Trip Delay: Best Credit Cards

Trip Delay: Best Credit Cards


Travel delays have been common this summer, but many travelers aren't aware of the best credit cards for trip delay insurance, or the differences among the premium credit cards that they may carry.

1. Chase Sapphire Reserve: $500 per Ticket

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is the best card to have for trip delay insurance if you're traveling with your spouse/partner or your family (legally dependent children under the age of 26), because the trip delay benefit is $500 per ticket, for a delay of 6 hours or more, as long as you've used the card for some amount of the purchase. That means you could have used any kind of frequent flyer miles or points and only paid for nominal taxes and fees using your Sapphire Reserve, yet still be protected. If you're a family of four, that means up to a $2000 total trip delay benefit ($500 x 4 tickets) after a 6+ hour delay or a delay that requires an overnight stay. Note the requirements:

  • Expenses must be reasonable, incurred during your delay
  • The coverage is secondary to any benefits covered by your Common Carrier (such as the airline), other travel insurance, or another party

As always, be sure to save receipts.


2. AMEX Platinum Card: $500 per Covered Trip

The AMEX Platinum card also reimburses up to $500 in trip delay expenses after a 6 or more hour delay, but it's up to $500 per covered trip (not per ticket), which is a significantly lower benefit than the Chase Sapphire Reserve's benefit. Also, the AMEX Platinum limits the benefit to no more than 2 claims per eligible card within a 12 consecutive month period, further limiting the benefit to a maximum payout of no more than $1000 per year. As with the Chase Sapphire Reserve trip delay insurance, the AMEX trip delay insurance is secondary to any benefits, refunds or vouchers provided by the airline/common carrier and other insurance that the passenger carries.


3. Chase Sapphire Preferred: $500 per Ticket, 12+ Hour Delay

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a lower annual fee of just $95, so as expected the travel delay benefit only kicks in after a longer delay: 12+ hours, instead of the 6+ hours of the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the AMEX Platinum. That said, once it does apply, it's superior to the AMEX Platinum in that the benefit is again on a per ticket basis, such that a family of four could claim up to $2000 in reasonable trip delay expenses that aren't otherwise covered by the airline/common carrier or other insurance they carry.


4. Ink Business Preferred: $500 per Ticket, 12+ Hour Delay

The Ink Business Preferred's trip delay benefit is nearly the same as the Chase Sapphire Preferred's, except that in the case of families, it covers the card holder, spouse/domestic partner and legally dependent children under the age of 22, so it's not quite as good there. If you travel with your young adult children, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred will cover them a few years longer.

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