Citi Cuts Back On Credit Card Benefits: Best Cards to Use Now

by Adam

Citi continues slashing benefits on its full range portfolio of credit cards. The latest Citi card benefits cut kicked in on September 22, 2019. If you’ve been using Citi cards for travel and purchase protection benefits, here is what you need to know.

Some benefits are more important than others, depending on your circumstances. Citi has been chipping away at the benefits offered from its portfolio of reward cards for some time now. Losing hotel benefits on the Citi Prestige card was the biggest loss for me, and I’ve written about those changes here.

Some cards we keep for benefits and perks, some for putting spend on, some cards are for both. Changes in benefits make us decide both whether or not to keep a credit card and if so, how best to use that card.

When an issuing bank makes changes to credit card benefits I often categorize them as: the good, the bad, the ugly. Let’s not mince words; these across-the- board Citi changes are the ugly.

Some of the most popular cards affected by the most recent Citi card benefits cut:

  • Citi Prestige Card
  • Citi Premier Card
  • Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
  • Citi Double Cash Card

Citi Card Benefits Disappearing After September 22, 2019

The travel protections removed include:

  • Worldwide car rental insurance
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection
  • Trip delay protection
  • Lost baggage protection

The non-travel purchase benefits removed include:

  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Return protection
  • Price protection

These benefits — especially trip delay, cancellation, and interruption — were key reasons for putting spend on these Citi cards. Another benefit many cardholders will miss is the retail price protection.

If you were using your Citi cards for any of the travel protections and non-travel related purchases, and now need an alternative card for these benefits, here are some suggestions. Other banks do offer travel credit cards with great travel and purchase protections.

Let’s dig in to these different benefit categories and define what these benefits actually are and see who tops the list for alternative credit cards to use in replacing the lost Citi benefits.

How To Keep Travel and Purchase Protection Benefits

Sometimes when we use a specific credit card for its benefits, we forget that we already have another card with these same benefits. For many of us who value travel and purchase protection, we’ll need to look at and learn about other credit cards that we don’t have.

Whether you are looking for a single card to maximize the travel and non-travel benefits you need, or a few cards that cover all the bases, Chase cards lead the pack.

Primary Rental Car Insurance

Even if you only rent cars from time to time, having a credit card with primary rental car coverage is important. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card takes top honors for primary rental insurance. Are car rentals a business expense for you? If so, the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card is a good choice.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred top the list for their trip interruption and cancelation policies. These cards provide up to $10,000 per person for each covered trip (maximum $20,000 per trip and $40,000 per year). The annual fees on the Sapphire Preferred are less than on the Sapphire Reserved card, thereby providing the same coverage for much less.

Trip Delay Protection

citi card benefits

Besides the awesome 4th Night Free benefit, prior to these benefit changes, the Citi Prestige Card came with the best trip delay reimbursement policy. Using the Prestige card meant delays as short as three hours were covered under their trip delay protection. Now, however, the Chase Sapphire Reserve takes the top spot. The Sapphire Reserve coverage starts at delays of 6 hours or more. The coverage tops out at $500 in expenses.

Baggage Delay Protection

Once again, cards from Chase’s portfolio rise to the top of the list. Three Chase cards: Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Preferred provide baggage delay protection. Are you a Hyatt fan? The World of Hyatt Credit Card comes with baggage delay protection. Baggage delay coverage starts after delays of six hours, providing up to $100 per day for a maximum of 5 days (max $500).

Lost Baggage Protection

citi card benefits

Chase can’t possibly receive all the top spots, right? Here’s where American Express shines! Amex includes lost and damaged luggage insurance across its large portfolio of cards. Take note, though, that coverage differs from card to card.

Many of us hold The Platinum Card from American Express for its lounge access benefit. Yet another benefit it provides is lost baggage protection. You’ll receive up to $3,000 per person for carry-on baggage, up to $2,000 per person for checked baggage, and claims cannot exceed $3,000 per person total per covered trip. It’s a good idea to read the fine print on your Amex lost baggage protection policy, particularly if you hold multiple Amex cards.

Price Protection

Price protection, as a credit card benefit, doesn’t get its propers anymore. Late in 2018, Chase removed price protection from all Visa cards. Citi had its popular Price Rewind, but that’s now no more than a “that sure was a great benefit in its heyday” memory. Currently, there are few cards that offer price protection benefits. If price protection is important to you, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card provides up to $250 per item and limit of four claims in 12 months per account. Make note that the claim window for this protection is 120 days from purchase.

Return Protection

Even after eliminating this benefit on most of its cards, Chase retained this return protection benefit on the Sapphire Reserve card. The return protection policy comes with up to $500 coverage per item, up to $1,000 per year. Amex offers return protection on many of its cards with return protection policy limits up to $300 per item, up to $1,000 per year.

Roadside Assistance

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Roadside assistance might be a card benefit you don’t think much about until you need it! Both Amex and Chase have roadside assistance policies on their cards. Amex has a roadside assistance benefit but only on the high annual fee cards. If you’re looking for a card that makes roadside assistance a good deal, the United Explorer cards from Chase take top honors because of their low annual fees. Read a review of the United Explorer cards here.

Extended Warranty

Who doesn’t love an extended warranty? Though Citi discontinued the extended warranty coverage from the Citi Double Cash and Citi Dividend Card, it continues to offer good extended warranty policies on the rest of the Citi rewards cards. Also, in the good news category, both Amex and Citi now extend warranties up to seven years on new purchases.

Purchase Protection

Purchase protection is for getting reimbursed for recent purchases that have been stolen or damaged. Typical policies cover your purchase for 90-120 days post-purchase. Amex is the leader in this benefit category with purchase protection policies on many of its cards.

Final Thoughts

Though we can’t stop Citi from cutting benefits, we can shift our spending to other cards to retain the benefits that we need. We have choices when optimizing which card we use for purchases.

Maybe we haven’t taken advantage of each and every one of these benefits, or maybe we’ve used them often and will miss them. In any case, these changes serve as reminders that there are other card issuers and travel credit cards that do offer these benefits. While cutting benefits isn’t a good thing, reminders of where to look when change occurs is a good thing!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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