Hotels

Exploring the Visa Infinite 4th night free hotel benefit

Visa Infinite cardholder? Get the 4th night free on hotel stays...just don't expect massive savings.

In September last year, Visa introduced a 4th Night Free (4NF) benefit for Visa Infinite cardholders, called “Infinite Night”. Under this program, cardholders enjoy one complimentary night with every three paid nights booked through the Inspired Lifestyles portal.

Everyone loves a free hotel night, but is this offer worth your time? Let’s find out.

How it works

Navigate to the landing page and enter the first 9 digits of your Visa Infinite card to verify your identity.

You’ll then be able to search for hotels through a regular OTA interface.

Enter the city and dates you’re looking to stay, then browse through the results and select what you like. Rates are quoted in USD, and include all taxes and fees.

Do note that all bookings made through the 4NF program are strictly non-changeable and non-refundable. It’s a good idea to make sure you have travel insurance to cover you in the event you can’t travel.

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Does it really save you money?

When you read about an offer called “4th Night Free”, the natural assumption is that you save 25%. That’s incorrect, for two reasons.

First, only the room rate for the 4th night is free- you’re still on the hook for the taxes and fees. Therefore, mathematically speaking, your savings will never be 25%. Here’s an illustrative example:

Room Rate Taxes
1st Night $100 $10
2nd Night $100 $10
3rd Night $100 $10
4th Night $100 $0 $10
Total $300 $40
Savings 100/440=23%

Second, the rates offered through the 4NF program may be higher than other booking channels, which offsets the overall savings.

Let’s take Singapore as an example. Here’s the total cost (including taxes and fees) of a four night stay in March 2020 through the Visa Infinite 4NF program, versus the competition.

Property Visa Infinite 4NF Competition Savings
Fairmont Singapore US$984 US$1,110 (Expedia) 11%
Le Meridien Sentosa US$768 US$875 (Trip.com) 12%
W Sentosa US$1,027 US$1,172 (Expedia) 12%
Royal Plaza Scotts US$576 US$595 (Agoda) 3%
St Regis Singapore US$1,019 US$1,132 (Trip.com) 10%
JW Marriott South Beach US$1,115 US$1,308 (Trip.com) 15%
PARKROYAL Kitchener US$406 US$472 (Agoda) 14%
Amara Singapore US$566 US$594 (Agoda) 5%
The Quincy Hotel US$670 US$633 (Trip.com) -6%
Hotel Royal US$384 US$250 (Trip.com) -54%

As you can see, the savings are much less than 25%- they’re even negative in some cases!

Take The Quincy Hotel, for instance. If you book through the Visa Infinite 4NF program, you’ll pay ~S$932. If you book via Trip.com, you’ll pay S$878. So much for savings…

The FAQ section laughably says the following:

How competitive are the rates I can get for the paid nights?

Book with confidence: you are getting the best available rates. To deliver on this promise, we benchmark rates in real-time against the largest online travel portals in the market. These comparisons are clearly displayed in the search results to give you full pricing transparency.

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“Book with confidence” not because we have a best rate guarantee, but because we “benchmark rates in real-time”. Gotcha.

I can tell you right now that the Inspired Lifestyles portal does not always offer the cheapest rates; in fact, it very often shows rates that are higher than the competition. It doesn’t mean the benefit is useless, but it does mean your savings will tend to be more modest.

Don’t forget that you also need to factor in the cashback foregone by not booking through an OTA and cashback portal like ShopBack or RebateMango.

How does this compare to the Citi Prestige’s 4NF benefit?

Most of you will know that the Citi Prestige also has a 4NF benefit of its own. Here’s how the two measure up:

Visa Infinite Citi Prestige
Hotel range 5,000+ Virtually unlimited
Rate type Bookings are non-refundable and non-changeable Bookings must be fully prepaid (from 1 Mar 20)
Booking deadline 48 hours N/A
Back-to-back stays Allowed Not allowed
Available to supplementary cardholders? Yes  No

Where the Citi Prestige is better than the Visa Infinite

Rates

In all but the most exceptional of cases, the Citi Prestige’s 4NF program should offer lower rates than the Visa Infinite’s.

