When Citi eliminated ancillary benefits like trip delay from their cards, including their American AAdvantage cards, several readers picked up the Barclays-issued American AAdvantage card to still earn American Airlines miles while also being able to take advantage of trip delay coverage. That turns out not to have been a good strategy.
Right after American Express announced the introduction of trip delay and cancellation benefits for some of its premium cards, I’ve learned that Barclays is eliminating trip delay and other benefits from its Aviator AAdvantage card – and similar benefits from other cards too.
Here’s a message AAdvantage Aviator Red cardmembers are receiving with their latest card statement:
Changes to Your American Airlines World Elite Mastercard Benefits effective November 1, 2019:
Your Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver is Being Enhanced and Identity Theft benefits are being enhanced. In addition, you are eligible to receive Cellular Telephone Protection.
Your Extended Warranty, Price Protection, Purchase Assurance, Satisfaction Guarantee and Trip Delay benefits are being removed, however claims can be submitted for eligible purchases made through October 31, 2019. Restrictions, limitations, and exclusions apply. Please go to the Rewards and Benefits section of the website on or after October 1, 2019 for specific information about benefits that are being removed and added. You can also refer to your Guide to Benefits effective 11/1/19 at AviatorMastercard.com, which will be available October 1, 2019 and will include a full explanation of your updated coverages and details regarding specific time limits, eligibility, and documentation requirements.
Cell phone protection and identity theft are new Mastercard-provided benefits.
Virtually all cards from all issuers are eliminating price protection. It’s become too costly to offer now that claims can be automated.
However benefits like extended warranty and trip delay cost a bank a couple of dollars a year per cardmember and in my view drive a lot of value. American Express, based on their move today, clearly agrees. Citi – and now Barclays – seem to be betting that they don’t move the needle on consumer spend so the savings will be worth any blowback when tallied across their full portfolio of cardmembers.
This news about Barclays AAdvantage card benefit cuts comes on the heels of news that Arrival+ and Uber cardmembers lose extended warranty and price protection November 1. The removal of ancillary benefits indeed appears to run across the gamut of Barclays cards, so falls under the rubric of general cost cutting rather than being a response to Citi cutting benefits on their AAdvantage cards.
It’s too bad because trip delay was a nice differentiator for Barclays over Citi in the race for AAdvantage cardmembers between the two issuers.
One striking thing is that Barclays doesn’t feel the need to give even two months’ notice of the change. Until now most banks have given at least three months’ notice of benefits changes to their cards, presumably out of fear of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau action.