Yesterday I got (multiple, cough) e-mails from Citibank about new benefits for their American Airlines co-brand products.
With an email subject line like “Important Information About Your Protection Benefits” I assumed they’d be taking away benefits so Citi really needs to get better e-mail subject writers. In fact with a subject line like that, I’d be just as likely as not to not even open the e-mail, except that I’d perversely interested in the minutiae of ancillary benefits. (Here’s how the credit card I used for the purchase paid for the cracked screen on my phone.)
And since so many of you have American Airlines co-branded credit cards, it seemed worth flagging.
Here’s the e-mail’s summary of benefits from the Citi Platinum Select / AAdvantage Mastercard:
And the benefits highlight from the Citi Executive / AAdvantage World Elite Mastercard:
The differences presumably are driven by the former product being a premium Mastercard, while the latter the higher-end still ‘World Elite’ Mastercard.
Yet oddly both emails link to the same full coverage guide offering full details of the benefits effective November 23.
(There are also updated guides for Hilton co-brand, Citi Prestige, and Citi Chairman American Express and presumably other cards as well — if you received an email for another card, I’d love it if you posted the link to the benefits guide from it in the comments!)
To me the emails simply serve as a good reminder that premium cards come with protections, that I’m actually surprised seem to genuinely be improved since most consumers aren’t even aware that they exist. It is hard to imagine that many consumers are making their credit card decisions on the basis of these — but since premium Visa cards, Amex cards, and Mastercards all offer them they represent an area where none want to fall behind. And indeed, these premium Mastercard products aren’t the only ones getting new benefits, Chase Sapphire Preferred just got primary rental car collision and doubled trip cancellation/interruption coverage.
For most people, the takeaway is simply, “If something goes wrong along the way with your travel, and you incur extra costs, might as well check with the credit card you used to pay your tickets to see if you can get something back. And if an item you purchased drops in price, or breaks, could be worth asking your credit card if you get anything.” That simple mindset is enough in many ways, just be aware that if you don’t do this you could be leaving money on the table.
If you want to dig into the nuances, though,
- Checked baggage coverage applies after just 3 hours of non-delivery and will reimburse up to $500 for items you need that were in your bags. (This doesn’t apply upon return to your home city.)
- The secondary collision damage coverage is $100,000 and doesn’t exclude any country.
- Medical evacuation coverage is up to $100,000 – a great benefit, though not all cards offering it have a cap.
Oddly, award tickets don’t carry these benefits. On the one hand, you’re not charging the airfare (just taxes, fees) to the card. On the other hand, it’s a card you’re supposed to use to earn the miles for the award ticket in the first place so excluding those tickets from the card’s benefits seems odd.
See also Here’s How Travel Insurance Works With Award Tickets, where I explain medical evacuation coverage as one of the things otherwise actually worth considering buying and that many of the coverages you’ll actually use come with premium credit cards.
It can still be a pain to file these claims, but it’s money that most people don’t even realize they have!
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