Don’t forget to book your 4th Night Free reservations before September 1 2019. If you call Citi through any number other than the one listed later in this post, make sure to ask for the Concierge rather than selecting to book travel. If you do the latter, you’ll be routed to an agent who will book you through the ThankYou portal and they won’t be able to apply special rates. This issue led at least one blog to erroneously report that bookings through Citi Concierge are no longer available. Beginning September 1 2019, though, this option will really go away.
Beginning September 2019, the 4th Night Free benefit will be capped at two uses per calendar year. Until then, it can be used as often as you’d like. Also beginning September 2019, you will be required to book 4th Night Free reservations through the ThankYou portal (or by calling 1-800-THANKYOU). This means that you will be forced to accept the usually much higher prices found on the ThankYou portal. Plus, you won’t earn hotel points or elite benefits on those stays.
Prestige 4th Night Free
Among the Citi Prestige card’s perks is one outstanding benefit not found on any other credit card to-date: A complimentary 4th night with a minimum 4-consecutive night booking at any hotel.
Citi advertises the benefit as follows:
Complimentary 4th night stay at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4-consecutive night booking through ThankYou.com or the Citi Prestige Concierge (based on your average night stay, exclusive of taxes and fees).
Citi lists the following eligibility requirements:
- Only one complimentary night is eligible per each 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 (as an example, you book four nights at a hotel on one reservation for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and book another four nights on another reservation for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. In this situation, you would only be eligible for one complimentary night for the 8 night stay).
- Rates provided by Citi Prestige® Concierge and at Thankyou.com may vary.
- 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, hotel and car rental do not qualify for this benefit.
- Hotel imposed fees and incidental guest charges are the Cardmember’s responsibility.
- Bookings made through other methods such as, travel agents, websites or directly with a hotel will not qualify.
Book Online or via Concierge?
4th Night Free reservations can be booked online through the ThankYou.com website or via phone or email through the Citi Prestige Concierge. Each has pluses and minuses but for most situations I highly recommend going through the Concierge. Unfortunately, beginning September 1 2019, you will be required to book 4th Night Free reservations through the ThankYou portal (or by calling 1-800-THANKYOU).
Even though I recommend booking through the Citi Concierge, there are several advantages to booking online:
- It’s relatively quick and easy.
- You can stack Premier & Prestige benefits: If you have the Citi Premier card pooled with your Prestige card: The Premier card’s 20% point discount on travel stacks with the Prestige card’s 4th night free. These combine to give you up to 1.67 cents per point value, or a 40% point discount if you prefer to think of it that way.
- You can see for yourself all of the available hotels and room options within a chosen hotel
- Some hotel discounts are available only through the portal
- You can pay with points
- You’ll only be charged the 75% rate. There is no need to wait for the 4th night reimbursement.
There are serious disadvantages though:
- You can’t apply additional discounts. You can’t get AAA rates, government or military rates, hotel promotional rates (unless they are available on ThankYou.com), etc.
- You won’t earn hotel loyalty points for your stay.
- Your elite status (if any) most likely won’t be recognized.
- Your receipt will show only the discounted price (this is an issue if you intend to expense the entire 4 nights)
Citi Prestige Concierge: You can book through the Citi Prestige Concierge either by phone or by email (details below). I find email to be the best option. The great thing about going through the Concierge is that you can ask them to apply discount codes, hotel promotional codes, etc. Also, we know from experience that reservations booked this way do earn elite credits and points when staying at chain hotels. And, upon checkout, you’ll receive the full folio for all four nights. This can be used for business expense reimbursements, for example.
Advice: In my opinion it’s almost always better to book via the Citi Prestige Concierge. Booking via email is very easy (see below for instructions).
Pay with Points or Credit Card?
With the online booking option you can pay with points or with your credit card. The problem is that you’ll only get 1 cent per point value when points are used this way (see exception below) and you won’t earn credit card rewards. If you still want to use points this way, I recommend paying with your credit card and then later redeeming points for 1 cent each to offset the statement charges. This way you’ll earn credit card rewards and get to use your points to cover those charges. In general, though, you’re better off transferring points to select airline programs when you know you can get a high value reward flight.
One exception: If you have both the Prestige and Premier card and your points are pooled together, then you will be able to use points to book a 4th Night Free reservation at a value of 1.25 cents per point. In other words you’ll get both the Prestige card’s 4th Night Free and the Premier card’s 1.25 cents per point value towards hotel awards. Taken together, these features add up to an excellent 40% point discount when you book exactly 4 nights at a time.
