What Travel Insurance Does The Citi Prestige Card Offer?

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The perks of credit cards can go well beyond great bonuses for your everyday spend. In many cases they can also offer huge purchase & travel protection benefits, from rental car coverage to lost & delayed baggage benefits, to trip cancellation coverage.

I’ve taken advantage of these perks several times. In 2012 I damaged a rental car, and The Platinum Card® from American Express completely covered the damage. Similarly, in 2014 my bag was delayed, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred reimbursed me for necessary expenses.

Why I use the Citi Prestige® Card for airfare purchases

The Citi Prestige® Card is my all around favorite credit card at the moment, thanks to the slew of benefits it offers, including the following:

This is also the card I use for my airfare purchases, as it offers 3x points on airfare purchased directly with airlines.

What about the travel protection benefits?

Oddly I’ve been using this card for my airfare purchases without actually looking at the travel interruption benefits the card offers. This is probably because I rarely check bags, and also rarely deal with major travel interruptions. The number of times I’d take advantage of these perks would be minimal. Though when many cards offer bonus points for airfare purchases, it can be a good tiebreaker, and I also know this type of protection puts many people at ease.

So I had a look at the Citi Prestige® Card travel protection benefits, and they’re among the best out there. I’ll summarize them below, but see here for the full guide to protection benefits on the Citi Prestige® Card.

I should note upfront that you must pay for your purchase entirely with the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi ThankYou points to be covered under these benefits — this doesn’t apply on award tickets where you’re only paying the taxes and fees on your card.

If you want protection when you’re just paying the taxes & fees for an award ticket on your card, use the Chase Sapphire Preferred, as it usually offers coverage under those circumstances.

Lastly, let me once again emphasize that I’m just summarizing the benefits below. Consult the protection benefits guide for the details and exclusions of this coverage.

Trip delay protection with the Citi Prestige® Card

Trip delay protection kicks in if your flight is delayed by at least three hours. You’re covered for up to $500 of necessary expenses, including hotel accommodations, ground transportation, meals, necessities you may need to carry out your work, or other items such as toiletries. The fact that this benefit kicks in after just three hours is extremely generous.

This benefit applies to you and authorized users on your Citi card, your spouse/domestic partner, and your dependents. This benefit doesn’t apply if government regulations or customs agencies interfered with your trip, your travel is for commuting purposes, or you were compensated for not taking an oversold flight.

Chicago-Delays

Baggage delay protection with the Citi Prestige® Card

Delayed baggage protection kicks in if your bag doesn’t get to your destination within three hours of your arrival. You’re covered for up to $500 of necessary personal and business items. This is one of the best delayed baggage benefits offered by any card, as other cards require you to be separated from your bag for much longer in order for the benefit to kick in. For example, on the Chase Sapphire Preferred your bag has to be delayed at least six hours.

This benefit applies to you and authorized users on your Citi card, your spouse/domestic partner, and your dependents. This benefit doesn’t apply if you’re returning home, which is pretty standard for this type of protection.

Baggage-Claim

Lost baggage protection with the Citi Prestige® Card

Lost baggage protection applies if your checked or carry-on luggage is permanently lost, stolen, or damaged. You can be refunded the cost to repair or replace the item, whichever is less.

You’re covered for up to $3,000 per person per trip ($2,000 for New York residents), or up to $10,000 in total for all traveling companions when their fare is charged to your card.

Trip cancellation & interruption protection with the Citi Prestige® Card

Trip cancellation & interruption protection covers up to $5,000 per person, per trip of non-refundable expenses. Covered reasons for this include the following:

Illness or personal matters:

  • You become sick or injured, and a doctor confirms in writing that it’s severe enough to interrupt or cancel your trip.
  • A family member has an injury or illness that’s either life-threatening or requires your care.
  • You or a family member dies within 30 days of the trip’s departure date, or on the trip itself.
  • You’re laid off or fired from your job, and you were continuously employed there as a full- or part-time permanent employee for at least 2 years.
  • You are called to jury duty or receive a subpoena from the court, neither of which can be postponed.
  • You’re a member of the United States Armed Forces, and your leave is revoked for reasons not related to war, mobilization or reassignment.
  • You can no longer live in your permanent or temporary residence because of fire, flood, vandalism, burglary or a natural disaster.
  • You or a family member is the victim of an assault that occurs within 10 days of your trip’s departure date and requires treatment at a hospital.

