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The Citi Prestige credit card is a card I’ve been thinking of axing from my portfolio because I haven’t really been using it enough to justify its $450 annual fee and because I couldn’t see myself having the opportunity to maximise the cards greatest benefit – the “4th night free”.
At the beginning of the year I was set to swap my Citi Prestige card for the cheaper Citi Premier card but, thanks to a points bonus that Citi unexpectedly threw my way, the card got a stay of execution and it’s still in my wallet.
I’ve now earned the maximum bonus Citi offered me so the card is back in the firing line and needs to earn its place in my wallet….and it may have just done so.
What I’d Like To Book
I’d like to book a 4 night stay at the Andaz West Hollywood for Joanna, MJ and I and I’m faced with the choice of either booking two rooms or a suite (as we did over new year) to accommodate all of us.
Andaz West Hollywood
Two rooms always work out to be more expensive than a suite and as we loved the suite we had at this property over New Year that’s what my preferred option is.
I’d also like to keep costs down as much as possible and, as that will almost certainly involve using points, I’d like to make sure I get as much value out of my points as possible.
Here are three facts around which this whole post is based:
Fact 1 – Citi Prestige 4th Night Free Benefit
The Citi Prestige credit card offers cardholders the 4th night free on any stay of 4 nights or more.
The 4th night free benefit is based on the average nightly room rate during the stay (not including taxes) and is refunded back on to the Citi Prestige Card after the stay has been completed.
In order to qualify for the 4th night free benefit the reservation has to be booked through Citi’s concierge service (I explain how to do that in a post linked here) but, as this service can almost always match the best rate shown elsewhere, this shouldn’t usually be a big issue.
Fact 2 – Hyatt Points Upgrades
Hyatt lets guests upgrade any room rate booked directly with them to a suite and this is probably one of the very best use of Hyatt points you’ll find.
6,000 points per night to upgrade the cheapest room at a property to a suite is usually excellent value and, because Hyatt considers a booking though Citi’s concierge service to be the same as booking through them directly, you can upgrade rooms booked using the 4th night free benefit.
Fact 3 – Hyatt Suites Are Often Easy To Book
Hyatt has a policy whereby upgrades book into the lowest level of suite a property offers and, as long as the property is offering a suite of this kind for sale, there is room to use points to upgrade.
View from a suite at the Andaz West Hollywood
These upgrades cannot be done online so a call to the World of Hyatt is required – that’s a small price to pay for such a good use of points.
Combining The Citi Prestige With Hyatt Points
I have three ways I can book the suite I need:
- Book the suite outright with cash
- Book the suite outright with points
- Book a lower category of room and upgrade to a suite with points
The first option would clearly mean spending less actual money but, as I look upon my points as a currency of their own, this isn’t always going to be my preferred option.
This is where math comes in to play.
Booking The Suite Outright With Cash
Taking a random 4 night stay at the Andaz West Hollywood an Andaz Suite can be booked for $411/night + taxes.
With taxes added in that brings the total cost of the stay to $1,897.86:
As this is a 4 night stay I can make this reservation through the Citi Concierge (to get the 4th night free rebate) so, as the average nightly rate before taxes is $410.10 (which is what the rebate from Citi would be) the net cash cost of booking this suite would be $1,487.76.
Booking The Suite Outright With Points
Hyatt Award Chart
The Andaz West Hollywood is a Category 5 Hyatt property so a suite costs 32,000 points per night or 128,000 points for a 4 night stay.
128,000 points would effectively be saving me $1,487.76 (the outright cash rate) meaning that I would be getting approximately 1.16 cents of value out of each Hyatt Point – that’s not a very good redemption at all.
Booking A King Room & Upgrading
The entry-level room at the Andaz West Hollywood is a “King Room” and, for the same dates I used above, such a room can be booked for $261/night.
With taxes added in that brings the cost for 4 nights to $1,204.86:
Once again I can book this room through the Citi Concierge so the final math looks like this:
Total Room Cost ($1,204.86) – Citi Rebate ($260.10) = $944.76
The net cash cost of the King room is $944.76 and this rate can be upgraded to a suite using 6,000/night (24,000 points in total).
24,000 points would save me the difference between the cash rate for the suite ($1,487.76) and the cash rate for the King Room ($944.76) meaning that I would be getting $543 in value out of the points.
This would see me getting 2.26 cents in value per Hyatt Point used which is almost double the value I would get if I booked the suite entirely with points.
Deciding Which To Book
- Book suite with cash = $1,487.76
- Book suite with points = 128,000 points
- Book King room with cash and upgrade to suite = $944.76 + 36,000 points
I’m not going to book the suite with cash – that’s simply too much money to be paying out for a 4 night break.
That leaves the remaining two options.
If I was extremely points rich it would probably make sense to book the suite entirely with points as, frankly, what else would I do with them?
If I was cash poor I would be looking to spend as little cash as possible so, once again, it would probably make sense to book entirely with points – the value you get per point has to be a secondary consideration to saving money if your bank balance isn’t all that healthy.
I don’t find myself in either of the above situations and I’d venture to guess that most readers don’t either. That’s why combining the Citi Prestige’s 4th night free benefit with the ability to upgrade an entry-level room to a suite is such a good idea.
I value Chase Ultimate Rewards points (the points I’ll be converting over to Hyatt to pay for the upgrade) at a conservative 1.5 cents each so the 2.26 cents of value (per point) that the upgrade redemption gives me is a very, very good deal.
Other Things To Consider
The value I’m getting per point is already enough to persuade me that paying for an entry-level room and upgrading with points is the way to go here…but there are other benefits to this kind of booking too.
Booking entirely with points wouldn’t earn me any of the following while booking with cash and upgrading will:
- Credit towards elite status
- World of Hyatt Points
- Citi Prestige Points
I’m not trying to get status with Hyatt right now so the first point doesn’t really affect me (it may affect you) but the second and third points definitely have an effect.
Earning Citi ThankYou Points
Booking the King Room with my Citi Prestige credit card will earn me 2,834 points (3 points/dollar spent on the room) and, as I value these points at approximately 1.5 cents each, that’s an effective rebate of $42.51.
Earning World of Hyatt Points
Because of the way the Citi Prestige 4th night free is handled (as a rebate to the credit card and not as a free night at the hotel) guests will earn points based on the total cost of the King Room according to the chart below.
- Base members – 6,024 points
- Discoverist members – 6,644 points
- Explorist members – 7,229 points
- Globalist members – 7,831 points
What this means is that even a Base member will earn enough points to cover the cost of one night’s suite upgrade so the net points spend now drops to under 30,000.
I love being able to pair my Citi Prestige credit card with Hyatt points to book a suite that I actually need (it’s not a case of simply wanting a bigger room, I actually need a bigger room) for considerably less than I would have been able to otherwise.
The Citi Prestige card will save me $260 on this one trip alone (that will go a long way to offsetting the $450 annual fee) while using Hyatt points to upgrade will save me a further $543.
That’s a total saving of over $800 on a 4 night stay and will be a nice contribution towards our airfare back to LA.