Using The Citi Prestige Card’s Trip Cancellation Insurance

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I can’t think of a card that has changed my travel habits more than the Citi Prestige® Card. The biggest change is I’m more inclined to stay put in one hotel for at least four nights because of the excellent fourth night free perk. My old habits of bouncing around for stay credits became less important when I could save hundreds of dollars on rooms. And I’d estimate the fourth night free has saved me at least two thousand dollars since I opened the card.

Another change came back in January of last year when Ben detailed the excellent travel insurance coverage that comes with the Citi Prestige® Card. I started putting nearly all of my airline purchases on the card. And I did the same for family members whenever I helped them book a trip.

It was a win-win situation. I earned miles and they’d end up with free travel insurance.

Recently that practice paid off when my mom had to cancel a trip to the Pacific Northwest because of some health issues. I wasn’t sure how many hoops I’d have to jump through. But after a very easy claims process, I can report the protections on the Prestige card really are great.

Filing the claim

When it became clear my mom wouldn’t be able to make her trip, I called the Citi benefit service center at 1-866-918-4670 and explained the situation. They advised the trip was covered because I booked it with my card and she is an immediate family member.

One thing I didn’t realize until going through the process is the fact that coverage is secondary to any remedy with the carrier. So, in this case, we were told we had to cancel the trip with Alaska for a $250 fee. And then that $250 would be refunded by Citi.

So, we went ahead and cancelled the trip, filled out the claim form and submitted it with the supporting documentation from the airline and my mom’s doctor.

Then the next day, I received an email notifying me the claim was approved and I’d see the $250 fee posted to my account within the next two billing cycles.

This couldn’t have been any easier, and I’m quite pleased with the result.

Bottom line

In the end, I was really impressed by how easy the entire trip cancelation process is with the Citi Prestige® Card.

With other cards, I’ve used similar purchase benefits to only be disappointed by the burdensome claim requirements and loopholes in coverage. This was really seamless and worked exactly as advertised. I’ll continue to put airline spend on my Prestige card because of it.

Have you used trip insurance through your credit card?

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Comments

  1. That’s good to hear. My AF posts this month and I’m on the fence about renewing, but I take enough high-dollar trips that the free insurance justifies the fee if it actually works.

  2. Does trip cancellation insurance also apply to non-refundable hotel stays?

    Thanks for any response.

  3. So is this much better than the chase sapphire reserve when it comes to travel insurance? I have both cards but prefer to use the csr for travel spend.

  4. As another data point, I used approximately 63,000 TYP to book 2 r/t tickets from JFK to LHR but had to cancel them because my pregnant wife had a sinus infection. Citi would not refund the TYP but rather the cash value of the flight when it was purchased, which was $1008. I was told by 3 or 4 different people different answers, with 2 saying that I would get the TYP left but the supervisor saying that was wrong. I expressed my concern with Citi and they gave me 15,000 TYP as a courtesy.

    I ended up downgrading the card when I got approved for the CSR so I wanted to clean out my TYP to Flying Blue, where I had 50,000 miles. What I soon learned was that those 15,000 courtesy points could not be transferred to any travel partners.

    Not a bad experience overall, just disappointing that I couldn’t get a complete refund of all of the points. Even though the policy is vague enough to cover a refund of points, because it is not processed by Citi but by an outside company, they cannot refund any points back to you.

  5. The Insurance does work on pre-paid hotels, if they’re nonrefundable. I recently had to cancel a trip for medical reasons. I had to submit my doctor’s note, proof that I cancelled the flights and hotel, and copies of the cancellation policies for each carrier/hotel. My nonrefundable pre-paid hotel was covered

  6. @Ian… so you spent 63,000 TYP and got $0.016 cents per point back in $. You essentially cashed out TYP at 1.6 cents… how is this a bad thing??

  7. I don’t get it. You cancelled for the $250 fee which was reimbursed. But what happened to the cost of the original tickets?

  8. @Alex, I had to pay the $250 to Alaska to have them issue a refund. Then the insurance on the Prestige covered that $250 fee to make me whole again.

  9. @shabbir: I was more interested in transferring those points to Flying Blue, where I would have well over 110,000 points. I was more disappointed that the process by which everything was done was not specifically spelled out anywhere.

    Don’t get me wrong, a statement credit for $1008 was good. It covered new brakes on my car and a crib and dresser for my daughter. Just giving a data point for others to be aware of.

