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Each premium travel rewards credit card has benefits that set it apart. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers excellent membership benefits and 5x earning on select flight and hotel purchases. An, the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers valuable travel protections and 3x earning on all travel and dining purchases.
The Citi Prestige® Card has historically competed with these premium travel rewards cards, but now many cardholders are considering whether to give up on the card due to the recent changes in the card’s benefits and protections.
One of the perks affected is the Prestige’s unique fourth night free benefit, which effectively provides a free night on stays of four nights or longer. The fourth night benefit has changed a lot during the last three years, so let’s dive in and examine the current benefit.
What to know
As a Citi Prestige card member, you’re eligible to book up to two complimentary fourth night benefits per card account per calendar year. However, any fourth night bookings made before Sept. 1, 2019, won’t count toward your two-stay-per-year maximum. To book a complimentary fourth night, you must:
- Book a minimum of a four-consecutive-night hotel stay through Thankyou.com or by calling 1-800-ThankYou and
- Pre-pay for your complete stay with your Citi Prestige Card, a redemption of ThankYou Points or a combination of ThankYou Points and your Citi Prestige Card
The fourth night benefit will be based on the average nightly rate of your stay, excluding taxes and fees. The complimentary night savings will be provided at the time of booking. Additionally, the fourth night benefit has the following restrictions and requirements:
- Reservations must be made by the primary cardmember, and must be in the primary cardmember’s name.
- If you need to change or cancel your reservation, you must do so through Thankyou.com or by calling 1-800-ThankYou.
- Only one complimentary night is eligible per stay. A stay is consecutive nights booked and stayed on one reservation and does not include back-to back stays. Back-to back stays are stays at the same hotel booked on two reservations, such as four nights at a hotel on one reservation for Monday through Friday and another four nights on another reservation at the same hotel for Friday through Tuesday. In this situation, you would only be eligible for one complimentary night for the eight night stay.
- For group reservations, or other reservations consisting of multiple rooms, only one room will qualify for one complimentary night.
- Packaged rates, such as air and hotel or hotel and car rental, do not qualify for this benefit.
- Hotel imposed fees and incidental guest charges are not included in the calculation of the fourth night benefit.
- Reservations made through any party or channel other than online at Thankyou.com or by phone through 1-800-ThankYou are not eligible for the fourth night benefit.
- The fourth night benefit is intended only for personal use by the primary cardmember and not for business travel.
How to book
There are two ways to book a complimentary fourth night stay: online at Thankyou.com or by phone at 1-800-ThankYou. You’ll have the same hotel options using either method, so I’d recommend booking online so you can see all the options.
Here’s the process for booking a fourth night stay online at Thankyou.com:
1. Enter dates and destination
After you log in to your account and select “Hotels” from the “Travel” dropdown menu at the top of the page, you’ll have an opportunity to enter your destination, dates, the number of guests and your preferred hotel name or brand.
Most popular hotels are bookable through Citi ThankYou, but you may need to get creative when entering a destination. For example, instead of searching for a specific island in the Maldives you may have better luck simply entering “Male” into the search field. Likewise, instead of searching for “Fiji” you’ll want to search for “Nadi.”
2. Select a hotel
The next page should return a list of available properties near your destination, with 25 appearing on each page. You can filter the results by hotel name, cancellation policy, price, star rating, guest rating and amenities. At this point, you should see a box populate that says “Complimentary 4th Night Eligible” — but I’ve yet to see a hotel that wasn’t eligible.
Note the check-box at the top of this page that says “Use my complimentary 4th night hotel benefit for this trip” — you’ll want to deselect this if you don’t want to use one of your two annual fourth night benefits for this trip.
3. Choose your room and rate
Once you select your hotel, you’ll be presented with all of the available rooms (note that a hotel may choose to reserve some of its most exclusive room types for direct bookings). I selected the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay for my example.
4. Choose a mix of points and cash
On the next page, you can select the number of points you’d like to redeem, or you can pay for the entire stay in cash. You can apply points to hotel bookings at a rate of 1 cent per point, but this is far below TPG’s valuation of Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each. You’ll also see a message noting “complimentary 4th night benefit savings have been applied to pricing below” so you’ll know the rate includes the fourth night credit.
5. Review point/cash rate and cancellation policy
Next, you’ll have an opportunity to review your cash and points distribution — if you’ve accidentally opted to redeem points, now’s the time to move back a step and update the breakdown. This page is also a good time to check the cancellation policy.
6. Confirm personal details
You can choose to have these fields populate automatically with information in your profile, or you can enter your name, email address and date of birth manually. Note, however, that only the primary cardholder is eligible for the fourth night benefit, so you’ll want to confirm that the names match.
7. Enter billing details
Next, you’ll need to provide your Citi Prestige account details. Interestingly enough, the page appears to accept other credit cards but notes that you won’t be eligible for the fourth night benefit if you pay with a non-Prestige account.
8. Review details and check out
Finally, you’ll have one last opportunity to confirm the hotel, your dates and the payment breakdown.
