Citi Just Threw a Grenade at Their Credit Card Lineup, Removing Most Fringe Card Benefits

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Citi Credit Cards Losing Many Benefits

Citi Credit Cards Losing Many Benefits on September 22nd 2019

Wow Citi, did you have a bad morning or something? You were already third place in the credit card realm but I guess you wanted to see what getting down in the muck with Bank of America is like.  Down in that 4th place spot.  First you roll out very restrictive welcome offer terms for the American Airlines cards, which I assume will hit your other cards in the future, and now you gut the fringe perks for every card in your lineup?  Even the $450 Citi Prestige card? That is a unique way to thank your customers (sarcasm font).

So What Are We Losing

We will be losing pretty much everything and a bag of chips come September 22nd. They are alerting cardholders via a popup when they log into their accounts. Here is a list of everything that will be removed:

  • 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

The Dividend and Double Cash cards will also lose extended warranty and purchase protections.

Citi Credit Cards Losing Many Benefits

What Scraps Did They Leave Us?

Citi did leave us a few bread crumbs at the end of the day:

Why I Don’t Actively Collect ThankYou Points

This is one of the main reasons I don’t actively collect Citi ThankYou points.  Citi likes to make massive changes and does it more often then other lenders.  They gutted the Prestige within the first year that it launched, then they added back some better benefits, then they devalued the 4th night free perk, and now gutted the card’s fringe perks.  That is too much of a roller coaster ride for me.

I still get their cards and take advantage of their numerous spending offers but they are not in my everyday spend plans because I don’t really trust them.  If I had an AT&T card that earns 3X for online purchases that may be different but I don’t 😥.

With these changes why would anyone want to book travel with their two travel rewards cards?  You are giving almost no protection for travel related purchases with your two…you know….TRAVEL CARDS!  How does that make sense?

Final Thoughts

I am curious to hear if these changes will change your spending pattern.  Car rental insurance is a big reason I said Dollar’s partnership with Dave Ramsay was bad for consumers, they had no protections.  This puts a $450 Prestige card on par with a debit card…that is insanity to me.

Share your thoughts below, which perk will you miss the most?

Hat Tip: Doctor of Credit

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51 COMMENTS

  1. My Prestige AF is coming up in August , I was on the fence about cancelling , but the subtraction of travel delay benefits is the straw that broke the annual fees back , I’m moving on

      • The way Citi has been running Prestige, I wouldn’t be surprised if in another few months they stopped accepting applications, then added back the travel benefits, marketed them as great new benefits, only to take away other Prestige benefits. Three years ago the Prestige was the “it” card in this space, incredible how they’ve squandered that position.

        • I agree 100% – main reason I can’t put Citi anywhere near the front of my wallet. Every time I consider it they go ahead and change everything on a whim.

  2. I did not know this was happening to the Prestige as well. You have definitely just helped me decide which card to keep this October between Prestige (4yrs) and CSR (1st renewal). This is really a hard pill to swallow and I use my Prestige ALL the time.

    • The Prestige was by far my favorite card when it first came out. Then they removed the 1.6 AA redemption, the golf benefit, and lounge access so I dumped it. I could see dropping one of those things but to do all 3 within the first year was too much for me to handle.

  3. I am prestige and thank you rewards( 10% back on redeem points) that gives me 5.5 on dining and travel. I pay 350 per year due to grandfathered benefits from my previous citi gold. Difficult to cancel the card even with those benefits being cut. I guess it’s a dining card for me.

      • Yeah I do think I read that is going away but it is Citi’s IT so people could slip through the cracks.

        If it stays at $350 (minus the $250 travel credit) then I could see using it for a dining card if you have a lot of restaurant spend.

        • I cancelled my citi gold in 2016 and paying 350 since then. If they change back to 495, cancellation for sure!

          I use PP for lounge too since this is my only luxury card. I use hotel benefits once a year

  4. I think there is a huge disconnect between people in the points/mileage field and people who are not. For people who are not in the points/miles field, the citi double cash is the number one card that people carry. Those people just want the highest cash back card without having to remmebr to use this card here, that card here. I know among my friends and family (who roll their eyes when I talk about making money with different credit cards), almost every one of them has the citi double cash as their main card. So in that resepct, citi may not be down in 3rd or 4th place.

    • If we are going with the regular folk then Capital One is probably number one 🙂

      Their marketing makes it that people like to pay an annual fee for the same thing as the DC with more restrictive redemption options 🙂

      • this was 100% true before they added the ability to transfer miles to airline partners. That is now at least a partial reason to consider paying the annual fee now versus the citi double cash card. That being said, if we are talking about regular people then it’s probably safe to assume that the vast majority of them have no idea how to take advantage of the mileage transfer option, much less maximizing it by selectively choosing different transfer partners based on the trip their planning at that moment.

        • I doubt many people take advantage of it outside of our community, especially since the transfer partners are not easy to deal with. If they had AA or Delta etc. then I think it would be different.

