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Citi Prestige Card free hotel night benefit FAQs answered

by on Wed April 8, 2015 • 7 Comments


citiprestige170The Citi Prestige Card has a unique benefit that gives you a free night with every 4 night or longer hotel stay you book with the card via the Citi concierge.

Unlike some other ‘free’ night benefits, this one lets you lock in the very lowest rate a hotel is offering on its own website, which can make it really compelling and let you enjoy . But to take advantage of it, you have to jump through a few hoops.

Here’s a rundown of frequent questions and answers to get you going:

How do you book the hotel stay?

Unfortunately there’s no online way to book your stay and get the 4th night free, but here’s how it works over the phone:

  • Call the Citi Concierge using the number on the back of your card, or request it online.
  • They pass the request to the designated travel agent, Carlson Wagonlit
  • They will email you with hotel options within 24 hours
  • You then confirm – or request additional options

If your request is urgent, you can ask to be transferred directly to Carlson Wagonlit and they’ll quote rates for you over the phone.

They’ll quote you the amount of your whole stay, and the amount that’s eligible to be refunded by Citibank after it’s paid in full.

Is it the lowest rate?

Not always. The default rate you’ll get is whatever Carlson Wagonlit sees in its reservation system. Usually that’s the standard rates hotels provide, and sometimes it includes discounts Carlson Wagonlit may have negotiated.

But there is some good news.

If you see a lower rate on the hotel’s own website, even if it’s a pre-paid rate, you can ask Citi to honor it. The agent will look up the hotel website and if the rate is there, will get permission to honor the lower rate and book it with your card.

Where can you check Carlson’s prices ahead of time?

This link is to a site that displays most of the same hotel information that Carlson agents see, in case you want to compare it to the rates on a hotel’s own website.

Can I use AAA or other discounts?

Most standard discounts like AAA or military rates are part of standard reservation systems, so just specify them beforehand and the agent will include them in your search. However it’s not clear they qualify for the 4th night benefit. The fine print includes no specific inclusion or exclusion.

Is the 4th night credit an average of all 4 nights?

Yes, as of July of 2017, and it does not include taxes. Until then it is the actual rate of the 4th night that’s credited back. So even if the 4th night is the most expensive night of your stay, you’ll get credit in the amount of the 4th night’s rate. So for example if your rates are Night 1: $100, Night 2: $100, Night 3: $100, Night 4: $200, you’ll get a $200 credit.

When does the refund credit post?

The credit will post within 2 billing cycles of you being charged the whole room amount. So that usually ends up being about a month after your stay.

If you booked a fully prepaid rate, it will post within 2 bills of you paying for the hotel, even if that’s before you actually stay.

Can you book back to back to get more than one free night?

No, you can’t book for example 8 nights in a row at one hotel. You could though switch hotels after the 4th night, then return again for another 4 nights.

Will you earn hotel points?

Generally yes. They’re booking you either via a standard travel agency (Carlson Wagonlit) or directly with the hotel’s website if it’s a lower rate. Both cases let you earn points and take advantage of your hotel status with most of the major programs like Starwood, Hyatt, and Hilton.

Can only standard rooms be booked?

You can book any room type – including suites – and earn the 4th night free benefit.

Are there special upgrade or other benefits?

If you book a rate via Carlson that’s one of the World Elite MasterCard rates, yes you will get:

  • Breakfast for two daily
  • Early check-in / late check-out
  • A space available room upgrade
  • An additional amenity like spa or dining credit

You can see a catalog of all the hotels that participate in the program here. The rates you’ll pay to get these benefits may not be the absolute lowest, but it’s a good idea to ask for them and compare to the lowest rate, as it’s sometimes a better deal to pay a slightly higher rate to earn the benefits.

Can authorized card holders use the free night benefit?

No, only stays booked by the primary annual fee paying card holder are eligible.

And if you want it, here’s all the fine print associated with the benefit

To receive your complimentary night (via a statement credit) you must meet these 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 will be equal to or lower than the lowest publicly-available fare at the hotel’s official website. The benefit can only be used by the primary account cardholder.
  • Rates provided by Citi Prestige® Concierge will be equal to or lower than the lowest publicly–available fare at the hotel’s official website.
  • Packaged rates, such as air and hotel, hotel and car rental do not qualify for this benefit.
  • Bookings made through other methods such as, travel agents, websites or directly with a hotel will not qualify.

“For reservations made before July 23, 2017, you will receive one complimentary night (room rate for the fourth night and applicable taxes only) for any consecutive four-night hotel stay booked directly with a Citi’s designated travel advisor. Hotel imposed fees and incidental guest charges are the Cardmember’s responsibility. The value of the complimentary night will be the actual rate, as provided by the designated travel advisor, on that fourth night of the reservation, even if the rate is different from the rate on other nights.

For reservations made on or after July 23, 2017, you will receive a credit based on the average nightly rate of your complete stay. Taxes will no longer be credited. You still must book a consecutive four-night hotel stay directly with Citi’s designated travel advisor. Hotel imposed fees and incidental guest charges are the Cardmember’s responsibility.

Cardmember will be charged the total cost of the stay at checkout and will receive a credit to the credit card statement as set forth above. If the cardmember books a special “pre-paid” rate this may require upfront payment in full, at time of booking. Payment in full is defined as pre-payment for the total of all four consecutive nights.”


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7 thoughts on Citi Prestige Card free hotel night benefit FAQs answered

  1. JP

    I’m booking now for a stay that will occur after my annual fee is due for the 2nd year. I wasn’t planning on paying that (instead was planning on cancelling the card). Do you think this will still work? How will I get the 4th night payment back if I’m not a cardholder?


      @JP – No that won’t work – the 4th night credit doesn’t hit until after you complete your stay.

  2. Kristine

    What if the customer I’m visiting has a negotiated rate with the hotel? Can Carson book at that rate and would I still get the 4th night credit?

  3. Eric

    Has anyone booked a hotel that was not within the Carlson system? Just had a frustrating phone call with an agent who said they can’t book a hotel that is not in the system (to get 4th night free). Does emailing work? Was told by a different agent that it does but who knows. Thx

  4. Freddy

    If the primary account holder books the hotel, will the primary account holder need to be present at the hotel?


      @Freddy – The primary account holder’s name must be in the reservation. Whether an individual hotel allows an alternate name to check-in is at the discretion of the hotel.


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