Yes, that deserves a HUGE frown face in the title.
Earlier today I posted about the fine print in the Citi Prestige changes.
But according to a new post by Doctor of Credit, I missed one major thing. Actually, I saw it and didn’t process the implications.
Here is the language from the fine print in question:
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 I read this early this morning, I took it to mean that it was a simple change to the number to call.
But it’s FAR more ominous. And if this is the case, which it appears to be, it 100% ruins the card for me.
The change appears to mean that 1-800-ThankYou will simply make the booking the same way as you would online. Meaning it’s a Third Party booking.
Right now, a call to the concierge means a booking that is considered “direct.” It is post-paid, earns ALL hotel status benefits and hotel loyalty points. You even earn that on the free 4th night since the hotel is paid for all 4 nights.
But a pre-paid/third party booking means that you would NOT earn in-hotel benefits from your hotel chain status and you will NOT earn points from your stay.
For me, I need ALL of my stays to count. I don’t earn so many hotel nights a year that each one I do pay for doesn’t matter. For example, next year I will need at least 25 actual nights at Marriott to requalify for Platinum (on top of the 15 nights for holding a credit card and, let’s assume, one meeting for 10 more nights).
On top of that, I do not spend so much effort earning that status so I can show up for 4 nights and be treated like I have leprosy. And that is how hotel chains in the last several years have begun treating people in on third-party rates.
For the “average” casual guest, this may not matter. But the target audience of this card is a frequent traveler. And that is exactly who WILL CARE about this.
I really hope that between now and September 2019, Citi considers walking back this change. I suspect they saw this as a way to save money without fulling considering what a MASSIVE effect it would have on the usefulness of this card.
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