Anniversary Trip Dilemma: Citi Prestige 4th Night Free or AMEX Fine Hotels

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Anniversary Trip Dilemma: Citi Prestige 4th Night Free or AMEX Fine Hotels

Million Mile SecretsAnniversary Trip Dilemma: Citi Prestige 4th Night Free or AMEX Fine HotelsMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Team member Keith recently celebrated his 1st wedding anniversary in Los Cabos, Mexico.  So I asked him to share his experience researching how to book the hotel for this trip!

Keith:   Thanks, Daraius!  After taking an around-the-world honeymoon last year using mostly miles & points, my wife and I planned a trip to celebrate our anniversary in just one destination:   Los Cabos, Mexico.

And instead of using points for an award stay like we do for most trips, we wanted to use other credit card perks to book a paid stay at a luxurious boutique hotel called the One & Only Palmilla.

The challenge was deciding whether to use the Citi Prestige 4th night free perk, which has saved us thousands of dollars on previous hotel stays.  Or book through AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts.

AMEX Platinum Versus Citi Prestige For Booking Hotels
The One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos Is a Spectacular Hotel to Celebrate a Special Occasion! I Captured This Photo From My Drone When We Were There

I’ll share what I found when comparing the perks of the AMEX Platinum versus Citi Prestige for booking hotels.

Planning 4 Nights in Los Cabos

Link:   This Citi Prestige Perk Might Be the Most Lucrative Benefit of ANY Credit Card!

Link:   How to Get Big Travel With Small Money Using the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts Program

My wife and I decided on the One & Only Palmilla because it’s a ~35 minute drive from the Cabo San Lucas airport, which is a Southwest destination.  So we were able to take advantage of our Companion Pass to save money on flights!

And the hotel gets incredible reviews on TripAdvisor.  Some of the highlights of the resort include:

  • 27-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus
  • Complimentary paddle boarding, kayaking, and snorkeling
  • 2 ocean view infinity pools
  • Beautiful sunsets overlooking the Sea of Cortez
  • Excellent dining options, including at Seared restaurant
  • One & Only Spa
AMEX Platinum Versus Citi Prestige For Booking Hotels
The Infinity Pools at the Hotel Overlook the Sea of Cortez

Because it was a special occasion, we decided we would pay out of pocket for this expensive stay instead of redeeming miles & points at a different hotel.  So we researched the best deals using perks from our credit cards.  Here’s what we found.

1.   AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts

To access the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts program, you must have an eligible AMEX Platinum Card (small business and Mercedes-Benz versions all work).

I have The Business Platinum® Card from American Express.  So I logged-in to the AMEX Fine Hotels website to check if the One & Only Palmilla was available for our desired travel dates.

AMEX Platinum Versus Citi Prestige For Booking Hotels
The One & Only Palmilla Comes Up First When Searching for Hotels in Los Cabos on AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts

Keep in mind, not all hotels are included in this program.  But there are over 975 hotels that participate.

For our travel dates, AMEX was offering a promotion to get the 4th night free for many different room types.

I selected the cheapest room type to get more details about the stay on the trip summary page, including the cost and perks.

Here it says the complimentary 4th night is deducted from the total amount billed when you check-out.

AMEX Platinum Versus Citi Prestige For Booking Hotels
With the AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts Promotion at the One & Only Palmilla, You’d Get a Credit for the 4th Night When You Check-Out

So the trip summary page shows a total estimated cost of $3,960.  But this does NOT include taxes & fees, which I estimated to be ~$1,000 based on the information on the hotel’s website.

This means the total cost would be ~$4,960.  But I would get a credit for the 4th night of ~$990.  So our total out of pocket cost would be ~$3,970.

I think it would be extremely helpful if AMEX added a summary of your total expected out of pocket cost to their website, so it’s easier to see what you can expect to pay.

Besides the 4th night free promotion, there are several other exclusive benefits you get by booking this stay through AMEX, including:

  • 12:00 pm check-in, if available
  • Guaranteed 4:00 pm late check-out
  • Room upgrades if available
  • Free daily breakfast for 2
  • Complimentary round of golf for 2 people
AMEX Platinum Versus Citi Prestige For Booking Hotels
Complimentary Golf for 2 Is a Valuable Perk if You Play Because You’d Otherwise Pay $175+ per Person for a Tee Time!

I calculated the breakfast and golf perks to be worth ~$550.  Because breakfast costs ~$25 per person each day or ~$200 total for 4 days.  And golf is $175 per person or $350 total.

And you can’t put a value on the late check-out, but it gives you more time to spend relaxing by the pool or beach.  Plus, room upgrades can be worth ~$800+ because nightly rates at the hotel increase significantly when you select a different room type.

2.   Citi Prestige

Using Citi Prestige card perks to book a hotel stay is much more straightforward.  I sent an email to the Citi Prestige concierge with our desired travel dates and the name of the hotel.

And I heard back within 2 days with pricing deals.  Including the 4th night free benefit, we’d pay ~$3,800, which includes all taxes & fees.

AMEX Platinum Versus Citi Prestige For Booking Hotels
The Information From the Citi Prestige Concierge Gives You the Pricing Information

So we would have saved ~$170 on the 4-night hotel stay by booking with the Citi Prestige instead of through AMEX.  But we won’t get any extra perks.  For example, just the free breakfast with AMEX is worth ~$200.

For folks who wouldn’t take advantage of the extra benefits, it might make sense to book with the Citi Prestige.  And consider you earn 3X Citi ThankYou points for hotel purchases with the card.  That’s more than 11,000 points with an expensive stay like this example.

Plus, the Citi Prestige also has some of the best trip protection coverage.  This can come in handy if a trip is cancelled or interrupted because of an illness or other eligible reason.

Bottom Line

For a recent wedding anniversary trip, team member Keith and his wife researched the best options for booking a 4-night stay at the One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Through AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts, there was a promotion to get a 4th night free.  And you also get exclusive perks for booking with AMEX, including guaranteed late check-out, free daily breakfast for 2, and complimentary round of golf for 2 people.

The total cost with AMEX is slightly more than using the Citi Prestige 4th night free benefit.  But the extra perks with AMEX more than offset the higher out of pocket expense.  So team member Keith decided to book through AMEX!

Do you have experience booking a boutique hotel stay with your AMEX Platinum or Citi Prestige?  I’d love to hear your experience!

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 36,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
  • Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Why not try and stack two offers together? A fourth night free (issued by the hotel) and then book that code via Citi Prestige? Is that not possible?

Great question! You can only combine certain promotions when using the 4th night free perk. We wrote more about that here: