Late last year, Citi announced a number of changes to its premium Prestige credit card, including a new and mostly positive points-earning schedule that took effect in January and benefit-gutting changes the the card’s 4th-night-free benefit that go into effect in early September.
The other key change to the Prestige card was the introduction of a new Cell Phone Protection benefit. That benefit goes into effect today, May 1, 2019.
Basics of the Citi Prestige Cell Phone Protection Coverage
To obtain Citi Prestige Cell Phone Protection coverage, you must pay your entire cell phone bill with your Prestige card.
Note that wireless charges are not part of any bonus category on the Prestige. Thus, you’ll be earning 1x ThankYou Point (TYP) for each dollar of spend. (Contrast this with 5x Ultimate Rewards (UR) earning on the Chase Ink Cash or the legacy Chase Ink Plus (but with no coverage if you pay with these cards) and 3x UR earning on the Chase Ink Preferred (which includes coverage)).
Beyond that, the Citi Prestige Cell Phone Protection coverage looks like this:
Dates of Coverage
- The coverage begins starting on the 1st day of the month after you pay your cell phone bill with your Prestige card
- For example, if you pay your cell phone bill on May 20, your coverage goes into effect as of June 1
- The coverage is in effect for the rest of that calendar month, even if you don’t pay the next month’s bill with your Prestige
- Thus, coverage is on a calendar-month basis
- For example, if you pay your cell phone bill on May 20, you have coverage from June 1-30, even if you don’t pay your June bill with the Prestige. If you interrupt coverage by not paying during a month with the Prestige, you pay a later month’s bill with the Prestige and the coverage will re-start on the 1st day of the calendar month following your payment
- If you close your Prestige card account, coverage ends on the date you closed your account
What Is Covered and What Are the Limits?
- The coverage is for up to 5 phones
- The cell phone bill must be in the name of the primary cardholder or an authorized user
- The coverage is for “Reimbursement of the actual cost to replace or repair a Stolen or damaged Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone”
- Note that “Stolen” means that a police report must be filed within 48 hours of the theft
- Maximum coverage is $1,000 per claim, and $1,500 per 12 month period
- Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible
What Is NOT Covered?
- Cell phone accessories; only the phone itself (including battery and standard antenna) is covered
- Phones purchased for resale or for professional or commercial use
- Note: If you’re planning to use this coverage, it seems like a very good idea to put the phone on a service plan that’s solely in your own personal name and does not have any business name attached to it.
- Phones that are lost or “Mysteriously Disappear”
- Phones in control of a common carrier or in a checked bag
- Phones stolen from a construction site
- Phones which have been rented or leased from a person or company other than a cellular provider
- Phones which have been borrowed
- Phones received as part of a pre-paid plan
- Cosmetic damage or damage that does not impact the phone’s ability to make or receive phone calls (including minor screen cracks and fractures less than 2 inches in length)
- Damage or theft from abuse, intentional acts, illegal activities, etc.
- Damage from normal wear and tear
- Losses covered under a warranty issued by a manufacturer, distributor or seller
- [See the full terms and conditions in the Citi Prestige Benefits Guide (current version pasted into this article, below)]
How Do I File a Claim and What Are the Rules?
- To open a claim, either:
- Call 833-763-6324 (Mon-Fri, 8:00 am until 8:00 pm Eastern time); or
- Go to phonebenefit.com
- You must report the loss within 90 days
- Remember, if the phone was stolen, you must file a police report within 48 hours of when the phone was stolen
- Once you file the claim, the Administrator will provide you with instructions for filing proof of loss documents
- Written proof of loss must be submitted to the Administrator within 120 days of the loss
- So, it’s better to file the claim sooner rather than waiting until close to the 90-day deadline (we imagine most people would do this anyway)
Full Terms and Conditions of Citi Prestige Cell Phone Protection Coverage
The full terms and conditions of the Citi Prestige Cell Phone Protection Coverage are contained in the most up-to-date version of the Citi Prestige Benefits Guide. The most recent version of the Benefits Guide is dated April 14, 2019. Doctor of Credit has provided a convenient link to an online PDF of the current Benefits Guide:
- Doctor of Credit: Citi Prestige Benefits Guide (as of 4/14/2019)
Here are the pages of the current Benefits Guide that are relevant to Cell Phone Protection (pages 4-9):
Comparison with Chase Cell Phone Coverage
We haven’t done a full analysis of the Citi Prestige coverage versus the coverage provided by the Chase Ink Preferred. We do note that the Prestige express terms limit coverage to personal phones whereas the Ink Preferred express terms limit coverage to business phones. That said, there are many reports of successful claims under the Chase coverage where the “business” connection would be, at best, tenuous. In our personal experience with a claim under the Chase coverage, we were never asked for documentation to prove business usage, and the cell phone bill was under an individual person’s name, not a business name.
We do note that the deductible on the Citi coverage is only $50 whereas the Chase coverage has a deductible of $100. In addition, the limit under the Citi coverage is higher at $1,000, compared to the Chase limit of $600 per claim.
Lucky at One Mile at a Time provided a more robust comparison of the Citi and Chase in this article:
- One Mile at a Time: Citi Prestige Cell Phone Protection Benefit: Full Details
How Will We Pay Our Own Cell Phone Bills Now?
Right now, we’re inclined to keep paying our cell phone bills with a Chase Ink Preferred (CIP) card. The 3x UR earning on the CIP (baseline points rebate of 4.5%) handily outweighs the 1x TYP earning on the Prestige (baseline points rebate of 1.25%). Offhand, the extra points-earning seems to outweigh the small additional benefits provided by the Citi coverage. In addition, we’ve had a positive experience with the Chase coverage, and we don’t have any data points yet on how the Citi claims administrator will perform.
What do you think of the new Citi Prestige Cell Phone Protection coverage? Will you switch your wireless payments to the Prestige? Why or why not? Please share with us and other Middle Age Miles readers in the Comments!
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