How valuable is the Citi Prestige’s 4th-night free when booking mid-tier hotels though Citi ThankYou?

Yesterday

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If you have a Citi Prestige® Card, you’re likely very aware of the changes and cuts to benefits that have plagued the card over the last two years. Even the Prestige’s unique fourth-night free benefit was devalued in 2019. In particular, the popular benefit saw two significant changes:

  • Limited to twice per calendar year. This cap includes both the main cardmember and any authorized users.
  • No more bookings through the Citi Prestige Concierge. Now you can only book fourth-night free stays through thankyou.com or by calling Citi. This means you usually won’t have access to elite benefits and earnings. And, you’re limited to the properties and rates available through thankyou.com.

Both of these changes significantly devalue this perk and make the Citi Prestige less appealing. To help determine whether it was worth keeping my Citi Prestige, I looked into how much value the Citi Prestige’s fourth-night free benefit provides when booking luxury hotels. And, I found that the fourth-night free benefit can still provide significant value on some luxury stays.

But what if you don’t stay at luxury hotels? To answer this question, today I’ll consider how booking fourth-night free stays through Citi ThankYou compares to other popular booking options for stays at mid-tier brands.

The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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In This Post

Booking options

When booking a mid-tier hotel, you’ll usually want to consider the following options:

In this guide, I’ll consider these options. You could also book through other online travel agents, but I think Hotels.com Rewards is the best online travel agency rewards program.

Related: Amex vs. Citi vs. Chase: Which booking portal is best for hotels?

Methodology

Everyone has a different definition of luxury, mid-tier and budget hotels. For this reason, I include a variety of properties in this guide that loosely fall within the mid-tier range. Specifically, I selected properties from three different Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt and IHG Rewards Club brands for a total of 12 properties. I selected each hotel before checking any prices.

For this post, I considered four- or five-night stays. I randomly selected a date next summer for my searches. For four-night stays, I used the dates of July 14–18, 2021, whereas for five-night stays I used the dates of July 13–18, 2021. By default, I used four-night stays since this aligns with the Citi Prestige’s fourth-night free benefit. However, for hotel brands that offer a fifth-night free on awards to at least some customers, I used five-night stays for my searches.

The rates listed in this piece are for two people staying in the least expensive room type. The rates include all taxes and fees that are disclosed during the booking process. The rates listed were available when I searched, but may not still be available. For direct rates, I considered member rates and promotional rates.

Finally, remember that you usually won’t have access to elite benefits or earning when you book through online travel agencies such as hotels.com, thankyou.com or Amex’s Hotel Collection. It’s possible that you may occasionally be given access to benefits or earnings on these stays, but this shouldn’t be expected. The best way to ensure you’ll have access to elite benefits and earnings is to book direct.

Related: Does elite status from a credit card get you less recognition?

World of Hyatt

Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa

Clearwater Beach in Florida
Clearwater Beach in Florida (Photo by Image Source/Getty Images)

The Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa is a family-friendly resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida. It’s a Category 6 Hyatt property, so you’d need to pay 25,000 points per night. This means a four-night stay would cost you 100,000 points, worth $1,700 according to TPG’s latest valuation of Hyatt points at 1.7 cents each.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and World of Hyatt earnings for a sample four-night stay. In this table, I assume that you have Hyatt Discoverist status through The World of Hyatt Credit Card and that you’ll use the World of Hyatt card to pay for the stay when booking directly with Hyatt. Note that you’ll only earn Hyatt points on the room rate, not on taxes and fees.

Booking method July 14-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly using The World of Hyatt Credit Card $2,649 ($2,228 for room) including resort fees 10,596 World of Hyatt points, worth $180 12,254 World of Hyatt points, worth $208, as Hyatt Discoverist $2,261*
Booking award nights 100,000 points n/a n/a $1,700
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card $2,351 ($1,964 for room) including resort fees 4,702 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $94 $196 of value toward Hotels.com free night $2,061
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $1,998 + $131 in resort fees due at property 10,383 ThankYou points, worth $176 n/a $1,953
Amex Hotel Collection using Amex Platinum $2,708 + $131 in resort fees due at property 13,671 Membership Rewards points, worth $273 n/a $2,566

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

In this example, booking an award stay provides the lowest net cost. However, this hotel is usually less expensive outside of peak season. So, during other seasons it might be compelling to use the Citi Prestige fourth-night free perk.

