The Citi Premier® Card is a phenomenal credit card. The card offers lots of perks, and one of the often-overlooked perks is the $100 annual hotel credit. In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at how that works.
Why you should consider the Citi Premier Card
- The card has well-rounded bonus categories, and offers 3x points on dining, gas stations, groceries, airfare, and hotels
- The card has a welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within the first three months. Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
- The card lets you maximize the value you can get from other Citi cards, like the no annual fee Citi® Double Cash Card (review), which I consider to be one of the best cards for everyday, non-bonused spending
Those are just a few of the benefits of the card that I like the most, though you can read a full Citi Premier Card review here. In this post I wanted to focus on the card’s $100 annual hotel credit, which many people aren’t familiar with.
What is the Citi Premier $100 hotel credit?
With the Citi Premier Card‘s $100 annual hotel savings benefit, you can enjoy $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more. As you’d expect, there are some terms to be aware of:
- You need to book your hotel online at thankyou.com, or by phone at 1-800-THANKYOU
- This benefit is available once per calendar year
- The reservation must be made by the primary cardmember, though the stay can be for the primary cardmember or an authorized user
- You must spend at least $500 on a single hotel stay, excluding taxes and fees, to trigger the $100 savings
- You must pre-pay for your complete stay with your Citi Premier Card, ThankYou points, or a combination of the two
- If you cancel a booking for which you used the $100 hotel credit, the benefit will remain available to you for the same calendar year
- Package rates, including air and hotel packages, or hotel and car rental packages, don’t qualify for this benefit
- The $100 hotel credit can’t be combined with any other promotions or discounts on thankyou.com
- If you have both the Citi Premier and Citi Prestige, you can’t stack the $100 hotel credit on the former with the fourth night free benefit on the latter
How do you use the Citi Premier $100 hotel credit?
The easiest way to use this benefit is through thankyou.com. Log into the account associated with your Citi Premier Card. Once you get to the hotel booking page, you’ll see a window asking you if you want to use your $100 hotel credit.
You can then search any hotel you want, and assuming you elected to use the credit, the $100 discount will automatically be applied during the booking process (make sure you see this before confirming your booking). It’s that easy!
What’s the catch with the Citi Premier $100 hotel credit?
The upside to using the Citi Premier Card $100 hotel credit is pretty obvious — if you spend exactly $500 on a hotel stay (pre-tax), you could save 20%. That’s awesome. There are a few potential downsides, though, which are worth keeping in mind, and being strategic about:
- The Citi ThankYou travel booking portal is considered an online travel agency, so if you’re staying at a chain hotel, you typically wouldn’t earn points or receive elite benefits on these stays
- You may find cheaper rates for a hotel through other websites; for example, the major hotel groups often have members-only rates, and you typically won’t be able to book those through Citi ThankYou
- If you’re staying at a luxury hotel, you may be able to get additional perks through programs like Virtuoso or Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts, which you can’t combine with these savings, so keep that opportunity cost in mind
I absolutely think there’s value in this credit, though I also think it’s important to be smart about how you use it. When using the Citi Premier $100 hotel credit benefit, I’d recommend:
- Booking a hotel stay costing as close to $500 as possible (without going under)
- Using it at an independent hotel, or hotel where you’re forgoing the fewest points or perks by booking through a third party
- Using it at a hotel where the price difference between the Citi ThankYou rate and the best available rate you can find online is the smallest
Most people with the Citi Premier Card should be able to find value with this perk, though it pays to be strategic.
How does this compare to the Chase Sapphire Preferred hotel credit?
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) is a competitor to the Citi Premier Card. There are also lots of reasons to consider this card. It’s interesting to note that the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a $50 annual hotel credit. How does that compare?
- The credit is for $50 rather than $100, but it has the benefit of having no minimum stay amount; in other words, you could save $50 off a $50 hotel stay
- The credit is per cardmember year, rather than per calendar year
Which of the two credits is more valuable really depends on your hotel patterns. Some may prefer the bigger discount of the Citi Premier, while others may prefer the lower minimum of the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Personally, I think the Chase Sapphire Preferred hotel credit is better, given the lower spending requirement.
The Citi Premier Card is an awesome card with a great welcome bonus and useful bonus categories for spending. On top of that, the card features an often overlooked $100 annual hotel credit, which can be applied to a hotel booking of $500+ that’s made with Citi ThankYou.
While there are some terms associated with this, and while there may be an opportunity cost to using this, it’s still a valuable perk that you should keep in mind. Saving up to 20% on a hotel stay can be a good value.
If you have the Citi Premier, have you used the $100 hotel benefit? If so, what was your experience like?