Crazy 4th Night Free deals, and the $100 e-gift card challenge

The Citi Prestige card’s 4th Night Free hotel benefit always struck me as kind of crazy.  When you use this benefit to book a four night stay, you get reimbursed for the entire price of the 4th night.  What were they thinking?  What if the fourth night is astronomically more expensive than the first three?  Surely, someone is going to get fired.  Or, so I thought.

In practice, I haven’t seen many situations where the fourth night of a hotel stay is significantly higher than the first three nights.  It happens, but not often.  Therein lies the challenge.  Can we find real life hotel rates, bookable with the 4th Night Free benefit, where the 4th night is absurdly more expensive than the other three nights?

Why do we care?

There are real advantages to booking such stays, if found:

  • It’s possible to get significantly more than a 25% discount for a four night stay.
  • When staying at a hotel that offers rewards points based on dollars spent (which is true of most major chains), you’ll earn extra rewards for that expensive 4th night.
  • This benefit makes it possible to plan a stay that leads up to a major event without paying top dollar for your final night.

Beyond those particular benefits, I also happen to think its fun to try to find these hidden gem stays.  And, to make this fun for you too, I’m offering up to five $100 e-gift cards to those who can find better 4th Night Free deals than I found!  You can find more details towards the end of this post.

Note: for more details about the Citi Prestige 4th Night Free hotel benefit, please see:

My approach

To find absurdly priced 4th nights, I did the following:

  1. I looked for events that draw huge crowds into not so huge cities.
  2. I used Hilton.com to search for 1 night stays in that city at around that time period.  Importantly, I checked the box “Use flexible dates”.  After picking a particular property, Hilton.com showed the daily rates, by date.  Often, the nights that were potentially most expensive were not available at all.
  3. I searched cwtvacations.com for four nights leading up to that expensive or unavailable date to find properties that were crazily expensive on the fourth night.  On this last step, I actually had help from a tool that Wandering Aramean cobbled together for me for this purpose.  If there’s enough interest from readers, he may polish up the tool and make it available to paying subscribers of his Wandr.me Travel Tools site.  If you’re interested, tweet “@WandrMe give me that 4th Night tool!”  At the very least it will be fun to see his reaction when he has no idea why people are tweeting him.
  4. To make sure that the prices I found online were real, I called Citi Prestige Concierge to get a 4th Night Free hotel quote for each one.  Usually I demand to speak to a travel advisor, but this time I let them email me the quotes.  The quoted prices exactly matched the prices I found online.
Crazy 4th Night Free

Here’s an example of Hilton.com flexible date results

Here are the most outrageous 4th Nights I found…

Hampton Inn Daytona Beach/Beachfront

Event: Daytona 500

Check-In: Sun Feb 14, 2016
Check-Out: Thu Feb 18, 2016

Description:  1KG CITY/OCNVIEW-BALCONY-CORNER-SHWR NOSMK FREE HIGH SPEED/FREE HOT BREAKFAST/FRIDGE CWT HOTEL PROGRAMME
Nightly Rate(s) (per room):  139.00 USD
Estimated Total (per room):  836.00 USD
Estimated Total:  836.00 USD
February 2016
S M T W T F S


1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14
139.00

15
139.00

16
139.00

17
419.00

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29











 

The estimated rates shown above may not include taxes, additional guests or other incidentals unless stated otherwise.

The calendar above shows the prices I found on the cwtvacations.com website.  And, here’s the price quote I received from Citi:

The best available rate including breakfast for a King Room with balcony checking in February 14 2016 for four nights and

checking out February 18 2016, the rate fluctuates as follows

 

139.00USD February 14 through February 17

419.00USD February 17 through February 18

 

Including all taxes for your four night stay, the total is 940.50USD

Rate excludes incidentals

 

Because you are a Citi Prestige cardmember you are eligible to receive a complimentary fourth night as an exclusive

Prestige benefit. The complimentary 4th night rate credit in the amount of 445.12USD is calculated based on the actual rate

for the 4th night (419.00USD + plus taxes). This statement credit in the amount 445.12USD will appear on your Citi

Prestige World Elite MasterCard within one to two billing cycles after check-out of the hotel and verification that the stay

was fully paid with your Citi Prestige MasterCard.

