Citi Cards’ Travel Protection Benefits Drop September 22

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Two suitcases in the airport departure lounge, airplane in the blurred background, summer vacation concept, traveler suitcases in airport terminal waiting area, empty hall interior with large windows, focus on suitcases

I originally wrote this post in 2017, as a part of series summarizing and comparing travel insurance offered by some of the most popular travel rewards cards. In light of big changes coming to Citi cards soon, I’m updating it. As of September 22, 2019, the Citi Prestige and ThankYou Premier cards will lose all of the travel protection benefits described in this post. Other Citi cards that shared some of these same travel insurance benefits, like Citi’s AAdvantage co-branded cards, Citi Dividend, and Citi Double Cash are also losing them. 

Note that as long you book travel by September 21 on your Citi card, your current travel protection benefits will still apply. For bookings as of September 22 and onward, they will not. 

Aside from those listed in this post, there are other benefits being dropped from Citi cards on September 22:

  • Price Rewind
  • 90 Day Return Protection
  • Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service (benefit terminates Sept 22, even if booking was made before that date)
  • Travel & Emergency Assistance (benefit terminates Sept 22, even if booking was made before that date)
  • Damage & Theft Purchase Protection
  • Extended Warranty
  • Missed Event Ticket Protection

Over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be updating the rest of the posts in this series so if travel protection benefits influence your travel purchase decisions, you can reevaluate.

According to Citi, they’re cutting all these benefits because of low usage. Will the upcoming changes affect which card you charge travel on in the future, or do you care more about category bonus earnings? 


Accidents happen. Delays occur. Baggage gets lost. Conveniently, many of the travel credit cards you guys already carry offer protection against these kinds of risks.

If you’re looking to open a new travel credit card, chances are travel protection benefits won’t be your number one criteria on which you’ll call judgement. But if you travel often and on expensive trips, then it should at least be a consideration. That is why I decided it would be more beneficial for our readers to be informed about the travel protection benefits of the most popular cards with big sign up bonuses and the highest reward earning potential, as opposed to cards ranked purely by the best travel protection benefits package. Not that those two things are mutually exclusive.

Travel Protection Benefits Offered by the Citi Prestige

The following benefits apply to anyone who’s trip you paid for on your card, not just family–unless otherwise noted.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance

If you have to cancel your trip due to illness, weather, or other qualifying circumstances, you can get up to $5,000 back to cover nonrefundable plane tickets, hotels, tours, etc.

Do you have to have paid for the trip on your card to qualify? Yes, or paid for with ThankYou Points, at least partially.

Citi’s terms read: “To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Trip. In the event of partial payment, we will only reimburse the lesser of the actual amount paid for with your Citi card (including ThankYou® Points) or the maximum coverage per Trip.”

Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance

For accidental death or dismemberment, or a loss of speech, sight or hearing that occurs on your trip, compensation can be up to $1,000,000.

Do you have to have paid for the trip on your card to qualify? Yes, or paid for with ThankYou Points, at least partially.

Citi’s terms read: “To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase the full amount of the Common Carrier fare for the Covered Traveler(s).”

Worldwide Car Rental Insurance

You and anyone else authorized to drive get secondary coverage of up to $100,000 on theft and collision damage of rental cards in the United States, and primary coverage on international car rentals.

Do you have to have paid for the trip on your card to qualify?  Yes (or with ThankYou Points), and you must decline the rental company’s insurance.

Citi’s terms read: “To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to pay for the rental car. If a rental car company promotion/discount of any kind is initially applied toward payment of the rental, any remaining portion of the rental must be paid for with your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points.”

Lost Luggage Reimbursement

If your luggage is lost, you can get up to $3,000 back per passenger (or $2,000 if you’re residents of the state of New York). Maximum coverage for all travelers is $10,000.

Do you have to have paid for the trip on your card to qualify?  Yes, or paid for with ThankYou Points, at least partially.

Citi’s terms read: “To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Common Carrier fare.”

Medical Evacuation

If you, your spouse or domestic partner, or dependent child has to be evacuated for an emergency, you can get up to $100,000 in evacuation/transportation costs covered.

Do you have to have paid for the trip on your card to qualify?  Yes, or paid for trip with ThankYou Points, at least partially. You also must have traveled on a common carrier at some point in the trip to qualify for reimbursement (airline, bus, cruise ship or train).

Citi’s terms read: “To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Trip.”

Trip Delay Reimbursement

If a trip on a common carrier (airline, bus, cruise ship or train) is delayed at least three hours, you can get up to $500 per ticket reimbursed for non-refunded expenses like hotel and food.

You can read more about reader Steve H’s experience cashing in on this benefit in The Often Overlooked Trip Delay Protection Citi Card Benefit.

Do you have to have paid for the trip on your card to qualify?  Yes, or paid for trip with ThankYou Points, at least partially.

Citi’s terms read: “To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Common Carrier fare.”

