourth night free by booking with ThankYou. However, you’ll want to consider the value of your elite status benefits and hotel loyalty points before deciding to book with Citi.

How to get the most value out of your 4th night free

To get the most value out of your fourth night free benefit, follow a few simple rules.

Book your 2019 trips before September

Until Sept. 1, 2019, you can use the fourth night free benefit unlimited times. To eke as much value as possible out of the perk, book as many planned trips as you can before this deadline. You can also continue to book stays through the Citi Prestige Concierge until this date, allowing you to stack promotional offers and enjoy elite status benefits.

Plan your trips for the year in advance

Once the two-use per year cap is instated, make a plan of the trips you are hoping to take in the coming year. While you might not be able to predict all travel beforehand, you can get a good idea of which hotel stays will cost you the most money. Then, you can use your two fourth nights free to get the most possible value.

Whenever possible, pay with your Citi Prestige card instead of ThankYou points

Whether your book through the Citi Prestige Concierge (until Sept. 1, 2019) or the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal, use your Citi Prestige card to earn 3 points per dollar on your hotel purchase. That way, when you’ve used both of your allotted fourth night free benefits for the year, you have more rewards set aside to book other travel.

Bottom line

Even with new limitations, the fourth night free benefit on the Citi Prestige card gets users incredible savings on their hotel stays. By planning your trips in advance, you can ensure you are getting the best value out of the perk.

See Related: Updated Citi Prestige card now offers 5x points on dining and air travel, Citi’s upcoming no-fee card will reward you for every purchase


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Updated: 01-17-2019