Travel or weather issues:

  • You can’t travel because severe weather, a natural disaster or a labor dispute causes all travel to or from your destination to stop for at least 24 hours.
  • You can’t travel due to a quarantine or a hijacking.
  • You miss more than half of your trip because of missed connections, delayed departures, denied boarding, traffic accidents on your way to a departure, or lost or stolen passports.
  • You miss a cruise or tour departure because all common carrier travel to or from your destination is cancelled or delayed at least 3 hours due to severe weather or a problem with the common carrier.
  • Before your departure date, a cruise or tour operator cancels or postpones a prepaid event or activity, such as a shore excursion, and it’s not rescheduled at a time you can participate during your trip.
  • A travel supplier, such as your airline or hotel, goes out of business or goes into financial default after you purchase your trip, impairing your ability to travel.
  • A mandatory evacuation is ordered at your final destination because of a natural disaster, and you have at least half of your trip remaining.
  • A terrorist incident occurs in your destination city after you purchase your trip, and you’re scheduled to arrive within 30 days of the incident.

Looking at the terms, this cancellation protection is much broader than I expected. For example, with the Paris attacks last year, it sounds like you could have used this benefit if you were scheduled to travel to Paris within 30 days, which is way more generous than any of the waivers offered by airlines. It also covers if you’re laid off from your job, which I didn’t realize was something covered under such a benefit.

This benefit applies to you and authorized users on your Citi card, your spouse/domestic partner, and your dependents.

Car rental insurance with the Citi Prestige® Card

The Citi Prestige Card offers primary car rental coverage outside the US, and secondary coverage in the US. This benefit covers up to $100,000 towards the cost of repairs or the cash value of the car, whichever is less. This also only covers rentals of up to 31 consecutive days.

For those not familiar with primary vs. secondary:

  • Primary insurance means that you can file your claim directly through the card’s policy, regardless of other insurance policies you have on the car
  • Secondary insurance means that you can only file your claim directly with the card’s policy after you’ve filed it with any collectible auto insurance policy you have; so this only covers things not covered by the primary insurance, like the deductible or any excess amount

So this is a very competitive policy outside the US, while within the US I’d use another card assuming you have car rental insurance, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred (that way you wouldn’t have to go through your personal insurance policy, which could raise premiums).

Bottom line

Different cards have different strong points when it comes to travel delay & cancellation protection. The Chase Sapphire Preferred is great in that it offers protection even on award tickets, as well as primary car rental coverage.

Other than that, I think the Citi Prestige® Card offers among the best protection out there. The baggage and travel delay protection kicks in after just three hours, which is among the most generous policies out there. The amounts they offer are also quite generous.

So while I think it makes sense to put most award ticket purchases on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Citi Prestige® Card remains my “go to” card for airfare for the perks it offers on paid tickets.

Were you aware of all the travel protection offered by the Citi Prestige® Card? Do travel protection benefits factor into which cards you use?

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Comments

  1. Lucky,

    I’ve read posts that said you need to have a roundtrip ticket for travel insurance to kick in, but I haven’t read that in the terms of the Citi Prestige (or any other card). Have you heard anything to that effect?

  2. The event protection is pretty useful too, and I haven’t seen that from another card. Lost or stolen tickets reimbursed up to $500/event, and 3x TY points on entertainment…

  3. I just received my Citi Prestige card and am sitting down to evaluate the benefits when I came upon this article. Just a week ago, my flight was delayed for over three hours and I could have partaken in the benefits. What process do I go through to obtain the benefits, such as needing to buy lunch etc… Also, the same on the delayed luggage if I need overnight clothing and toiletries. Who authorizes the purchases so they will be credited back to my credit card? Thanks in advance.

  4. I don’t have a CSP so I book all my award ticket taxes on my Chase Hyatt/Ink Bold/United cards, which provide insurance on award tickets. Good to know that booking with TYP provides insurance, as that is how I book a lot of my personal AA travel.

  5. How does a round trip make a difference in the trip cancellation?

    So what is required for the doctor to certify you are too sick? So the night before your trip you can go to an urgent care and have a doctor fill out the form? And you will get a full mileage refund or whatever the estimated cash value of the ticket was?

  6. What does the travel delay protection look like in practice? You show up to the airport and find out your flight is delayed 3+ hours, can you just start buying food/drinks at the airport and Citi will reimburse you?

  7. @ Luis — Correct, assuming all criteria are met. You just have to keep receipts for your purchases of things covered under the benefit, and then can contact them after the fact to process the claim. In my experience these benefits aren’t too difficult to actually take advantage of.

  8. @ mike — You’ll want to contact them to double check, but I think a doctor’s note does the trick. Remember this doesn’t apply on award tickets, though, but only on revenue tickets paid with the Citi Prestige Card.

  9. @ Ed B. — You’ll have to make the purchases on your own and keep the receipts, and then you can contact them after the fact for reimbursement.

