This past weekend, my parents went down to Aiken, SC to help my brother move into his new apartment. While they were enjoying the beautiful 80 degree weather down south, I was given “feed-the-cat” and “pick-us-up-at-the-airport-at-11:56 PM-on-Saturday-night” duties, which I happily agreed to… of course.
Well, on Saturday afternoon, I received a call from Dad saying that US Airways went ahead and canceled their return flight later that evening due to bad weather conditions in Charlotte, and that they’d have to be rebooked for the following morning. I’ll admit, on one hand, I was happy that I received that news because I was able to enjoy a fun, uninterrupted evening in Atlantic City with friends, instead of rushing back to EWR late at night to get them.
On another hand, I also was curious to know which credit card Dad had used to buy his flight tickets in the first place, because right off the bat I always use my Chase Sapphire Preferred for airline ticket purchases… and it’s not just because of the 2 points per dollar spent on travel. Here’s why:
Many people, including Dad, automatically assume that the go-to card for consumer protection is American Express. While AmEx is great for purchase protection, their Travel Delay Protection service is not a free benefit for cardholders; instead, the insurance must be purchased for $9.95 per person, per trip, when you purchase your airline ticket with an AmEx card already enrolled in the program. Surprisingly, Chase takes the throne for free travel insurance.
Of course, when there is a weather-related cancelation, the airline is not responsible for compensating you with a flight voucher, hotel room, or meal vouchers. However, many airlines will extend a “distressed traveler” hotel discount for a nearby airport hotel. In Dad’s case, he opted for a cash and points rate at a nearby Country Inn and Suites. Unfortunately, he will not be getting reimbursed for his lodging or meals because he did not book the flight using one of his qualifying Chase Cards. Oh well, you live and learn, right?
A not-so-talked about, but insanely-valuable perk of the Chase Sapphire Preferred (along with several other Chase cards, see list below) is the free travel insurance available if your flight is canceled or delayed for 12 or more hours, allowing you to get reimbursed up to $300 per ticket for lodging and meals. To take advantage of this, first, you must have purchased your flight using a card offering this benefit, and second, all of your expenses as a result of your delayed or canceled flight must also be purchased using the same credit card you used for the airfare. Lastly, you also must provide receipts when making your claim with Chase.
Here are some other Chase cards that offer free travel protection insurance as a benefit of being a cardholder:
- Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
- Sapphire Preferred
- Ink Bold Business Card
- Ink Plus Business Card
- Ink Cash Business Card
- United MileagePlus Visa
Levy Flight says
Hi Angelina: on the disappointing surprise side i booked an award trip for my wife to join me in Venice – she was to get there a night before me. United’s plane did not make it (again) and she ended up back at the home airport. So the most expensive night i’ve ever paid for out of pocket for a hotel room went unused. Chase said that the room costs would have been covered by them if I had paid for for a revenue plane ticket, but as an award was not covered. Rather disappointing given as they are marketing the card by encouraging people to save for award trips.
Does the Chase UA Explorer offer free travel protection as well? I always thot that it did. Please correct me if I am wrong.
More to Levy Flight’s point, is it confirmed that only revenue flights work with such purchase protection?
Also the former pres plus card and now united club card if I’m not mistaken
Thanks for this post on this little publicized benefit. Another reason to use Chase Sapphire Preferred is the 2x additional points though Ultimate Rewards Mall when booking through the mall at Travelocity. Would you or readers know or have experience with these Chase travel protections appling through Travelocity bought airfares?
Great article! Do you have a link to the verbiage about the up-to-$300-in-reimbursement benefit?
Angelina, would this also work for award booking (where the cash/fees portion is paid with a sapphire)?
I have had Chase reimburse for lost baggage on an award ticket, the only thing I paid for with my Sapphire was the taxes on the award ticket.
FYI – the benefit applies to the United MileagePlus Club card too.
Do you get trip insurance if you book a reward trip and put the cash portion on a chase card?
Ahh never mind the first post answered it.. Too bad…
Elaine F says
Thanks much for highlighting this benefit!
Josh W says
Yes, will the protection apply to flights bought through UR/Travelocity, or Expedia, etc?
@Levy Flight: Oh no – so sorry to hear that you went through that. I am surprised that they did not extend coverage because it was not a revenue ticket. Numerous reports in the comments from this blog post (http://boardingarea.com/dealswelike/2012/12/04/im-only-using-chase-for-airfare-purchases/) state that people have called Chase and were told that yes, there was coverage for award tickets. If your incident wasn’t too long ago, I’d definitely call Chase and try to dispute it. Maybe the rep you had at the time wasn’t too educated on the benefit? :-/
@Ket: Yes the UA Explorer card also offers this protection
@CardinalTraveler @Paul @LX: According to Chase, this coverage is available for both revenue and award tickets
@Bzorg @propaganda: Thanks for the heads up about the United Club Card also providing this benefit
@BothofUS @Josh W: I’m not sure if bookings from Travelocity would be covered. Personally I will never use Travelocity again because I’m still unsettled about how they handled the NFB2012 promo last year, but I would assume this benefit would be applicable to tickets only purchased directly from an airline (I’ll have to double check on this one). Personally, I think going directly through an airline to purchase a ticket, and eliminating any sort of 3rd party, would be a safer bet when dealing with insurance claims because Chase could argue that it was a 3rd party booking. I’ll get back to you.
@Jared: There really is no real page describing this benefit. For each card, you should see something that reads “Travel Delay Reimbursement” or something of that sort. Some cards though do not fully list it out. It is pretty hidden.
@D: Great to hear a success story on getting reimbursed on an award ticket
David Raccah says
I am really worried here. I am buying a package deal from a company called ChinaSpree.com (they seem to have good ratings on Yelp and such). However, the travel insurance folks at Chase (Crawford Insurance) are saying that the trip cancellation insurance that comes with Chase Sapphire and Explorer cards do not cover the hotel and ONLY applies for injury – NOT for weather or acts of God)
So, even if I am injured, and my package that I am buying from ChinaSpree costs 1200 – they have NO way of telling me now – what they will pay be back, as they ONLY cover the travel part of the tour price.
So, I REALLY want everyone to know that what you seem to be thinking is not totally the case – for tour purchases and the such, and only for medical injury. Chase (via Sapphire and explorer) does not cover weather or acts of God related issues.
My Delta flight has just been cancelled lately due to the weather. Delta didn’t provide accommodation. So I called Chase and asked about their trip protection provided by Sapphire preferred card, as I booked my ticket using that card. At the beginning, their representative told me that I couldn’t get the reimbursement because the cancellation was due to the weather and Delta did change my flight to the next morning. Then she transferred me to her supervisor. The supervisor was really nice and had a guy find me a hotel close to the airport. I was also told that I would need to make a claim for the reimbursement after I fly back. Now I’m just waiting to hear back from them. Hopefully I’ll get reimbursed.
I know this post is a year old, but it’s hardly fair to call Chase the “best” protection against flight delays. My American Airlines world mastercard, for example, has trip delay and cancellation insurance. You can’t say something is the best if you’re only comparing two!