How my credit card saved my New Zealand cruise vacation

Stephen and Diane Snell had planned their first cruise after three years without departures for the end of 2022.

But the 70-year-old couple, who had booked a cruise to New Zealand between November 25 and December 8 with Princess, were left in shock when they discovered the cost of insurance.

“I shopped online and got a quote from Allianz, NIB and HCF who quoted extortionate amounts. I was quoted $840 from NIB, $1,222 from HCF and $679 by Allianz for a cruise departing from Sydney and returning to Sydney,” Mr Snell said.

“We almost decided to cancel. And that would be the case for many baby boomers who want to travel. We are so overcharged by travel insurers who seem to price abuse.

The Snells were at their wit’s end. But Mr Snell has found a loophole that could help ensure cruise passengers get Covid cruise travel insurance for departures from Australia.

“We had a friend who had a Citibank Platinum card. The bank told them that because they had spent more than $500 on their trip, paying the full amount for the cruise for example, using their Citibank card, they were eligible for Covid-covered travel insurance. And the travel insurance offered by Citibank is underwritten by Allianz.

“We too had found a Citibank Platinum and found out their insurance policy was underwritten by Allianz. So we spoke to a fabulous consultant who found out we were covered because we had spent $500 on our overseas trip. We simply had to meet the eligibility criteria as well as a questionnaire on pre-existing medical conditions before receiving the policy.

“But if not, it’s worth continuing to investigate and checking all your options with your credit card before taking out a travel insurance policy.”

Mr Snell and his wife had planned back-to-back cruises to America next year. But due to family issues and the huge cost of travel insurance for overseas cruises, he and his wife decided to cancel their vacation.

“We were very lucky with our Australia-New Zealand trip. But for our international trip, the insurance was going to cost us $10,000.

Mr. Snell’s policy specified the following eligibility criteria:

You and other travelers are eligible for coverage under the group policy issued to Citi based on your telling us that you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • you are a Citi-issued Prestige cardholder, Citi Premier cardholder, Citi Rewards cardholder, World cardholder or Citibusiness Gold cardholder; and
  • you and the travelers listed below reside in Australia and your trip originates in Australia; and
  • travel does not exceed six (6) consecutive months when the Cardholder is a Citi-issued Prestige Cardholder, Citi Premier Cardholder, Citi Rewards Cardholder, or World Cardholder and not exceed three (3) consecutive months when the cardholder is a cardholder issued by Citi Carte Gold Citibusiness; and
  • before leaving Australia, the overseas travel ticket for each of the travelers listed below was obtained by one or a combination of the following methods:
    • charge the cost of the overseas travel ticket to the Account Holder’s Card Account; Where
    • obtain the foreign travel ticket under the Citi travel program; Where
    • obtaining the foreign travel ticket through the cardholder’s airline frequent flyer program, provided that a minimum of 15,000 points have been transferred to that frequent flyer program from points earned on a Citi Rewards, over a period of 12 months before obtaining the ticket for travel abroad; and
  • each of the Travelers listed below (other than the Cardholder) is traveling with the Cardholder for at least fifty percent (50%) of the Coverage Period provided to the Cardholder for the Cardholder’s trip the map

A Citibank spokesperson responded to cruise passenger and stated, “Customer should read and understand the eligibility criteria, terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions that may apply depending on their trip and personal circumstances. This is something we cannot confirm, so we cannot confirm if they have coverage and the ins and outs of coverage.

“As a general rule, we state that there is no explicit cruise coverage as part of the Citi Supplemental Insurance policy, such as what you get when you purchase a retail travel insurance policy and they ask if you are taking a cruise where you need to add a cruise pack There are some provisions for cruises under Citi’s free insurance policy under its international insurance policy, but these should be reviewed together with the eligibility criteria, terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions that may apply, so this is not a broad Yes, there is cruise coverage.

“Also to be clear, there is no COVID coverage.”

Note: Not all credit cards have the same cruise coverage on their travel insurance policy. Be sure to check with your bank and credit card provider what they can offer you.

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