  10. @ Michael A — I haven’t seen anything to that effect either, but I’d recommend calling to double check. But yeah, the card does seem unique in that way.

  11. Am I right in reading the above as saying that the benefits do not apply to tickets that I purchase for people who are not my spouse/partner/dependents? I purchased a ticket for my mother with Thank You points, but she’s not a member of my household or a dependent.
    On a side note, is it possible to upgrade a ticket bought with ThankYou points? Either with cash or points?

  12. @ Jenny — That’s correct, for the most part. Who is covered varies based on the benefit, but most are for you and dependents/spouses.

    If you redeem Citi ThankYou points for the cost of a ticket on American it’s treated like a revenue ticket — you can upgrade it, earn miles, etc.

  13. Ben —

    It may not apply to award tix paid with FF miles, but award tix paid in whole or in part with Thank You points are covered by the above travel protections if you use the Prestige card for the booking.

  14. Ben or anyone else in the know —

    I am thinking of ditching my CSP card for an Ink Plus card.

    Are the travel protections for the Ink Plus the same as the CSP, especially when booking award tix?

    Thanks!

  15. So I am traveling to Ireland and plan on renting a car there, if I pay with the Citi Prestige I should not take any of the insurance offered through the rental agency, if something happens Citi will cover it? If so that’s like $100 savings for me right there!

  16. If a flight is delayed and you take advantage of the hotel reimbursement, do you think it has to be booked through their concierge? Hmmm…..

  17. @ SK — Nope, you can book it directly with the hotel. There’s no expectation you’ll phone up their concierge when in a bind.

  18. I would be really curious to know if anyone used this benefit during the recent snowstorms in the NYC/DC areas this past weekend. Obviously, that was severe weather and if you were stuck on the East Coast that could get very pricey if you have to stay in a hotel for several days awaiting departures.

    Was anyone able to take advantage of this benefit during this situation?

  19. Trip delay insurance paid out near hassle free the one time I used it. Meals, some meds, lounge access fee, extra parking charges all reimbursed. And you are covered if you pay all or in part with Thank You points if you have the Prestige.

  20. I’ve been using Amex PRG for all flights because I value Membership Rewards slightly above TYP. However, last month I had both a canceled flight due to weather that forced me to spend a night in a hotel and baggage delayed by a day where Amex gave me nothing. Looks like Prestige is the way to go.

  21. Trip Delay coverage (3+ hours) is one of the reason I stopped using my Barclays Silver Aviator even though it gave me 3x Advantage miles. The Aviator had no such coverage and I feel good knowing that all the bases are covered by the CITI Prestige as well as the sister card CITI Executive Platinum. Great Article Ben!

  22. The timing of this post was good. I replaced my Amex Platinum with a Prestige recently, and read through the insurance booklet. I was really impressed with the coverage.

  23. Lucky, do you know whether you still get the ‘usual’ World Elite Mastercard benefits with the Citi Prestige card? Because World Elite actually also offers this air travel program where you could potentially get discounts on paid airline tickets. Your thoughts (aka expert opinion)? 🙂

  24. I recently booked a flat rental in Paris for a week through Homeaway. Before I decided which credit card to use, I called Citi Prestige about the trip cancellation/interruption. The representative sent me the T&Cs and clearly stated that flat rentals would be covered since it was not ‘excluded’ in their terms. I thought that was very valuable benefit of the card. Does anyone have any experience with using trip cancellation for VRBO or Homeaway rentals rather than just traditional hotels?

  25. The Prestige is also the only card I have (including Amex Plat) that includes medical evacuation coverage, which is huge. If you have a medical emergency while overseas, the card will pick up the expense of getting you back home for treatment or recovery. This happened last year in Mexico with my mom and it cost over $50k to get her back to the US for emergency surgery.

    Of course there are all kinds of terms and conditions with this coverage, but they are pretty standard. I use Prestige for all my travel purchases knowing I get great category bonuses PLUS the best insurance coverage out there.

  26. What happens if I don’t have car insurance in the US and I rent a car with a card that offers secondary insurance coverage. If damage were to occur, would I be able to file it directly with the card without them giving me hassle about not having primary coverage?

  27. Danny, you really don’t want to drive without a liability policy, even on a rental. This Citi Prestige coverage is akin to the collision coverage that you would carry with an auto insurer. It pays for damage to the (rental) that you’re driving, and does not cover liability to 3rd parties for damage to their property, let alone bodily injury. Those latter coverages are the big ones that you should carry (and are required to carry in most US states – maybe not New Hampshire). Otherwise, if you get into an accident, you’ll be facing fines and lawsuits by injured parties. Don’t want to go there.

  28. Are the travel interruption benefits applicable only when the primary account holder is travelling? What are the benefits, if we book flights for our parents/spouse using this card when the primary is not travelling?

