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With roughly 15% of US travelers having to cancel or change their travel plans each year, investing in quality travel insurance is a must. But one of the issues with travel insurance is it can be prohibitively expensive, with 3rd party insurance plans increasing the cost of travel by as much as 10%.
If you carry a rewards card in your wallet, chances are you already have access to some form of travel insurance, with many cards featuring a variety of travel protection policies that have your back when something goes wrong. And the cost of this coverage? For the majority of providers, the policy is free of charge, the only qualifying factor being you use the card to pay for the travel you want to be covered.
The coverage you need if you have to cancel travel plans, or your trip is interrupted partway through your vacation, is Trip Interruption & Cancellation Insurance.
What is Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance?
Trip interruption and cancellation insurance covers you if your travel plans are interrupted during a trip, or you have to cancel before your travel begins for any of the reasons covered under your card’s policy. The difference between the two policies is simple.
- Trip cancellation covers you up until the day of departure. If your plans are canceled due to bad weather, illness, or another covered reason before you depart on your travels, trip cancellation insurance can help you recover the out-of-pocket, pre-paid expenses you can’t recoup from the travel provider.
- Trip interruption covers you during your travels. If your trip is interrupted for a covered event and you have to cut your travels short, trip interruption insurance can reimburse you for the portion of the journey you are unable to complete.
Chase covers trips paid for with points or your qualifying card, so the cards listed in the table below include award travel paid for directly with points.
The Best Rewards Credit Cards for Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance
Similar to the results in our post covering the best cards for trip delay reimbursement, all the cards listed below are from Chase or American Express. This follows Citi removing almost all travel and purchase protection coverage from its entire range of rewards cards in September 2019.
At the beginning of 2020, Amex added trip interruption & cancellation insurance to some of its premium travel cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express. Amex will reimburse non-refundable travel expenses up to the value of $10,000 per trip (max $20K per 12 months) if your trip is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason.
|Credit Card||Maximum Coverage||Who is Covered||Annual Fee||Guide to Benefits|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Up to $10,000 per person for each covered trip ($20K per trip and $40K per year max)||Primary cardholder and immediate family||$95||Sapphire Preferred Guide to Benefits|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Up to $10,000 per person for each covered trip ($20K per trip and $40K per year max)||Primary cardholder and immediate family||$550||Sapphire Reserve Guide to Benefits|
|The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card||Up to $10,000 per person for each covered trip ($20K per trip and $40K per year max)||Primary cardholder and immediate family||$450||Ritz-Carlton Card Guide to Benefits|
|United Club℠ Infinite Card||Up to $10,000 per person for each covered trip ($20K per trip and $40K per year max)||Primary cardholder and immediate family||$525||United Infinite Guide to Benefits|
|United MileagePlus® Club Card||Up to $10,000 per person for each covered trip ($20K per trip and $40K per year max)||Primary cardholder and immediate family||$450||MileagePlus Club Card Guide to Benefits|
|IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card||Up to $5,000 per person for each covered trip ($10K per trip and $20K per year max)||Primary cardholder and immediate family||$99||Chase IHG Premier Benefits Guide|
|The World of Hyatt Credit Card||Up to $5,000 per covered trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses.||Primary cardholder and immediate family||$95||Chase World of Hyatt Card Benefits Guide|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Up to $10,000 per covered trip ($20K per card per 12 consecutive month period)||Primary cardholder, immediate family, and eligible travel companions||$695 - Rates & Fees||American Express Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Policies|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||Up to $10,000 per covered trip ($20K per card per 12 consecutive month period)||Primary cardholder, immediate family, and eligible travel companions||$695 - Rates & Fees||American Express Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Policies|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card||Up to $10,000 per covered trip ($20K per card per 12 consecutive month period)||Primary cardholder, immediate family, and eligible travel companions||$550 - Rates & Fees||American Express Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Policies|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card||Up to $10,000 per covered trip ($20K per card per 12 consecutive month period)||Primary cardholder, immediate family, and eligible travel companions||$550 - Rates & Fees||American Express Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Policies|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||Up to $10,000 per covered trip ($20K per card per 12 consecutive month period)||Primary cardholder, immediate family, and eligible travel companions||$450||American Express Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Policies|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card||Up to $10,000 per covered trip ($20K per card per 12 consecutive month period)||Primary cardholder, immediate family, and eligible travel companions||$650 - Rates & Fees||American Express Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance Policies|
Providers that don’t make the cut include:
- U.S. Bank – Provides $2,000 coverage on its flagship U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
- Capital One – Only covers $1,500 on World MasterCard and World Elite MasterCard products
- Discover – Doesn’t offer trip interruption & cancellation insurance
- Citi– No longer offers trip interruption & cancellation insurance as of 09/22/2019
Another card often featured on ‘best of' lists is the United℠ Explorer Card from Chase. However, the latest Guide to Benefits for the card states the trip interruption & cancellation coverage was cut June 1, 2018, from $10,000 per trip to $1,500 per covered person up to a maximum of $6,000 per trip.
