Citi Gutting Most Travel Protections and Other Card Benefits Across All Premium Products

Citibank is ending most of the benefits that are generally purchased through payment networks in an effort to cut costs. Cardmembers are being given three months’ notice that they’ll lose trip delay coverage, rental car coverage, and other benefits that may come with their Citi cards.

For instance,

  • Citi Prestige, Premier, and the Citi Executve card all lose rental car insurance; trip cancellation and interruption; travel accident insurance; trip delay; baggage delay; lost baggage; price rewind; and 90 day return protection.

  • Citi Prestige and Citi Executive lose Medical Evacuation coverage and Missed Ticket Protection. Prestige also loses roadside assistance dispatch service and travel and emergency assistance.

Coverage for purchases prior to September 22 remains in effect for claimed filed after that date.

Citibank tells me, “Citi continuously evaluates our products to ensure that associated benefits best meet the needs of our customers. Due to sustained low usage, we will no longer offer select credit card benefits such as Citi Price Rewind and Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection as of September 22, 2019 so that we can continue providing key benefits our customers use and value most at no additional cost.”

When I log into Citi and look at benefits for my Executive card (which comes with American Airlines club membership) I get the following popup:

Effective September 22, 2019, 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, and Missed Event Ticket Protection will be discontinued and will no longer be provided for purchases made on or after that date.

Coverage for purchases made before that date will continue to be available, and you may continue to file for benefits in accordance with the current benefit terms. Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service and Travel & Emergency Assistance will be discontinued and will not be available on or after September 22, 2019.

There are of course a handful of benefits that remain, for instance Prestige keeps cell phone protection, damage and theft purchase protection, and extended warranty,

Apparently these changes even apply to cards that customers were just approved for. There’s 3 months’ notice to everyone, even cardmembers in their first year. However I understand that Citi will provide a prorated annual fee refund for customers who wish to cancel.

I’m now questioning whether to get the Citi Prestige card again, after all. The card’s 5 points per dollar on air will no longer come with trip delay and baggage delay coverage. Notably of course many of these benefits don’t come with American Express cards, but it makes my Chase-issued premium cards more attractive.

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. So this was the only reason I used Citi prestige instead of Amex plat for flights., the trip delay. The Amex points are worth more to me. So come 9/22 all my airfare goes back to Amex. So then Citi prestige is only good for restaurants. Does that cover my card fee of effectively $200? Not sure anymore when the 4th night free has gotten shittier.

  2. The real shocker is car rental insurance – basically every credit card with an annual fee offers that. I just got the Citi Premier and I struggle to see why I would keep it after year 1. At least the AA cards provide a way to earn AA miles…

  3. Not sure this is 100% accurate. Other articles I have read say the AA Executive card is losing no benefit. Just the base and select card are.

  4. Not having rental car coverage is a major deal breaker and really hurts Citi compared to Chase. And cutting that benefit has absolutely nothing to do with “evaluat(ing) our products to ensure that associated benefits best meet the needs of our customers”. It’s all about cutting costs for something their customers use too much.

  5. I do not so much care about the annual fee if you just applied. What i am concerned more about is the bait-and-switch once the credit pull has been done and cannot be removed. This is a ‘black mark’ on the credit history that has no reason to be.

    I think banks should be prosecuted for changing the terms for as long as the credit pull stays on the credit history. This should be something that we should find on every democrat candidate plateforms. But of course, that is if they were caring about average working-class Americans. It is obviously cheaper to wave a colored flag these days than take meaningful actions that benefit all citizens.

  6. holy smoke! There is no reason to keep Citi premium high cards…almost all benefits are gone

  7. The only reason I shall keep my Prestige is for lounge access. If that goes, I’ll definitely cancel!

  8. @sunviking82 – First of all, I have the card and I offer a direct quote from the popup I received when I logged in. Second of all Citi specifically told me AA cards are losing benefits, though the specific benefits lost vary by card [since each card had different benefits].

    Who says otherwise? (They’re wrong.)

  9. Merci beaucoup for the info. The insurance protections (especially the trip cancellation and medical evacuation insurance … and actually pretty much the rest ) of the AA Executive World Elite and the unrestricted use of Admirals Club justified the $450 I was spending even though I’m not flying nearly as much as I have in the past. In AUS it was almost worth the $450 just to get away from the terminal crowds. Almost. Now there’s a Delta club so I’ll be trying that. So long AA. After I burn my miles this year you’re history. My City National Bank Crystal VISA now gets top billing.
    Really, t(anks for the update!!!

