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Citi Cuts Travel Card Benefits Including Car Rental, Trip Insurance

SmarterTravel

Do you rely on a Citi travel card for perks like insurance and lost baggage protection? You might want to take a look at your card’s newly updated benefits: Citibank is sharply reducing the travel add-ons, dropping a slew of protection benefits on all the cards that previously offered them.

As of September 22, 2019, buying with most Citi cards will no longer cover car rental insurance, trip cancellation insurance, worldwide accident insurance, delay protection, baggage delay protection, and medical evacuation assistance, along with several other non-travel benefits.

Dropped Citi Travel Card Perks

You can see what’s currently still covered here, and here’s the full list of what’s changing:

  • Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
  • Trip Delay Protection
  • Baggage Delay Protection
  • Lost Baggage Protection
  • Citi Price Rewind
  • 90 Day Return Protection
  • Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
  • Travel & Emergency Assistance

These cuts are obvious game-changers for many travelers, who will undoubtedly change their pattern of credit card use in return. Travel experts are speculating that the move is due to the high costs Citi incurred by recently obtaining a lucrative Costo partnership. Maybe so, maybe not, but the reason for the change is really not relevant to travelers: If you no longer get the benefits you need, switch to one of the many cards that still offer them.

The big question is whether any other card issuers will follow Citi’s lead. I’ve often noted that nothing spreads faster in the travel industry than a bad idea; isn’t that how Basic Economy came to be?

There’s no way of predicting how the other giant card issuers might respond—by copying Citi? Or perhaps instead they’ll poach frustrated Citi customers instead. In any event, if you regularly rely on your credit card for rental-car protection and other travel benefits, keep a sharp eye out for possible changes.

Below is Citi’s official statement on the changes.

citibank travel card changes
Citibank

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Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuse every day at SmarterTravel.

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