Not sure if your credit card offers any kind of trip interruption & cancellation coverage? Check out our master list of credit card Guides to Benefits.
What does Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance Cover?
Coverage differs between providers, but the most common covered events include:
- Accidental injury, death, or illness experienced by you or a family member
- Severe weather which prevents you from the beginning or continuing a trip
- Change in military orders for you, your spouse, or partner
- A terrorist action or hijacking
- Jury duty or receiving a subpoena from the courts which can't be postponed or waived
- Finding your hotel/accommodation to be uninhabitable
- Quarantine imposed by a Physician for health reasons
- Financial insolvency of the Travel Agency, Tour Operator, or Travel Supplier whose services you booked
The expenses covered by your policy are typically limited to non-refundable pre-paid air, land, or sea transportation, change fees if you need to change travel arrangements to a later date, and any pre-paid tour or accommodation costs that cannot be refunded. Unlike the Trip Delay coverage provided on many of the same cards, to receive a full refund of your travel expenses, the entire trip must be paid for on the card or with points earned within that provider's rewards programs.
How to File a Trip Interruption or Cancellation Claim
To file a claim, you’ll need to supply the following documentation:
- Completed claim form
- Copy of your itinerary and tickets
- Confirmation of the reason for the trip interruption/cancellation—i.e., medical documents, death certificate, or other documentation supporting your claim
- Copy of the Credit Card statement that shows the charge for prepaid travel arrangements
- Proof of expenses incurred due to a trip interruption
- A copy of the cancellation or refund policies of the Common Carrier, Tour Operator, or Travel Supplier
- Any other documentation required by your card provider
The claim window with Chase doesn't allow a lot of time for a case to be filed, however, Amex provides plenty of time for both the claim and the supporting docs to be registered.
- American Express – Need to file a claim within 60 days of the interruption/cancellation, and all supporting documents supplied within 180 days.
- Chase – Need to file a claim within 20 days of the interruption/cancellation, and all supporting documents supplied within 90 days.
To file a claim, either call your Benefits Administrator or visit the claims website.
- American Express – Call the Benefits Administrator on 1-844-933-0648 to open a claim.
- Chase – Head to eclaimsline.com or Call the Benefit Administrator at 1-804-281-5772 for information to file a claim.
An essential feature if you don’t want to pay top dollar for 3rd party travel insurance, trip interruption and cancellation insurance offered with rewards credit cards can save you plenty of cash by making another ‘necessary’ travel insurance free of charge for cardholders.
While the top Chase cards all feature the same coverage, the gong for best overall card goes to the Sapphire Preferred. Compared to the premium cards keeping it company at the top of the table, the Sapphire Preferred only charges an annual fee of $95, and yet provides the same or better coverage than every other card on the list.
If you’ve ever made a trip interruption or cancellation claim on your card, either approved or denied, we’d love to hear your experience in the comments!
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card (Rates & Fees), Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card (Rates & Fees), Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Rates & Fees), The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve insurance is a joke. They will weasel out of paying any which they can. We went to Europe in March 2020. We boarded our cruise and 4 hours after embarkation the captain mandated that passengers boarded that day, had to disembark. We were stuck in Barcelona with air reservations a week later. We purchased new airline tickets. We had both CSR insurance and a separate travel ins. policy. Neither paid because they don’t cover pandemic travel issues. Even though neither policy mentioned pandemics at all. Not one mention of excluding pandemics.
CSR insurance is just good for car rentals. Do not depend on it if you have someone travelling with health conditions, or God forbid another pandemic occurs because Chase left us stranded.
Thanks for the very useful information! I had forgotten that my World of Hyatt card came with those benefits. I am going to bookmark this page for future reference.
I have been a customer for over a decade with Chase Ink Visa Card . I was clearly cheated from a merchant Best Buy for $ 231.00 dollars and they did little to support the individual customer. They are (Chase Visa INK credit Card) stalling, and making up excuses not to reverse the illegal charge. They DO NOT have the customer’s interest in mind !!! And instead reposted the bill without notification Or read my letter . I Would go with a different credit card altogether… Even their login/UI is sub-par… And submitting any issues is archaic.
I totally agree that Chase does not make it easy to collect on a trip cancellation claim, but their the only game in town (for expensive travel)!
