You DON’T have to pay with your Prestige card for 4th Night Free (but you should)


UPDATE 6/15/2016: Recent evidence suggests that people do, at least sometimes, check to make sure that charges are placed on your Prestige card before credits are awarded.  I recommend always paying for 4th Night Free stays with your Prestige card.

Yesterday, I published a post with an opposite headline to this one.  I wrote:

You DO have to pay with your Prestige card for 4th Night Free. Here’s why I’m surprised.

It looks like I was wrong…

One of the commenters in that post hypothesized that the act of paying your credit card bill is the trigger that makes the 4th Night Free rebate appear on your account. It couldn’t hurt to try, so I went ahead and paid off my Prestige balance mid-cycle.

That was yesterday.  Today, I see a negative balance on my card.  I was credited with a 4th Night Free rebate for a stay in which I didn’t pay with my Prestige card!  The really surprising part of this is that it wasn’t credit for my London stay from mid May.  Instead it was credit from an aborted Hyatt stay from late April.  I wrote about both of these stays here:

My failed (but profitable) Prestige 4th Night Free experiment, and an accidental redo

Credit for my late April aborted stay took about 8 weeks to post.  It has only been 6 weeks since my London stay, so now I do expect that one to post as well.  Regardless, I now have evidence that you can get 4th Night Free credit without paying with your Prestige card.  I never paid a cent with my Prestige card for the stay that was just credited.

So, now we have a definitive answer.  I still don’t know whether paying my Prestige balance off early had any impact.  It could have been coincidence.  Just in case, though, I imagine I’ll be paying off my Prestige card balance mid-cycle quite often.

Why it matters

The Prestige card is actually an excellent card to use for hotel charges since it automatically gives you 3 points per dollar.  That said, in some cases there are good reasons to use other forms of payment:

  • You have hotel gift cards you want to use.
  • You want to pay with an Amex business card for a Hyatt stay in the US (to get 5% back via Amex OPEN Savings).
  • You mess up and pay with a different credit card by accident; or forget to bring the Prestige card for your stay.
  • Someone else in your group checks in or checks out instead of you (as happened with my London stay) and pays with their own credit card.


Obviously Citibank wants you to use their card for payment.  And, they’ll tell you that you have to use the Prestige card to pay in order to get the 4th Night Free credit.  As a result, if you pay with a different card (or with gift cards), they probably won’t help you if something goes wrong.  If the credit doesn’t post automatically, you’ll be out of luck.  So, I recommend using the Prestige card to pay whenever possible.

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Is it possible to book 4th night free using my card for someone else?


Hey Greg, I booked a hotel with the 4th night free service in the south of France. The group handling the 4th night free service called the hotel and made the reservation. When we got to the hotel, it turns out that the hotel did not take credit cards. Do you think I will get the 4th night reimbursed?

John Richard Stewart

Can you use Citi Thank You points to pay for the hotel room and get the 4th night rebated?


Did you get the rebate for London stay at all?
If so, how long did it take?


Any more data points? Can you split the hotel bill so that a portion is still paid with Prestige and have it credited?

[…] There are difference experiences on that:…th-night-free/ […]

[…] credit card, then get the statement credit on your Prestige statement anyway, as reported here:…th-night-free/ So the argument that if employers cared they could prevent this by requiring use of a corporate […]

[…] data to the Frequent Miler Laboratory.  Or, I’ll try out new manufactured spend techniques, or conduct Prestige 4th Night Free experiments, […]

[…] When you pay the Prestige bill that shows your entire hotel charge (before the fourth night free.) […]


The research on this card has been pro, Greg.
If they say it’s a benefit for using the card, there are only a few reasons to risk it. Don’t want to get stuck with a huge bill just because you wanted triple points. Not a good enough reason for me. But there would be some interesting ideas.
Agree about the barclay arrival comment. Would be awesome to have a stay that pays you money and earns points. I’m sure there are some other ways to hack that too.

Kurt Larson

I booked an August stay for Vegas just last week. I had to put a deposit down with my Prestige card. Is there a chance that I get the credit even before my stay?

So with this revelation I can use my Arrival to pay for the rest of the stay, and I would still get the credit?


This benefit is useless for me since it doesn’t work with award nights! Also the golf benefit is useless! Hope Citi replace these 2 with something else!


@josefismael I’m guesing ZERO chance. It has to be in CWT network. Someone has to fund the refund.


Why take the risk of losing hundreds of dollars just to get an extra 5% off and save $10-20. I would always pay with Prestige to make sure I get the benefit. Plus you get 3x points too.


Yes no yes no. This is getting so confusing.