          • agreed, i’d be fascinated to see the data for cap1 in terms of percentage of customers that have ever transferred their points to a mileage partner and then the % breakdown for who they choose to transfer to

    • You are SOO right about people who don’t care about miles/points. When I talk excitedly about scoring a business class ticket on United to S America by purchasing Avianca Lifemiles (total ticket cost was like $1550 RT), I can literally see their eyes glazing over LOL!! People like us are a special breed 🙂

  5. I have two Citi Cards — The Costco Card — which retains most of these benefits — and the AA World Elite Master Card — which loses the benefits. I think that is insane. While I have the AA card primarily for the Admirals Club, why on earth would I ever use the thing.

  6. @jason The Citi Double Cash is hit by this devaluation too – they cut Price Rewind. I have never made use of any of the travel insurance features, but I did make $90 off Price Rewind last year when we bought a new fridge. The DC is the only Citi card I still have, though (hard to argue with 2x cashback and no AF). I had a Thank You card for a while, but their terrible IT support made it more trouble than it was worth to use those points. I was never once able to complete a TY points booking online without calling their support line for help.

    • I don’t disagree but I was talking about the average person. Ask your average friend or neighbor who doesn’t do mileage or point spending if they ever used price rewind or any of the other stuff. The average Joe Sixpack has one or two cards in their pocket which they just use to charge their groceries and monthly bills.

  7. I’m lacking understanding on why they did this. Killing off a lot of the reasons to get, spend on, or even keep their cards seems nuts. The obvious reason is that Citi feels that customers are getting value from these benefits. If people weren’t using the benefits, then it costs Citi almost nothing. The only alternative I can think of is that Citi feels they have too much business. Normally that premise would be pretty much insane, but given what Citi is doing, we can’t rule it out.

    • I don’t get it for their annual fee travel cards. It puts them behind everyone else on the market and I doubt a ton of people used the perks but probably put spend on knowing that they were available. Although one delay claim can run several hundred dollars. But I would assume they bought insurance on their insurance or something like that.

      • If I had to take a guess it would be this:

        They bucket their customers into two camps:

        Camp 1: The vast majority of card holders don’t read their benefits booklet and are not even aware of these travel insurance benefits existing. Or they are somewhat aware of the benefits but they are too lazy/disorganized to take advantage where possible. As a result these ancillary benefits do not play a major role (or perhaps any role at all) in their decision to have/use this card.

        Camp 2: People like us. Very savvy travel hacker community that reads the booklet and is willing to spend the time/energy to claim our due benefits. Firstly, we make up a small percentage of total consumers. Secondly, they may not feel like we are particularly profitable customers so they don’t really care too much if they lose our business.

        i am not saying i agree with their analysis but i think there’s a fairly good chance that their thinking falls along these lines

        • I think road warriors etc. do value those benefits and those are the people that will spend the most with them. I can see dropping perks from the no fee cards but to torpedo your two travel cards…I don’t get that.

          • I’m not sure I agree with that for two big reasons :

            1. Road warriors ( assuming you are referring to business travelers) aren’t paying for their own travel expenses so ultimately they don’t really have any skin in the game and they don’t need these insurance coverages because their company will pick up the tab when things go wrong.

            2. A lot of companies require business travel to be on the corporate credit card – all of the companies I have worked for have required this ( much to my chagrin ) so that obviously renters moot any benefits that you’d be getting from your personal credit cards

  8. Since downgrading Prestige would start expiration clock on TY points, what’s the best place to speculatively transfer my points?

    • That is a tough question to answer and depends on your travel goals really.

      I personally love Virgin Atlantic miles for Delta flights but I fly Delta a lot. Others love Lifemiles etc. I would say think about your next 2 or 3 big trips and pick whichever currency would be best for those trips.

  9. I agree with HoKo. My hunch is the vast majority of people don’t use most or any of these benefits. And those that do more often milk the system and citi loses on that. I bet they figured they won’t lost most of their customers and the ones they lose, they’re already losing money anyway. I’d be curious what their overall balance sheet is with these benefits. I dearly hope other banks don’t follow suit. The benefit I have used the most is the car rental insurance, twice with mid-range 4-figure accidents covered.

  10. I’m pretty fed up with Citi, I spend a lot of money with them and now I believe I will cancel this card.
    Tired of their games. The Citi advantage not only took away the 10% rebate on miles but only gives a free checked bag for domestic. Not worth it!

  11. These are mostly standard benefits on Visa Signature/Infinity cards.
    My bet is that they are switching the cards from MasterCard to Visa later this year….
    I’d be fine with that, hopefully would get a contactless card in the swap too…

  12. This is why I love this blog. Good presentation, analysis and discussion. Now, this is how this endeavor evolves. The sky isn’t falling. Citi is undependable. It always has been. Chase is fairly solid, but creates obstacles to enter “the inner sanctum.” Barclay’s Arrival Plus deserves honorary mention. B of A… are you kidding? AMEX basically is a universe of cards with ongoing acceptance problems trying to pretend it’s a bank. Capital One has been goofy. Gave me a business account with $500 credit limit. Try meeting minimum spend.
    Part of the fun is working the system, finding the nuggets. Love my Chase, Citi and AMEX points. They have allowed us to travel literally millions of miles in ways we could haven never afforded.