  10. If you were elite, the AS ticket would have been refunded into your account wallet…so 2x reimbursement? Or did they verify the funds (over $250 if any) were credited back to your Citi account?

  11. I had a good experience with the Prestige delay insurance process and will be keeping the card for its generous coverage.

  12. Citi paid me over $2,000 when my trip in Asia was extended due to one of traveling party being hospitalized for several days. The payout covered the additional hotel expenses. Citi’s coverage is the best!

  13. Hope your Mom’s doing well.

    Do you have a sense of how “serious” the ailment has to be for this benefit to kick in? Thanks.

  14. @Daniel – Thanks, she’s recovering well. I don’t have an exact answer for you. The doctor’s note we provided had details of her situation. But, that was more about how her doctor decided to write the note rather than a requirement from Citi. I believe a basic medical note advising against travel would be enough. Although, I’d hope people won’t abuse the process (like therapy dogs on a plane) because the coverage really is quite good and useful and I wouldn’t want them to create a bunch of hoops for people to jump through.

  15. @James – It’s been a couple of years since I had status with AS. So, I had to pay the fee for the refund. You do have to show the cancellation policy and out of pocket expense from the carrier in the claim. So, I don’t think there is a way to double up.

  16. @Bill – I don’t have the CSR but had a negative experience with the CSP purchase protections unrelated to travel. So, I was very much reassured when the Prestige experience was so easy.

  17. Now that I have a few cards with such coverage — this isn’t one of them — which cards have you experienced that have poor coverage (With other cards, I’ve used similar purchase benefits to only be disappointed by the burdensome claim requirements and loopholes in coverage)? I was planning on putting a sizable trip on my Chase Sapphire Reserve, for instance. But I may reconsider if you’ve had a bad experience.

  18. @Chris – My negative experience was with the purchase protection coverage on the sapphire preferred. It wasn’t related to travel and wasn’t the Reserve card (which I don’t currently have). So, I can’t offer any firsthand experience dealing with the travel protections for the CSR. Perhaps someone else can share their experience here.

  19. Did the trip cancellation with Chase Ink. Took six months and a lot of BS requests for revised paperwork. Moved all airline to Citibank on that alone.

  20. Had a great experience with trip interruption. My wife and I were returning from Israel via Turkey with a stop over for a couple of days. When the attempted coup and airport bombing occurred that went out the window. Since we had an award ticket from IST to JFK (Europe zone 2 on Aeroplan) and were now leaving from Israel, they actually paid for us to purchase 25,000 Aeroplan points each to cover the difference in airfare since we had put the taxes and fees on the Prestige. They also covered taxi, meals, baby supplies (we had a five month old with us), and two nights of a hotel in Tel Aviv even though our accommodations in IST were refundable. However, we had used points for those so they were technically free and the hotel in Tel Aviv was paid.

    All in all it came to about $3,000 an no questions asked after we submitted receipts and itineraries. This card has earned a permanent spot in my wallet and I put all airfare/award taxes as well as nonrefundable travel purchases on it.

    I recently had a trip delayed four hours that they paid for meals etc w/o complaint.

  21. I’ve made claims on Prestige and CSP for trip delays the included overnight hotel. All claims went smoothly. I always take a check vice credit to card which would slightly reduce my point earnings.

  22. Does the insurance cover a pre-existing condition. I believe that the Chase cards do not.

  23. I missed a connection due to an earlier disabled train. I had to pay a fee to move to a later train.

    First they denied coverage because they said missed connections (transfers) werent covered. I read them the language and was put on hold about 4 times.

    Then they denied coverage because “only weather related problems are covered”. They couldnt point to me where it said that. But they refused to credit me.

    Worst part of it was that I was asking for only $40 coverage.

  24. I had a bag delay of around 23 hours and had to buy some clothes assuming it would be covered. The airline (MH) didn’t offer any compensation. I filed the paperwork a few months ago and got confirmation by email that they had received it, tried to touch base with them after a month had gone by, they claimed they hadn’t received it, and sent everything back again by email and fax. That was a month ago now. No response.

  25. If you had a doctors note, doesn’t alaska (and the other major carriers too) waive the $250 fee anyway? Usually I thought a doctors note for reasons not to travel would do that.

  26. @Alex my girlfriend and I had a trip to NYC cancelled because of a high risk pregnancy. I called AA to cancel or change dates and they told me they don’t have any medical waivers.

    It was a $200 chance fee for a $250 roundtrip ticket, so not worth it.

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