Best Credit Cards With Free Travel Insurance [2023] Best Credit Cards With Free Travel Insurance [2023]

Best Credit Cards With Free Travel Insurance [2023]

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If there is one thing we've learned over the last few years, it's to ensure that we are protected. Travel insurance has become a necessity, rather than a luxury, with so much uncertainty in the air. Carriers experiencing meltdowns, stranding travelers sometimes for days at a time, have heightened the value of having a solid backup plan in place.

Several reputable companies offer solid insurance products at a range of price points. And while the idea of paying for insurance might make anyone shudder, at least a little, it does provide a comforting safety net. The shocking thing with travel insurance is that you may be purchasing an inferior product that might not cover what you really want. Your desired coverage might already be something you have through one of your credit cards.

Delayed Flight
photo credit: Jobopa Turkey Istanbul Ataturk Airport via photopin (license)

This isn't an irrelevant benefit to brush off but rather a perk that doesn't get much attention because it isn't sexy — until you read the fine print. With that said, we've looked at a few top travel rewards cards and have identified those we think are the best options available for travel protection and insurance that come at no additional cost. You get these benefits just by being a cardholder.

Top Cards For Travel Insurance and Protection

Below are our top picks, including highlights of why these cards stand out. Review the benefits guide and contact your benefits administrator for clarification on any of these benefits.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Our #1 recommended beginners rewards card featuring a 60,000-point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. This card comes with great benefits and earns valuable Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, and 2x on all other travel purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC
  • 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 3X points on eligible streaming services
  • 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
  • 2X points on all other travel
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Here's why the Sapphire Preferred ranks at the top of our list:

  • Lowest annual fee of the group.
  • You don't pay to add authorized users who receive the same benefits/protection as the primary card account holder.
  • Primary Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) included globally.
  • Trip interruption / cancellation insurance provides up to $10,000 per trip and covers personal illness of you, your traveling companion, or immediate family that may not be traveling with you. If you're worried about someone you care for getting ill, this covers you!
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement provides up to $500 in reimbursement if you're delayed for 12+ hours or overnight. This has you covered if you're not otherwise compensated for a hotel, rental car, or meals.
  • Baggage Delay provides up to $100/day for up to five days ($500 total) to cover clothes and toiletries if your bag is 6+ hours delayed.
  • Lost Luggage provides up to $3,000 per person per trip.
  • Travel Accident Insurance of up to $500,000/person.
  • Coverage applies when you pay using the card or with Ultimate Rewards for all or part of your travel.
  • Sapphire Preferred Benefits Guide

Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Annual Fee$550
Welcome Bonus Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Chase's flagship Ultimate Rewards card. You get a $300 travel credit, airport lounge access courtesy of a Priority Pass membership and industry-leading travel insurance benefits. New cardholders earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Member FDIC
  • 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • 10X points on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase
  • 10X points on Chase Dining (including prepaid reservations and prepaid takeout purchased through Chase)
  • 5X points on airfare purchased through Chase
  • 3X points on all other travel
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Here's why the Sapphire Reserve made our list:

  • Almost identical coverage to the Sapphire Preferred with some enhancements.
  • Authorized users cost $75 per card.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement kicks in after 6+ hours of delay (instead of 12).
  • Travel Accident Insurance caps out at $1,000,000 (instead of $500,000).
  • Emergency Evacuation and Transportation provides up to $100,000 of coverage if you need to be transported for emergency medical reasons.
  • Emergency Medical & Dental Benefit provides up to $2,500 if you need to head to a hospital, a clinic, or receive other medical/dental services while traveling (services that wouldn't be already covered by your insurance provider).
  • Sapphire Reserve Guide to Benefits

This card would be ranked #1; however, it has a much higher annual fee, and authorized user cards cost $75 each.

