As of yesterday, most Citi cards no longer have standard protections that come with most credit cards.
All Citi cards (except for the Costco card) no longer have any of the following benefits:
- Car Rental Insurance
- Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
- Travel Accident Insurance
- Trip Delay Protection
- Baggage Delay Protection
- Lost Baggage Protection
- Citi Price Rewind
- Return Protection
- Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
- Travel & Emergency Assistance
- Medical Evacuation
- Missed Event Ticket Protection
The no annual fee Citi Double Cash and Citi Dividend cards also lost:
- Extended Warranty
- Damage & Theft Purchase Protection
Citi is gambling that users won’t notice the loss of these benefits.
Citi Double Cash, which earns 2% cashback everywhere, is now being upgraded. Citi will allow Citi Double Cash cardholders to transfer their cashback into ThankYou points at a rate of $1 cashback into 100 ThankYou points.
That means you are effectively buying ThankYou points for 1 cent each, as you are trading $1 cashback for 100 points. It also means you’ll earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar everywhere with the Citi Double Cash Card when you transfer cashback into points.
The Citi Double Cash card can’t transfer ThankYou points into airline miles (other than to JetBlue at a weaker ratio) on its own. But if you or a friend have a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card, you can transfer the points earned on the Citi Double Cash card into airline miles or an increased value towards paid travel.
Credit card issuers love when they get your whole wallet share, and that’s effectively what Citi is doing here. There is a lot of value to be had when you combine a Citi Double Cash with other Citi cards.
- Bifecta: Add the Citi Premier card ($95 annual fee, 60K signup bonus for spending $4K in 3 months) and get 3 points per dollar on travel and gas. You can transfer your Double Cash ThankYou points to Premier ThankYou points and then transfer your points into airline miles or get a 25% bonus when you use your points for paid travel.
- Trifecta: Add the Citi Rewards+ Card ($0 annual fee, 20K signup bonus for spending $1.5K in 3 months) and get all of your purchases rounded up to the nearest 10 points. That means you can earn 10 points on a $0.50 Amazon balance reload! If you have this card you’ll get a 10% points rebate when you redeem points, up to a 10K points rebate per year. This card can’t transfer points into miles (except for JetBlue at a weaker ratio), but if you have a Premier card you’ll get a 10% rebate on points transferred to miles or used for paid airfare with a 25% bonus.
- Quadfecta: Add the Citi ThankYou business card ($0 annual fee, 20K signup bonus for spending $3K in 3 months, apply in-branch only) and get 3 points per dollar on Advertising Services, Office Supply merchants, and Professional Services in January–March, Computer Equipment and software merchants, and Telecommunications merchants in April–June, Airlines, Hotels and Car Rental merchants in July–September, and Restaurants and Entertainment in October–December.
- Quinfecta: Add the Citi Prestige card ($495 annual fee, 50K points for spending $4K in 3 months) and get a $250 annual travel credit, 5 points per dollar on airfare and dining, 3 points per dollar on hotels and get the 4th night free on hotel stays, twice per year.
It’s great to see more of these killer combos, though not everything is as rosy as it seems here.
You can’t get the signup bonus on a Citi Rewards+, Citi Preferred, Citi Premier or Citi Prestige if you have received a signup bonus or closed a Citi Rewards+, Citi Preferred, Citi Premier or Citi Prestige within the past 24 months.
Citi’s slate of transfer partners is, for the most part, weaker than banks like AMEX and Chase:
- Avianca Lifemiles (Star Alliance): 1K:1K instant transfer
- EVA (Star Alliance): 1K:1K transfer
- Singapore (Star Alliance): 1K:1K transfer
- Thai (Star Alliance): 1K:1K transfer
- Turkish (Star Alliance): 1K:1K transfer
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (OneWorld): 1K:1K transfer
- Malaysia (OneWorld): 1K:1K transfer
- Qantas (OneWorld): 1K:1K transfer
- Qatar (OneWorld): 1K:1K transfer
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam): 1K:1K instant transfer
- Etihad: 1K:1K transfer
- JetPrivilege: 1K:1K instant transfer
- JetBlue: 1K:1K instant transfer
- Virgin Atlantic: 1K:1K instant transfer
Their sole domestic partner is JetBlue, which has a purely dynamically priced points system that ensures there are no amazing values. They don’t have any hotel transfer options. And they don’t even have a partnership with useful domestic options like British Airways.
However they do have Turkish Airlines, which has an insanely generous Star Alliance award chart, if you can get past their call center’s incompetence to book an award. They have one-way coach awards on United between NYC and LA or even Hawaii for just 7.5K miles and business awards for just 12.5K miles! But they have to be booked over the phone and it can take many HUCAs to do that.
They also have Avianca, which has very good short-haul award values on United.
The 25% bonus for paid airfare means that you can earn an effective 2.5% everywhere by spending on Double Cash and transferring to Premier. However Citi’s travel portal is not as comprehensive as the Chase travel portal and Citi prices are typically higher than Chase pricing.
If you have the Rewards+ card you’ll get another 10% points rebate, bumping that value to 2.75% back everywhere.
Citi has also removed card benefits, which means that purchasing items on Citi cards may not make sense if you won’t get extended warranty coverage or travel protections.
I’ll make another post to how this new trifecta compares to AMEX and Chase bifecta, trifecta, quadfecta, and quinfecta options.
Will you take advantage of a Citi bifecta, trifecta, quadfecta, or quinfecta?