Citi Prestige Card Further Improves Travel Protection Benefits

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I consider the Citi Prestige® Card to be the single most compelling credit card out there nowadays, given that it offers a big sign-up bonus, fantastic return on everyday spend, and some too-good-to-be-true perks.

These include the following:

While the card has a $450 annual fee, the $250 annual airline credit really helps offset that, given that it can be used for any airline purchase. The way I see it, that essentially lowers the annual fee to ~$200 per year. I saved over a thousand dollars last year with the fourth night free benefit alone, not to mention all the other great perks.

Admirals-Club-LAX-2
Access Admirals Clubs with the Citi Prestige Card

The Citi Prestige Card offers travel protection as well

In January I wrote about the fantastic travel coverage which the Citi Prestige Card offers. This type of coverage is a valuable credit card perk which a lot of people overlook, in my opinion. As I explained at the time, the Citi Prestige Card offers trip delay protection, baggage delay protection, lost baggage protection, trip cancellation & interruption protection, and car rental insurance.

Chicago-Delays

The one “catch” on all this coverage has been that it only applies if your purchase was paid for entirely with the Citi Prestige® Card. In other words, if you book an award ticket and only pay the taxes on the ticket with the Citi Prestige Card, you wouldn’t be covered.

That’s why I recommended using the Chase Sapphire Preferred when booking award tickets, since it offers coverage even if you’re just paying for part of your travel purchase with the card.

Well, it looks like we’re seeing some very positive changes to the Citi Prestige® Card travel coverage.

What’s improving with the Citi Prestige® Card‘s travel coverage

Citi has released a new guide to protection benefits for the Citi Prestige® Card, which is valid as of May 15, 2016.

Citi-Travel-Protections

And there are some significant changes in the verbiage, which are positive.

For example, the travel delay protection benefits only used to apply under the following payment circumstances:

The trip was paid for in full including taxes and fees with your Citi card, Citi reward points or a combination of both.

The terms have now been updated, and many benefits apply even if you just pay for part of your purchase with the Citi Prestige® Card:

To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Common Carrier fare.

As of May 15, 2016, many types of Citi Prestige Card travel protection benefits will be valid when you pay for your purchase partly with your Citi card.

This new policy applies to the following types of protection:

  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
  • Trip Delay Protection
  • Baggage Delay Protection
  • Lost Baggage Protection
  • Medical Evacuation

Here are the areas where you don’t get full coverage when only paying for your trip partly with the Citi Prestige® Card:

Worldwide Car Rental Insurance

You’re now allowed to use a promotion/discount on your rental, though the remaining amount needs to be paid with the Citi Prestige Card:

To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to pay for the rental car. If a rental car company promotion/discount of any kind is initially applied toward payment of the rental, any remaining portion of the rental must be paid for with your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points.

Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection

Trip cancellation & interruption protection applies when only partially paying for the trip with your card, but only up to the limit of how much you paid for the trip. For full coverage (up to $5,000 per person), you need to pay for the entire trip with your card:

To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Trip. In the event of partial payment, we will only reimburse the lesser of the actual amount paid for with your Citi card (including ThankYou® Points) or the maximum coverage per Trip.

Bottom line

I’ve already been using the Citi Prestige® Card for a vast majority of my travel purchases, given that the card offers triple points on airfare and hotel, which is one of the best returns offered by any card. If nothing else, those points can be redeemed for 1.6 cents each towards the cost of airfare on American, so that’s like a return of ~4.8%.

These changes in protection benefits on the Citi Prestige Card make it even more compelling, given that you’re now offered most protection even if you’re only paying the taxes on an award ticket with your Citi Prestige® Card. For car rentals, it’s also great that the coverage is now extended if you use discount codes.

If you don’t have the Citi Prestige® Card, it really is the all around most compelling card, even without factoring in this travel protection.

Will this change in protection impact whether or not you use your Citi Prestige Card for airfare and hotel purchases?

(Tip of the hat to @nick_roosevelt)

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Comments

  1. I hope Citi’s change of provider will also make the actual claims process more reasonable. Last year I had a trip delay/interruption problem (forced overnight due to a blizzard at connecting airport), and the process was so difficult that I just gave up. They insisted that I make a claim with the airline and get a written denial, and they wouldn’t accept the airline’s written, general policy that they’re not liable for weather-related expenses. I could never get a clear, specific written denial from the airline, so I couldn’t my very reasonable expenses reimbursed.

  2. You wrote
    “To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Common Carrier fare”.

    Do I understand? – if I pay with ( U.A. BA A.A. etc) miles and “only” pay the tax on the air ticket with the card — I am NOT covered as TAX is not part of the Common Carrier fare”

  3. does the card or better say does MasterCard still exclude Australia and New Zealand from Car Rental coverage?

  4. what if i rent a car with thank you points and put my card on file for damages, will i still get the secondary coverage

  5. THe ONE card that will stay in my wallet for the foreseeable mileage-accumulating future. The PRestige card is also one I recommend friends consider when they’re getting started.