We also covered a more in-depth comparison of the Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve benefits.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Annual Fee$395
Welcome Bonus Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 2 miles per dollar on all eligible purchases
  • 5 miles per dollar on flights when booking via Capital One Travel
  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars when booking via Capital One Travel

These are the reasons why the Capital One Venture X makes our list of the best credit cards for travel insurance:

  • Primary Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver (CDW).
  • Trip Interruption/Cancellation provides up to $2,000 per covered traveler.
  • Trip Delay Protection provides up to $500 for a 6+ hour delay or required overnight stay.
  • Baggage Delay Protection provides up to $3,000 per trip ($2,000 for New York residents).
  • Travel Accident Insurance provides up to $1,000,000 (instead of $500,000).
  • Cell Phone Protection provides up to $800 for a lost or stolen phone.
  • Capital One Venture X Guide to Benefits

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer New Cardmember Offer! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
The most valuable Ultimate Rewards signup bonus on offer and our top pick for small business rewards cards. Business owners earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn up to 450,000 points per year on a wide range of 3X bonus categories.
  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Round-the-clock monitoring for unusual credit card purchases
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Member FDIC
  • 3X points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year
  • 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

The Ink Preferred is the highest-ranked small business card on this list. Here's why:

  • Similar coverage to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, with some exceptions.
  • Benefits may extend to company employees even if they don't have a card
  • Primary CDW with rental cars** when renting for business purposes but may be secondary when renting for personal reasons.
  • Trip Interruption/Cancellation insurance of up to $5,000.
  • Ink Preferred Benefits Guide

Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®

The Arrival Plus is no longer open to new applicants. However, if you already have this card, it's a great option to protect travel purchases.

  • Rental Car CDW is Secondary in the U.S. and Primary internationally.
  • Coverage applies when you use your card to pay for all or part of your travel (including when you used points to pay for part of the trip).
  • Trip Interruption/Cancellation insurance of up to $5,000 per traveler.
  • Trip Delay Protection of up to $300 for a 6+ hour delay.
  • Baggage Delay Protection of up to $100 per day if your bags arrive 12+ hours after you.
  • Travel Accident Insurance provides up to $250,000 per person.
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus Guide to Benefits

American Express Cards

Years ago, Amex cards struggled against the competition when it came to insurance benefits. However, Amex refreshed the coverage on almost all of its cards in 2017, and that coverage is slowly gaining on Chase, Citi, and Barclaycard. The changes affect too many cards to list, but you can find them all on a dedicated page of the Amex website.

One of the most significant changes was the adjustments to the Rental Car Coverage. Amex provides secondary coverage across most credit cards but supplies primary coverage for a flat fee. In addition, Amex charges a one-off payment of $19.95–$24.95 per rental, which covers you for up to 42 days. The policy covers you for up to $100,000 in almost any car, including luxury vehicles, SUVs, and pickup trucks.

You can opt-in to the program on the Premium Car Rental Protection page. You'll be presented with options when signing up for the Amex coverage — no need to pay anything upfront. Instead, the payment comes off automatically after you rent a car and will continue to do so with each rental until you unregister your account.

signage for a Hertz rental car location and the rental returns area
Credit: Hertz

Why Other Cards Didn't Make the List

You might wonder why other travel-focused credit cards didn't make the list. It's for one or more of these reasons:

  • They don't offer primary CDW insurance on rental cars. Almost every travel-related credit card we've looked at offers some form of rental car protection, and most provide secondary coverage. This means the coverage kicks in after your own personal insurance. Ideally, you don't want to involve your insurance at all, which is why primary CDW coverage is such a big deal. If your card doesn't explicitly call out that the coverage is primary, which would be a selling point, it is reasonably safe to assume that it is secondary.
  • They don't offer trip and baggage delay. This is a great perk. If your bags don't show up, you'll likely have an expensive shopping trip in your future. So, it's a sensible protection to keep in mind.
  • They require you to put the total amount of your travel on the card and don't cover if you pay with points. If you've got a diverse set of points and miles, you're likely using points from one or more programs to pay. So, we listed cards that provide coverage when you pay for part of the trip using the card. For example, such as paying for the taxes and fees on an award booking.
  • They're just not as good. These cards provide the best-in-class benefits. Others just don't measure up.

And if you're wondering why Citi credit cards didn't make the list, it's because Citi stripped most of these protections from its cards in 2019.

Bottom Line

These benefits are included at no additional charge. Sure, each of these cards has an annual fee. But when calculating the value of these cards, we'd venture a guess that you didn't look at many of these benefits and the value they add to your travel plans.

Knowing about these travel protections now, do they have you thinking about which card to use when you plan your travel? It isn't all about 2x, 3x, or 5x points — even though these cards are some of the best for earning as well.

Is there a card you think belongs on this list that we left out? Let us know in the comments.