Remember that Citi Prestige cardholders can ask the Citi concierge to book any publicly-available rate on the hotel’s official website or on Expedia, while Visa Infinite cardholders are limited to whatever the Inspired Lifestyles portal shows.

Hotel Variety

Visa claims that “more than 5,000 hotels” are available through the Inspired Lifestyles portal.

This would be a mere fraction of the selection available through Citi Prestige, which covers pretty much any hotel worldwide (with exceptions for suites, villas, and serviced apartments, come 1 March 2020).

Flexibility

As mentioned earlier, all rates made through the Visa Infinite 4NF program are strictly non-changeable and non-cancellable.

With the Citi Prestige, all bookings from 1 March 2020 must be fully prepaid. I’m not clear what that means in practice- does it mean you can only book non-refundable rates, or does it mean you can book flexible rates, just that you’ll pay upfront (and how does that work anyway)? My guess is that you’ll still have more flexibility iwth the Citi Prestige.

Advance bookings

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All Visa Infinite 4NF bookings must be made at least 48 hours before you stay; there’s no such restriction with the Citi Prestige.

Where the Visa Infinite is better than the Citi Prestige

Back-to-back stays

Back-to-back stays are permitted with the Visa Infinite 4NF program. That’s to say, if you stay 4 nights, you get 1 free night. If you stay 8 nights, you enjoy 2 free nights.

The Citi Prestige does not allow back-to-back stays (i.e the same hotel within the same city or a different hotel within the same city) where the check-in date is within 7 days from the previous check-out date.

Supplementary cardholder benefit usage

Only the principal cardholder is allowed to book and enjoy the Citi Prestige’s 4NF benefit.

There is no such restriction for the Visa Infinite 4NF. I’m aware that there’s a term at the bottom of the Visa Infinite 4NF landing page which says “primary card holder must be a guest on the itinerary”. I’ve clarified that “primary card holder” means the person whose name is on the card, not the principal cardholder per se. In other words, a supplementary cardholder can book a 4NF stay, but he/she must be physically staying at the hotel.

What Visa Infinite cards are available in Singapore?

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If you don’t have a Visa Infinite card yet, here’s some potential options. Do note that with the exception of the SCB X Card, all Visa Infinite cards require at least S$120,000 annual income.

Card Income Requirement Annual Fee
SCB X Card S$80K S$695.50
CIMB Visa Infinite S$120K None
Bank of China Visa Infinite S$120K S$374.50
OCBC VOYAGE S$120K S$488
HSBC Visa Infinite S$120K S$488 (Premier), S$650 (others)
Maybank Visa Infinite S$150K S$600 (first year free)
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card S$150K S$642

Conclusion

The Visa Infinite 4NF benefit can be useful, but you’ll definitely want to comparison shop using a meta-search engine like Kayak. Expect to save ~10%, and remember that your bookings cannot be changed or cancelled.

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Syok
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Syok

Just pick up a CIMB VI card in case you need one~

Dereth
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Dereth

Wise choice and I did that. I only use the CIMB VI card at Peach Garden (50% off for 2 pax dining).

Nothing else… but hey! It’s free. 😉

phister
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phister

CIMB cards are great. I’m still holding on to their Visa+Master cashback combo meal deal in the event the good old days of 10% come around again.

Noob
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Noob

Does booking via the VI portal still give you hotel chain rewards points?

Jon
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Jon

I got this response from my Marriott Ambassador: “Booking through Visa Infinite will be considered as a third-party booking (non-qualifying rate) and ineligible to earn Nights/Points credit. The same goes for other OTA sites (booking.com,etc). However, for Elite members staying on non-qualifying rates in Asia Pacific only will still enjoy their Elite benefits, excluding Welcome Gift Points. This means you have access to Club Lounge, room upgrade, late check-out when available but not earning of Nights/Points. ” I assume the same would apply (re non eligible for elite points/nights) for other major programs HHonors/Hyatt/IHG etc when using the 4NF Visa… Read more »

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