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

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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

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