As I’ve established in prior research, the fourth night rebate includes taxes.  Even though the quoted price for the fourth night is $419, Citi has promised to rebate $445.12.  That’s very close to half of the total stay cost of $940.50.

Candlewood Suites Louisville Airport

Event: Kentucky Derby

Check-In: Mon May 02, 2016
Check-Out: Fri May 06, 2016 (4 nights)

Description:  STUDIO STE QN
Nightly Rate(s) (per room):  129.00 USD
Estimated Total (per room):  986.00 USD
Estimated Total:  986.00 USD
May 2016
S M T W T F S
1

2
129.00

3
129.00

4
129.00

5
599.00

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31









 

The estimated rates shown above may not include taxes, additional guests or other incidentals unless stated otherwise.

This time, the price quote was for a non-refundable rate:

129.00USD – May 02 through May 05

599.00USD – May 05 through May 06

Including all taxes for your four night stay, the total is 1143.85USD. This rate requires payment of 1143.85USD at time of

reservation and is nonrefundable.

Because you are a Citi Prestige cardmember you are eligible to receive a complimentary fourth night as an exclusive

Prestige benefit. The complimentary 4th night rate credit will be in the amount of 694.89USD which is calculated based on

the actual rate for the 4th night ($599.00USD+ plus taxes).

The fourth night reimbursement of $694.89 is 60% of the total charge!

Play the game: Meet or beat my fourth night finds!

I’m not actually planning to book either of the hotels shown above. The goal was to find 4 night stays where the 4th night was absurdly more expensive than the first three.  And, I think I found a couple of great examples.  In the first example, the fourth night is almost equal to the cumulative price of the first three nights.  And, in the second example, the fourth night is more expensive than the first three nights added together.

If you want to play this game, here are the objectives, rules, etc.:

  1. Identify reservations available through cwtvacations.com where the 4th night is far more expensive than the prior nights.
  2. Give preference to hotels with loyalty programs that award points based on total dollars spent.  If the hotel you pick does not award points, explain other reasons why it’s a great value.
  3. You do not have to confirm the rate with Citi.  Finding the rate within the cwtvacations site is good enough.
  4. Write the details of your find in the comments, below.  Give enough detail for me to replicate your find within the cwtvacations website.  Include: city, check-in date, check-out date, hotel name, and the name or description of the particular rate you found.
  5. Tell me how you went about finding this rate.  Did you use any special websites, tools, etc.?

Please submit your findings by July 3rd, 10pm EST.

Selection process for $100 gift cards

I will award $100 e-gift cards to each of 5 people that I select with the best answers.  Ultimately, my choice of the 5 “best” contributions will be based on my own subjective judgment.  While I can’t give an exact formula, the decision will involve the following:

  • Can I replicate the result?
  • Did you meet or beat the options I found?
  • Did you offer up valuable new ideas for how to find deals like these?

Winners will be contacted via email and will be asked to choose their favorite gift card type: Sears, Lowes, Home Depot, Target, Whole Foods, etc.  Any $100 e-gift card available from Staples.com will be fair game.

Crazy 4th Night Free

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

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Comments

  1. Is there an application that will alert you when a united saver award seat becomes available on a particular day or flight?

  2. I think most stays that coincides with the beginning of the Cannes film festival would be a good 4th night free deal.

    For example: JW Marriott Cannes Palais Stephanie May 8 – 12, 2016. Nightly rates for advance purchase rate would be: 221.40/nt for the first 3 nights and 1038.80 for the 4th night.

  3. I find it interesting that your search on CWT showed you a much different rate on the 4th night. If I look at individual nights on Hilton.com for the Hilton Sydney between Dec 28, 2015 and Jan 1, 2015, the first 3 nights have a rate of $279(AUD) and the 31st is $1,099 AUD. When I try to price that as a four night stay on CWT, it shows a blended rate of $537.39(USD). To be fair, Hilton.com also goes to a blended rate when you book a four night stay.

    So, I sort of beat your finds ($279 vs $1099), but only if I was booking on a nightly basis.