Related: 5 easy ways to maximize Hyatt award redemptions

Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach

Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach
Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

The Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach is five blocks from the beach in Waikiki, Hawaii. It’s a Category 4 Hyatt property, so you’d need to pay 15,000 points per night. This means a four-night stay would cost you 60,000 points, which is worth about $1,020.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and World of Hyatt earnings for a sample four-night stay. I assume you have Hyatt Discoverist status through The World of Hyatt Credit Card, and that you’ll use the World of Hyatt card to pay for the stay when booking directly.

Booking method July 14–18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly using The World of Hyatt Credit Card $1,174 ($889 for room) including resort fees 4,696 World of Hyatt points, worth $80 4,889 World of Hyatt points, worth $83, as Hyatt Discoverist $1,011*
Booking award nights 60,000 points n/a n/a $1,020
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $1,099 ($956 for room) + $152 in resort fees due at property 2,502 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $50 $96 of value toward Hotels.com free night $1,105
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $873 + $152 in resort fees due at property 4,821 ThankYou points, worth $82 n/a $943

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

For this stay, I can see an argument for using the Citi Prestige fourth-night free benefit if you don’t want World of Hyatt perks on your stay and aren’t working toward earning status with World of Hyatt. However, it’s important to realize that you won’t be getting outsized value from the fourth-night free benefit on this stay.

Related: Complete guide to current World of Hyatt promotions

Hyatt House New York/Chelsea

Hyatt House New York/Chelsea
Hyatt House New York/Chelsea (Photo by Lori Zaino/The Points Guy)

The Hyatt House New York/Chelsea is a Category 5 Hyatt property, so you’d need to pay 20,000 points per night. This means a four-night stay would cost you 80,000 points, which is worth $1,360 according to TPG’s latest valuation of Hyatt points at 1.7 cents each.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and World of Hyatt earnings for a sample four-night stay. In this table, I assume that you have Hyatt Discoverist status through The World of Hyatt Credit Card and that you’ll use the World of Hyatt card to pay for the stay when booking directly.

Booking method July 14-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly using The World of Hyatt Credit Card $1,111 ($949 for room) 4,444 World of Hyatt points, worth $75 5,219 World of Hyatt points, worth $89, as Hyatt Discoverist $947*
Booking award nights 80,000 points n/a n/a $1,360
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $1,167 ($990 for room) 2,334 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $47 $99 of value toward Hotels.com free night $1,021
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $942 4,710 ThankYou points, worth $80 n/a $862

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

The best option for this stay is to book a Citi Prestige fourth-night free. However, if you want World of Hyatt perks on your stay or are working toward earning status with World of Hyatt, you may want to book direct. Likewise, if you believe you can get more value from the fourth-night free benefit on another stay, you may not want to use it on this stay.

Related: 6 ways to redeem points with the World of Hyatt program

Hilton Honors

Canopy by Hilton Dallas Uptown

George Bush Presidential Library in Dallas
You can go see the George Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. (Photo by RF Pictures/Getty Images)

Hilton Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members get every fifth-night free when booking a standard room reward. So, in this guide, I considered a five-night stay at the Canopy by Hilton Dallas Uptown. For a five-night stay from July 13–18, 2021, a standard room reward costs 144,000 points. TPG’s most recent valuations peg the value of Hilton points at 0.6 cents each, so the value of the room for the five-night stay would be $864.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and Hilton Honors earnings for a sample five-night stay. In this table, I assume that you have either Hilton Gold status through the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card or Hilton Diamond status through the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express (and that you use the corresponding card to pay for the stay when booking directly). Note that you’ll only earn Hilton points on the room rate when you book direct with Hilton Honors, not on taxes and fees.

Booking method July 13-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly $1,159 ($1,005 for room) 13,908 Hilton points, worth $83, with Hilton Surpass

16,226 Hilton points, worth $97, with Hilton Aspire

18,090 Hilton points, worth $109, as Hilton Gold

20,100 Hilton points, worth $121, as Hilton Diamond

$967 with Hilton Surpass and Hilton Gold status*

$941 with Hilton Aspire and Hilton Diamond status*

Booking award nights 144,000 points n/a n/a $864
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $1,204 ($1,045 for room) 2,408 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $48 $105 of value toward Hotels.com free night $1,051
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $1,082 5,410 ThankYou points, worth $92 n/a $990
Amex Hotel Collection using Amex Platinum $1,205 2,410 Membership Rewards points, worth $48 n/a $1,157

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

You’ll be best off redeeming Hilton Honors points for this stay. However, if you’re short on Hilton points, the next best option would be to book directly with Hilton.

