Is The Citi Premier $100 Hotel Credit All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

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Citi Premier $100 hotel credit

What’s This New Citi Premier $100 Hotel Credit?

After being without a Citi Premier card for a year and suffering through the hassle of working with my wife’s points for numerous transfers and bookings, I decided to switch things back. The Citi Premier is worth holding, in my opinion, if just for the points transfer ability. With the coming changes, however, including 3x grocery earn and the Citi Premier $100 hotel credit, it’s an even better value proposition.

The grocery bonus is a no-brainer for me. While there are several great cards for grocery stores, earning 3x ThankYou points at supermarkets will be an excellent option, as I am still without an American Express Gold Card. These, and other changes, are coming to the Citi Premier is an overall positive move (in my opinion).

Changes Coming To The Citi Premier Card

While I don’t typically use ThankYou points for bookings through the Citi travel portal, using points from the Citi Premier for 1.25 cents each for travel has been a standard strategy for some of my friends. I’ll argue that there is better value is some points transfers, but the flexibility of portal bookings cannot be understated.

So it’s a bummer that Citi is doing away with the 1.25 cents per point value through the travel portal. This will be reduced to just 1.0 cent per ThankYou Point on April 10, 2021. This, and other changes, are being rolled out. Some were rolled out early on June 2, including the 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent at supermarkets. Most are rolling out on August 23, 2020 for new cards and April 10, 2021 for existing cardholders.

Any 3x earning sounds nice, but when the points are now worth 20% less through the portal, it’s not a fantastic deal (unless you tend to transfer your points). But Citi is adding a new benefit: a $100 annual hotel credit. It’s a benefit that I initially glossed over, but let’s see what value it adds to the card.

Citi Premier $100 hotel credit
Hyatt Thompson Hotels Gild Hall King Suite.

Does the Citi Premier $100 Hotel Credit Offer Real Value?

While a $100 hotel credit sounds like an excellent deal, it does come with some terms and conditions. It would be sweet if this was just a $100 certificate that you could use for any stay, but, alas, it does not work this way.

The Citi Premier $100 hotel credit is essentially $100 off $500 of hotel. This excludes taxes and fees. Given that taxes and fees are typically 10-20% of your hotel rate, you’re really looking at $100 off $550 to $600. Not as great a deal. This is maybe ~15% savings on average. Nice, but not amazing.

I’m hoping there won’t be much of a hassle to use the benefit. The terms say you can book both online of by calling Citi at 1-800-THANKYOU. I’m hopeful the credit can be seamelesly applied online. Citi’s IT is notoriously bad, though, so I would expect you may need to call. I book 95%+ of my hotel stays online, and calling anyone is a hassle.

You also get this benefit only once per year. It’d be nice if they offered this more, but I guess you can’t really ask for this for a card charging just $95 per year. Even the Citi Prestige had its 4th night free benefit reduced to just 4 times per year. The Citi Premier $100 hotel credit can only be used once annually.

Honestly, I don’t expect to use my credit this year. Maybe we’ll have a paid stay of that amount. But I tend to book so many awards that it is unlikely. It’s always possible we end up somewhere without a chain hotel, so maybe Citi will come through in that case.

Final Thoughts

As someone who generally does not book cash hotel rates, especially cash hotel rates of $500+, I am underwhelmed by the Citi Premier $100 hotel credit. If booking paid stays is your MO, then this is a useful benefit. It’s really not for me. I might be able to extract the $100, but it would likely need to be in conjunction with an work stay. Even then, I’d need the final folio to show the full rate (which I assume it would, as this is a Citi benefit).

While the credit has the potential to offset the full $95 annual fee on the Premier card, I really don’t see it being as useful as I initially hoped. What are your thoughts on the new benefit?

Ian Snyder
After igniting his passion for award travel while planning his honeymoon, Ian now enjoys using points and miles to see the world with his wife and three internationally adopted kiddos. He loves dissecting loyalty programs to find maximum value. His goal is to demonstrate that extraordinary travel is possible for the ordinary family.

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12 COMMENTS

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12 COMMENTS

  1. From what I read it looks like you can either charge the room on your card (through the portal) or use points (or a combination).

  2. I think it’s very usable if you are doing a theme park visit and paying cash for your rooms. We were doing 2 nights at universal and the rooms were north of 300. Not amazing but the best cash price I could find. Yes we could blow a ton of chase points but I can easily find better value for them.

  3. This feels like a scam. Having to spend $500 through whoever Citi uses for hotels, the rates are unlikely to be that great anyway but they absolutely need to market this as $100 off a $500 hotel stay. Just calling it a $100 credit is intensely misleading. The having to call part just makes it worse. I’ll most likely pass.

    • That’s a fear I had as well. I’ve only looked for hotels once. If you can’t get the *best* deal at a property you would otherwise use, then you’re going to get something less than the full $100.

    • I have a few hotels stay every year and it’s often reimbursed. If the full cost shows up on the hotel receipt then that’s a credit to me

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