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RIP: Citi removes most travel and shopping protections

Sept. 22, 2019
6 min read
RIP: Citi removes most travel and shopping protections
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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 RemovedCiti Prestige® Card Citi Premier® CardCiti® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®Citi DividendCiti® Double Cash CardAmerican Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ CardAT&T Access
Card
Worldwide Car Rental Insurancexxxxxxx
Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protectionxxxxxxx
Worldwide Travel Accident Insurancexxxxxxx
Citi® Price Rewindxxxxxxx
90 Day Return Protectionxxxxxxx
Trip Delay ProtectionxxxN/AN/AN/AN/A
Baggage Delay ProtectionxxxN/AN/AN/AN/A
Lost Baggage ProtectionxxxN/AN/AN/AN/A
Roadside Assistance Dispatch ServicexxxN/AN/AN/AN/A
Travel & Emergency AssistancexxxN/AN/AN/AN/A
Damage & Theft Purchase Protectionxx
Extended Warrantyxx
Medical EvacuationxN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Missed Event Ticket ProtectionxN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/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:

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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 image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

60,000 points
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more