Citi destroys most card benefits in September

Earlier today, we reported that Citi is dropping Price Rewind from its cards on September 22, 2019. What we didn’t realize at the time was that this is just part of a wide decimation of benefits coming to almost all of Citi’s cards (including the Prestige). These changes are so sweeping that I have to think Citi has something up their sleeve in terms of updating / refreshing / changing benefits. If these benefit changes are just a new stripped-down strategic vision, Citi’s offerings are about to take a leap behind the competition.

Benefits going away

On September 22, 2019, the following benefits will be stripped from all Citi cards (yes, including the Citi Prestige):

  • Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
  • Trip Delay Protection
  • Baggage Delay Protection
  • Lost Baggage Protection
  • Medical Evacuation
  • Citi® Price Rewind
  • 90 Day Return Protection
  • Missed Event Ticket Protection
  • Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
  • Travel & Emergency Assistance

Additionally, the following benefits will be removed from the Citi Double Cash and Citi Dividend only:

  • Extended warranty
  • Purchase protection

Other cards will retain extended warranty and purchase protection.

Update: Note that the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi will retain cardmember benefits such as Worldwide Car Rental Insurance, Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance, Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service, Travel & Emergency Assistance, Damage & Theft Protection, Extended Warranty, and more.

Why this is a big deal

We reported earlier about Citi killing Price Rewind, which is kind of surprising since they just cut the benefit by 60% less than one year ago. That’s both kind of surprising and disappointing, though I have to imagine that they were taking a beating on that benefit from those “in the know” enough about benefits to use it (in other words, I suspect the customers most likely to use that benefit are already the least profitable customers).

I’ve long thought Citi’s missed event ticket protection was an overly generous policy that was probably subject to some abuse.

However, eliminating standard travel credit card benefits like car rental insurance, roadside assistance, and lost baggage protection puts them at a pretty significant competitive disadvantage compared to other travel cards on the market.

Further eliminating trip delay & cancellation benefits and baggage delay are real head-scratchers on a premium product like the Citi Prestige, especially after announcing an increase in the annual fee. Personally, I was unhappy to see the elimination of trip delay benefits as I certainly intended to use my Citi Prestige card for any bookings made for the #40KFaraway challenge. However, according to the notification upon login at the Citi website, coverage will be in effect for purchases made before September 22, 2019 — so theoretically I’m good to go with booking things now for future travel beyond September 22nd.

That said, I’m really unimpressed with these changes as a whole. I’ve certainly been enjoying 5x at restaurants and on airfare with my Citi Prestige card since those new bonus categories began, but my positive past experience with trip delay coverage has certainly been an influence in keeping it. Going forward, I think I likely wouldn’t forgo trip coverage offered by other cards in order to earn 5x ThankYou points.

Bottom line

Citi is eliminating most of the ancillary benefits on all of their cards on September 22, 2019. This is a surprising shift given that it even strips key benefits from the Citi Prestige card, which is already about to take a huge hit to the 4th night free benefit. I hope that Citi has some sort of total refresh coming and actually intends to re-introduce at least some of these benefits, but thus far we have no indication that they will. Remember that purchases made before September 22nd, 2019 will enjoy your current coverages, so keep records to know which items are covered in case you need to file a claim.

H/T: Doctor of Credit

Last updated on June 28th, 2019

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

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Gene
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Gene

@ Nick — The travel protection is another one to abuse. LX and LH offer some very cheap F fares from Europe to Asia much of the year, but the catch is that you cannot make changes for any reason other than your death. Period. However, charge your $2,500 ticket to your Citi card and presto, you have protection for a whole other set of reasons — illness, death in the family, etc.

dave
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dave

How is using a valid reason abuse?

Kevin
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Kevin

Since downgrading Prestige would start expiration clock on TY points, what’s the best place to speculatively transfer my points? Singapore Air?

VX_Flyer
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VX_Flyer

Nick – what kind of refresh would make up for the removal of all these travel benefits? I don’t understand what they’re doing.

Is Citi going to compete with the bland Apple Card going forward? Seems like it.

Belinda
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Belinda

Sad. It was my entertainment:(. Rewind that is. My hate for Citi goes back to the 1980’s when I charged my graduate school tuition and I ended up with a clock and a beach towel from their rewards program. Ripoff. I think back in the day they were indiscriminately giving credit cards to college kids. Oh well..

Beck
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Beck

My renewal comes up in December for the Prestige. I will 100% cancel. If I can only use 4NF 2x per year and lose travel insurance, there’s no value in the card for me when I have CSR and many other options for hotel savings like Amex sync offers.

MSer
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MSer

Dunno why anyone cares. Only a minuscule fraction of people use these ‘benefits’. Just up the sign up bonus, cut the annual fees or offer bonus spend categories

CaveDweller
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CaveDweller

MSer
Correct I just saved $300 online on the Prestige card over Hotel.com the rest is Dung to me . Their cutting everything will book all trips before 9/1 .. Don’t forget Lounge Pass works great for ME !!!!
CHEERS

OR97
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OR97

Between now and September will look forward with booking as many 4th night free stays I can reasonably predict; same with airfare (then go back to CSR after that). Will hold card until those reservations are fulfilled then product change or get Citi premier with a bonus and cancel the Prestige thereafter. Don’t see this card lasting through 2021 for me

fairy8i8
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fairy8i8

Most of these benefits are offered by a third party company. It may be that Citi is ending its relationship with that company. Maybe they will pick up a different company or renegotiate their contract, or maybe they decided to see if it was more profitable for them to not pay for services the majority of their customers didn’t use.

I don’t know that many people care or even know about these extra services. For people who do know about them and use them, they likely have other cards that offer similar benefits that they can use for purchases where the extra protections matter.

quasimodo
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quasimodo

Put most of my electronics purchases on Citi DC for extended warranty. Price Rewind over the years – says I’ve saved $250 or so….not huge…but it adds up. I’ll shift to Amex and Citi DC will collect dust. Citi TY card already collects dust…DC will join.Seems non-sensical. Hello Fidelity card!

Summer
Guest
Summer

Citi didn’t cut the benefits for cards issued in Singapore, but then again you have to be a resident of that country in order to qualify and have a monthly income of $120K. They are still offering welcome bonuses, price rewind, limo services, 3.25 points and loyalty bonuses to name a few. I don’t think there hurting much by cutting benefits here in the states.