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?