This is an update to a previous post, to note that we now have a lot more details about the specifics of the Citi Prestige cell phone protection benefit.
Some significant changes are being made to the Citi Prestige Card this year. Some of these are positive, while some are negative.
As of January of this year the card offers 5x points on dining and airfare, which is a fantastic development, as it makes the Citi Prestige my go-to card for purchases in those categories.
However, there are some more changes coming to the card. For example:
- As of May 1, 2019, the Citi Prestige will offer a new cell phone protection plan
- As of August 31, 2019, the Citi Prestige will no longer offer 2x ThankYou points on entertainment
- As of September 1, 2019, the Citi Prestige fourth night free benefit will be capped at two bookings per year, and will only be bookable through the ThankYou site or call center (this is a bummer)
- As of September 1, 2019, the Citi Prestige will no longer let you redeem points for 1.25 cents each towards airfare (but rather only at one cent each)
- As of September 1, 2019, the Citi Prestige annual fee will be increasing from $450 to $495
How Citi Prestige cell phone protection will work
In early March Citi revealed many of the details regarding their cell phone protection benefit, as they weren’t previously known. As we learned, the Citi Prestige cell phone benefit:
- Covers up to $1,000 per claim
- Covers up to $1,500 per year
- Has a $50 deductible per claim
- Applies to damage and theft to cell phones
- Is available for up to five cell phones when the monthly phone bill is paid with the Citi Prestige Card
- Will allow claims to be filed online
Citi’s research suggests that this benefit resonates strongly with consumers. As they explain:
20% of affluent Americans having dropped their cell phone in a toilet, 11% having had it stolen, and 8% even putting it through the washing machine!
While totally tangential, have 20% of “affluent Americans” really dropped their cell phone in a toilet? My goodness!
Specifics of the Citi Prestige cell phone benefit
As noted by Doctor Of Credit, the additional update now is that Citi has revealed their full guide to protection benefits, which has even more information on this benefit.
For example, this plan doesn’t cover cracks if they don’t impact your ability to make calls:
Cosmetic damage to the Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone or damage that does not impact the Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone’s ability to make or receive phone calls (including minor screen cracks and fractures less than 2 inches in length that do not prevent the ability to make or receive phone calls or to use other features related to making or receiving phone calls)
Furthermore, if your phone is stolen, you need to file a police report within 48 hours:
Stolen means taken by force and/or under duress or a loss which involves the disappearance of an Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone from a known place under circumstances that would indicate the probability of theft and for which a police report was filed within forty-eight hours of the theft
There are lots of other details, so make sure you check out the full guide to benefits if you plan on using this perk.
How does that compared to the Ink Preferred cell phone protection?
Personally I put my cell phone bill on the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, since currently that’s one of the best cards in terms of the cell phone protection benefit offered.
To compare the two, the Ink Business Preferred plan:
- Covers up to $600 per claim
- Covers up to three claims per year (meaning a maximum of up to $1,800)
- Has a $100 deductible per claim
- Applies to damage and theft to cell phones
- Is available for you and your employees when the monthly bill is paid with the Ink Business Preferred
So on the surface the Citi Prestige benefit is a bit better:
- It covers up to $1,000 per claim rather than up to $600 per claim (and given how expensive cell phones are nowadays, that can make a big difference)
- The deductible is $50 rather than $100
There are two downsides, though. First of all, you’re limited to $1,500 per year in claims, which is a bit lower than on the Ink Preferred, depending on how you look at it.
However, arguably the biggest downside is that the Citi Prestige offers just 1x points per dollar spent on paying your cell phone bill, while the Ink Preferred offers 3x points on those purchases.
I value both Chase and Citi points at ~1.7 cents each, so we’re talking about one card offering a 1.7% return and another card offering a 5.1% return, which is a difference of 3.4%.
My cell phone bill is about $300 per month (I have an incredible international plan, at least when it works, and I have five people on my plan). So over the course of a year that’s $3,600, meaning I’d be forgoing 7,200 points by paying with the Citi Prestige rather than the Ink Preferred. I value those points at ~$122, so is it worth giving up that value for the Citi Prestige protection? In other words, is it worth paying ~$10 per month for that incremental protection?
It’s so great to see an all around compelling personal credit card introduce a useful cell phone protection benefit. I’m happy to see the high limit per claim and low deductible, given how expensive cell phones have become.
The major downside is that the card offers only one point per dollar on cell phone spend, so I hate putting my monthly bill on that card, when I could be earning 3-5x points on other cards. Furthermore, just keep in mind some of the other specifics, like needing to file a police report if your phone is stolen, the benefit not kicking in if your screen is cracked but it still works, etc.
What do you make of the Citi Prestige cell phone protection benefit? Do you plan on using it?