  10. If they’d get Korean air as a transfer partner I’d keep the cards.
    Somebody needs to get them.
    I like originating at LAS

  11. We’ve had what is now the Citibank Platinum Select (co-branded AA) card for over 30 years. Also have the Executive. Here’s the deal: we dumped the Barclay AA co-branded card when Barclay stopped reimbursing up to 10K miles when used for an award.

    If this goes through on the Citibank cards we have, they will get dumped, and our remaining AA miles will be used tout de suite. And a big “thank you” to Citibank for making the decision to dump both Citibank and AA that much quicker!

  12. Can you move your credit line from one Cito card to another? Thinking of moving my lines from Prestige to Double cash merely to retain the CL

  13. This is why Chase JPM/CSR gets all of my travel spend. 3x points plus fantastic travel insurance include medevac. Nobody will miss Citi and its inferior products and service.

  14. I am very sorry to see the Trip Cancellation benefit go away. My family has had to cancel several trips in the past 3 years due to illness and our Costco Citi card benefit always came through with 100% of our trip expenses.

    Does anyone know of a good card with low or no fee that has similar trip coverage? Our Costco card covered $3000 per traveler.

  15. The 5x on restaurants is the main benefit left that I use on the Prestige. Have to study if this is worth the high annual fee though.

  16. Anyone know if Citi will honor travel insurance if card not open on departure date?
    If so looks like the strategy is to immediately book and prepay all hotels stays immediately so can get fourth night credit paid before September booking cutoff and then go to Chase or back to Amex

    Understand their are some good annual plans for travel insurance – anyone point me to a blog piece reviewing. Particularly interested in a policy that is pretty liberal (easy) on pre existing condition as partner has long history of heart problems

  17. Shouldn’t the fact that it’s low usage mean be a good thing? I mean if everyone was making claims, then I see how this wouldn’t be affordable for Citibank. I think that’s the reason they’re pulling it is the exact opposite of what they say.

  18. Yeah. the low usage language is complete nonsense. Basically, anyone that charged a flight to the Prestige card is “using” the trip cancellation benefit, trip delay and evacuation benefits, even if they never had to make a claim. Every theater ticket I charged to the Prestige and purposefully didn’t buy the venue’s ticket insurance was “using” the missed event protection benefit. And every car rental yada yada you get the point.

  19. The removal of the CDW rental car insurance is puzzling. Every premium card has it, and even some no-fee cards (e.g. Capital One Venture One) have it. No one with any degree of sophistication ever rents a car without using a card with the CDW coverage, Makes me think this is a trial balloon to see if other card issuers will also drop the CDW benefit.

    I also wonder if the benefits will be yanked from the Costco card – Citi may be locked into those benefits based on a contract with Costco.

    I like the 5% airline benefit combined with the 5% travel agency benefit – if you can channel spending through Expedia, Orbits, etc. you can get the 5%.

  20. If I cancel within the first year using this as my reason, will citi claw back my signup bonus?

  21. @Robert — Playing devil’s advocate, I do not believe that most foreign-issued credit cards offer CDW car insurance. So, perhaps, the USA car rental companies would be better off if they collectively ditched it, too. The problem is that there will probably be a holdout, who will then have a valuable competitive advantage.

    I would think that CDW, while rarely used, could be expensive to card issuers. Car damage is just darn expensive. If a cardholder files one claim in 5 years, they’re probably an unprofitable customer. A modest fender bender can be several thousand dollars in cost.

  22. This is very bad, but what’s worse is it’s hard to imagine the decision isn’t going to rub off on the other issuers…

  23. We almost booked our flights to Paris this fall with our Chase Ink card but discovered that the trip cancellation, etc. coverage is limited to trips of 60 days or less and our trip is just over 60 days (we just retired). So we booked using our Citi Premier card and we’ll be covered now. But in the future I don’t know what we’ll do if we plan to be abroad for longer than 60 days. UGH!

  24. So does Citi not purchase insurance protection for its employees or physical assets? Based on its reasoning, why should it spend money for policies that aren’t necessary? They’re either lying or foolish but my six cards are being canceled and spend transferred to Amex and Chase.

  25. I’ve been very happy with the Double Cash card, but removing these benefits significantly strips the card of its value. The remaining benefits (other than 2% cash back) are minimal. I’ve liked Price Rewind/price protection, especially when I got $300 back after purchasing a suit I needed for a job interview right before a holiday sale. That feature made the Citi cards especially attractive. I never used Trip Protection, but it provided peace of mind.