4.9 / 5 - (16 votes)
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  • These credit card insurances have many, MANY loopholes. In March 2020, we were in Spain on the MSC Grandiosa. Four hours after boarding the sip, Spain declared a state of emergency and told MSC they could not return to Barcelona. MSC asked all the recent passengers that boarded in Barcelona to leave the ship. MSC gave us no help at all! We had to pay for more hotel nights and a new return ticket to the USA. I submitted claims to CSR and TravelSafe, as we had purchased a separate policy. EVERY claim was denied as they don’t cover anything related to pandemics. Now almost all travel insurances cover pandemics. The companies had to do it because some countries would not admit foreigners without insurance. Same for cruise lines.

    But stating that so and so covers all these events is just adding to the deception in the marketing of these CCs. As @Philip Theriault states these CC insurances will find as many ways as possible to try and not reimburse a covered event. Our trip interruption should have been covered no matter what the cause was! With the exception of care rental coverages, most CC insurances are marketing ploys. As my partner and I are in our 60s, medical evacuation insurance is a primary concern. CSR states they will cover, but will they really provide logistics necessary for a medical evacuation? I have serious doubts about CSR doing what is necessary in a medical emergency. Even Amex states that they “may” cover evacuation with their Global Assist program. And that is the issue, too many programs state that they “may” cover events.

  • Philip Theriault says:

    I have many of the cards on this list. HOWEVER, the “insurance” you mention, is quite misleading. I have found out the hard way that most likely, the trip cancelation, trip delay, etc that one experiences is most likely not a covered event. Imagine being told your car comes with a full bumper to bumper warranty and every part is covered, however, if you drive it off the dealer lot, you won’t be covered. This is about how pathetic the coverage is on the “benefits” these cards give you. For example, on my Altitude Reserve card from U.S. Bank (very similar to Chase Sapphire Reserve) notice the terms and conditions for Trip cancelation and delay coverage:

    The Trip Cancellation or Interruption must be
    caused by or result from:
    1. The death, Accidental Bodily Injury, disease or
    physical illness of You or an Immediate Family
    Member of the Insured person; or
    2. Default of the Common Carrier resulting from
    financial insolvency.

    For any realistic scenario, your delayed or canceled trip will not be covered and compensated by these “benefits.” For a recent experience in Dec ’21 my BA airline return flight from Europe to the US was canceled. BA only gave days notice and they stopped their route to the city I’m in. So my return flight went from 12 hours long to now 30 hours, requiring an overnight stay in another city, food, transportation, etc expenses. I can’t get the airline to email me the reason for the cancelation (credit card requires this) but I’m sure they will related it to COVID. This is a realistic situation that one would think they would be covered with a trip delay benefit on their credit card. However, it isn’t. Basically, these benefits (I’ve read the T&C of many of these cards) are a joke. Its not really a benefit at all, just something to mislead people into thinking a $4-600 card should be in their wallet.

    I wish people would actually report on the realistic experience they should expect from these instead of just generalizing. At the end of the day, 99% of trip delays, cancelations, interruptions are not covered.
    The ones that might be covered are not handled by the credit card company (U.S. Bank) nor Visa (even though its an “Infinite Card” from them). You will for sure get a “run around” by multiple 3rd party administrators, with each one pointing the finger at a different entities to handle the claim. It is a scam and a racket! Finally, their requirements to file an eligible claim are so high that chances are you won’t have the full amount of paperwork to substantiate any claim.

    SO in conclusion, it doesn’t matter what your CC claims you have for coverage. You are 99.9 % NOT covered. Read the fine print in their terms and conditions (they have a long PDF for this) and in the unlikely event that you might think you are eligible, the classic finger pointing, call transfers, disconnects, not accepting responsibility, 3rd party incompetent entities, you will pull your hair out trying to make a claim and it will probably be denied on a technicality. SO DON’T GET THE CARDS YOU SEE THINKING YOU ARE COVERED> YOU’RE NOT!

    • I can definitely understand your frustration. Sometimes the devil is in the T&C. However, I have to firmly disagree that 99% of these issues aren’t covered.

      I have successfully filed claims for delayed and lost bags, and trip delay. I think 4 of 5 claims were approved without an unreasonable amount of hassle.

  • Do you have suggestions for picking good, economical travel insurance when we don’t have one of the cards that include insurance?

