Post Devaluation: Citibank Prestige’s 4th Night Free benefit


TL;DR: Cheap card to keep despite the devaluation.

What’s good about Citibank Prestige Mastercard?

If you have not heard about this card, here’s a quick summary:

Booking a minimum of 4-nights hotel stay with Citibank Prestige Mastercard gives you a 1-night rebate (excl. taxes and fees). Only bookings made through Citi Prestige Concierge will qualify. Also, after booking a 4-night stay in a particular city, cardholders will not be eligible for another benefit until 7 days after check-out date in that same city.

The annual (non-waivable) fee for this card is $535 and it comes with a gift of 62,500 points (25,000 miles). As I value this at $475, I see the actual cost of owning this card as $60 per year ($535 – $475).


Citibank Prestige

Benefit: 1 night refunded for 4-night stays
Annual fee: $535 (No waiver)
Minimum annual income: $120,000

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Devaluation from 1 March 2020

Citibank made some negative adjustments to the 4th Night Free benefit of its Prestige Mastercard from 1 March 2020. With this devaluation, all bookings have to prepaid and member/package rates will no longer qualify. This means that even though I am a Marriott Titanium and Hilton Diamond member, I will need to book public rates to enjoy the 1 night rebate.

Although it may look like a 4th Night Free (4NF) benefit is a 25% discount, Citi Prestige cardholders usually save much lesser than this before the devaluation.

Nightly rate (excl taxes and fees): $100
Total cost (incl taxes and fees): $468
Cost after 1 night rebate: $368
Savings: 21%

Here’s what’s unfortunate, as payments have to be made with the Citi Prestige card (1.3 to 2 MPD), cardholders will also miss the opportunity to earn 4 MPD with one of the specialised cards. For simplicity sake, I see this as a 4% loss in “savings” as I will be getting about half the amount of miles with Citi Prestige.

That’s not all. As bookings can only be made through the concierge, cardholders will also lose out on double-dipping through shopping portals like ShopBack, Rakuten and RebateMango. This varies wildly, depending on the hotel and membership level, but let’s take an average of 5% loss in savings.

So, even before the devaluation, cardholders only save around 12% in reality. That’s quite a small number, considering the fact that you have to switch cities every 4 nights to maximize this benefit. I did a five-weeks-long Europe trip earlier this year and could only (sensibly) book 24 out of 38 nights (6 stays) using this benefit.


How is the devaluation like in practice?

I’ve made it pretty clear that I am not much of a staycay kinda guy. For this reason, I’ve only managed to utilise the 4NF benefit recently for my RGL Business trip in Malaysia. As I called in to make my hotel reservations, the Citi Concierge staff reminded me that non-prepaid and member rates are no longer allowed.

However, she said that she could make an exception to allow booking a member rate. She will also need to get in touch with the hotel to prepay the non-prepaid rate. I made 3 bookings on 3 separate days and was offered the same “an exception”. I received an email a few days later (like the one below) to fill up a prepayment form.

Prepayment form

Prepayment form

Bottom line

At $60 actual cost per year, this card is nowhere near as useless as what some are saying. Any one can probably make up for this $60 cost after just one 4-night booking.

I have had great success over the past couple of years in receiving Best Rate Guarantee discounts with Citi Prestige bookings but whenever the exception for member rates stop, it would make this card a lot less useful to me. Way too much inconvenience for a discount which will go below 12%. I hope you guys who are Marriott members loaded up on Marriott gift cards for 20% off because that was one heck of a deal without all these Prestige ̶a̶n̶n̶o̶y̶a̶n̶c̶e̶s̶ inconveniences.

Related: citibank

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