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Citi Reveals Details of Cell Phone Protection Benefit on Prestige Card

Citi Prestige Card

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In October 2018, Citi announced a number of changes to their top tier Prestige card, with some upgrades and other serious downgrades. One of the new benefits introduced was a cell phone protection plan for damage and theft.

But at the time of the announcement, there were no details surrounding what that protection would actually entail.

That changed this week as Citi announced the particulars of this new coverage, available starting in May 2019.

 

Details of Citi Prestige Card’s Cell Phone Protection

Starting in May, Citi Prestige cardmembers will receive cell phone protection of up to $1,000 per claim and up to $1,500 per year, for damage or theft of up to five eligible cell phones. This is only available when the monthly cell bill is paid with the Prestige card.
Additionally, any claim made under the protection benefit will require a $50 deductible per phone, and cardmembers will be able to file claims online.

 

Full Benefits of the Citi Prestige Card

  • Earn 50,00 Citi ThankYou Points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of card membership.
  • Earn 5x ThankYou Points per dollar spent on air travel and at restaurants
  • Earn 3x ThankYou Points per dollar spent at hotels and cruise lines
  • Earn 1x ThankYou Point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Fourth Night Hotel Stay – When you book through thankyou.com you will receive your fourth night free when booking a minimum of four consecutive nights (based on the average night stay). Beginning Sept. 1, 2019, this benefit will be capped at two uses per year.
  • $250 Travel Credit – Each calendar year you will receive a $250 credit which is applied automatically to all eligible travel purchases.
  • Complimentary Priority Pass Select Membership
  • Cell Phone protection plan for damage or theft – up to $1,000 per claim, up to $1,500 per year, for damage or theft of up to five eligible cell phones when the monthly cell bill is paid with the Prestige card.
  • Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Annual Fee – $495 (not waived for the first year of card membership)

 

Cell Phone Protection Prestige Card

 

Click Here to learn more about the Citi Prestige Card

 

Our Analysis

The new cell phone protection benefit is interesting and can easily justify the annual fee on the card if you need to take advantage of it. There is only one other card I know of offering a cell phone protection benefit – the Chase Ink Business Preferred card. So if you can’t get approved for a business card but need cell phone protection, this is your only option.

So is it worth the $495 annual fee? In my opinion, no. I would never choose this card over the more powerful Platinum Card from American Express or the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. While I applaud Citi for finding creative new benefits that are not offered by every other premium card in the market, I still have issues with their ThankYou Points program.

Citi’s ThankYou program can be viewed at our master transfer partner list. While they do have a few great partners like Singapore Airlines, Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Virgin Atlantic, and Avianca, they are missing a mainline domestic carrier. Both the American Express Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve card offer one (Delta and United respectively). While all three programs also offer transfers to jetBlue’s TrueBlue program, it can be a mixed bag. jetBlue’s program is revenue based and you can often do much better booking their fares directly through the Chase portal. You can read more about that here.

The Citi card also devalued booking flights through the Citi ThankYou portal. Previously you could book any flight through ThankYou.com and points would be worth 1.25 cents each. Points now redeem at 1 cent each, representing a 25% devaluation. This is one of my favorite ways to use Chase Ultimate Rewards points and a big reason I would choose it over the Citi Prestige card.

 

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, this card is going to cost you $245 annually. This is after you factor in the $495 annual fee less the $250 travel credit. So if you deeply value a cell phone protection plan, this card can make sense. But if you’re just in the market for a premium travel rewards card, there are simply better options. Even with the 4th-night free benefit which will be greatly devalued starting in September.

 

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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