Citi announced today that they are dropping several benefits associated with their cards starting on September 22, 2019. This is unfortunate for Citi cardholders as not having these benefits detracts from their value.
Citibank announced some major changes to their Prestige card earlier in 2019. These changes are slowly going into effect this summer with the final changes happening in September 2019. The loss of the benefits only adds to the drama with the Prestige card and its less expensive counterparts.
What’s Going On?
Citibank is dropping the following benefits on September 22, 2019:
- 90 Day Return Protection
- Baggage Delay Protection
- Citi Price Rewind
- Lost Baggage Protection
- Medical Evacuation
- Missed Event Ticket Protection
- Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
- Travel & Emergency Assistance
- Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
- Trip Delay Protection
- Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
- Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection are also being removed from the Citi Double Cash and Citi Dividend Cards in September. Thank You point-earning and co-branded cards will still have these benefits.
In total, 12 benefits are going away from all Citi cards in the fall. What I find shocking is that many of them are commonplace on travel cards from other issuers. Now Citibank is doing away with them.
A favorite perk among Citi cardholders is the Price Rewind. This perk lets you scan a receipt for a product you purchased with your Citi card after finding a lower price elsewhere. Upon approval from Citi, you will get reimbursed the difference. This is a cool perk that you won’t find on cards from many other issuers.
Furthermore, many travelers with Citi cards like to use the Car Rental Insurance and Travel Accident Insurance. These perks have the potential to save travelers hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in the event of an accident happening. They also give travelers peace of mind knowing that their credit card issuer has their back. Peace of mind is a huge selling point for any product, let alone travel credit cards. With Citi removing this, they are also removing a competitive advantage compared to other issuers.
When an issuer gets rid of perks, the reason why is generally a lack of use. It’s unfortunate that most consumers don’t know about the many perks that come with their credit cards. And now the banks are removing them for the consumers that do use them. Discover did a similar nerfing in the winter of 2018-19 as they got rid of a plethora of benefits that made their cards useful.
With Citi dropping these benefits, they will be losing part of their share in the travel card market to other issuers. Such other issuers will be apt to quickly take that share as the competition grows. For example, American Express has been adding new benefits to their cards over the last year, making them more attractive. Additionally, Chase already has similar benefits in place with its premium cards. Thus, Citi might be seeing many card cancellations and many of their consumers switching to another issuer in the future.
Citi might also think that they are compensating for these benefits being removed. MasterCard added some new benefits to all their World and World Elite cards in April 2019. Many of these new benefits are useful, but not to the extent of the current list. Most of Citi’s cards are MasterCards. Plus, you can get a World or World Elite MasterCard with a high enough limit.
Citi dropping these benefits is some of the worst card-related news of 2019 for travelers so far. However, not all hope is lost. Travelers can use the benefits from other cards. Chase and American Express have some of the best travel benefits between them. Furthermore, the points and transfer partners from these two issuers are oftentimes more valuable than Citi’s Thank You points.
In the meantime, these benefits remain for current Citi cardholders until September 22, 2019. They also go into effect for first year and newly approved cardholders. Unhappy cardholders can cancel, and Citi will provide a pro-rated annual fee refund. However, cancelling a Citi card without an annual fee might not be good for your credit history and your card foundation.
Actually, for some of us, all hope is lost. What about those of us like me who booked a trip in the future expecting travel insurance coverage from my Citi Prestige card that I pay a large sum of money for and now I can’t get travel insurance as it is way too late? I have a huge detrimental reliance, I would have done other things had Citi announced this. They should cover my trip as I booked in good faith.