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Attention, shoppers: If you're used to using a Citi credit card because of benefits like car rental insurance, it may be time to rethink how you pay for upcoming trips.

As of September 22, 2019, Citibank is sharply reducing its included travel perks. Most Citi cards will no longer cover car rental insurance, trip cancellation insurance, worldwide accident insurance, delay protection, baggage delay protection, medical evacuation assistance and some other non-travel benefits.

There seems to be an exception for co-branded Citi Costco cards. Depending on which card you have, there may be a few or all travel perks left untouched.

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For many Citi cardholders, the slashing of travel perks is a deal breaker. Many consumers have come to rely on credit card benefits to provide insurance coverage and other protections for their travels. The car rental insurance perk means being able to decline the rental car agency's expensive over-the-counter insurance.

 

Travel Perks Cut From Most Citi Credit Cards

 

Most Citi cardholders recently received the following message:

Important changes are coming to some of your Card Benefits.

The following is a summary of changes that are being made to your card benefits.

Effective September 22, 2019, Worldwide Car Rental Insurance, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection, Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance, Trip Delay Protection, Baggage Delay Protection, Lost Baggage Protection, Citi® Price Rewind, and 90 Day Return Protection will be discontinued and will no longer be provided for purchases made on or after that date. Coverage for purchases made before that date will continue to be available, and you may continue to file for benefits in accordance with the current benefit terms. Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service and Travel & Emergency Assistance will be discontinued and will not be available on or after September 22, 2019.

We are making these changes so that we can continue providing the key benefits that our customers use and value most at no additional cost. This change requires no action on your part. See FAQs under Card Benefits for answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding these changes.

As a cardmember, you will continue to receive a range of other card benefits including FICO® Credit Score, Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, and Citi Entertainment.

Here's the itemized list of benefits discontinued for the majority of Citi credit cards:

  • 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
 

Exceptions for Citi Costco Credit Cards

 

These new benefit changes appear to affect the lion's share of Citibank-issued cards, but co-branded Citi Costco cards seem to have been spared the brunt. In the case of the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Credit Card, cardholders received this notice:

Important changes are coming to some of your Card Benefits.

The following is a summary of changes that are being made to your card benefits.

Effective September 22, 2019, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection and Citi® Price Rewind will be discontinued and will no longer be provided for purchases made on or after that date. Coverage for purchases made before that date will continue to be available, and you may continue to file for benefits in accordance with the current benefit terms.

We are making these changes so that we can continue providing the key benefits that our customers use and value most at no additional cost. This change requires no action on your part. See FAQs under Card Benefits for answers to Frequently Asked Questions regarding these changes.

As a cardmember, you will continue to receive a range of other card benefits including FICO® Credit Score, Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, and Citi Entertainment.

In other words, some travel perks are being discontinued but others, including car rental insurance, remain.

And there appears to be no loss of travel perks at all for holders of the Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Business Credit Card, which covers primary car rental insurance and, unusually, does not explicitly exclude personal rentals from primary coverage.

When choosing which credit card to use when paying for a rental car, it's important to pick a card that offers at least secondary insurance—or, even better, choose a card that offers primary insurance protection. If you're unsure which kind of protection your credit card offers, call the issuer before you pay for the rental car to verify.

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Let's hope that other banks do not follow suit and discontinue key travel benefits.

The lesson here is let the buyer beware. Before booking a trip, always double check to ensure that your credit card will offer the perks and benefits you need. If not, use another card to pay for the trip.

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