  4. I checked out Time Square Hotels from Dec 28th to Jan 1st. I found the Tryp by Wyndham New York Times Square. The total cost for 4 nights is $3106 with the 4th night (New Years Eve) being $1699 per night. This is over 50% of the total cost of the stay. Confirmed on CWT vacations.

  5. Marriott Marquis Times Square NYC would be good with New Years Eve being the 4th night. 4th night jumps to almost $1000 from $499-599. Marriott’s site didn’t show “view” rooms but I would anticipate if that room was available, the peak $ for the 4th night would be even higher.

    1 room(s) for 4 night(s)
    Prices in USD
    Monday, December 28, 2015 499.00
    Tuesday, December 29, 2015 499.00
    Wednesday, December 30, 2015 599.00
    Thursday, December 31, 2015 999.00

    Total cash rate 2,596.00

  6. I’m guessing “reproducing” means on the cwt site…I couldn’t reproduce some of the above, b/c I believe they are using Marriott’s site for the price quote, which have fantastic swings in price. Since many chains on cwt shows same price for all nights i.e. an already blended rate…Sheraton was like that for 4 diff. events in diff cities, I think your game has a slight “challenge” to it to truly finding the best offer/savings..of which is % savings or $$ savings matter?

    So, one I could find that is plausible that you’d pay it and save a ton of $$, while using points for other SUPER expensive nights (since other nights leading up only poo poo the overall savings:

    Holiday Inn Darling Harbour
    Check-In: Sun Dec 27, 2015
    Check-Out: Thu Dec 31, 2015 (4 nights)
    27 126.08
    28 211.41
    29 172.97
    30 507.40

    All that said, I believe this post just serves to have Citi change the policy on 4th night free that much quicker, to be honest. I’ve said before, it’ll eventually be changed, but with all the bloggers writing posts on the benefit…it’ll be “modified” sooner than later.

  7. This is fun and all… But…

    Maybe it’s not the best idea to be so open and brazen with this – especially going through the channels where citi and cwt can see how much this can cost them.

    Throwing such outsized rewards in their face is a sure way to get this perk reduced

  8. Let’s not forget Mardi Gras which is an annual event for me. I checked Feb 2 – Fed 6th which is the week before the big weekend.
    Name: HOLIDAY INN CHATEAU LEMOYNE
    Nightly Rate(s): 164.00 164.00 227.00 410.00 USD *
    Tax Information: 14.75PCT T
    Total Per Room (tax included): 1111.34 USD

    It isn’t over 50% but the view and the beads are great.

  9. If the primary objective is mattress runs, the big event (NYE, Cannes) methodology isn’t really practical for most people. A target that will be accessible to many more people (though admittedly not as high of a ratio of 4th night to total cost) is college graduations in small to medium college towns, particularly in the South. Here’s one I found:

    Holiday Inn Express, Clemson University 4/21-4/25
    On CWT: Advance Purchase rate $973.11 pre-tax. 4th night is $456 (47%).

    I’m not sure why the rate spike at this hotel is on 4/24 when graduation isn’t until 5/7, but that’s what I found when I played around with dates.

  10. I looked at individual nights on cwtvacations in Augusta, Georgia around next year’s Masters.

    At the Holiday Inn Augusta-Gordon Highway, I found best flexible rates of:
    3/29-3/30 $99
    3/30-3/31 $99
    3/31-4/1 $99
    4/1-4/2 $650

    That last night is 68% of the total 4 night stay.

  11. My home town of Cincinnati, OH is hosting the All-Star game this year.

    Marriott Cvg Dntn Rvr Center, Regular Room Rate
    7/9-7/12
    7/9-7/10: $199
    7/10-7/11: $259
    7/11-7/12: $259
    7/12-7/13: $1,299

    Fourth night is 64.4% of total cost

    I found it, but find myself unable to duplicate it again… Haven’t used this CWT Vacations tool before – it’s really not terribly user friendly.

  12. Note: Before ppl get their panties in a wad, I was calling about a booking I already made which according to cwtvacations had gone down in price.

