A few weeks ago, I kicked off the new year by taking a fun family trip to do some plane-spotting on Maho Beach. I booked our outbound flights on JetBlue using points, and purchased our return flights on United, paying for only a small portion of the tickets using my Citi Prestige card.
For a while, I’ve formed the habit of putting all of my airline tickets on my Chase Sapphire Preferred (before the Chase Sapphire Reserve days – which I still cannot get approved for even if my life depended on it), but I recently changed my strategy to book all airfare (even just taxes and fees for award tickets) on my Citi Prestige card.
Besides earning 3x ThankYou points on travel purchases, the travel protection/insurance benefits with the Citi Prestige simply cannot be matched with competing cards, in my opinion.
Our flight home from SXM to EWR was one of those “Murphy’s Law’ type of situations. I purposely chose not to check any baggage because we were scheduled to arrive home pretty late in the evening, and I planned to zip off the plane as fast as humanly possible so that the kids could be home right in time for bedtime. I was thrilled when we touched down ahead of schedule.
Then we heard an announcement that we’d have to wait for a gate… and that no one had any idea how long that would be. Fast forward 2+ hours with two cranky toddlers, a dead phone, and a h-angry Angelina, we were finally off the plane.
We waited for the gate-checked stroller, but it never came. We were told that it may be delivered to baggage claim, so we went there and waited for a good 2+ hours until we finally came to terms that we were going home empty-handed.
After arriving home 5 hours after we touched down, I decided to contact United to see if they could locate my 3-piece double stroller. There wasn’t any information about its whereabouts, which was frustrating in itself.
The next morning, I ordered a new stroller and filed a lost-baggage claim with Citi.
Citi’s generous delayed/lost/damaged protection benefits state the following:
- Delayed baggage protection kicks in when your bag doesn’t arrive at your destination within three hours of your arrival. You’re covered for up to $500 of necessary personal & business items.
- Lost baggage protection kicks in if your checked or carry-on luggage is permanently lost, stolen, or damaged. You’re entitled to be refunded for the cost to repair or replace the item, whichever is less. With the lost baggage protection benefit, you’re covered for up to $3,000 per person per trip ($2,000 for NY residents), or up to $10,000 in total for all traveling companions when their fare is also purchased with your card.
Even better, effective May 15, 2016, the new benefits guide states that protection now kicks in even when a portion of the travel (yes, even 3 cents) is purchased using the Citi Card.
After I replaced my missing stroller and filed my claim, I contacted United 3 days later to see if there was any update on my stroller – because it’s hard for me to believe that a stroller can just disappear without any record in the system.
I was informed that the stroller pieces were indeed at EWR baggage services, but did not arrive there until 48 hours after I did. The good news was my stroller was found, but the bad news was when I picked it up, one of the seats was broken.
So just like that my delayed baggage claim now turned into a damaged baggage claim. I submitted all of the required support documentations and within 14 days I had the credit for the purchase of the new stroller on my statement!
While it definitely was no fun to experience the whole ordeal with a missing/broken stroller in the first place, overall I must say that I am super-pleased with how seamless ttravel protection benefit claim procedure was. Even though the card is set to devalue slightly starting July 2017, I am probably going to give this card some consideration once my annual fee comes up next month.
Have you filed a travel protection claim with Citi Prestige before? Please feel free to share your experiences as well!