  • Quyen Nguyen says:

    Are all travel insurance benefits such as car rental insurance, accident insurance, delay baggage insurance, etc covered for authorized user if he/she travels separately? ( Especially, from United Explorer credit card)

  • I’m sorry to say this post is quite misleading.

    None of these cards cover you for emergency medical care while travelling. They only compensate you if you lose an organ or DIE, while “boarding, exiting or riding as a passenger on a Common Carrier” (like a plane or train)!!!

    In fact, I did extensive research, and the only US credit card that offered any real travel emergency coverage was the recently-discontinued Ritz-Carlton Rewards Visa card! NO other credit card, even those with the highest annual fee, will cover emergency medical care.

    That’s in huge contrast to credit cards in Canada and Europe, which often offer real emergency medical coverage. I guess Americans just can’t win when it comes to healthcare!

    • Take a look at the Sapphire Reserve — it provides coverage as well. That said, when it comes to medical coverage, I’d always recommend checking with your health insurance company.

  • Would like to know if the annual fee for Chase Sapphire is being calculated per calendar year or per anniversary date. Thanks.

  • How does the Ink Business card prove if your card was used for travel? Does anyone know?

    • Each merchant is assigned an MCC (Merchant Category Code) and when they process a transaction that information is sent as a part of the transaction to Chase for when they credit your points.

  • I recently came across a scenario that I (fortunately) did not have to find out the answer to, but I am wondering if anyone has any practical experience with.

    Got both the Citi Prestige & Premier about a year ago. Combined the points (realized later that maybe I shouldn’t have but that’s a different story). Booked tickets with the points- the reservation email said something about Prestige in it. Between booking and travel, cancelled the Prestige due to the annual fee. Fine print of Citi Premier travel coverage said that travel coverage is good if ticket is booked with the card or with Citi ThankYou points. Sounds like we could have been covered but I wasn’t really sure since the reservation said something about the now-cancelled Prestige. Anyone have any experience with a scenario like this?

  • Great review. Thanks, Howie. Two questions: What kicks in “travel” coverage? Does charging the airfare (or taxes/fees) initiate the insurance? If I’m driving somewhere and staying in a hotel is that a trip? If air was on on CSR and hotel on citi, would I just file each card for their part?

    Second question: if CDW is included, do I need to buy any other auto insurance? Liability?

    • I’m not an insurance professional and don’t want to potentially misinterpret what you’ve asked; I would suggest reviewing the benefits guide and asking these questions of the benefits administrator to make sure your exact question is properly answered.

      That said, different coverage has different requirements. My understanding is that Trip Delay protection would not cover you if you’re personally driving, but rather trip interruption/cancellation may (depending on the circumstance). As for rental protection, you would need to purchase Liability insurance if that was something you felt you needed. You may be covered through your personal policy, or an umbrella policy you have.

  • Kaylene Lindley says:

    So glad I read this post! I have been on the fence about the Chase Sapphire Reserve – now I believe it would be a great card to have – just not sure I can get it – I sure hope I can.

  • edward cantor says:

    in the case of evacuation insurance, if you have a heart attack, can you choose to be transported to your home hospital for treatment. who makes the decision?

    • Edward, please review the guide in detail for the specific terms of the card product you have. Clarification on any terms can be explained by the benefits administrator for a specific scenario.

  • edward cantor says:

    with either of the recommended chase cards, does the evacuation benefit cover transporting you home. to the hospital of your choice, if, for example, you have a heart attack?…ed

    • Review the terms in the guide to benefits for each card — based on how I read it, you do not solely make the decision on your hospital of choice. It is a decision made by your physician who coordinates with the benefits administrator. Getting proper treatment is priority #1, not getting you to your desired hospital.

  • I can’t get approved for sapphire…too many chase cards…the IHG and marriott have trip cancellation up to 5k per person…ive called 3 times to verify you do NOT have to put the whole trip on the card AND it will cover the whole purchase…do you know if that is true…sounds too good to be true…citi american aadvantage says you can charge partial. ..and they will reimburse ONLY the part on their card. do you think for an 8k cruise…i could charge 5k on chase and the 3k on citi…would i get the full 8k between the 2 (5 from chase 3 from citi)

    • Yes a partial charge would work. As for a split payment, I doubt it would work as it is a single trip and limits are based on trip. The benefits administrator would answer this question for you — you should call them to confirm as this is a unique scenario.