    TIL:

    Just off the phone w/ concierge. Not all the rates in : cwtvacations : are what will be found in the Citi Prestige. I was specifically told that “special vacation rates” will most likely NOT be in CP (as mine reserv. was not).

    So, using cwtvacations to see what you *could* save can be an exercise in futility and angst, as when actually booking, you may not get those rates. In short, use it as a GUIDE, not as a rule of what you may receive for pricing.

    In short, they wouldn’t honor it b/c it wasn’t in CP’s database. So all these “this is what I’m getting back for 4th night benefit” are nothing until you actually BOOK, since it is clear they are NOT the same DB.

    • I should follow-up. The rate they wouldn’t honor / couldn’t find in the CP system wasn’t some “vacation rate” it was a rate for booking early. That other rate they couldn’t find in their system was a 15% off rate (not off of rack) the hotel in question offers when they have plenty of rooms available and want to get them filled. I was trying to get the price adjusted. She said she could find it on the hotel’s website, but not in their system. Seeing as they’d pay out less for 4th night, they had incentive to find said rate…but couldn’t. I could find that 15% rate in cwt…but again, not in their system.

  13. Nathan/Jay –

    I tend to agree with you guys on this one. This kind of thing could make the first paragraph of this post a reality.

  14. Comfort Inn Suites Green Bay – 11/22-26

    Green Bay vs Chicago

    99.99, 94.99, 94.99 399.99

    – 57% of total

    Pure Capitalism at its finest.

  15. Enough NYC NYE comments.

    I found the Park City Marriott for ~50% off the total cost from dates January 18-22. It is the opening of the annual Sundance Film Festival.

    Another way you can find cities where you can get max value would be to take a look at the blackout dates on your US Airways Companion Pass (we all have AT LEAST one). There are some specific cities holding major events on those dates. You should be able to find incredible value in those locations if you can just find a way to fly there cheaply ;).

  16. How about the Renaissance Aruba Resort and Casino for Dec 17-21
    First 3 nights are $196.95/nt
    4th night is$ 641/nt

    Rate description: “Summer Promotion: Private Island Fling, 30% off up to 35% off leisure, see rate rules, guest room, 1 king or 2 double, limited view, mari:”

    so your 4th night value is greater than the total of the first 3 nights.

    I immediately thought of Aruba as a destination where you could get a lot of value out of this around the Christmas season. I visited last year around this time frame, and the price jump as you approached Christmas week was crazy. Who wouldn’t want their Christmas with a side of sand and sun?

  17. New Year’s Eve in NYC at the Tryp by Wyndham New York Times Square:

    Dec. 28, 29, 30 at $469 a night=$1407 for three nights
    Dec. 31 at $1699 for one night

    The 4th night free deal seems perfect for most NYC New Year’s Eve stays!

  18. Two options in Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The Flamingo is better on a percentage basis, but you might prefer the Monte Carlo to earn Hyatt points (and get MLife benefits based upon your Hyatt status). These rates are directly from the hotel websites.

    Flamingo
    Sun. 01/03/2016: $46.50
    Mon. 01/04/2016: $59.25
    Tue. 01/05/2016: $112.50
    Wed. 01/06/2016: $425.00 (66%, before taxes/fees)

    Monte Carlo
    01/03/16: $59.00
    01/04/16: $59.00
    01/05/16: $149.00
    01/06/16: $399.00 (60%, before taxes/fees)

  19. Vegas baby, Vegas. Since I’m here now,I didn’t spend a lot of time on this, but here’s one:

    August 1-5 @ Mandalay – 255, 150, 150 and 725.

    At the risk of telling people how to beat me! the MGM properties in Las Vegas (and I’m sure many others) let you look at a two month calendar do rates at a time.

    • Great one, eddy. Looks like it works. But just a warning that looking at the Vegas calendars like that doesn’t always work. For example, Bellagio in early January shows a nearly $2000 night for a standard room on the calendar. That’s the one-night price, but when you book that night as part of a 4-night stay, the price for that 4th night is significantly less (still expensive).

