Posted by Chuck on November 9, 2018
Credit Cards

Published on November 9th, 2018 | by Chuck

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Another Negative Change: Citi Prestige will no longer be booked via Concierge (no points, etc.)

We posted earlier today with some additional clarifications to the upcoming Citi Prestige changes, some which are positive and some negative. The biggest news was that all of us who are grandfathered with the $350 fee as Citi Priority will NOT keep that – our fee will go up to $495; only those who maintain Citigold or Citi Private Banking will remain at $350.

Many readers have pointed out another huge negative change that Citi made here.

In July 2017, Citi added the ability to book 4th-night-free bookings online. BUT they retained the ability to book it over the phone with Citi Concierge. However, they now snuck by in the fine print that beginning September 1, 2019, Citi Concierge bookings will no longer be an option:

Cardmembers will enjoy a complimentary fourth night with no black-out dates (“Fourth Night”), when booking at least four consecutive nights at any hotel only through Thankyou.com or by phone at 1-800-ThankYou (powered by Connexions) or the Citi Prestige Concierge (the “Citi Prestige Concierge” is Aspire Lifestyles) and subject to additional requirements stated below. Beginning 09/01/19, Citi Prestige Concierge will no longer be available for Fourth Night bookings and bookings must be made either online at ThankYou.com or by phone at 1-800-ThankYou in order to be eligible for the Fourth Night benefit.

When using Citi Concierge, the booking is done directly with the hotel; plus, the full charge shows up on your card and gets refunded later. On the other hand, when booking online or through ThankYou, it’s like booking through an online travel agency. Here’s why that Citi Concierge is advantageous:

  • You get hotel points and earn elite status for the stay.
  • You can use special rates and corporate discounts.
  • Those booking business travel can get reimbursed for the 4th night since the initial charge is for the full amount.
  • You get credit card points (3x travel) for the cost of the fourth night since the initial charge is for the full amount.

As some readers note, this change alone is enough to neuter the card for a lot of people. We’ll add this change to the original post.

Keep in mind, you can still book with Concierge until September 1, 2019, plus you can book out beyond that date too.



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WR
WR

Regarding the Citigold AF discount, it reads to me like the next AF billed will still be discounted, and after that no more. Is that how you read it? My AF just hit a month ago, do you think I will get one more $350AF in September 2019? With the 4NF nerf and no concierge, even that might be a struggle to justify.

Robert
Robert

Ok this one hits hard. It’s almost always possible to find some kind of code to get a cheaper rate and being able to combine that with 4th night free was pretty great. If you can’t do that anymore, it’s quite possible that it might be cheaper to just use the code and pay for the 4th night depending where. What was once a clear win is now much more YMMV.

Adam
Adam

I simply called in to complain and let them know that come September I would be canceling the card if they went through with this final change the concierge is essential to me for 4th night bookings. September is a long ways off and citi has changed their minds before. I recommend people share their thoughts.

Wany
Wany

Oh my… This kills it for real now. Then I guess it makes it easier to just cancel the card after that day.

Tom
Tom

ughh, this kills it for me. My only issue now is how to deal with Priority Pass going forward. Is there any other card that offers the immediate family access like Prestige?

We are 2 adults + 2 smallies but it seems other cards like CSR, Aspire etc are all 2 guest max 🙁
Anyone got suggestions on how to replace this loss in the post-Prestige world?

BC
BC

Ritz Carlton card has unlimited guests. That’s the only one I can think of.

Or Amex Plattinum where the authorized users each get their own Priority Pass.

Oscar6431
Oscar6431

AFAIK, the priority pass associated with the City National Bank Crystal Visa Infinite card allows unlimited guests and you can still sign up, if you have a branch nearby and a high annual salary.

Alex
Alex

AmEx Hilton Ascend comes with 10 annual Priority Pass visits that can be used for any combination of yourself and guests. So that would work for two trips a year for a family of four. But be careful if you use it for a PP restaurant, a few of the ones added recently limit you to only one or two guests.