Related: 8 ways to maximize redemptions with the Hilton Honors program

DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Fiji – Sonaisali Island

DoubleTree by Hilton Fiji
DoubleTree by Hilton Fiji (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

I stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Fiji back in 2019 and highly recommend it. Hilton Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members get every fifth-night free when booking a standard room reward, so I considered a five-night stay in this example. For a five-night stay from July 13–18, 2021, a standard room reward costs 144,000 points. TPG’s most recent valuations peg the value of Hilton points at 0.6 cents each, so the value of the room for the five-night stay would be $864.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and Hilton Honors earnings for a sample five-night stay. In this table, I assume that you have either Hilton Gold status through the Hilton Surpass Card or Hilton Diamond status through the Hilton Aspire Card (and that you use the corresponding card to pay for the stay when booking directly).

Booking method July 13-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly $718 (taxes included) 8,616 Hilton points, worth $52, with Hilton Surpass

10,052 Hilton points, worth $60, with Hilton Aspire

12,924 Hilton points, worth $78, as Hilton Gold

14,360 Hilton points, worth $86, as Hilton Diamond

$588 with Hilton Surpass and Hilton Gold status*

$572 with Hilton Aspire and Hilton Diamond status*

Booking award nights 144,000 points n/a n/a $864
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $747 ($655 for room) 1,494 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $30 $66 of value toward Hotels.com free night $651
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $628 3,140 ThankYou points, worth $53 n/a $575

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

For this stay, the obvious choice is to book directly with Hilton. By booking direct, you’ll get breakfast included as a Hilton Diamond or Hilton Gold. And, you may be able to snag an upgrade into a bure. Booking a Citi Prestige fourth night free comes in at a similar net cost, but I’d rather book direct for elite perks.

Related: 5 ways Hilton Honors should improve its loyalty program

Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando International Drive Convention Center

Cinderella Castle at Disney World
Taking a trip to Disney World? You might want to stay nearby at Embassy Suites. (Photo by Ryan Wendler/Walt Disney World)

Hilton Silver, Gold and Diamond elite members get every fifth-night free when booking a standard room reward, so I considered a five-night stay at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando International Drive Convention Center. For a five-night stay from July 13–18, 2021, a standard room reward costs 96,000 points. TPG’s most recent valuations peg the value of Hilton points at 0.6 cents each, so the value of the room for the five-night stay would be $576.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and Hilton Honors earnings for a sample five-night stay. In this table, I assume that you have either Hilton Gold status through the Hilton Surpass Card or Hilton Diamond status through the Hilton Aspire Card (and that you use the corresponding card to pay for the stay when booking directly).

Booking method July 13-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly $777 ($691 for room) 9,324 Hilton points, worth $56, with Hilton Surpass

10,878 Hilton points, worth $65, with Hilton Aspire

12,438 Hilton points, worth $75, as Hilton Gold

13,820 Hilton points, worth $83, as Hilton Diamond

$646 with Hilton Surpass and Hilton Gold status*

$629 with Hilton Aspire and Hilton Diamond status*

Booking award nights 96,000 points n/a n/a $576
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $603 ($536 for room) 1,206 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $24 $54 of value toward Hotels.com free night $525
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $540 2,700 ThankYou points, worth $46 n/a $494

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

Breakfast is already included with your room at Embassy Suites. So, unless you are chasing Hilton status, you’ll likely want to use a fourth-night free award or book through Hotels.com. Although booking through Hotels.com has a slightly higher net cost than using a fourth-night free, you may want to save your limited fourth night free uses for stays that provided higher value.

Related: Choosing the best Hilton credit card for you

Marriott Bonvoy

Mansion on Forsyth Park, Autograph Collection

Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia
Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia (Photo by SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images)

Marriott provides a fifth-night free on awards, so I considered a five-night stay at The Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia. The Mansion is a Category 6 Marriott property, so you can generally expect to pay between 40,000 and 60,000 points per night or between 160,000 and 240,000 points for a five-night stay. However, there’s no award availability for July 13–18, 2021.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and Marriott Bonvoy earnings for a sample five-night stay. In this table, I assume that you have either Marriott Silver status through the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card or Marriott Gold status through the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (and that you use the corresponding card to pay for the stay when booking directly). Note that you only earn Marriott points on the room rate, not on taxes and fees, when you book directly with Marriott.

Booking method July 13-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly with Marriott Boundless or Marriott Brilliant Card $1,041 ($895 for room) 6,246 Marriott points, worth $50 9,845 Marriott points, worth $79, as Marriott Silver

11,187 Marriott points, worth $89, as Marriott Gold

$912 with Marriott Silver status*

$902 with Marriott Gold status*

Booking award nights (no award availability for this stay, so theoretical costs are given) 160,000 to 240,000 points n/a n/a $1,280 to $1,920
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $1,601 ($1,390 for room) 3,202 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $64 $139 of value toward Hotels.com free night $1,398
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $1,439 7,195 ThankYou points, worth $122 n/a $1,317

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

Marriott offers a much lower “long stay” rate when you book direct for this five-night stay. So, there’s no reason not to book direct.

