Citibank is going to introduce sweeping changes to its credit card rewards programs, and while the shake-up over at Citi may leave many cardholders in shock, there will be some changes for the good, as well. Depending on what card you have, you may notice a big change to what rewards you can earn, as well as how they can be redeemed. These changes apply to several different cards, and will primarily affect several popular travel protections. If you’ve just made a purchase with your Citi card, don’t fret – these changes won’t roll out until September 22, 2019 – but Citi has already removed all mention of them from their credit card benefits page.
While these updates are relevant for everyone who’s interested in applying for a Citibank credit card, they’ll be of particular interest to current cardholders, since their card usage will be affected directly. What card features will no longer be available to Citi cardholders as of September, 2019? Read on for a comprehensive breakdown of these winds of change.
The Price Rewind program is among Citi’s greatest customer benefits; particularly useful when a lower price is available for an item that you’ve already purchased, Price Rewind allows customers to submit a claim detailing the new price and then be reimbursed for the difference. Thanks to this program, cardholders have been able to make purchases worry-free since it eliminates the doubt many of us experience when we make large purchases: Did we pay too much, did we get the right price? What if it goes on sale after I buy it? Unfortunately, Citi cardholders will no longer benefit from this program beginning in late September. It’s likely that the advent of smartphones at least partially is to blame for Citi rewinding their Price Rewind program, since technology makes it very easy to take advantage of this perk.
The following travel protections are taking flight:
- Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
- Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Protection
- Baggage Delay Protection
- Lost Baggage Protection
- Trip Delay Protection
- Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
A few other benefits you’ll miss:
- 90 Day Return Protection
- Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
- Damage and Theft Purchase Protection
- Travel and Emergency Assistance
- Extended Warranties
When you consider that many of the perks that Citi is removing are now standard with other issuers, it could spell trouble for Citibank if this update to their policy causes a mass exodus to their competitors. That said, Citi is introducing a brand new benefit for cardholders: Pay With Points.
What is Pay With Points?
Beginning in July of 2019, Citi rewards program members will have a new option to redeem their Thank You rewards points. Pay With Points will allow consumers to use their Thank You points to pay for certain eligible purchases across dining, shopping, and entertainment. Eligible purchase categories include dining, grocery, gas, utilities, entertainment, drugstore purchases and even retail purchases at clothing and department stores.
How it works:
When you make an eligible purchase in one of the categories described above, you’ll earn Thank You points. One point is equal to 0.8 cents when redeemed with Pay With Points. Once you’ve earned points, they can be applied to recent purchases as a statement credit quickly and conveniently, particularly if you have a smartphone on hand: Perhaps the best feature of this program is that, when you set up notifications on the Citi Mobile® App and make a purchase that qualifies for Pay With Points, you’ll automatically get a push notification and/or email that lets you have enough points to cover the item’s cost. At this point, you simply log onto the app on your smartphone, select the purchase, and apply points. Alternatively, you can access your online or mobile account, select an eligible purchase from your card statement, and Pay with Points online from the comfort of your home. After July, it will be easier for Citi cardholders to redeem Thank You points on an ongoing basis thanks to this new program. When a lender flags your credit card account as delinquent due to a series of missed payments, issuers are likely to make changes to your terms. When you signed up for your credit card, you also agreed to a penalty APR that is utilized in the instance that you make a late payment or miss one entirely. Penalty APRs can apply to both new purchases as well as the full balance on a card, and typically average at 29%. Penalty APRs usually apply for at least 60 days after a missed payment, and that time frame can be extended at the bank’s discretion so it’s very important to ensure that you fulfill your monthly obligations when it comes to paying off each statement. Banks and card issuers will evaluate the number of missed payments on your account as well as your overall creditworthiness, and this information will help them determine whether they will apply the penalty APR, and for how long.
Big changes mean big decisions
Citi cardholders will experience a pretty consequential loss of value when it comes to cardmember benefits, thanks to the sweeping changes Citibank is implementing come fall. If you’re a current cardholder, contact Citi to find out how your card may be affected, since some cards will be affected more than others. Make sure you plan for these changes, and look into credit card rewards programs from other card issuers – you may find better value elsewhere, for the time being. Fans of Citi credit cards will have to decide if the new Pay With Points program is attractive enough to keep their interest once Price Rewind and travel benefits disappear from all Citi rewards cards.