Photo by Craig Sunter
Photo by Craig Sunter

Baggage Delay Insurance

For every day your baggage is delayed (must be delayed by a minimum of three hours), you can get up to $100 refunded to cover necessary items like clothing and toiletries. Maximum coverage is $500

Do you have to have paid for the trip on your card to qualify?  Yes, or paid for trip with ThankYou Points, at least partially.

Citi’s terms read: “To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Common Carrier fare. “

Travel Protection Benefits Offered by the Citi ThankYou Premier

The travel protection benefits package for the ThankYou Premier looks almost exactly the same as that offered by the Citi Prestige. The two differences are:

  • no medical evacuation coverage
  • Trip Delay reimbursement kicks in after at least a 12 hour delay, not three hours like with the Prestige

The ThankYou Premier’s travel protection benefits apply to anyone who’s trip you paid for on your card, not just family–unless otherwise noted in the Citi Prestige section above.

Bottom Line

From the extreme travel accident insurance that can compensate you for serious injury up to $1,000,000, to the simple but appreciated luggage delay reimbursement that covers $100 a day in clothes and toiletries, the Citi Prestige and Premier offer excellent, comprehensive travel protection coverage. The trip delay benefit that kicks in after just three hours of delay for both the Prestige and Premier is especially good compared to the Chase cards we looked at last week, whose trip delay benefits’ kick in after anywhere from 6 to 12 hours.

Read about the rest of the benefits offered by the Citi Prestige here and the ThankYou Premier here (note the bonus on the ThankYou Premier is now 30k instead of 40k).

Sometimes cashing in on benefits, with all the receipts and forms required, isn’t as straightforward in practice. If anyone has any experience with any of the benefits listed in this post, please share them in comments.

Check out The Best Credit Card to Buy Airfare to see–purely from the perspective of category bonuses–which cards are best for buying plane tickets, award tickets, etc.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Can you please add detail to describe which benefits apply to one-way flights, and which to round trips only?

  2. I’m pretty sure this post is out of date. Citi is now much more flexible on using your card together with points or discounts.
    http://i.info4.citi.com/wpm/100164/PDF/Guide11.pdf

    It really depends on the benefit. For instance, this is for travel delay:
    To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Trip. In the event of partial payment, we will only reimburse the lesser of the actual amount paid for with your Citi card (including ThankYou® Points) or the maximum coverage per Trip.

    This is what it says for medical evacuation:
    To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Trip.

    • Perhaps I wasn’t clear when originally saying, “Do you have to have paid for the trip on your card to qualify? Yes, or paid for trip with ThankYou Points.” What I meant by that was that if your trip was either paid for on the card, or you redeemed ThankYou Points/partially paid for the trip on your card, for example charging award taxes, then you qualify for the coverage. You’re correct though that each benefit is a little more specific regarding coverage eligibility, so I added a few points to the post just to avoid any confusion.

      • Thanks – I do think this is more accurate. Until a few months ago, you had to pay for it completely with the prestige or ty points, this is a great shift.

      • Chase trip cancellation insurance covers the entire cost of the trip up to $20k for CSR card purchases even if only the tax was charged to the card. Citi only pays back what you charge.

        Don’t belittle the value of trip insurance. It has saved me over $75,000 in the past 3 years. I certainly will no longer to using my citi-cards to purchase travel.

  3. Regarding trip cancellation/interruption insurance…. what if you only paid the taxes & fees with your Prestige card on an award flight? Would you still be covered like on the CSP/CSR?

    • From Citi’s benefit terms, in regards to trip cancellation/interruption insurance: “To be eligible for coverage under this benefit, your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points must be used to purchase at least a portion of the Trip. In the event of partial payment, we will only reimburse the lesser of the actual amount paid for with your Citi card (including ThankYou® Points) or the maximum coverage per Trip.”

      So you’ll either get
      A) your Thank You points back + whatever taxes & fees were charged
      or
      B) the maximum coverage per trip of $5k
      …depending on which is less expensive for Citi.

  4. So wait the original article the guy was denied flight reimbursement for the flight he missed so how is this benefit any good?

    • The trip delay benefit did kick in to cover Steve H’s hotel, but I’m assuming not for his additional flight since he had purchased two separate tickets as opposed to one through-ticket. In Steve H’s post he says, “My Cathay Pacific flight from HKG to MNL was delayed 90 minutes due to a crew issue which caused me to miss my next flight on Air Asia to Tagbilaran. Since my next flight was on a separate carrier Cathay couldn’t do anything for me and as far as Air Asia was concerned it was my issue since I missed the flight which left on time.” Steve, if you’re reading, could you comment on that?

  5. Last I checked, the Citi Premier’s travel delay benefit kicked in at 12+ hours not 3+ hours. Has this changed recently? Thanks for the post!

  6. Other than Citibank is the rest of the chart up to date? I have used the travel protection for over $20,000 in expenses due to the death of both my parents and some major medical reasons and it has a huge influence on which card I choose.

    • No, not necessarily. Those posts were written in 2017 and I haven’t researched what has changed since then yet. I do intend to though.

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