Related: Beginner’s guide to Marriott Bonvoy

Aloft Tampa Downtown

A road in Tampa's Ybor City (Photo by Pgiam/Getty Images)
Check out Ybor City in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Pgiam/Getty Images)

Marriott provides a fifth-night free on awards, so I considered a five-night stay at the Aloft Tampa Downtown. The Tampa Aloft is a Category 5 Marriott property. Our sample July 13–18 stay prices at 140,000 points, which are worth $1,120 according to TPG’s valuations.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and Marriott Bonvoy earnings for a sample five-night stay. In this table, I assume that you have either Marriott Silver status through the Marriott Boundless Card or Marriott Gold status through the Marriott Brilliant Card (and that you use the corresponding card to pay for the stay when booking directly).

Booking method July 13-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly with Marriott Boundless or Marriott Brilliant Card $1,316 ($1,149 for room) 7,896 Marriott points, worth $63 12,639 Marriott points, worth $101, as Marriott Silver

14,362 Marriott points, worth $115, as Marriott Gold

$1,152 with Marriott Silver status*

$1,138 with Marriott Gold status*

Booking award nights 140,000 points n/a n/a $1,120
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $1,365 ($1,186 for room) 2,730 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $55 $119 of value toward Hotels.com free night $1,191
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $1,227 6,135 ThankYou points, worth $104 n/a $1,123

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

All of the net costs are surprisingly similar for this stay. Booking a fourth-night free stay through the Citi ThankYou travel portal has the same net cost as booking through Hotels.com, so you might as well save your fourth night free for a different stay. Or it might make sense to book direct for elite benefits and nights.

Related: 12 dream trips I’d take with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless sign-up bonus

Residence Inn Austin-University Area

Hamilton Pool near Austin, Texas
Take a swim in local-favorite Hamilton Pool near Austin, Texas. (Photo by WIN-Initiative/Getty Images)

Marriott provides a fifth-night free on awards, so I considered a five-night stay at the Residence Inn Austin-University Area in Austin, Texas. This Residence Inn is a Category 4 Marriott property. For our sample dates, a five-night stay would cost 100,000 points, which is worth $800 according to TPG’s valuations.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and Marriott Bonvoy earnings for a sample five-night stay. In this table, I assume that you have either Marriott Silver status through the Marriott Boundless or Marriott Gold status through the Marriott Brilliant (and that you use the corresponding card to pay for the stay when booking directly).

Booking method July 13-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly with Marriott Boundless or Marriott Brilliant Card $813 ($695 for room) 4,878 Marriott points, worth $39 3,822 Marriott points, worth $31, as Marriott Silver

4,344 Marriott points, worth $35, as Marriott Gold

$743 with Marriott Silver status*

$739 with Marriott Gold status*

Booking award nights 100,000 points n/a n/a $800
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $813 ($695 for room) 1,626 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $32 $70 of value toward Hotels.com free night $711
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $684 3,420 ThankYou points, worth $58 n/a $626

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

You may want to use the fourth night free on this stay, especially if you don’t have higher-value uses of this perk. Residence Inn properties usually provide breakfast to all guests. So, even if you book direct, you may not get many elite perks on your stay.

Related: Maximizing redemptions with the Marriott Bonvoy program

IHG Rewards Club

Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel

Indian River County Florida
Four recreation areas comprise Vero Beach in Indian River County (Photo courtesy of Visit Florida)

The Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel costs 147,500 points for a four-night stay from July 14–18, 2021 if you’re eligible for a fourth-night reward when booking with points. This perk is provided to cardholders of the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card. So, for the purposes of this guide, I’ll assume you have the IHG Premier Card and the Platinum Elite status that comes with this card.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and IHG earnings for a sample four-night stay. In this table, I assume that you use your IHG Premier Card to pay for your stay when booking directly with IHG. Note that you only earn IHG points on the room rate, not on taxes and fees.