    • Thanks docntx and I love your points and agree with them too 🙂

      One thing I will say about Chase, they are the most difficult on us in terms on rules, but I also know where I stand with them more than anyone else. That used to be Amex until this pop-up, we don’t like you, we can deny anything for any reason BS. They really soured me with that stuff. I will still go back to them because they have more offerings than anyone but it makes me care less about loyalty with them.

      I can’t even sniff Barclay but the few cards they do have I want…just can not get them 🙁

      • Thank you, Mark for your always gracious replies (a rarity in today’s internet,)
        I always find it fascinating how we all take it “personal” when some computer algorithm turns us down.
        Was trying to guide a friend through the points and miles game… Then his wife applied for a Chase card. She was turned down, so, to “teach them a lesson,” he canceled all his Chase cards.
        Find all of us develop bitterness and resentment towards these blobs that spew out cards that give us cash, miles and point.
        We are not their target consumers. Some of us are probably their least desired applicants, but, sometimes, we manage to “sneak into the party.”
        As they say, don’t forget to have fun. Be grateful for all we get. We do not know how long this will last.

        • He is gonna miss those Chase cards a year or two down the road 🙂

          So many of us forget to be grateful for what this hobby has afforded us and focus on the negative too much. Thanks for the great comment as always!

  13. It seems many of their cards are not profitable enough to justify the outlays. It may be a case of a few people ruining it for everyone with excessive claims for dropping a new product (phone, laptop) within 3 months, price rewind, and claiming a lot on travel insurance. Dropping insurance from prestige puts it in line with Amex which is a big mark against both now.

    Chase has become the top player in credit cards in the last 5 years. Amex with its charge cards and credit cards are close and BofA has a niche with the premium rewards for people with Merrill edge accounts as a source of the $ requirement. Citi does have the Thankyou branding but it has never found the sweet spot for its products.

    My feeling is citi doesn’t expect people who make citi money to cancel the cards while people who use these benefits will cancel the annual fee cards. Citi makes half its revenue outside of the U.S. so it is in a different boat than Chase who uses its credit card products to get customers into other products

  14. I still might keep the Prestige, but only for the cell phone protection. Its essentially $200 for full cell phone loss/damage coverage, up the 3 claims per year. $16.67 per month for coverage across all lines. I don’t think its even that cheap to cover via your cell phone provider or some other third party like Squaretrade.

    Has anyone done an analysis of the cell phone coverage the Prestige offers vs. World Elite Mastercard?

    • I use my Ink for cell phone protection so that is an option if you have/can get one. But if not it is something to consider for sure. I would check with your provider though…it may be cheaper than that.

  15. I’m not sure what person at Citi thought that this was a good idea. I’ve held onto the Citi Prestige as “grandfathered” $350 annual fee, and as they tweaked the benefits, I consoled myself that the card was a “bargain” due to the previous fee, so kept paying the fee. Now, right before I get ready to swallow the higher annual fee, they take the prestigious benefits away? Really? It’s not like I use them a lot, and I basically paid the annual fee as a sort of “insurance”, but now they don’t want to offer that insurance either.

    There are other competitors for the 2% credit card space… so why take away the reason to use Citi Double Cash, versus the many other choices? Killing off extended warranty _and_ the price protection – way to go!

    • It doesn’t make sense to me either. I think a lot of people paid that annual fees as “insurance” like you say and didn’t use the perks often if at all.

  16. I have the ATT More card and get those 3x points for online and it just seems to slowly build. However, those points are worthless because they will not transfer to airlines. I plan to get the Premier again, my time is up from the last one, but not the Prestige. Once doing this, I am not sure the ATT More is making much sense after I get those points up to the Premier card and then transfer them out. That is the real question. Where can they go and not time out and disappear.

    I knew something was up when the Hilton cards moved to Amex. The picture gets clearer.

    • I wouldn’t move them over until you know you can use the transfer option. Or you could use the citi portal to book them at 1.25 cents a piece – gets you a little bonus on their value.

      I can never remember if combining the points still starts a clock that they expire. I believe Citi changed that where you can combine points and they don’t expire but with Citi changing things all the damn time I am not 100% on that.

  17. The Sears Citi MC keeps plugging along. I just rec’d my latest offer: Earn 15x bonus TY Points (up to a total of 15k points) by spending $750 or more on travel between now & Sept. 30 (that’s airfare, hotels, car rental, taxis, limo’s, and travel agencies). It should be pretty easy to max out the offer & spend $1000 on travel.
    But yeah, think I’ll cancel my Prestige card. I rarely stay in any hotel for 4 nights.

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