I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
One of the best benefits in all of travel is the Citi Prestige Card‘s fourth night free benefit for hotels.
Frequent Miler writes this morning about using this benefit to game earning hotel elite status that programs award based on annual spend.
He writes about it in terms of changes to the Hyatt program, but the same logic applies to IHG Rewards Club and Hilton. And you can use the fourth night free to goose qualifying for status based on nights, too.
Hilton’s Conrad Koh Samui
Earning Hotel Status Based on Spend
Hilton awards gold status after 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 HHonors Base Points. That’s $7500 in spend at their hotels. They award Diamond after 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 HHonors Base Points. That’s $12,000 in spend at their hotels.
Of course you get Gold status just for having the Citi Hilton Reserve Card and you get Diamond for spending $40,000 in a year on that card. I don’t see a reason to stay to earn status with Hilton.
IHG Spire Elite can be earned with 75,000 qualifying points, so:
- $5000 in hotel spend (5 x 10,000 points) plus putting that $5000 spend on their co-brand credit card (5 x 5000), or
- $7500 in hotel spend.
Hyatt lets you earn top tier Globalist status in the new World of Hyatt program for $20,000 in spend.
Hyatt Top Tier Elite Room Service Breakfast at the Park Hyatt Vendome, Paris
Using the Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Benefit
Here’s how it works:
- You book through the Citi Prestige Concierge
- These stays earn full points and stay credit.
- You pay at checkout with your Citi Prestige card
For bookings made by July 23 you receive a statement credit for the 4th night of the stay including taxes. For bookings made July 23 onward you receive a statement credit for the average daily rate for your stay, excluding taxes.
The Perfect Mattress Run
Two years ago I described this benefit as “the perfect mattress run.”
There are two ways to play it:
- On any 3 night stay, just book four nights for the extra points and elite credit. The fourth night is free for bookings made during the next 6 months and then after that the extra night will save you more or less than the 4th night would have cost depending on the hotel’s rate for that night.
- For hotel programs that let you earn status based on spend, find a hotel with an exorbitant rate for the fourth night and book it before July 23. That exorbitant rate that you aren’t paying for makes outsized progress towards status.
Frequent Miler pointed out finding “a pre-Superbowl room rate in which the first three nights were $129 each, and the 4th night was $1200.” For bookings before July 23 that $1200 room night would be refunded.
You’re not going to use this technique to earn status from scratch — e.g. find a $99 Hyatt room for 3 nights which then costs $9700 for the third night, and repeat this a second time — but it could be useful to top off towards spend-based qualification.
In the meantime the Last Great Mattress Run with Hyatt is still possible.
Living Room of Suite at the Park Hyatt Chennai
Valuable for Real Stays, Not Just Mattress Runs
Since you can use the fourth night free benefit even at luxury properties, you can get huge savings if you book the kinds of rooms that are $400, $800, or more per night.
This is a $450 annual fee card. The signup bonus lets you earn 40,000 points after $4000 in purchases within 3 months. (Offer expired) There’s a $250 airline credit that works on direct purchases of tickets, no need to mess around with gift cards. It comes with a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. And it earns 3 points per dollar on air and hotel plus 2 points per dollar on restaurants and entertainment.
The fourth night free benefit, though, can pay for the card’s cost many times over — and over and over.