Do you have to pay with the Prestige card to get the 4th Night Free?

Prestige 4th Night Free

The Citi Prestige card has many great perks.  One of those perks is the ability to get a rebate of the full cost of the fourth night of a hotel stay booked through the Citi Prestige Concierge.  Full details about this benefit can be found here:  Complete Guide to Citi Prestige 4th Night Free.  And, here’s a review of the card’s primary perks:

  • Earn 3X points for airfare, hotels, and travel agencies; and 2X points for dining and entertainment
  • $250 air travel credit (including airfare) per calendar year
  • Free lounge access: AA AAdmirals club access, and Priority Pass Select with free guests
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit
  • Use points for 1.33 cents value for any flight; or 1.6 cents per point value on American Airlines; or transfer to airline partners
  • 3 rounds of Golf free each year
  • 4th night free hotel benefit

One question I’m often asked is whether it is necessary to pay for your stay with the Prestige card in order to get the 4th Night rebate.  Reasons for wanting to pay with another card include: special offers tied to other cards (e.g. Amex Offers), the need to meet minimum spend requirements, card perks (e.g. you may want to pay with your SPG card at an SPG property in order to earn 2X points).  And, even more tempting, is to pay with gift cards that were obtained at a discount.

In the past I’ve had success in earning the 4th Night Free rebate even when I paid entirely with gift cards [see: You DON’T have to pay with your Prestige card for 4th Night Free (but you should)].  However, that was before Citi changed concierge services.  Citi’s old concierge service (Ten Lifestyle Concierge) used to work with Carlson Wagonlit to book rooms.  Now, the new concierge service, Aspire Lifestyles, is able to book hotels directly.  That has mostly been a good thing: the new concierge service is able to book hotels directly rather than handing you off to a separate service.  Plus, they seem to be more open to using just about any hotel promo codes, group codes, etc. in order to get the best rates (note: not all readers have had success with these things. If you have trouble, I’d recommend hanging up and trying again with a different concierge).

Since the change to the new concierge service, I haven’t personally tested whether alternate payments have worked, but I know a person who has.  The short answer: there is no guarantee you’ll get the rebate if you don’t pay with your Prestige card.  Sometimes it works to pay with another form of payment and sometimes it doesn’t.  As a result, I recommend paying with your Prestige card to ensure getting the rebate.  Since the card offers 3 points per dollar at hotels, it is pretty rewarding anyway!

Here’s his full story:

1) I tested 2 times intentionally, both Hilton’s in Peru (April). I was getting some extra promo points by charging Hilton on Premier and felt if challenged, at least Citi card.  [Editor’s note: he means that charging the stay to another Citibank card might be safer since Citi can theoretically see that he at least charged the stay to a Citibank card]

2)  I really wanted this to work so I could do 4 night Hyatt and pay with gift cards!  I will likely not try that now unless things change.

3)  I keep track of 4th night in spreadsheet to make sure posts…..I have 7-8 already!

4)  One posted no problem. One did not post. I also had a legit stay not post in Bogota.

5)  I called about Bogota (March), a legit one, was told looks good and should post, be patient as terms are 2 statement cycles. It was about 2 months and they usually post within the month. I was just a few days short of 2nd statement cycle posting.  Still not posted a month later (June) and since one in Peru posted a few weeks ago, but the other one did not, I called.

6)  Aspire agent told me that upon review, I did not charge the full Bogota stay on my Prestige. I in fact did. There is an 18% hotel tax that guests with tourist visas less than 60 days are exempt, so bill was less than they were expecting. The Aspire agent said HE COULD NOT APPROVE, he needed to send to the manager who reviewed and denied the 4th night. It was approved and credited about 3-4 days later.

7)  They clearly do not credit for resort fees which is well known. I was also surprised to learn that even though it shows on my confirmations that I will receive credit for the 10% service fee, I did not in most cases (but I did in others). The Aspire agent informed me that […] since the 10% service fee is not part of the program […] the credit is adjusted.

8)  I did receive credit for the 18% tax on my Bogota Sheraton stay, even though I informed them that I was not subject to the tax. It was part of the hotel rate. This is true on every stay in Bogota…I received the credit including tax, even though I did not pay the tax. But in all other cases, they did not know I was not paying the tax.

9)  […] I asked that the Peru stay […] be reviewed, stating “I must have pulled out the wrong card” as charged to Premier. He stated they have access to all Citi cards, so his manager can review. I did not need to provide anything further. That was a bit surprising, full access to credit card charges, even beyond Prestige.

Conclusion

The Citi Prestige Concierge service does (at least sometimes) review accounts to make sure that full payment was made with the Citi Prestige card.  So, to be safe, always pay with your Prestige card for 4th Night Free reservations.  And, if your rebate does not post within two statement cycles of your stay, call to request a review.

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.

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Comments

  1. I churn CC’s for signup bonuses, and am always looking for the best deal. Still, somehow, this idea of trying to get the fourth night free without using the underlying Prestige card seems just a bit over the line to me. I do try to reward those who offer a good benefit by proper usage of the benefit — in this case, using the Prestige card as it was intended.

  2. Does the card owner have to be on the reservation? If yes, does it work to change it later calling the hotel if he’s not actually staying but will pay with the card beforehand?

    • Yes, the card owner has to be on the reservation. I don’t know for sure if it would work to call the hotel after booking to change the primary guest, but my guess is that it would work. Whether they’ll let you pay ahead of time or not probably depends upon the specific hotel.

  3. Hi Greg.
    – If my spouse is the main account holder on the Prestige, and I’m the AU, if I book a hotel reservation in my name, using MY card, will they reimburse for the 4th night?

    – In your experience, are they willing to rebook an existing reservation, assuming I let the said hotel know what I’m trying to do (hotel is a boutique hotel)?

    Thanks!

    • 1) I don’t have experience trying to book these as an AU. My guess is that it would work, but I can’t say for sure. I’m pretty sure you could do this: have your spouse book the 4th night free then have spouse call hotel to change primary guest to you. If you then pay with your Prestige card, the charge will show up on the same account so it should be fine.

      2) I’m assuming you want to rebook the existing reservation either because you got a great deal or because the hotel is now sold out? Regardless, to make that work, I believe that the Citi concierge would have to be willing to call the hotel to work it out. That would take some luck, I think, in finding a very good concierge

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