Devaluation of Citi Prestige Trip Delay Benefit

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One of the great benefits of many premium travel rewards cards is trip delay coverage. If your flight is delayed — the length of delay required varies — you can send the bill to your credit card company’s insurance provider for things like transportation to and from a hotel, your room night, and meals.

The nice thing about Citi Prestige coverage is that it only requires a 3 hour delay. Most cards require up to a 12 hour or overnight delay. Chase Sapphire Preferred requires a 12 hour or overnight delay.

  • Charge at least part of the ticket cost with these cards and you’re covered, up to the amount you actually put on the card. That means these cards cover award tickets (and international taxes – let alone fuel surcharges – can get you to the point of full coverage). Many cards don’t cover award tickets explicitly.

  • Otherwise the maximum benefit is generally $500.

In my experience the key to a successful claim with Citibank is persistence. Someones you’ll be asked for things you’ve already provided. Sometimes you’ll be asked for things that are inapplicable to your trip or impossible to obtain. Don’t give up.

There’s a new change it seems on the part of the insurance provider for this benefit with the Prestige card. You may be delayed over 3 hours in total -but if the reason for that is a connecting flight, where your first flight is delayed less than 3 hours and you cannot be rebooked until much later (even the next day) they argue you do not have a qualifying delay.

That seems to be the understanding in this Reddit thread and based on data points at Flyertalk over the past few months. Misconnects that cause greater than a 3 hour delay aren’t reimburseable, your scheduled flight itself must be delayed at least 3 hours.

No doubt Citi’s earlier generosity with this benefit led people to book riskier connections. And it was expensive to honor. But this devaluation is disappointing. And it may leave the 4th hotel night free benefit as the only reason to keep a Prestige Card. Related: Should You Pay for Flights With Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I think it’s fair enough for Citi to do this. I don’t want the 3 hour benefit taken way due to abuse as I almost always fly non-stop from the NY area and the 3 hour delay benefit is very useful for such a busy area prone to delays for smaller domestic trips.

  2. 4th Hotel Night Free Benefit?

    Lots of times, using the Thankyou portal to book a hotel room brings up a hotel room rate that is 20-30% higher than if you went through the hotel’s website. No benefit there…..

  3. WilliamC,
    You can use the concierge to book publicly available rates. It’s an extra step, however it’s not too cumbersome once they have your info on file. You can even handle it via email.

    With that said, I was planning on dumping this card this year as they continue to make cuts that diminish it’s value. With the Hilton Amex conversion taking place this year I no longer will have a Citi card.

  4. Well, it seems like at best, the policy is ambiguous. Which in court would be ruled against the drafter of the contract. But it doesn’t seem like Court is an option, only arbitration , so who knows.

    If it was called flight delay, that would be something else. But it’s trip delay.

    Does anyone know if the definitions are different from Chase’s?

    I always use Chase as I don’t need insurance for a 3 hour delay, just if it’s long enough to incur hotel costs. I don’t trust Citi.

  5. I agree – this explanation of benefits is confusing at best.

    I enjoy(ed) the 3 hours benefit as I travel often but only had to use the coverage once.

    I enjoy the 4th night free, but with loss of lounge, and further devaluations, I’ll probably be out now as well.

  6. tbh there aren’t many times that I’m delayed more than 3 hours, but less than 6 (in a situation where I’d have out of pocket costs worth claiming), so not sure how important this even is — especially if misconnects aren’t covered.

    Kinda like the 4th night free — there really aren’t that many times a year that I’m on personal travel and staying at least 4 nights. Once it got devalued to just the average base rate, it really diminished the utility of the benefit (in Asia you have “service charges” and in north/central america, resort/destination fees on top of taxes to pay).

    Just feels like Citi is giving up on competing in the premium card space.

  7. So assuming this is the case with the Prestige card, what are the alternatives that should be used instead for these types of situations? How does Chase handle these exact same situations with the 6 hour CSR delay? Do they cover it without any hassle? Any other cards? Appreciate the info, but some additional advice on how best to handle these situations would be even more appreciated! Thanks!

  8. Gary, do you know in what cases coverage applies if you buy a ticket with the card, then change the ticket? Same cities? Same PNR? Same ticket number? I changed a UA ticket via the website from AAA-BBB-AAA to just BBB-AAA, paid a change fee but no additional fare. A cancellation would have meant an overnight stay. In the end my flight departed about two hours late, so it was moot, but I was trying to understand if I have coverage or not.

  9. So what kind of delay WOULD be covered? Isn’t this to most common kind of delay? Is the value of the coverage gone now?

  10. These kinds of benefits are more like “insurance” benefits, so they tend to cover more extreme situations that these benefits were intended for. So it’s not surprising people are getting denied in certain cases.

  11. This went from being my favorite card when it came out to me closing the account because they kept devaluing it. Such a shame.

  12. When I tried to book the 4th-night free perk, I selected a hotel that wasn’t covered. Has anyone else experienced this? I thought the perk applied to all hotels.

  13. Got burned for the same reason on Citi AAdvantage claim a few months ago. T & C’s do not mention missed connections but several rep’s including managers were adamant about declining the claim. I promptly closed the card ….

  14. Like “M” said above, “So if you paid $5.60 in award taxes with the Citi Prestige, you are covered only up to $5.60?”, I am wondering the same thing. I recently booked an award ticket and charged the fees to my Prestige card. Later, I read various blogs and saw conflicting points of reference. Some say the 500 benefit applies and others say that only the amount you charge to the Prestige card will be covered, i.e. in the case of M’s example, that would be $5.60. Does anyone have a definitive answer on this question?

  15. Maybe this “benefit (really a third party insurance policy) is over-rated. I used it last year and they did pay eventually (something around $200) but the repeated communications required aggravation and re-re-resending things took hours and hours over many weeks. Never a question about it being covered – just obfuscations and ineptness in the handling.

    Seems like the bigger question is what’s your time worth.

  16. This happened to me. And I was just asking for something like $30 to cover change fees. Denied.

  17. I was recently told by the benefit manager for Chase Sapphire Reserve that they wouldn’t cover any costs even though my missed connection caused me to arrive over 24 hours late. They said because my first flight was only 2.5 hours delayed, and the second flight I was supposed to be on left on time, nothing would be covered. Does this sound right?

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