SteveH
SteveH

This will kill it for me. The only way I justify it now is because of a yearly conference that we go to that is always at fancy resorts and is $400/night with the special conference rate.

Yao
Yao

This is a huge impact on a lot of people.

Francisco J Rios
Francisco J Rios

Cards dead to me.

John
John

Citis dead to me… even the bikes.

BK
BK

Wow, this is the killer. If I can’t use my corporate rate then the fourth night value is gone. Such a shame, was a true king at some point with AA lounges, 1.6 redemption and golf.

Msd2179
Msd2179

What about booking via phone by calling 1-800-THANKYOU? Do we think that the rep on the phone will just be booking through the same online system?

Kevyx72
Kevyx72

Im sure 1800 thank you pretty much works similar way as amextravel or chasetravel where its just 3rd party contracted ota number so it will act same as booking online through ota

vince
vince

With chasetravel tho you get charged on your credit directly by the airline/hotel provider and get points as a result.

sevillada
sevillada

in the past when I booked a marriott hotel thru chase portal I was told by marriott that it does not count. I believe it’s YMMV

Nando
Nando

I can confirm it’ll be the same as if you booked online. When I booked my first 4 night stay I accidentally called the Thank You number and their view was the same as the online view. The rep was even having a hard time finding the room I requested (used the hotel website description vs the sometimes crazy descriptions from the Thank You site). After the call the booking didn’t feel right so I canceled and realized it wasn’t the concierge.

Ryan
Ryan

I’ve learned with Citi that when they have an appealing card, get in early and enjoy it while you can, because it never lasts very long. Citi just tinkers with and devalues their cards so quickly.

Rob
Rob

So basically for me, the new card is now dead on arrival. Congrats citi…I hope you didn’t waste too much on consultants to tell you how to wreck your differentiation. Might as well raise the annual fee even more if you are going in the direction of blasting a hole in your customer list anyway.

Explore
Explore

Since you will not be earning status, you will probably not receive the status benefits. Not getting breakfast/potential upgrades at Hilton will hurt.

W
W

Ya the combination with Hilton Aspire was going to be amazing. Just kidding, Citi does it again

Bill S
Bill S

I was okay with the other changes, but the ThankYou.com requirement kills it for me. I won’t be keeping the card past Sept.

Kevyx72
Kevyx72

Citi prestige confirmed deadweight for me now ;( i’ll most likely renew the 450 since my af hits in late august so that I can have 4th night free credit post for the ones i make before sep and cancel it for prorated af refund after dipping 250 travel credit in jan 2021.

Kiranraj
Kiranraj

Annual fee is due in dec cancelling. after using the $250 airline credit for next year. Sad to see this happening.

Jay
Jay

“Here’s why that Citi Concierge is advantageous”

I think there’s one major reason that you’re missing:
ThankYou.com and phone ThankYou agents cannot book a very large number of smaller/boutique hotels, especially outside of the U.S. They are simply not in the system. On the other hand, I have in the past used the concierge to book hotels that don’t even have electronic reservation systems (so the concierge had to do everything by phone).

Blue
Blue

Yep, found this out with a 50 off promo code a few months ago. Much smaller selection than booking.com

W
W

This. I’ve saved many times the AF this past year on hotels that are outside the ThankYou system, all of which had to be booked by the Concierge. And even then it’s been a struggle to get the 4th night refund — submitting hotel folios for verification and waiting and waiting. This is a negative change.

Kevyx72
Kevyx72

Concierge also has the power to stack on the hotel promotion which makes it far superior than online system, like stacking 3rd night free on top of 4th night free or dining credit etc, also they can directly talk to the hotel staff for special needs. I wouldn’t give up the convenience from what citi claimed over concierge especially when you can just email them and wait for them to respond

Abelian Grape
Abelian Grape

Exactly. Probably half my 4NF bookings were simply not available on OTAs.

Alex
Alex

That’s exactly right. I wouldn’t even say that it’s just smaller and boutique hotels that are missing.I think ThankYou.com hotel selection is missing 90% of the hotels, including some pretty large chains and independent properties. Most hotels won’t be available at all, not even at a bad rate.

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