Credit Card Expert Roundup #42 - Citi recently removed most if its credit card benefits from its card. Do you think most consumers will notice or care?
Many people don't realize exactly how many different benefits their credit cards come with, so when some of the lesser known or utilized ones disappear, most consumers don't really notice. However, credit card experts certainly do. Jason Steele addresses them and the current removal of benefits to several Citi cards:
Citi recently removed most if its credit card benefits from its cards. Do you think most consumers will notice or care?
Eric Rosenberg - Personal finance and travel expert
When I saw Citi was going to remove most card benefits, I was very disappointed in the decision. While I put a lot of thought into the benefits offered by the cards I use, however, many credit card users may not notice at all. Despite offering excellent protections, insurance, and coverage for new purchases and travel, many cardholders are not aware of these benefits or don't take the time to use them when eligible.
Citi likely hopes its credit card customers either won't notice or won't mind the change, but savvy consumers should not take this change lightly. You can vote with your dollars, by taking your purchases to a different card that does offer purchase and travel benefits. I've easily received hundreds of dollars, if not thousands, in value from this type of benefit. Make sure you take full advantage of everything your card has to offer. If your card doesn't live up to the benefits you need, it's time to switch to something new.
Lee Huffman - Credit card expert at Bald Thoughts
Unfortunately, most consumers aren't aware of the valuable benefits offered by their credit cards. Sign-up bonuses are great, but they only happen once. But these extra perks can be used time and time again. For example, Price Rewind can save cardholders up to $1,000 every year when prices drop on items you've already purchased.
People who use these benefits are going to be terribly disappointed when they hear the news. It may even cause them to cancel and find another bank when it comes time to renew their credit card.
Sean Bryant - Founder of One Smart Dollar
When Citi announced they were eliminating certain benefits from many of their cards, I think it was a blow to frequent travelers. I use my credit cards for more than just a way to accumulate miles and points toward free travel. I rely on the travel insurance benefits - everything from the Rental Car Insurance to Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection. A lot of people have become used to having these benefits, especially on high annual fee premium cards. Because of this, many will start looking toward other issuers that can offer them the protection they need.
Jason Steele - Credit card expert, finance journalist, and Founder of CardCon
I think Citi has miscalculated here. On one hand, I’m sure that they have good data on how many of these benefits are being used, but on the other hand, I’m not sure that they understand that these benefits are like insurance. Having coverage is important, even if you don’t use it often.
Experts like myself will now be warning the public that Citi cards have substandard benefits, and I think that will hurt new customer acquisition. I won’t be surprised to see Citi backtrack in the next year, and announce new benefits to replace what they removed.
Bill Hardekopf - CEO of LowCards.com
Citi's removal of a number of their credit card benefits will probably go unnoticed by the great majority of its customers. And they most likely will not care because they didn't know their card offered these benefits in the first place. Most people do not even realize their credit card comes with additional perks such as car rental insurance, lost baggage protection or an extended warranty. These extra benefits are free if you use the card to rent that car, buy that airline ticket or purchase that large appliance.
Most consumers only look at the interest rate, the annual fee and the rewards when deciding on a credit card. But there are many other factors that should be considered and these free perks can definitely sway your decision. But you must research these available benefits which can usually be found in the fine print of the card. Consumers can make a more informed decision on their credit card by studying these available perks.
Sean McQuay - Budget and personal finance expert
I think of these changes like an employer no longer stocking the fridge with soda. Sure, we're all annoyed, but almost no one's going to quit over it. If Citi cards made sense for you a week ago, they probably still do. Beyond that, I'm confident most Citi cardholders never used these benefits, even if they were aware of them. For the small group of optimizers who are losing something here: sounds like you now have an excuse to shop around for a new card.