Booking method July 14-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly with IHG Premier Card $1,414 ($1,139 for room) including resort fees 14,140 IHG points, worth $71 17,085 IHG points, worth $85, as Platinum Elite $1,258*
Booking award nights 147,500 points + $150 of resort fees n/a n/a $888
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $1,416 ($1,276 for room) + $150 of resort fees collected at property 3,132 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $63 $128 of value toward Hotels.com free night $1,375
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $1,117 + $150 of resort fees collected at property 6,035 ThankYou points, worth $102 n/a $1,165
Amex Hotel Collection using Amex Platinum $1,416 ($1,276 for room) + $150 of resort fees collected at property 7,230 Membership Rewards points, worth $145 n/a $1,421

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

The right call for this stay is to redeem IHG Rewards Club points. The next best option is to book a Citi Prestige fourth night free. Although the next cost of the fourth-night free stay is only about $100 less than booking directly, elites don’t get many perks with the IHG Rewards Club program. So, unless you’d have other uses for this fourth night free, you might as well use it on this stay if you don’t redeem points.

Related: 6 ways IHG Rewards Club should improve its loyalty program

Hotel Indigo Brooklyn

Brooklyn Bridge in New York
Take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. (Photo by Onfokus/Getty Images)

The Hotel Indigo Brooklyn costs 30,000 points per night on our dates. But, IHG gives a fourth-night reward when booking with points to cardholders of the IHG Premier Card. For the purposes of this guide, I’ll assume you have the IHG Premier Card and the Platinum Elite status that comes with this card. So, a four-night award stay would cost you 90,000 points, which is worth $450 according to TPG’s valuations.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and IHG earnings for a sample four-night stay. In this table, I assume that you use your IHG Premier Card to pay for your stay when booking directly with IHG.

Booking method July 14-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly with IHG Premier Card $1,301 ($1,122 for room) 13,010 IHG points, worth $65 16,830 IHG points, worth $84, as Platinum Elite $1,152*
Booking award nights 90,000 points + $14 of taxes n/a n/a $464
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $1,574 ($1,353 for room) 3,148 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $63 $135 of value toward Hotels.com free night $1,376
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $1,258 6,290 ThankYou points, worth $107 n/a $1,151

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

By far the best option for this stay will be to redeem IHG points. But if you don’t have enough IHG points, another good option is to book direct. The fourth night free provided by booking through the Citi ThankYou portal provides about the same net cost as booking direct, so it’s not an appealing option for this stay.

Related: How to earn and redeem points with IHG Rewards Club partners

Avid hotels Oklahoma City – Quail Springs

avid hotels Oklahoma City - Quail Springs
avid hotels Oklahoma City – Quail Springs (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

The first Avid hotel is in Oklahoma City and it costs 12,500 points per night for our sample dates. IHG gives a fourth-night reward when booking with points to cardholders of the IHG Premier Card. For the purposes of this guide, I’ll assume you have the IHG Premier Card and the Platinum Elite status that comes with this card. So, the four-night award stay would cost you 37,500 points, which is worth $188 according to TPG’s valuations.

In the following table, I compare the cost, credit card earnings and IHG earnings for a sample four-night stay. In this table, I assume that you use your IHG Premier Card to pay for your stay when booking directly with IHG.

Booking method July 14-18, 2021 Credit card earnings Loyalty earnings Net cost
Booking cash rate directly with IHG Premier Card $364 ($319 for room) 3,640 IHG points, worth $18 4,785 IHG points, worth $24, as Platinum Elite $322*
Booking award nights 37,500 points n/a n/a $188
Hotels.com using Chase Sapphire Preferred $357 ($313 for room) 714 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $14 $31 of value toward Hotels.com free night $312
Thankyou.com (after fourth-night free savings) using Citi Prestige $288 1,440 ThankYou points, worth $24 n/a $264

*Doesn’t factor in the potential cash-back earnings you could get from clicking through a cash-back portal.

Using IHG points will be your best choice for this stay. If you don’t have enough points, you might want to consider booking through the Citi ThankYou portal for a fourth night free. However, your savings will be relatively modest over booking direct. So, you might want to save your twice-per-year fourth night free for another use.

Related: 34 of the best IHG Rewards Club hotels in the US bookable for 10k points per night

Bottom line

I wrote a similar guide that focused on luxury stays: How valuable is the Citi Prestige’s fourth-night free when booking luxury hotels though Citi ThankYou. In that guide, I found that the Citi fourth-night free benefit can provide value for some high-end luxury bookings. When I started researching this guide, I expected that I’d also find examples for mid-tier hotels where the Citi Prestige fourth-night free benefit would still provide some value.

Out of the mid-tier Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt and IHG Rewards Club examples shown in this guide, four of the 12 stays saw booking a fourth-night free stay through the Citi ThankYou portal result in the lowest net cost. But, in each case, the savings over the next best net cost was modest. So, if you plan to use the fourth-night free benefit at mid-tier hotels, you shouldn’t expect to get more than $100 of value from each use. And, you may get much less value.

Featured image of the DoubleTree Resort in Fiji by Katie Genter/The Points Guy.

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  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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