  29. IMO the insurance coverage with the Ritz Carlton card far outshines the Citi Prestige. The former covers $10,000 per person, $20,000 per person per year on award or revenue tickets. They cover medical evacuation at $100,000 and emergency medical expenses up to $2,500. Most importantly, you do not have to pay for your whole trip with the card.

    Another issue is the length of your trip. Ritz Carlton used to give you a year, but now a trip cannot be more than 60 days to qualify.

    Lucky, I mostly travel on award tickets. I also tend to use hotel credit cards to pay for my hotel stays. With the Ritz Carlton card, I know my non-refundable hotel stays will be covered if my trip gets cancelled or interrupted & I charged those stays to the RC card. It seems like the Citi Prestige’s trip interruption or cancellation insurance would never cover my trips because of the award tickets being charged to Ritz Carlton or Chase Sapphire and/or some hotel stays being charged to hotel credit cards. Is this true? Non-refundable hotel charges are usually much cheaper than refundable ones.

  30. Quick question Lucky, what if I do not have rental car insurance for my domestic travel, does this card cover any necessary costs, given it only does secondary?

  31. Lucky, are you saying that the American Express Platinum card is primary insurance coverage with no deductible? Were you involved in an accident with another car or only damaged your own car? Does this same coverage apply to the Platinum card for Business?

  32. What happens in situation where you pay say a cruise deposit of say $500 on one credit card and then pay the complete balance off with the Citi Prestige card. Would that qualify for protection of the cruise under the travel cancellation terms?

  33. I opened the Citi Prestige card based on your rave reviews, and I just filed my first claim for a flight that was cancelled by the airline because of mechanical difficulties and passenger rioting (it was in the newspaper). I proved the flight was cancelled with the flight aware tracker and the newspaper articles. The card insurance keeps asking for the same paperwork again and again and again and threatens repeatedly to deny if I don’t resubmit it. How are you getting your insurance claims approved? (Being a travel blogger helps, I guess). Any advice??

  34. We had need to use my Citi Prestige’s trip interruption protection on a recent trip to Chile when weather in the Andes closed the mountain route our bus was taking from Santiago to Mendoza. Our onward flights were from Mendoza, not to mention all of the vineyard tours we had planned. When we were turned around, we (2 friends and I) went to the airport and booked flights to Mendoza since land routes were out of commission. Total cost for flights was $2000, compared to the $120 we had spent on bus tickets. But since all of our flights and the original bus ticket was purchased using my Citi card, the card’s trip protection kicked in and covered the cost of the flights.

    We submitted paperwork expecting a lot of hassle and fighting denied claims. No such issue. Travel insurance picked up the cost without hesitation. Very impressed with the Citi Prestige and its travel benefits. Needless to say, the card saved our vacation and will be he only card I use going forward to book trips.

  35. I have what may be an outlier of a question.

    What if I purchase a ticket with my Citi Prestige. Either an Award ticket and pay taxes and fees – (In this case Southwest), or a paid ticket on Jetblue where I have Mosaic Status (and can cancel/change for free), and cancel/change my flight and deposit the $$ into my travel bank.

    Can I use the $$ in the travel bank and still receive the benefits of my Citi Prestige if the original ticket was purchased with the card?

    I love the ancillary benefits of the Citi Prestige, and it’s already come in handy for me once while I got stuck in a 16 hour delay in Chile. So I try and use the card as much as possible when booking airfare.

  36. I have the Citi AA World Elite Executive card and I found the trip delay coverage terrible. I was delayed almost 5 hours due to mechanical issues. I missed my connection to Paris. I fought for 2 months to get my benefit and I experienced constant delay tactics. At first they only wanted to cover food OR lodging and the benefit
    clearly states both. I had to pay for two nights at a Paris hotel instead of one and they did not cover it.

    The insurance carrier they use is Virginia Surety and they are “surly” to us customers. Don’t count on the
    insurance coverage. It is terrible,

  37. What if you book a trip and then your employer cancels your leave and won’t allow you to go? This happened to my husband last year and we had to absorb the cost of his trip, just wondering if any travel insurance covers this. Thanks

  38. How does Citi define “paid for entire cost of trip with card, TYP or combination of both” to be covered for any travel insurance benefits? Especially if on a tour? For instance what if I paid for the entire cost of a tour package through a tour operator that doesn’t cover flight costs to get there/back (i.e. Intrepid, Contiki, Geckos, etc) but I book award flights or pay revenue fare tickets on flights to reach the tour departure destination using FF miles, different card, etc? Would I be covered by Citi if the unforseeable happens while on the tour itself? (i.e. Medical evacuation?)

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