Is the Citi Prestige Complementary 4th Night Benefit Sustainable?

One of the most popular cards of 2015 has been the Citi Prestige Card. Perhaps the biggest factor behind the Prestige’s popularity has been its complementary fourth night hotel benefit. The Prestige card offers a complimentary fourth night for any stay at a hotel that is part of of the Carlson Wagonlit Travel network. Simply complete a hotel booking of four nights or more via said travel agency and you will receive a credit for whatever you ended up paying for your fourth night, even when the fourth night prices higher than the rest. However, as more and more people apply for this card and become aware of the fourth night free benefit, will Citi be able to continue to offer the same?

I can only remember one other card which offered a similarly attractive hotel benefit and that was the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card. The Club Carlson card offered cardholders the last night of any points stay of two nights or more for free. As such, cardholders were able to save up to 70,000 Club Carlson points per booking. This benefit lasted for about two years until Club Carlson ended the same as part of a massive devaluation of their rewards program last spring.

Similarly to the Prestige now, Club Carlson was interested in making its rewards program known to the masses. A good way to do this was by offering an exceptional benefit, such as the last night free on awards benefit. The card’s popularity soared, everyone became aware of the Club Carlson rewards program and cardholders began to take advantage of said benefit by the droves.

Nonetheless, as is usually the case, when something sounds to good to be true, it usually is, and even though this benefit was real for a couple of years, it was apparent that it was not sustainable. Hence, the elimination of the same.

Citi is trying to become one of the credit card big boys. The Prestige card has already gotten them a seat on the table thanks in great part to the complementary fourth night hotel benefit. I would love to be wrong about this, but my suspicion is that once they reach a certain level of Prestige cardholders Citi will eliminate the complementary fourth night hotel benefit, though I do not expect this to happen for at least another year.

Unlike the Club Carlson card, the Prestige might be worth keeping even if the complementary fourth night hotel benefit is eliminated. For the time being, take advantage of this benefit as much as possible and prepare yourself mentally for its elimination. That way you will not be as disappointed if/when this happens.

Do you think the Citi Prestige Card’s complementary fourth night hotel benefit is sustainable?

Comments

  1. I think if they remove that benefit, I transfer my points out and close the card. I don’t golf, so the $400 annual fee isn’t worth paying without the 4th night free benefit.

  2. The thing is most business trips are three nights or less. The quietest nights are typically Thursday and Sunday night. If they get you to stay an extra night overall I’m not sure it costs them as much as we think it does. And you will end up spending more overall than if you had just stayed 3 nights.

  3. I don’t know if they will get rid of it completely but I can see them making it 3 times a calendar year or annual fee year. if that goes away, yes, I will probably close my account as well.

  4. With some TAs taking as much as 40% of the hotel room rate charge as their commission, a good deal between Citi and Carlson Wagonlit Travel probably means that a 4th night stay benefit doesn’t cost Citi much (if any) money.

  5. I still haven’t used this benefit. I can’t remember the last time I stayed 4 nights in one hotel and wasn’t working a promo or staying on points. It never occurred to me to keep this card once the annual fee hits. Does anyone else find themselves swimming in free nights? I’ve got 2 Hyatt nights (from cc, and thx Hyatt for the match), 2 Club Carlson nights (thx CC for the free night you gave me after my phone call & 10k spend, 1 Hilton night (thx HH for the free night after 10k spend), and a slew of IHG nights (thx IHG for the crazy promos that I’ve mastered resulting into almost too many free nights for v cheap) almost all have expiration dates coming up in the next few months. I don’t know if I could relax enough to stay somewhere for 4 nights, even when I’m getting one night for free.

  6. I’ve attempted to use the service for the first time and they just never called me back. I ended up booking an airbnb since I’m traveling with 2 other people and even with the 4th night free, booking a hotel in Sydney for 6 nights would have still been more expensive than booking most of the airbnb properties available. I dont see myself really using this benefit much since airbnbs tend to be a much more economical choice for longer stays and for groups.

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