RIP: Citi removes most travel and shopping protections

Sep 22, 2019

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If you’re a Citi cardholder, you’ve likely had September 22, 2019, marked on your calendar. And now, the date is finally here.

Citi announced positive changes today: the start of being able to transfer cash back earned on the Citi® Double Cash Card to ThankYou points at a $1 to 100 ThankYou points ratio. But, don’t let this positive announcement overshadow the negative changes: the loss of travel and shopping protections on most Citi cards.

Back when we first learned of the removal of shopping and travel protections, we compiled the following table showing which benefits would be removed on which cards:

Benefit Removed Citi Prestige® Card Citi Premier® Card Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® Citi Dividend Citi® Double Cash Card American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card AT&T Access
Worldwide Car Rental Insurance x x x x x x x
Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection x x x x x x x
Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance x x x x x x x
Citi® Price Rewind x x x x x x x
90 Day Return Protection x x x x x x x
Trip Delay Protection x x x N/A N/A N/A N/A
Baggage Delay Protection x x x N/A N/A N/A N/A
Lost Baggage Protection x x x N/A N/A N/A N/A
Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service x x x N/A N/A N/A N/A
Travel & Emergency Assistance x x x N/A N/A N/A N/A
Damage & Theft Purchase Protection x x
Extended Warranty x x
Medical Evacuation x N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Missed Event Ticket Protection x N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card, Citi Prestige, Citi Dividend, AT&T Access, has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

So, it’s not surprising that when I log into my Citi Dividend account, I only see “Guide to Protection Benefits effective prior to 9/22/19” — there’s no current guide to benefits.

And, when I go to the Card Benefits FAQs page for my Citi Dividend, I see the following:

Likewise, when I log into my Citi Prestige account and download the new guide to benefits effective September 22, 2019, the table of contents is very short compared to the previous version:

Previous guide to benefits table of contents on the left, current table of contents on the right
Previous guide to benefits table of contents for the Citi Prestige on the left, current table of contents on the right

In the Frequently Asked Questions section for my Citi Prestige Card, Citi provides the following answer to the “Why did Citi make these changes?” question:

Citi continuously evaluates our products to ensure that associated benefits best meet the needs of our customers. As such, we will no longer offer select protection benefits on your card so we can continue providing key benefits that our customers use and value most at no additional cost. As a cardmember, you will continue to receive a range of valuable card benefits including FICO Credit Score, Citi Identity Theft Solutions, and Citi Entertainment.

With Citi removing most travel and shopping protections from its cards, you may want a new go-to card for travel and shopping protections. Personally, I’m switching my travel spending to the Chase Sapphire Reserve and will use the IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card for purchases where I might want price protection, extended warranty protection or purchase protection.

Here are links to our guides to various types of protections, which we’ll soon be updating:

  • Primary car rental coverage
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection
  • Travel accident and emergency evacuation insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Baggage delay reimbursement
  • Price protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection

However, you don’t necessarily need to use one of the best cards for travel protections when purchasing airfare in order to be protected. Instead, when purchasing airfare you could purchase travel insurance and then use a card like the Citi Prestige Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, which offers 5x earning on select airfare purchases but doesn’t offer travel protections.

Related: When to Buy Travel Insurance Versus When to Rely on Credit Card Protections

How do these changes alter what card you’ll use for travel and shopping purchases?

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.

Featured photo by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images.

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