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Editor’s note: This article has been updated with the latest information. Citi is a TPG advertising partner. 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.
Each premium travel rewards credit card has benefits that set it apart. For example, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers excellent membership benefits and 5x earnings on select flight and hotel purchases. And the Chase Sapphire Reserve provides valuable travel protections and 3x earning on all travel and dining purchases.
The Citi Prestige® Card has historically competed with these travel rewards cards. But the Citi Prestige’s appeal has dwindled over the years as Citi removed Prestige benefits and slashed protections. Despite these cuts, some cardholders have decided to keep their Citi Prestige.
Related: Battle of the premium travel rewards cards: Which is the best?
After all, the Citi Prestige’s 5x earnings with restaurants, airlines and travel agencies can provide significant value. But one of the primary reasons many cardholders keep the Citi Prestige is its unique fourth night hotel benefit. This benefit has changed a lot over the years, though. So, today I’ll discuss the current Citi Prestige fourth night hotel benefit.
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What to know
As a Citi Prestige cardmember, you’re eligible to book up to two complimentary fourth night benefits per card account per calendar year. To book a complimentary fourth night, you must:
- Book a minimum of a four-consecutive-night hotel stay through Thankyou.com or by calling 1-800-ThankYou
- Pre-pay for your complete stay with your Citi Prestige Card, Citi ThankYou Points or a combination of ThankYou Points and your Citi Prestige Card
Citi bases the fourth night benefit on your stay’s average nightly rate, excluding taxes and fees. The price you pay during booking includes the fourth night benefit savings. Additionally, the fourth night benefit has the following restrictions and requirements:
- The primary cardmember must make reservations, but bookings can be made in the primary cardmember or authorized user‘s name.
- If you need to change or cancel your reservation, you must do so through Thankyou.com or by calling 1-800-ThankYou.
- Only one complimentary night is possible per stay. Citi considers back-to-back stays as one stay. So you can’t use two fourth night benefits on back-to-back reservations at the same property.
- For group reservations, or other reservations consisting of multiple rooms, only one room will qualify for a complimentary night.
- Packaged rates, such as air and hotel or hotel and car rental, do not qualify for this benefit.
- Citi doesn’t include hotel imposed fees and incidental guest charges when calculating the fourth night benefit.
- Reservations made through any party or channel other than online at Thankyou.com or by phone through 1-800-ThankYou are not eligible for the fourth night benefit.
- The fourth night benefit is intended only for personal use. You may not use this benefit for business travel.
Finally, the fourth night benefit doesn’t apply to some stay types. For example, the fourth night benefit excludes rooms in yachts, riverboats, cruises, campgrounds, castles, safaris, villas and apartments.
Related: So close, yet so far: Comparing the Platinum Card from American Express and the Citi Prestige Card
How to book
There are two ways to book a complimentary fourth night stay: online at Thankyou.com or by phone at 1-800-ThankYou.
It’s easiest to search online. But, you can call to book properties, room types and packages that aren’t bookable online. For example, TPG editor Ariana Arghandewal called last October to book a stay at the Hagia Sofia Mansions Istanbul, Curio Collection by Hilton, since this property wasn’t bookable online at Thankyou.com.
If you call, the agent will walk you through the booking process. But, here’s the process for booking a fourth night stay online at Thankyou.com.
Enter dates and destination
After you log in to your account and select “Hotels” from the “Travel” dropdown menu at the top of the page, you’ll have an opportunity to enter your destination, dates, the number of guests, your preferred hotel name or brand and preferred star rating.
Many hotels are bookable through Citi ThankYou, but you may need to get creative when entering a destination. For example, instead of searching for a specific island in the Maldives, you may have better luck entering “Male” into the search field. Likewise, instead of searching for “Fiji,” you’ll want to search for “Nadi.” And I rarely get any results when entering a preferred brand, so I recommend skipping this option.
Related: Online travel agency vs. booking direct: Your guide to the best way to book your next hotel
Select a hotel
The next page should return a list of available properties near your destination, with 25 appearing on each page. You can filter the results by hotel name, price, property class, guest rating, amenities, hotel brand and landmarks.
Note the check-box at the top of this page that says “Use my complimentary 4th night hotel benefit for this trip” — you’ll want to deselect this if you don’t want to use one of your two annual fourth night benefits for this trip.
Related: How to avoid booking a bad hotel
Choose your room and rate
Once you select a hotel, you’ll usually see multiple room types available for booking.
Choose a mix of points and cash
Video: The Best Outdoor Stays for 2021 (Travel + Leisure)
On the next page, you can select the number of points you’d like to redeem. Or, you can choose to pay for the entire stay with your card.
You can apply points to hotel bookings at a rate of one cent per point. But, this is far below TPG’s valuation of Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each. So, I don’t recommend using your Citi ThankYou points when booking hotels.