We take an average of 4-5 cruises a year costing a total of about $150,000. Buying commercial trip cancellation insurance would cost me over $10,000 per year, so an extra $100 per year is really a bargain for me.
I’ve collected on about $70,000 in claims from Chase over the past 3 years. Yes it is a pain playing their game, but they eventually do pay.
I have had chase Sapphire and pay 450$ and now 550$ per year. I had one trip cancellation over new years. Filed the complains via third party eclaims. The ONLY GOAL of this third is to harass you and keep asking for more paperwork . The sole goal is to frustrate you and try to force you to give up your claim. They have asked the same paper works 4 times in different forms and language. Which I did submit.
CHASE SAPPHIRE BENEFITS are just a fraud to collect 550$ yearly fees from you. SO don’t think you have any insurance.
This is great information. What if the airline cancels a flight without explanation and gives you the money back—does this coverage typically cover the increased cost of a last minute ticket? I recall parents flying on Frontier and the night before they canceled the flight (and simply said “here is your money back. Good luck”). My parents had to quickly rebook on a different airline for a far higher cost. They bought trip insurance but were told that because the cancelation wasn’t due to bad weather or a mechanical issue (Frontier wouldn’t explain the cancellation), no coverage was provided. Curious if that’s typical.
Julia, great question that many people don’t even think about until they find themselves in a similar situation. Please read this post that will fully answer your question. But the short answer is: NO.
Thanks Kellie, so sorry about your experience. My parents’ coverage wasn’t through Chase so it appears that a number of the insurers play these underhanded games. But it’s good to know that about Chase! Will certainly pass the info on to friends.
Is the coverage provided by Chase Ink Preferred (Business card) same as Chase Ink Sapphire (Personal) card?
The vast majority of Ink card holders have used their card’s for personal travel without an issue with Chase even though terms and conditions say this is not allowed. But if a trip is clearly personal travel such as a cruise are there data point to suggest they will not pay the claim?
I have never filed a claim with Chase but had very good experience dealing with Citi on travel insurance claims
I’m not aware of any data points, but it’s hard to say how the terms would be enforced if the claims adjuster felt the trip wasn’t business-related. If you think the insurance is likely to be needed, I probably wouldn’t risk paying on a business card.
I had to cancel a meeting trip in September because of illness. I purchased this meeting with my Citibank Visa card several months ago. After filing an initial claim on Oct 7th and having to resubmit documents to prove my illness, I received a credit today (24 days after the initial attempt to file a claim). It was my first time ever to take advantage of trip cancellation insurance offered by a credit card. I am bummed out that Citibank decided to cancel this offer for all its clients as of September 22nd! That’s why I’m at this site trying to figure out what other credit cards offer this benefit!
Our top recommendations if you want travel cover from your credit card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. We cover the card in detail here – Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the Best Beginner’s Travel Rewards Card
Please add the AMEX cards that will begin offering trip insurance next year:
• The Platinum Card® from American Express
• The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
• American Express Corporate Platinum Card
• Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
• Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express
• Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card
• Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
Unfortunately I’ve had lots of experience with claims for trip cancellation with Citi and Chase. All were eventually paid but the Chase claims took up to 4 months to be paid. Even with the wait one $45,000 claim would have cost me at least $3000 to insure without the card. (I had split the charge on two Sapphire cards and an Ink Preferred card).
Wow talk about a mega insurance claim! Thanks for the reminder about updating the Amex cards.
I have already booked my flights, but I have a hold on a reservation at a resort. Is there a card with cancellation insurance that would cover the resort portion if there was a flight cancellation/delay that caused me to cancel the trip (even if I did not use the card for the flight)?
Yes, you should be covered for the charges you put on the card even if the flight that is delayed was on a different card. If you buy the hotel with a card and all flights are cancelled due to severe weather, the hotel is still covered (even if the flight was not paid with the card). You’ll want to look at the “Covered Loss” language to see what is covered. You can find benefits guides here: https://awardwallet.com/blog/master-list-credit-card-benefits-guides/
What is the best Credit card to earn travel miles. And is the best to use while traveling with family.
I have a UA Mileage Plus (Chase) card which is quite good.
Recently I was conned (via $50 and an extra 1% reward) by Amazon into getting a free Amazon card which turns out to be Chase card also. That was a huge mistake on my part!!!
It locked me out of the much better Chase Preferred card, despite my credit rating and ability to pay.
Lesson: learn the Chase rules about multiple cards. Do not get conned into a low-value Chase card, like the Amazon card.
Don’t fall for the Chase hype. Before you rely on any Chase card for travel coverage, you might want to read this:
Anyone know if your Homeowners or Auto Insuror covers travel cancellation reimbursement or will sell me a rider or short term policy for it at a resonable price if the credit cards travel plans won’t work?