    What card(s) should I get instead?

  26. as @Hal mentioned, i used to purchase airfare on thee Prestige mainly due to the travel benefits. Now that its gone, i’ll be using in my AmEx Plat for it since i too value MR more than TY. Also for dining, you can just get the AmEx gold which now gives 4x on dining globally. I already have the Plat + Gold, so all i need to do is figure out how to burn out my TY points and move out of the TY investment.

  27. I just got approved for this card a week ago. I was going to cancel my Chase Reserve. What a mess. Hoping they can prorate my fee for the first year and I can cancel after year one. This is ridiculous.

  28. Has anyone gotten confirmation that the Citi Costco Anywhere biz and/or personal cards are also losing the travel benefits? The info online seems ambiguous at best.

  29. As of 5:25 PM EDT today, a new pop-up on the Costco Anywhere VISA Card by Citi website confirms that the same benefits are being removed from this card also, effective September 22nd. Very disappointing that Costco is letting Citi do this!

  30. @ Bob M – If Costco didn’t have it contractually guaranteed, then they can’t force Citi to leave the benefits untouched. I’m sure going forward that Costco will get such things in writing and wouldn’t be surprised if they start a new agreement with Chase or move back to Amex.

  31. Looks like the Costco card may still have extended warranty and damage and theft purchase protection.

    Here is the current page on the Citi site for the Costco card: http://www.citi.com/credit-cards/credit-card-details/citi.action?ID=Citi-costco-anywhere-visa-credit-card . It still shows those two benefits under “Purchase Protection.”

    If you then look at an archived version of the same page from March 30, 2019 – it has a separate section called “Travel Protection” which lists benefits that are no longer available.

    Given the change in the page, that suggests that the shopping benefits were intentionally left on the page and still apply. Also makes sense that the Citi contract with Costco might require the “Purchase Protection” benefits as that encourages people to shop at Costco – while the travel benefits don’t directly benefit Costco.

  32. Good bye Citi. Not worth keeping the cards. Just stopped all my auto charges, removed from my wallet, deleted from Apple Pay. 31 years and now goodbye. My Chase Sapphire Reserve is getting all the action.

  33. Just canceled my Citi Executive and Platinum cards. It appears for now that Citibusiness Platinum retains the benefits.

  34. For those questioning what’s changing Sept 22 for the Citi Costco consumer card (no update on the Costco Business card benefits page), most benefits stay incl Car Rental Insurance. This was in FAQ on June 27:

    Card Benefit Changes (Effective 09/22/19) What changes are being made to my card benefits? Effective September 22, 2019, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection and Citi® Price Rewind will be discontinued and will no longer be provided for purchases made on or after that date. Coverage for purchases made before that date will continue to be available, and you may continue to file for benefits in accordance with the current benefit terms.

    What Protection Benefits will I still have on my card? You will continue to have Worldwide Car Rental Insurance, Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service, Travel & Emergency Assistance, Damage & Theft Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty on this account. You can view Your Guide to Protection Benefits on this site under “Quick Links”. It contains complete coverage details, including coverage limits, what’s covered and what’s not covered. Coverage details for these remaining benefits are not being changed.
    As a cardmember, you will also continue to receive a range of other card benefits including FICO® Credit Score, Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, and Citi Entertainment.

    Will other card benefits be impacted by these changes? Only card benefits that are being discontinued are included in these changes.

  35. We will see how this plays out. The only reason we ever use the Citi card is to avoid buying add/on trip cancellation insurance, and to get a checked bag free on American Airlines. Have never had to claim trip cancellation, but has saved me exorbitant fees that travel companies charge.

  36. I wonder did Citi also cut the benefits on the cards issued in Singapore, who might I add have benefits that are not offered in the states.

  37. All the benefits they just cancelled are the very benefits I have a Citi Premier card for. Especially the overseas primary rental car protection. I loved this card but will cancel it now and find something else.

  38. I called Chase to confirm my current benefits before I cancel my Citicard. They informed me that Chase will be ending these same benefits “at some point” in the future. Now what?!?

  39. I called Chase just now and got the opposite answer. “No announcement to that effect, we view our benefits as a differentiator.” So, I guess we’ll see what happens.

  40. The idea that you are going to get any accurate info re Chase’s future plans for benefits from the minimum wage people who answer the customer service phones is a bit out there.

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