  • Keep the 5 bonus Advantage miles. Help me get the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve or anything Chase.

  • I’m kicking myself for not knowing how great Chase cards are. By the time I became aware of the superior product, I had every card but the one that made more sense to have. I thought my AMEX card was the best for renting cars until I heard about Chase. Too bad. Chase is treating us lame-brainers like the lame-brainers we are for not applying for their cards. So now we’re stuck in a purgatory condition watching others enjoy what we wish we had. Nate

  • Do transferred balances earn points?

  • I’ve been using the CSR card for last few months and really appreciate what it covers. In Panama City, the AVIS rep was not going to give me a car, unless I bought additional insurance and luckily I had a copy of the benefits of the CSR card and showed it to him and he had to back off trying to work me to pay more!

  • Costa Rica did not accept insurance cover from any of my cards. i had to purchase insurance at the counter.

  • I have never actually used travel insurance on any card but its good peace of mind and probably super valuable in a pinch. I have 4 cards that offer it from Chase and Amex. Putting most of my travel spend on the Chase Reserve though.

  • ADAM PARSONS says:

    Agree, Amex do offer a great free cover of travel / medical insurance for the whole family on most cArds they offer. I have also read that this cover is very reliable when actually needed and they go the extra mile but I’m sure Chase offer the same level of service.

  • I did not realize the difference between primary and secondary CDW coverage! I will have to make sure we always use our CSR card for rental cars now. Thanks!

    How do you know if the coverage extends internationally? We were in Mallorca last year and the rental agency insisted that neither our own personal auto insurance would work there but neither would our credit card coverage. We were unable to get a hold of either to confirm while standing there so we broke down and paid for the insurance, which was more than the rental fees for the car! Such a disaster that we do not want to repeat.

    • The coverage on the Sapphire Reserve is global with no country exceptions. If you contact customer service they’ll send you a letter stating proof of coverage that you can bring with you.


    Great information! We took a three month trip to India last year and I previously had decided to get travel insurance. Thank goodness as my travel partner had to go to the hospital the last week of the trip for emergency surgery. Everything was covered but I shelled out quite a sum for the insurance. Needles to say, I should have had the Sapphire card…I won’t traveL without it again! That perk alone is worth the annual fee.

  • If your flight is canceled and/or delayed long enough that you require a hotel stay, the airline pays for your hotel, will the Chase Reserve card pick up the cost of your meals that the airline did not cover?

  • Thanks so much for the insight. It inspired me to check my AAdvantage MC for benefits. CDW, but no travel insurance! The Citi Prestige annual fee of $450 is pretty hefty, though. Thanks again!

  • Very timely article. I used 3 different cards (CSR, CSP, and Arr+) for the various benefits on a current trip. One comment for the folks using the CSR. Please don’t rationalize the AF cost down to $150 because of the $300 travel reimbursement. You must spend that $300 to get it back. Net result is still a $450 AF.

  • Thanks, very helpful article. To clarify, is the CSR the only card on the list that offers emergency medical and dental coverage?

    Too bad that Amex doesn’t offer some of these coverages (eg trip delay, etc), otherwise putting airfare spend on the platinum card for 5x points would be a no brainer. As it stands, though, I’d still opt to use the Prestige or CSR for their superior travel insurance. Lost opportunity for Amex, hope they step up their game…

  • What about the Ritz Carlton card. It has Primary CDW, and is NOT subject to the 5/24 rules.

    • The Ritz card also comes with emergency medical/dental as well. It is a fantastic card with its benefits, but I couldn’t add it to the list as the only currency it accumulates are Marriott/Ritz Rewards and while you can transfer to SPG, it is still limited compared to the other flexible points earning cards.

  • I get my travel insurance through my bank account (Nationwide). I pay 10 GBP per month and get travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, breakdown cover and fee-free cash withdrawals abroad. I usually make that back on the money I save make withdrawals abroad.

  • The travel insurance benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve are one reason I will keep the card (I got it initially for more obvious reasons). When I travel with my family, I have been thinking that I really should purchase travel insurance, but it really adds up. This gives me peace of mind for a mere $150 per year ($450-$300 travel benefit).