  6. +1 on BILL’s comment. If you pay for an award ticket and pay taxes with Prestige, wouldn’t that disqualify you? Aren’t taxes NOT part of the common carrier fare? Am I reading too much into this or interpreting it wrong?

  7. Also, the trip cancellation & interruption benefit says:

    In the event of partial payment, we will only reimburse the lesser of the actual amount paid for with your Citi card (including ThankYou® Points) or the maximum coverage per Trip.

    If I’m reading that correctly, you just get the tax back, right?

  8. @Nico, correct if that’s what the language says. I’m just not getting this improvement. The way I’m reading it then you’d have to somehow split payment online or over the phone between this card and another one? Otherwise on a domestic trip you just get your $5.20 back?

  9. Isit not a misnomer to call those benefits “protection” since they don’t help you avoid lost baggage or cancelled flights, just reimburse you after the fact

  10. I have the Premiere card and am thinking Prestige more and more. I’ve been impressed with the Thank You points process and easy accumulation. $500 is alot – but maybe worth it.

  11. CSP offers up to $10K pp for trip canx. So for more expensive trips (e.g. Antarctica) paying with a combination of CSP and Prestige could cover it.

  12. CSP is still the card to use for travel where the air is paid for with miles. However I friend of mine just had the frame on his new carbon fiber bike crack and had he used the Citi Prestige he would have been fully reimbursed because the limit per incident is $10,000 for breakage in the first 120 days. That would have been sweet.

  13. Thank You points redeemed for hotels and non AA airfare is no deal. Usually the hotel prices are 20-50% more on the Thank You portal than other travel portals and airfare can be up to 500% more. I wanted to book a short flight on Vietnam Air and it was $300 in points or $50 on the airline’s website. I’ve had lots of other issues traveling in SE Asia with Thank You points like having the hotel not have the reservation when I show up and never heard of thank you points or connexions, their travel provider. I’m glad I’m finally finished with them by transferring the rest to Hilton. (Which went smoothly by the way). Nonetheless, my wife and I did both get both cards through Lucky’s links and had a lot of free budget hotel nights on our trip in SE Asia thanks to Citi.

  14. I didn’t enjoy the baggage delay dropping to $100 benefit. I loved a $500 shopping spree of my bags didn’t arrive, as they never do when I fly to Phillipines. Oh well, essentials for $100 is doable, but $500 limit was way better.

  15. RICO I found the same situation found air fares on google -and then went to find in T.Y. – NET NET NO SAVINGS!- I was doing mainstream airlines

  16. This is the best card. Priority Plus that lets you bring a plus one plus family. Also got a steal of a deal renting a SUV. Huge value over what was available. Love this card. American Express bye bye.

  17. re: Travel Coverages for One-Way Tickets

    I called Citi to ask if the travel coverages (Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection, Trip Delay Protection, Baggage Delay Protection and Lost Baggage Protection) apply to one-way tickets purchased directly from the airline with the Citi Prestige card, and was connected to “Worldwide Travel” (the insurance company that handles these coverages?). The representative was nice but after several minutes could not get an answer, so he pledged to call me back later.

    The new guide Lucky posted a link to does say, with respect to Trip Interruption Protection, Trip Delay Protection and Baggage Delay Protection, that you are covered “From Trip Departure Date to Trip Completion Date” and defines Trip Completion Date as “the date on which the Covered Traveler(s) are scheduled to return to their point of origin or to a different final destination”.

    If you are not returning to your point of origin you are not on a round-trip ticket, so I would therefore argue the Trip Interruption Protection (and Trip Cancellation Protection), Trip Delay Protection and Baggage Delay Protection (and Lost Baggage Protection) apply even to one-way tickets purchased directly from an airline using the Citi Prestige card.

  18. Unfortunately after may 15 the prestige trip delay benefits only cover trips delayed more than 12 hours. Currently trip delay covers delays over 3 hours. Big negative change.

  19. The trip interruption coverage is worthless. No matter how in-line with the stated requirements for coverage, the carrier always denies the claim. They are certainly in violation of good faith and borderline fraud for promising benefits that are non-existent. I would love to see the ratio of claims made to claims paid.

  20. @James Holobaugh

    You are absolutely correct. This is the case for ALL of Citi’s protection “benefits”, administered by Virginia Surety Co. They deny claims other cards would approve, and have exclusions that kind of go against the spirit of the benefits. Even though some terms are better (3 hours trip interruption, 24 months extended warranty), it doesn’t matter if they won’t honor it. Example: Citi’s extended warranty benefit won’t cover a laptop purchased directly from Apple as certified refurbished, even though it comes as new with the same manufacturer warranty as brand new. Chase will cover it, albeit with only 12 months.

    Chase is MUCH MUCH BETTER. Reasonable policies, pay out when it makes sense. Haven’t had problems with any of Chase’s benefits, and I don’t abuse it either. Just when it’s needed, which is what it’s for.

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