Citi recently changed the value proposition on their Citi Prestige card. Most of the changes were for the worse for cardmembers, but their best benefit had a rather mild change. If you have the Citi Prestige card, you can book the 4th night free for hotel stays. Before this weekend, you would get the actual 4th night free – inclusive of taxes – which was great when you had a very expensive 4th night on a particular stay. I used this for a hotel stay where the 4th night was on New Years Eve and saved over $800.
The new benefit is that on a 4-night stay, Citi will take the average of the pre-tax hotel stay amount and give you 25% off. If you have a 4-night stay that costs $600 plus tax, you’ll basically get a discount of $150. On that New Years Eve stay I mentioned, the new rules would have saved me only $350 instead of $800. Bummer.
However, one of the changes is that you can now book “4th night free” reservations online. In addition, you can use ThankYou Points in place of cash. If you only have the Citi Prestige, your ThankYou Points are worth 1¢ each. That means that in an imaginary example where taxes are included in a hotel rate, if you have a $1000 hotel booking before getting 25% off, you’ll either pay $750 or 75,000 ThankYou Points.
It may be worth having both a Citi Premier in addition to the Prestige
The Citi Premier is a separate card from the Prestige. You can use ThankYou Points at a value of 1.25 cents for travel in general, which includes airfare and hotels.
Greg the Frequent Miler had an idea — what if you had both the Prestige and Premier cards. Do the 4th night free (from the Citi Prestige) and the 1.25 cents per point on hotel bookings (from the Citi Premier) stack up?
I have both the Premier and the Prestige, and both are linked to the same ThankYou Points account. I decided to be the guinea pig.
I chose a random hotel in a random location – it just happened to be this example.
If you click to book the room, you’ll see that the you can pay $125 to reduce the cost by 10,000 ThankYou Points, which just further shows the 1.25 cents per point value in addition to the 4th night free.
This means that if you can find a hotel where the taxes are rolled into the nightly rate, you can potentially get 1.67 cents per point value out of ThankYou Points! Of course, one could say that it’s really only 1.25 cents per point, since the cash rate I’m replacing is the discounted $1493 and not the full $1909. But still — having both cards allows these two benefits to stack up and get some pretty good value out of ThankYou points compared to other currencies if you want to limit your cash spending, especially if you can use it on a hotel with low taxes.
In fact, I just did that. A friend of mine is having a destination wedding at a non-chain resort in the Caribbean. Rooms were $400 per night with all taxes rolled in to the base rate. For 4 nights, my price went from $1600 to $1200 on the Citi ThankYou site with the 4th night free, but I was able to book it for “only” 96,000 points by holding both the Prestige and Premier.
$1,600 worth of hotel divided by 96,000 points is 1.67! That’s insane – it’s better than the 1.6 cents per point I would use for American Airlines flights until last week.
It’s so insane that I actually think it can’t possibly be intended. But the cat’s out of the bag. If you have the Premier and the Prestige, I would definitely look toward using ThankYou Points toward this while the going is good. You’ll have to have them connected to the same ThankYou Points account. If you’re missing one of the two in this combination, I wouldn’t rush to apply simply for this deal, as Citi may decide to not allow stacking the two benefits once they realize.