  • The biggest problem with the Chase trip insurance is that it doesn’t cover cases where the family member’s illness is due to a pre-existing condition, i.e., “Pre-existing Condition – illness, disease or Accidental injury of you, your Traveling Companion, your Immediate Family Member or the Immediate Family Member of the Traveling Companion, for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received within the 60-day period immediately prior to the purchase of a Covered Trip. “. Trip insurance bought from an insurance company right after your first payment for a trip doesn’t have this exclusion.
    It would be great if Chase allowed some way to avoid this exclusion, even the payment of a small fee.

  • The Chase Sapphire looks great. Is the annual fee waived for the first year?

  • How about the Amex personal gold card ? Do they have good insurance coverage?

    • Vivienne, assuming you mean this card:, I find the coverage to be sub-par across the board. Rental car coverage is secondary and lost baggage protection is much lower than on other cards. While I haven’t combed through all the benefits of this card, it would not be one I would recommend for travel insurance and protection. If you’re using an Amex for travel you might consider purchasing some of their premium insurance products, which are on par with what the lists cards provide at no cost.

  • Margaret Bassion says:

    We buy an annual family membership with DAN(Divers Alert Network). The membership is reasonable, the travel insurance benefits excellent for all accidents & illness for any reason. Member does NOT have to be a diver.

  • Thank you for making us a smart consumer. In early Jan.2018 I’m joining a 17 days tour to India and Nepal. I want to fly Etihad using my AA points(97k) but I’m sad to know that AA didn’t make the list. In this case I will have to buy a travel insurance but which one you recommend … and do they cover award airfare as purchased one?

    • Eva, if for example you redeem your AA miles and pay taxes/fees with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you would be covered. This would be the same with the Citi Prestige card as well as you’re using the card for part of your purchase. I hope this helps and congrats on the amazing trip you’ve got planned!

  • I agree the Chase Sapphire card seemed to be recommend by everyone.
    The primary CDW for rental car with no country exception is amazing actually. Wish I had it when I took the side mirror off a rental in Ireland.

  • Blane Nagareda says:

    Something else to consider about the value of a card besides the obvious points and annual fees.

  • I like the Citi Double Rewards travel insurance. No annual fee and they even cover your pet.

    • Definitely great for domestic travel. the 3% foreign transaction fee is a killer but 2% cash back for all your spend and cancellation/interruption coverage domestically is awesome for $0 fee card.

  • Edward J. Ross says:

    You have reinforced all I have heard about the Saphire card which I have.

  • How exactly does travel insurance work? For example, if I book a flight with my Sapphire Preferred and it gets delayed, they will cover it for me? If I have to stay overnight at a hotel in a stopover city I just have to also use my Sapphire Preferred?

    • Alice, the benefits guide will walk you through all the details (there are too many to list here), but the gist of it is that you purchase the flight with your Sapphire Preferred (or at least a portion of it) and if you’re delayed and require an overnight, they’ll reimburse you up to $500 of expenses. You do not need to use your Sapphire Preferred for those expenses either, just keep your receipts.

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred just came through for us on the trip delay insurance. We used points for our flights, but paid the taxes using the card. Then Hurricane Matthew hit and it was an additional 2 days before we could get home. The documentation required was reasonable, and just today we got our reimbursement check covering all of our additional hotel and food expenses (almost $900). I was surprised at the full amount of the food being reimbursed as I couldn’t find an itemized receipt for one of the meals, but they paid it anyway. Truly an awesome benefit.

  • Do you have a synopsis of the best Canadian cards out there?

    • Bob, we don’t — just not as versed with the options there, which are vastly different from how things work in the U.S. Which cards do you have? It’d give me a good starting place to take a look at things.

  • I thought the Chase United Explorer card offered primary auto insurance coverage for rentals.

  • I think you are missing an important point. While the Chase Sapphire reserve appears to cost $450, one immediately gets $300 of travel credit (each year), usable for any travel expenses, such as Uber ,airlines or train. Since these cards are only a value for people who travel, it is a certainty that they will use the $300 travel credit. Thus, the real cost is only $150 about the same as the Chase preferred. Also unmentioned, is the hundred thousand frequent flyer miles when signing up, and triple mile for all restaurant expenses. The Chase Sapphire reserve is a much better deal than the Chase preferred.

