Massive Devaluation To Citi Credit Card Benefits


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Citi has announced a raft of changes to the benefits that accompany a significant number of its credit cards and they are changes that will disappoint a lot of Citi’s cardholders and bring into question the value that some cards will offer going forward.

When I log in to the Citi Card Benefits page a pop-up box informs me of the following:

The following is a summary of changes that are being made to your card benefits.

Effective September 22, 2019, Worldwide Car Rental Insurance, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection, Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance, Trip Delay Protection, Baggage Delay Protection, Lost Baggage Protection, Medical Evacuation, Citi® Price Rewind, 90 Day Return Protection, and Missed Event Ticket Protection will be discontinued and will no longer be provided for purchases made on or after that date. Coverage for purchases made before that date will continue to be available, and you may continue to file for benefits in accordance with the current benefit terms. Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service and Travel & Emergency Assistance will be discontinued and will not be available on or after September 22, 2019.

We are making these changes so that we can continue providing the key benefits that our customers use and value most at no additional cost. This change requires no action on your part. See FAQs under Card Benefits for answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding these changes.

As a cardmember, you will continue to receive a range of other card benefits including FICO® Credit Score, Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, and Citi Entertainment. In addition, we will soon be announcing exciting new card benefits.

Wow.

To recap, here’s what Citi is removing from 22 September 2019:

  • Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
  • Trip Delay Protection
  • Baggage Delay Protection
  • Lost Baggage Protection
  • Medical Evacuation
  • Citi® Price Rewind
  • 90 Day Return Protection
  • Missed Event Ticket Protection

As far as I can see, just about every form of protection that Citi cardholders currently get when they use their credit cards is being taken away and, to make things worse, the changes are across the board.

It doesn’t matter if you currently get one or more of these benefits through a card with no annual fee or if you’re someone paying $450/$495 for cards like the American Airlines AAdvantage Executive card and the Citi Prestige card – everyone is losing these benefits.

Thoughts

This is going to annoy a lot of people and (once again) brings in to question the value of Citi’s most expensive credit card – the Citi Prestige (I’ll go into more detail on that in another post).

Outside of points earning, one of the major reasons for using a credit card to make purchases (instead of using cash or a debit card) is the protection that a lot of credit cards offer.

If you’re buying flights or hotels it’s always good to have some form of trip interruption/delay/cancellation insurance and if you’re buying goods at a store it gives you a little peace of mind to know that, as long as you use the correct card, you and your purchase are protected in a multitude of ways.

Most of this will no longer apply to Citi credit cards going forward…so why should people use them?

I’m not sure why Citi is making these changes but, from an outsider’s point of view, it looks a lot like desperation.

I don’t know if Citi is under financial pressure or not but I can’t think of any reason other than one involving the need to cut costs quickly which would lead a credit card issuer to remove so many benefits that its competitors still offer.

Sure, some of the protections that Citi is doing away with are protections that other card issuers have ditched too…but benefits like return protection, car insurance, lost baggage protection, and trip delay protection are offered by quite a few other credit cards.

Bottom Line

I would have understood this a little more if Citi had been selective about the cards which would no longer offer these benefits going forward or even if it has just given itself more leeway with some protections (like reducing the cap on trip delay protection).

As it stands, however, this comes over as a real hatchet job with very little finesse to it and it will leave a lot of Citi cardholders questioning their ongoing need for their Citi credit cards…especially those costing $400+ per year.

[HT: View From The Wing]

4 COMMENTS

  1. The only thing I can think of to say that isn’t very negative is that at least they didn’t lie and call this an enhancement.

  2. If you want/need Admirals Club membership, great card for that one purpose. Use the card for that and forget about it until the next year. Don’t even carry in my wallet.

  3. Add this devalue to the Citi AA Exec card and the same day boarding pass requirement coming later this year and that product is going to die an ugly death for many folks.

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