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Citi’s elimination of travel and purchase protections went into effect on Sept. 22, 2019. While these changes were announced well in advance, giving us plenty of time to prepare, some folks may be out of the loop. If you’re concerned about whether and how this affects you, we’ve broken down what this means and which credit cards you should consider switching to if these benefits are important to you.
On Sept. 22, 2019, Citi discontinued its Price Rewind program, along with removing various travel protections from its credit cards. Below is a list of benefits that are no longer widely available to Citi cardholders, though some cards may retain specific benefits:
Trip cancellation and interruption protection (all cards).
Worldwide car rental coverage.
Worldwide travel accident insurance.
Baggage delay and lost baggage protection.
Travel and emergency assistance.
Roadside assistance dispatch.
Trip delay protection.
Damage and theft purchase protection.
Missed ticket protection.
90-day return protection.
These are pretty essential benefits that helped some cardholders justify paying annual fees because it saved them from having to pay for these protections while traveling. The Price Rewind feature was particularly useful; for example, it helped me save $200 on a new bed earlier this year.
But all is not lost. You can recoup some of Citi’s discontinued travel and shopping benefits by channeling your spending on a different credit card.
Other cards to consider
There are lots of rewards credit cards out there that offer travel and purchase protections similar to (or better than) what Citi once did.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a strong contender if you’re looking for great travel and purchase protections. The card comes with up to $10,000 worth of trip cancellation/interruption insurance per person. This is maxed out at $20,000 per trip, which is still pretty generous. You’re also covered in case of a delay exceeding six hours, in which case Chase will reimburse you up to $500 per person to cover meals and lodging.
Cardholders also get primary collision coverage when booking a rental car. This coverage can reimburse you up to $75,000 for theft and collision involving a rental car in the U.S. or abroad. That means you can politely decline the overzealous rental car clerk when he calls you “irresponsible” for declining this coverage (true story).
Lost luggage reimbursement is another noteworthy benefit, especially if you find yourself last at the luggage carousel with no bag in sight. Chase will reimburse you up to $3,000 per traveler.
On the shopping front, the Sapphire Reserve protects your purchases for up to 120 days against damage. And if you find yourself unhappy with an item that the merchant refuses to take back within 90 days of purchase, Chase will cover it up to $500 per item ($1,000 per year). Another great benefit is the one-year extension of U.S. manufacturers’ warranties that are three years or less.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express has long been another great alternative to Citi when it comes to travel and purchase protections. The card offers secondary rental car loss and damage insurance, meaning it only kicks in when your own insurance denies coverage. Terms apply.
» Learn more: American Express Platinum review: Luxury isn’t cheap
Cardholders also receive travel accident coverage of up to $500,000 per person and baggage insurance of up to $3,000. There are restrictions and policy variations depending on the state you reside in, so be sure to familiarize yourself with those details before opting not to buy travel insurance.
If you want to make sure your purchases are protected, you’re in good hands with American Express. The Platinum Card® from American Express purchase protection benefit covers up to $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 per calendar year. Keep in mind that this coverage is secondary. Extended warranty is also included and offers the same $10,000 per occurrence/$50,000 per calendar year coverage. Terms apply.
While it’s unfortunate that Citi has discontinued so many useful travel and purchase protections, both Chase and American Express continue to provide excellent coverage and credit card options. Does that mean you should do away with your Citi cards? Not necessarily. Cards like the Citi Premier® Card offer generous category bonuses, and Citi ThankYou points offer valuable redemption opportunities. Not to mention that the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer now allows conversion of cash back to points.
» Learn more: Citi Premier review: It’s not the premier card available
There is still value in using Citi credit cards for daily spending. But if you’re concerned about protecting your purchases (especially large ones or travel), then you should consider charging those to another credit card.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card