Related: Is Citi ThankYou Rewards the most underappreciated and misunderstood program?
Confirm personal details and enter billing details
Your guest information will automatically populate. Remember that the guest information must match the primary cardholder or authorized user.
Next, you’ll need to provide your Citi Prestige account details.
Interestingly enough, the page appears to accept other credit cards but notes that you won’t be eligible for the fourth night benefit if you pay with a non-Prestige account.
Related: Amex vs. Citi vs. Chase: Which booking portal is best for hotels?
Elite earnings and benefits
Unfortunately, most stays booked through Citi ThankYou won’t be eligible for points earning and elite benefits through the hotel. Citi’s official stance is that:
Frequent traveler accounts cannot be used when booking via ThankYou.com or when calling the ThankYou travel center.
Discount rates [including loyalty, government, military, corporate, AAA and AARP rates] cannot be applied when booked through ThankYou.com or when calling the ThankYou travel center.
However, TPG editor Ariana Arghandewal was able to book a Hilton member rate when she called the ThankYou travel center to secure a fourth night stay benefit last October. She even got elite earnings and perks on this stay. So, you may be able to call and get an agent to book a specific rate that will get elite earnings and benefits.
Even if you book a rate that shouldn’t get elite earnings and benefits, you could get lucky. As such, it always makes sense to provide your loyalty program number to the hotel. Even if you won’t earn points and stay credit, an individual hotel may choose to honor your elite member benefits at its discretion.
Related: Comparing 4 top hotel elite status levels — and how to easily earn them in 2021
As always, you’ll want to read the hotel’s cancellation policy carefully before clicking to confirm. While some airlines allow you to cancel for free within 24 hours of booking, the same does not apply to nonrefundable hotel stays. As such, the standard cancellation policy kicks in once you complete the checkout process.
In general, Citi ThankYou offers non-refundable and refundable rates. However, some dates and properties may only offer refundable or non-refundable rates.
Related: Don’t get your hopes up: Hotels likely won’t follow airlines in eliminating change fees
Are rates competitive?
The lowest rates available through Citi ThankYou are often higher than the lowest rates available when booking directly with the hotel loyalty program. Plus, you usually won’t get elite benefits and earnings when booking through Citi ThankYou.
However, in some cases, you’ll find that Citi ThankYou offers upgraded rooms at a lower price than booking direct. For example, the Citi ThankYou portal once allowed me to secure the best room type at the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Fiji — a beachfront bure — for less than any other room type.
In general, you’ll get better value from the complimentary fourth night benefit when you use it at luxury hotels. However, I recommend considering the net cost — the out-of-pocket cost minus elite earnings and credit card earnings — of each of your favorite booking methods when deciding how to book a stay.
Related: How valuable is the Citi Prestige’s 4th-night free when booking mid-tier hotels though Citi ThankYou?
Frequently asked questions
The Citi Prestige’s fourth night benefit can be confusing. As such, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about this perk.
What if the property I want doesn’t show up?
First, try searching for the location differently. If the property still doesn’t show up, give the ThankYou travel center a call. An agent may be able to book the property for you, assuming it’s not an excluded property type.
Can I book an all-inclusive property?
Yes, you can book all-inclusive properties using the Citi Prestige fourth night benefit.
Can I book AAA, AARP, corporate or other special rates?
Based on Citi’s frequently asked questions webpage for the fourth night benefit, you can’t book discounted rates. However, as noted above, some cardholders have been able to book member rates when calling the ThankYou travel center.
Is it worth signing up for the Citi Prestige for the fourth night benefit?
Historically, this was an easy question to answer for frequent travelers. But now that the fourth night benefit is limited to two uses per year, some cardholders won’t get enough value from this perk. Prospective cardholders should consider how they’d use the fourth night perk each year, as this will help determine potential savings.
What are other ways to get a free hotel night?
There are a few different ways to get a free night. Various cards, such as the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, provide a free night certificate to cardholders each year. The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex 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.
Plus, Marriott provides a fifth night free on all award stays, Hilton provides a fifth night free to elites on award stays and IHG offers a complimentary fourth night on award stays to cardholders of the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.
Some Fine Hotels and Resorts properties — which are bookable by travelers with an Amex Platinum or Centurion-branded card — provide a third, fourth or fifth night free. So there are other ways besides the Citi Prestige’s fourth night benefit to get a free night.
Related: How to maximize longer hotel stays by using a free night benefit
Although the Citi Prestige’s fourth night benefit is not nearly as valuable as it once was, it’s still possible to get value from this perk. However, to do so, you’ll need to carefully consider when and how to use your two free night benefits each year.
Featured image of the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay by JT Genter/The Points Guy.
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.