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Credit card issuers can add or remove benefits at any time, and 2018 has seen many significant changes in the benefits offered by American Express, Chase, Citi, and Discover.
Some benefits are being reduced or going away while others are being introduced or improved. While these changes are all happening at about the same time, there's no real pattern here.
It's likely that the third-party providers of these benefits have changed their prices, and that credit card issuers are simply using this opportunity to reevaluate what benefits are cost-effective, and which are not. Read here for 10 credit card benefits you may not know about.
Here are the details of the changes and how they could affect your credit cards:
American Express is improving several of its cardholder benefits. It recently announced changes to all of its cards extended warranty and purchase protection policies, beginning on August 1, 2018. The extended warranty coverage is improving, and will now double the manufacturer's coverage for up to two years, instead of one. Citi is the only other major card issuer that offers up to two years of additional coverage on eligible items.
American Express is also bettering its purchase protection policy, which covers losses due to theft and accidental damage. While the previous policy covered you for up to 90 days after the purchase, the new policy now extends to 120 days.
Finally, The Platinum Card® from American Express cardholders are also receiving an entirely new benefit. Twice a year, they'll receive a credit of up to $50 for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue stores. Cardholders must first register for this benefit which is valid once from January through June, and a second time from July to December. Gift cards and outlet store purchases are excluded.
Find a rewards credit card here.
Chase removed some benefits from several of its cards earlier this year. Starting in June, it removed price protection and return protection coverage from its United MileagePlus Explorer Visa Signature card. It also reduced its trip cancellation/trip interruption coverage.
And with its enormously popular Sapphire Reserve Card, Chase has cut its Priority Pass Select benefit. Previously the Priority Pass Select membership included with the card covered the cardholder and an unlimited number of guests, although individual lounges could impose limits.
But starting on August 26, you will be limited to yourself and two guests, with each additional guest having a $27 charge. Also, you'll no longer earn reward points for the original $300 in travel purchases that are eligible for statement credits each year.
Starting on July 29, Citi is reducing the following cardholder benefits:
- For damage and theft protection, the limit is dropping from $10,000 per claim to just $1,000. Also, the coverage will only last for 90 days from purchase instead of 120.
- Citi's Price Rewind program is capping the benefit at $200 per item, down from $500, and changing the annual limit to $1,000, down from $2,500.
- Citi's Price Rewind and 90-day return protection policies will no longer cover firearms, ammunition, jewelry, furniture, appliances and tires.
- Citi's worldwide car rental insurance will no longer cover charges or expenses for the loss of use of the rental car, rental agency fees or taxes.
- Citi's trip cancellation and interruption protection policies will cover up to $1,500 per trip and a total of $5,000 per calendar year instead of $5,000 per trip.
Of all of these cardholders, perhaps the most extensive benefit changes have been made to Discover cards. Starting on February 28, the Discover card discontinued its Extended Product Warranty, Return Guarantee, Purchase Protection, Auto Rental Insurance and Flight Accident Insurance policies.
The most surprising one may be the elimination of auto rental insurance, which is a standard, and frequently used benefit on nearly all Visa, Mastercard, and American Express cards.
What Should You Do?
Credit card benefits can be very valuable, but only if you understand which ones you have and what their terms and conditions are.
The best way to learn about what your card offers is by reading its Guide to Benefits. This is a document that you were provided when you opened your account, but you can request an updated copy at any time. It will contain all the terms and conditions of each benefit, along with information about how to make a claim.
By understanding how these major credit banks have changes made to their benefits, you can make sure to use the right credit card for your purchases.
The information related to the Chase Sapphire Reserve® credit card has been collected by Experian and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.
This article was originally published on July 19, 2018, and has been updated.