There’s an old Chinese saying, “One day, a thousand autumns” that indicates a pace of rapid change. That saying is certainly appropriate right now with what’s going on in the credit card industry.
Since the start of 2018, three major credit card issuers — Discover, Citi and Chase — have pulled back credit card benefits (and eliminated them altogether in some cases) one right after the other.
These credit card benefits are on the endangered list
Discover was the first issuer to kick off the cutting back of benefits. At the end of February, Discover eliminated five credit card benefits, citing “prolonged low usage” of benefits such as Extended Product Warranty and Return Guarantee, among others.
Their move was followed by Citi. Earlier this month, Citi announced that it would be drastically pruning the limits on its damage and theft purchase protection for cardholders and its Citi Price Rewind program, among others, starting later this month.
The latter program was beloved by cardholders because it would pay you the difference if a purchase you made was later found advertised at a lower price.
Then just a week after Citi’s announcement, Chase got into the action with its plan to stop offering both Price Protection and Return Protection to customers, effective August 26.
Here’s a detailed look at exactly what’s going away or being reduced and by whom:
Discover eliminated the following benefits as of February 28, 2018:
- Extended Product Warranty
- Return Guarantee
- Purchase Protection
- Auto Rental Insurance
- Flight Accident Insurance
After initially announcing it would keep its popular Price Protection feature, Discover has abruptly changed course and said the benefit will now get the axe on October 31, 2018. That’s right ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Currently, this free benefit refunds the difference up to $500 on eligible items if you find a lower price at any store within 90 days of purchase. So use it while you still got it!
You can see the complete list of remaining benefits at Discover.com/benefits.
Beginning on July 29, Citi will reduce its benefits for cardholders in the following ways:
Damage and theft purchase protection
- $1,000 coverage per stolen or damaged item — down from $10,000
- 90 days to file a claim — down from 120 days
- Exclusions apply to purchases of firearms, ammunition and jewelry, among other items
Citi Price Rewind program
- Benefit capped at $200 per item going forward — down from $500
- Annual maximum refunds capped at $1,000 — down from $2,500
- Exclusion apply to items such as tires, firearms and ammunition, among others
- Cheaper warehouse club prices will be barred from consideration for this program
Worldwide car rental insurance
- Exclusion apply to charges or expenses for the loss of use of the rental car, rental agency fees or taxes
Trip cancellation and interruption protection
- Benefit reduced to a maximum of $1,500 per trip — down from $5,000
- Total calendar year cap of $5,000 for this benefit
90-day return protection
- Exclusions include firearms, ammunition and furniture, among other items
See the complete list of benefit changes going into effect later this month at CardBenefits.Citi.com/Guide3.
Starting July 29, Chase will eliminate two key benefits:
See above for an explanation of this popular type of credit card benefit.
This program that is soon going the way of the dodo would reimburse customers (up to $250 for each eligible item) on purchases they later regret that merchants refuse to take back. Currently, there’s a $1,000 annual maximum on this — but it all goes away come August 26.
Meanwhile, to balance things out, Chase’s announcement about the benefits changes did include one bright spot: Cardholders will soon get Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance added to their accounts, to the tune of up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable passenger fares.
What about other major credit card companies?
There have been no similar announcements of wholesale reductions or outright cuts in credit card benefits from American Express, Bank of America or Capital One. But we’ll keep our eye and update you if any news does break regarding these other credit card companies!
More credit card stories on Clark.com:
- Clark Howard: Here’s my philosophy on credit cards
- How to improve your credit score by 100 points in 30 days
- How to get out of debt in 5 simple steps