Advice: Don’t pay with points unless you have both the Prestige and Premier card and you have pooled the points together.
Stack with Hotel Free Night Promotions?
Hotels often offer their own 3rd Night Free or 4th Night Free promotions. The Prestige 4th Night Free benefit does stack with these offers as long as you book through the Concierge. Unfortunately, though, you won’t get two nights free. Instead, the hotel’s deal will be treated as a discount that applies before calculating the Prestige 4th Night Free benefit. For example, let’s say a hotel charges $300 per night and they have a 3rd Night Free promo. In that case, the total hotel charge for four nights would be $900 ($300 for the 1st, 2nd, and 4th night). Next, the Prestige benefit would be an additional 25% discount or rebate. 25% of $900 = $225. Your final cost, then, would be $900 – $225 = $675, or $168.75 per night. That’s approximately a 44% discount off the original $300 rate.
Sometimes hotel promotions show up in the Citi ThankYou hotel search results, but sometimes they do not. Book through the Citi Concierge if a promotion does not display online.
Stack with Best Rate Guarantee?
Many hotels offer a Best Rate Guarantee (See: Best Rate Guarantee Guide), agreeing to meet or beat competitor pricing if you find the same room advertised elsewhere for less. This usually requires you to first make a direct booking through the hotel chain in question and then submit a claim through the chain’s website. Bookings made through the Prestige Concierge (i.e. by phone or email) can count as direct bookings and you can stack a best rate guarantee with the 4th night free. See: Stacking 4th Night Free + BRG for big savings.
How to book via the Citi Prestige Concierge
When booking through the Citi Prestige Concierge, you can book via phone or email.
Book via email
Email “firstname.lastname@example.org” with the following information:
- The hotel you want
- The exact room type you want
- Any discount codes you want applied and that you qualify for (e.g. AAA, government rate, etc.)
- Check-in and check-out dates. For clarity I’d also write the number of nights
(e.g. “Check in on July 7 for 4 nights, check out on July 11”)
- The number of people that will be in the room. In some locations you may be better off booking for just two people even if you intend to have more. After booking, contact the hotel directly to see if they can accommodate additional guests.
- Your loyalty program number for the hotel chain, if any
- The last four digits of your Citi Prestige credit card
Book via phone
- Call the Citi Concierge at 1-561-922-0158. Tell them that you would like to use your Prestige card’s 4th Night Free benefit.
- Ask them to check AAA, AARP, and/or government rates (whatever you qualify for). They may not offer to check these for you automatically. Sometimes these rates will be much lower than the best available rate otherwise.
- Add your hotel loyalty number to the reservation. If you’re booking a stay with a hotel that’s part of a loyalty program, the travel agent can add your number to the reservation. You should earn both points and stay credits for the stay. If you forget to add your number at the time of booking, you can use your confirmation code and contact the hotel chain directly to add your number to the reservation.
How to Book Online
If you’d prefer to book your stay online, then do the following:
- Log in to your Citibank account
- Click to view “My Points Summary“
- Click Hotels under the Travel menu
- Search for your hotel
Q & A
- How do I know which hotels are available and at what price? Use the online hotel search function to find hotels and prices. If a hotel isn’t listed it still may be available through the Citi Prestige Concierge. Call or email to ask.
- Will I earn hotel loyalty points and elite credits for a stay booked this way? When booking through the Citi Concierge, the answer is yes (as long as you add your hotel loyalty number to the reservation). If you book online you most likely will not earn hotel points, elite credits, or elite recognition.
- How do I know how much of a rebate I’ll get? You will get back the average room rate for your reservation, not including taxes.
- Are taxes and fees for the fourth night also rebated? No.
- Do I have to pay for the stay with my Prestige card? Citi says yes. In one experiment, though, I earned the rebate without paying with my Prestige card (details here). To be safe, though, I definitely recommend paying with the Prestige card.
- What discounts can be applied at the time of booking? People have reported success with many different discounts including AAA, government rates, and even hotel specific promo codes (such as 3rd night or 5th night free!). Ask the travel concierge to apply any discounts you’re aware of.
- What discounts are excluded? Conference rates are excluded.
- What hotels are excluded? Any hotel that requires a credit card authorization form cannot be booked through Citi Prestige (see this post for details).