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Citi Prestige Scaling Back Purchasing and Travel Protection Benefits

May 26, 2018
4 min read
Citi Prestige Scaling Back Purchasing and Travel Protection Benefits
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here. Citi has announced most of its credit card benefits and protections will end on September 22, 2019, including some of the benefits or protections explored in this story. For more details, see this story.

The Citi Prestige has been a long favorite of TPG. In addition to marquee benefits such as $250 in travel credits, 4th night free at hotels (and even hostels) and access to more than 1,000 lounges through Priority Pass, the card has earned top marks for its excellent trip delay protection and "Price Rewind" price protection.

Currently, the trip delay protection covers up to $500 in expenses per person for covered delays over three hours. I've filed a few claims under the current program, including when a typhoon trapped me in Japan for four days. Unfortunately, this benefit — and many more — are being cutback on July 29 as first reported by Doctor of Credit and later confirmed by Citi in an email to TPG.

Some of this has already been reported. In early April, we learned that the Price Rewind program would be devalued effective July 29. Instead of being able to claim up to a $500 refund per claim and $2,500 per calendar year, many Citi cards will be limited to $200 per claim and $1,000 per calendar year for purchases starting July 29, 2018.

That's not a notable loss of benefits for most cardholders who will still be able to save up to $1,000 a year. Instead, this will limit Citi's losses from bot-generated claims. At least Citi is keeping the benefit and not removing it entirely, like we've seen with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

But, it turns out the other shoe has now dropped. Here's the full list of negative changes coming to Citi Prestige starting July 29:

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  • Trip Delay Policy: Policy now requires a delay of six hours instead of three. No longer covers traveling companions. Compantions must be family in order to qualify.
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection: No longer covers traveling companions. Companions must be family in order to qualify.
  • Lost Baggage Protection and Travel & Emergency Assistance: No longer covers traveling companions. Companions must be family in order to qualify.
  • Worldwide Car Rental Insurance: Maximum coverage decreased to $75,000 from $100,000
  • Damage & Theft Purchase Protection: Coverage is now secondary. Previously, it was primary for everybody apart from those in New York. Excluded items will also include: lost items, firearms, ammunition, jewelry, watches, tires or items that are under the care and control of a third party including, but not limited to, the US Postal Service, airlines or delivery services.
  • 90-Day Return Protection: Maximum reimbursable per year is dropping from $2,500 to $1,500 and now only covers 90 days (previously it was 120). The protection also no longer applies to the following: firearms, ammunition, tires, jewelry, furniture or appliances.

The three-hour delay window for the trip delay benefit has made the Citi Prestige my go-to card for booking award flights since I signed up for the card. Now, the Citi Prestige's delay protection is the same as the six-hour delay protection of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the CSR earns more-valuable points based on TPG valuations.

For those who travel with friends and unmarried partners (boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance), the changes to the trip delay, trip cancellation/interruption and lost baggage protections are going to be a notable reduction in benefits.

The fourth travel-related benefit reduction — the reduction in car rental insurance — hopefully won't affect many cardholders, but this change comes across as unnecessary penny-pinching.

Depending on your prior usage of these benefits, you might not feel affected by these changes. But while there's no loss to any marquee benefits of the Citi Prestige, these changes are still disappointing. After all, travel and purchase protections are benefits that can be taken for granted — until you need them the most.

Featured image by Credit: Eye Candy Images / Getty Images