Elite earnings and benefits
Unfortunately, most stays booked through the Citi ThankYou portal — regardless of whether you book with cash, points or a mixture of cash and points — will not be eligible for points earning and elite benefits through the hotel.
That said, you could get lucky, so it always makes sense to provide your loyalty program number to the hotel regardless. And, even if you won’t earn points and stay credit, an individual hotel may choose to honor your elite member benefits at their discretion.
As always, you’ll want to read the hotel’s cancellation policy carefully before clicking to confirm. While some airlines allow you to cancel for free within 24 hours of booking, the same does not apply to nonrefundable hotel stays, where the standard cancellation policy kicks in the moment you complete the checkout process.
Citi ThankYou offers nonrefundable and refundable rates, although some dates and properties may only offer nonrefundable or refundable rates. In general, refundable rates booked through Citi ThankYou say the reservation is “refundable up until hotel’s cancellation window” but you have to click to expand the text to read the actual cancellation policy.
Are rates competitive?
The lowest rates available through through Citi ThankYou are often higher than the lowest rates available when booking directly through the hotel chain. Plus, you usually won’t get elite benefits and earning when booking through Citi ThankYou.
However, in some cases you’ll find that Citi ThankYou offers upgraded rooms at a lower price than booking direct, so it’s worth checking to see what the ThankYou portal offers. For example, when I searched a few weeks ago, the Citi ThankYou portal allowed me to book the best room type at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Fiji — a beachfront bure — for less than any other room type.
In general, you’ll get better value from the complimentary fourth night benefit when you use it at luxury hotels. However, I recommend considering the net cost — the out of pocket cost minus elite earnings and credit card earnings — of each of your favorite booking methods when deciding how to book a stay.
In the two following guides, I show how I compare the net cost for my favorite booking methods — booking directly, using Hotels.com/Venture with my Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, booking through American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts or The Hotel Collection with The Platinum Card and booking a fourth night benefit with the Citi Prestige Card:
Should I redeem points?
While you can redeem points for stays booked through Citi ThankYou at 1 cent per point, I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, I recommend transferring your ThankYou points to airline partners and booking high-value award tickets. Here are some resources that should help you get maximum value from your ThankYou points:
- Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points for Maximum Value
- Best Ways to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points on SkyTeam Airlines
- Best Ways to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points on Star Alliance Airlines
- Best Ways to Redeem Citi ThankYou Points on Oneworld Airlines
- Watch Now: Learn More About the Citi ThankYou Rewards Program
Frequently asked questions
Especially with the recent changes to this benefit, you may have other questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, but please comment below if you have additional questions that aren’t answered in this guide.
What if the property I want doesn’t show up?
First, try searching for the location differently. If the property still doesn’t show up, you’ll need to use a different booking method since you can only use the fourth night benefit at hotels that show up in the Citi Thankyou travel portal. This means you won’t be able to get a fourth night benefit on Airbnb stays.
Can I book an all-inclusive property?
Yes, if the property is bookable though the Citi ThankYou travel portal. I was able to find the Hyatt Ziva Cancun through the portal and confirmed that it’s eligible for the fourth night benefit.
Can I book AAA, AARP, corporate or other special rates?
No, you can only book rates that show up in the Citi ThankYou travel portal. So, especially if you have access to discounted rates, you’ll want to compare the cost of booking a fourth night benefit with the cost of booking direct using these rates.
Can I still book with the concierge?
Yes, although new hotel bookings with the concierge aren’t eligible for the fourth night benefit.
Is it worth signing up for the Prestige for the fourth night benefit?
Historically, this was an easy question to answer for frequent travelers. But, between being limited to two uses per year, being required to book one of the rates available though Citi ThankYou and usually not having access to elite earning and benefits on these stays: the value of the fourth night benefit will be limited for most travelers.
Can you still get value from the fourth night benefit? Certainly. But does the fourth night benefit alone make the Citi Prestige worth having? Not for most travelers, although there is still value to be found on some luxury hotel bookings.
Granted, the Prestige’s 5x earning on dining and airfare still make the card appealing to some travelers. But, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is much more appealing to me for airfare now since the Prestige won’t offer many travel protections for booking made on or after September 22, 2019.
What are other ways to get a free hotel night?
There are a few different ways to get a free night. Various cards, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, provide a free night certificate to cardholders each year.
Plus, Marriott provides a fifth night free on all award stays, Hilton provides a fifth night free to elites on award stays and IHG provides a fourth night free on award stays to cardholders of the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
And, some Fine Hotels and Resorts properties — which are bookable by travelers with a Platinum or Centurion-branded charge card — provide a third, fourth or fifth night free. So, there are other ways besides the Citi Prestige’s fourth night benefit to get a free night.
Although the Citi Prestige’s fourth night benefit is not nearly as valuable as it once was, luxury travelers and those not chasing hotel status may still get value out of the benefit. However, since you’re limited to the rates available through the Citi ThankYou travel portal, you’ll need to compare various booking methods to ensure you’re getting a good deal before booking a fourth night benefit.
The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Featured image of the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay by JT Genter/The Points Guy.
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