  20. Might as well go big league:

    MANDARIN ORIENTAL Las Vegas December 28-Jan 1
    Apex Suite
    Dec. 28-30 avg price/night: $1785
    Dec 31 price: $5099

  21. Well PDXdealsguy beat me to it with deals for CES which begins January 6th in Vegas. I have another one to add, however.

    VDARA: DELUXE SUITE / KING BED /SOFABED/SPA TUB / KITCHEN/ DINING / LIVING AREAS / 582SF
    Jan 3, 2016: $116.10
    Jan 4, 2016: $143.10
    Jan 5, 2016: $359.10
    Jan 6, 2016: $674.10 (52% of total cost for the 4 nights)

    While this option may not give you the best deal % wise, it could be incredibly practical if you have to travel to CES for work anyways. Picture this:

    “Hey boss, I’m trying to book my accommodations for CES this year and came across this great deal where I can get the fourth night free. I can actually leave three days early you will still end up spending less money overall, and I know how you like to keep costs down! Additionally, I will have three days before CES begins to get “Vegas” out of my system if you know what I mean :). By the time the convention actually begins, I will be totally focused and my productivity will absolutely skyrocket! Sound good?”

    An added bonus of Vdara is it is part of the newest show location so it is super convenient for CES.

  22. The Kentucky Derby in 2016 had some great 4th night rates that were considerably higher than the previous 3 nights.

    Marriott Louisville Downtown
    May 2 – 259
    May 3 – 259
    May 4 – 259
    May 5 – 1499
    * 4th night is 65.9% of total cost before tax

    Hyatt Regency Louisville
    May 2 – 299
    May 3 – 299
    May 4 – 299
    May 5 – 1599
    * 4th night is 64% of total cost before tax

    I had to search for May 2-8 in order for the hotels to show up. I think a great method to find many more like this would be to simply look up the sporting events of 2016 and then search the area during those dates. Thats what I did and I was able to find multiple hotels for different events where the 4th night was at least 60% of the total cost.

  23. Hyatt deal, just for you:

    Park Hyatt Tokyo
    Check in: 12/28/2015
    Check out: 1/1/2016

    12/28: 94,350 Yen
    12/29: 94,350 Yen
    12/30: 94,350 Yen
    12/31: 130,000 Yen

  24. Aside from Times Square, another popular New Year’s destination is Las Vegas, where Dec. 31 is often priced higher than the three previous days combined.

    Best % offer: PLANET HOLLYWOOD, Las Vegas
    Dec. 28: $61
    Dec. 29: $63
    Dec. 30: $189
    Dec. 31: $499
    Last day represents 61% of total and each dollar spent earns Total Rewards credits (a Caesar rewards program that partners with Starwood/SPG). Though it’s not the highest % savings posted here, I’d argue that staying in Vegas for New Year’s is more practical for most than an event like Super Bowl or the Kentucky Derby, where expensive tickets are required.

    There are also similar discounts options across price points. For example, the above four days at Stratosphere cost just $212 (with last day of $228 free) and just $837 (with last day of $799 free) at the luxury Mandarin Oriental. I found these offers by searching http://www.cwtvacations.com and drilling down on daily rate.

  25. I found a big difference in price at Home2Suites by Hilton in Augusta, GA, for the Masters Tournament in 2016.
    March 31 $169
    April 1 $139
    April 2 $129
    April 3 $750

    You can earn Hilton points when booking.
    I was not able to find this hotel using CWTVacations.com.
    Their website ishttp://home2suites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/georgia/home2-suites-by-hilton-augustaga-AGSAWHT/index.html

    Thanks for all the great FF tips and info! Happy 4th!
    Mary

  26. Are they really dumb enough not to just give you 25% of the completed 4 night total rather than then actual fourth night price?

  27. Aww man, I’m too late. Obvious events are new years, F1 race in Austin and it’s too bad you didn’t do this before the Floyd mayweather fight, rooms that were 150 on thurs were 1000 on sat. Can you use this deal for international hotels? Anything Wed-Sat in Monaco for the GP should work too.

  28. UPDATE: Thanks go to everyone who contributed! I’ve put all of the verified submissions into a spreadsheet and I’m working out who the winners are. I’ll report the winning entries tomorrow.

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