    • Roger, thanks for chiming in. Indeed, the Sapphire Reserve does come with the $300 credit, and the big bonus and higher earning potential, the upfront cost and cost to add authorized users is more for the casual traveler. The reason the Sapphire Preferred gets the top spot for travel insurance cards from us is the cost for it and your entire family of authorized users that you could add is much smaller. For the moderate to heavy traveler and big spender in the bonus categories, I think everyone would agree that the Sapphire Reserve has much greater potential, but its travel insurance benefits alone aren’t significant enough to make it top of the list for the cost.

  • Thank you very much for the post! Great reminder indeed. Question: do any of these cards also cover award ticket bookings (say if I book a ticket using miles and only charge taxes/fees to credit card)? Thanks!

  • Leslie Horwinkle says:

    Does the United Explorer Chase card have similar to the Preferred card?

  • Great stuff here!! I always ignore the insurance element but I can see the value in looking at that more now. Thanks again!

  • Susan Teegardin says:

    Chase Sapphire Preferred has no medical evacuation coverage and Reserve has no Trip Cancellation coverage, so neither one replaces a good outside insurance provider.

    • Susan, while the Sapphire Preferred does not have medical evacuation coverage, the Sapphire Reserve does indeed have Trip Interruption and Cancellation coverage. The Sapphire Reserve, depending on your needs, provides some of the most complete coverage and can easily replace an outside insurance provider. It just comes with a larger of up-front cost.

  • The struggle of booking flights for bonus points or to get travel insurance. Hmm..

    • There is no struggle! Just pay the taxes/fees with the cards and you’re covered 🙂

      • Howie,

        If I booked my tickets with Skymiles and paid taxes with the Delta Amex, could I still be eligible for Trip Cancellation insurance if I buy an upgrade to Comfort + through Chase Sapphire Reserve? The T&C of the card seem to indicate that anything other than FF points need to be paid for with a Reserve card, or am I misreading it?


        • Olga, as the ticket is being purchased with the Delta Amex, you wouldn’t be covered. If you used SkyMiles + Sapphire Reserve you’d be covered, but an upgrade is not a part of the base ticket.

  • Susan Teegardin says:

    Under Chase Sapphire Preferred, Travel Accident Insurance, what does the phrase “probably something you’re not buying” mean?

    • I would think that 99.9%+ of people that buy travel insurance do not purchase some form of accident protection in case of loss of limb, sight, etc. From a small non-scientific poll I completed the major protection people were looking to have was to cover illness/injury prior to departure, on the trip, or if there was some sort of delay that caused them to be stranded.

      Not one person mentioned or indicated that they saw much value in travel accident insurance. They all liked that it was an included benefit but wouldn’t be something they would pay for while traveling.

  • I thought AMEX offered pretty good insurance as well…

  • Thanks Howie. That makes the annual fee on the Reserve more palatable. As we get older, having evacuation & medical insurance for overseas trips is becoming more important. And congrats on your gig with Award Wallet! I was wondering where you ended up.

  • The Citi Prestige is on my list “want to get” credit cards since I already have 2 out of the 3 Chase cards. The diverse set of points and miles is a definite advantage to the cards that let you pay with the card or with points/miles and still be covered by the insurance and is a definite distinction to make between lesser cards. So far all of my travels have been relatively painless and easy with no big delays or lost luggage but there is always a first time and just like a boy scout, it’s always good to be prepared.

  • Great info. Primary car insurance is a big deal. (But don’t be a dope like me and forget to file a claim right away. Some cards have a very short time limit for filing a claim and, if you miss it like I once did, there’s no grace for you.)

  • I did not know of some of these benefits on my card for travel insurance. Thank you. So happy I read this post!!!

  • Thanks for the list. The Chase Sapphire cards seem to be recommended by everyone.

    • Yes, indeed. I think though, unfortunately, that most people overlook the additional perks on the card. They’re great for earning and redeeming points but don’t forget all the extras!

      • Do they offer the Chase reserve card to European residents? I am far more concerned about health insurance on my travels than points. For instance if I travel to the USA for 90 days will they cover me for the entire 90 day period and what does that include?

        • The Chase Sapphire Reserve card isn’t offered to European residents. And unfortunately, I’m not aware of travel cards open to European residents that include insurance. So, it seems that you might have to get a separate insurance policy for your trip.