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Rewards-earning credit cards can do so much more than just earn your family miles and points. The right ones can also save you a boatload of money, have your back in case a purchase doesn’t work out, or help cover expenses if your travel plans get derailed by weather and delays. Banks and credit cards are always tinkering with their benefits, but there are some pretty big tweaks going on right now at a number of issuers. If a particular card has an outsized benefit compared to others, or one that can potentially be exploited, you can pretty much count on it being reined back in at some point.
Citi Clamps Down on Price Rewind Claims
I’m an unabashed Citi Price Rewind fan. I put almost all of our shoe and clothing purchases on my Citi cards just because I can then enter them in the Citi Price Rewind website. Once that is done, I just watch the statement credits roll back in as most of those purchases inevitably go on sale within 60 days of the transaction. I’ve got more than $100 pending Citi Price Rewind statement credits as we speak, and over time have racked up a fair amount of savings just on everyday purchases.
Historically, the Citi Price Rewind limits have been $500 per item and up to $2,500 per calendar year. However, some folks have been abusing this perk in a number of ways I won’t get into. There is also the reality that across the board, technology and price tracking websites have led to a greater use of price protection benefits. As a result, we are seeing a serious contraction of these perks. As another example, Chase is eliminating price protection completely on many products, even on some of their higher-end cards.
Thankfully, Citi is not eliminating price protection or their much-beloved Citi Price Rewind website, but they are clamping down on the limits. For purchases made on or after July 29, 2018, the new price protection limits will be $200 per item and $1,000 per account per calendar year. This seems pretty reasonable to me, as I’m a frequent Price Rewind user and I’ll still be okay with a $1,000 cap per account. It is vastly preferable to eliminating the benefit completely.
While they are making changes, on July 29, 2018, Citi will also begin to exclude consumables, tires, watches, firearms, and ammunition from their price protection coverage. You also won’t be reimbursed if the lower priced item is found at a warehouse club where the merchant requires customers to pay a membership fee.
For those who are now shopping around for better coverage, Discover still has price protection limits of $500 per item and $2,500 per year. Barclays has a limit of $250 per item, $1,000 per year, and a maximum of four claims per year. However, they allow for claims 120 days from the date of purchase, which is twice as generous as most other programs.
Citi Prestige Trip Delay Coverage Changing
Another new change from Citi that kicks in on July 29th is in regards to their trip delay coverage. For a while now, the Citi Prestige Card has offered the gold standard in trip delay coverage as it kicked in after just 3 hours, as opposed to the benefits from other cards that required a delay of at least 6 hours. This made it a solid card to use for airfare purchases since it conveyed good protections and earned you 3X points on airfare purchases. Well, apparently that delay coverage was just too generous, and the coverage is changing from requiring a minimum delay of at least 3 hours, to a minimum delay of at least 6 hours. Additionally, the terms are changing to reflect that coverage is only extended to the cardholder and family members, as opposed your entire traveling party.
Perhaps worst of all is that for the last few months they have seemingly been denying coverage if a delay is due to a missed connection, unless the delay that caused the missed connection is a minimum of 3 hours in length. So, if you are flying from say New Orleans to Houston to Anchorage, and your New Orleans to Houston flight was delayed 2.5 hours, you may end up missing your Houston to Anchorage flight. However, even though you may be stuck in Houston overnight as a result of that misconnect, your claim wouldn’t be covered because the initial delay that caused the misconnect didn’t meet the minimum required length. That’s a very real problem since most domestic connections are no more than an hour or two, meaning they can easily be missed far faster than three hours.
I haven’t (yet) heard that the trip delay coverage on the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard has changed from requiring a 3-hour delay to requiring a 6-hour delay, though it won’t shock me if that happens at some point.
How will these forthcoming Citi benefits changes impact your credit card strategy?
Thanks to the Frequent Miler for spotting the coming Citi Prestige 3 to 6-hour delay change.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.