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 (for my tech-geek readers, it’s actually 2.14 points per dollar, if you factor in the 7% annual dividend on all points earned). Here’s why:
Many people, including Dad (since he booked the trip using his American Express® Gold Card), 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 Visa (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.
These following Chase cards offer free travel protection insurance as a benefit of being a cardholder (thanks to Deals We Like for compiling this list):
- Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card
- Ritz Carlton Rewards
- Hyatt Credit Card
- Sapphire Preferred
- Ink Bold Business Card
- Ink Plus Business Card
- Ink Cash Business Card
- Ink Classic Business Card
- United MileagePlus Visa
Luckily, I have not had any encounters lately with any major pesky weather-related delays or cancelations, so I can’t speak about any personal experiences using the Chase travel protection benefits, but I did sort-of “luck out” recently with a mechanical delay in Costa Rica (related post), earning me a $300 travel voucher with United.
Have you had any experience using the Chase travel protection insurance benefit? If so, please feel free to share!