@Joel: That is good to know about the CSR. In the future, I will be sure to include some part of the trip expense on my CSR.
I had a cancelation claim for about $3000 with Citi Premier for a family kayaking trip to Baja last year. They paid the entire amount in just a few weeks with just a doctor’s note (broken ankle) and a copy of the expense receipt. I was pleasantly surprised.
I like Amex because there is no cap on evacuation costs, which can be phenomenal. According to the Amex Global Assist rep I spoke to before our Antarctica trip, they will organize a rescue anywhere an air ambulance can land – including Antarctica. He described a complex evacuation he organized from South Georgia back to the US that cost the client zero. Chase covers evacuation to the nearest hospital. Amex covers that and medical transportation to your home city if needed after being stabilized. That is truly comprehensive. Whether it is worth the annual fee depends on your travel profile and whether you can take advantage of other Amex card benefits.
CSR also provides free emergency evacuation ($100,000) and medical, dental and drug coverage ($2500). AMEX provides nothing in the way of trip cancellation/interruption coverage. To get full coverage (up to your stated limits) with CSR you only need to charge the tax on air or any portion of the cruise or tour fare.
It is worth noting that Amex Platinum cards provide medical evacuation to the US through their global assist program. This includes adventurous destinations like safaris in Botswana and cruises to Antarctica. The coverage is regardless of how the trip was paid as long as the Plat card is active.
Do you know any cases when insurance actually payed claimed money? I claimed my trip cancellation due to illness through United Mileage. It’s on the final review. They said it will take 5 business days, it was a month ago. It’s still pending, still no decision.
Yes, many times.
Citi typically pays very quickly (a week or two). Chase can take several months – but they eventually pay. Last year I had to cancel an Antarctic cruise and had charged the $40,000 ($20,000 with CSR, $10,0000 with Ink Preferred, and $5000 to eac. of two City TY Premier cards) all were eventually paid. Using the cards saved me $40,000 cruise fare – or $2800 in trip cancellation insurance.
The CSR card is amazing!!
Does anyone know if trip cancellation insurance would apply to a situation where you have rented a beach house for a week and a hurricane makes the occupancy impossible? Thanks.
It depends on how you booked/paid, but most likely, yes. Example: Booked it through Airbnb and paid with your Chase Sapphire Reserve card, this would count.
I think that your listing for City TY Premier card is incorrect. It should be $5000/trip – not per person. Also Citi Double Cash is now $1500/trip.
Thanks, Joel. I’ve updated the guide links and data on each of those cards. I missed these with the updates yesterday.
Glad to run across this thread. Although I already took the plunge to purchase a single travel insurance policy, I really need to take a closer look and compare what I already had available and potentially paid for. Looking at the list above, I don’t currently have any of those specific flavors. Perhaps a consideration if I find I really don’t have what I need. Thanks for the head’s up!
Thank you for this excellent report! I love AwardWallet and this is icing on the cake. I see with dismay that none of my current credit cards are on your list for travel protection. How terrible that AMEX just ignores that feature. All us AMEX card holders should protest, indeed. This is outrageous. I just wish I knew what cards of mine I should use to buy my tickets, which I have to do this week. I will apply for the Chase Sapphire (through your site), but I need to purchase my tickets tomorrow. I’ve got AA Advantage cards, business and Platinum Select, Mastercard. Any thoughts on which I should use?
I’d use the personal Citi AA card.
In reply to someone who has questioned above, for some credit cards you do get the insurance even when you book award tickets if you pay all taxes and fees with the credit card. Better check with your card provider if that’s your case.
Just redeemed some points for a Delta flight, was going to place the fees on my Amex and remembered my Chase Reserve had benefits for trip cancellation.
That’s my move every day!
R, I agree completely. Not important enough to pay for from the airline/ third party, but if my credit card covered it, I’d be all for it.
Trip insurance and cancellation insurance is a really good benefit to have on a card. Strangely I wouldn’t pay for them, but would be happy to pay a fee for a card that includes this.
Well that does make me happy to have the Sapphire Preferred. I would think that the higher the AF the better the benefits would be though.
I wonder how they justify it and even apply certain benefits to the higher AF cards?
I am very surprised that Amex doesn’t have this coverage! They seem to be the “elite” travel card, however Chase is gaining on them, I would have never thought they wouldn’t have this.
I did not know that award bookings were covered before.
Are pre-paid cruises covered by the above credit cards in the event of trip cancellation/interruption?
Yes, however, you should contact your card provider to confirm what exactly is covered.
Yea Amex is weak here. Also sucks that Citi lowered the coverage on the Prestige.
I’m very surprised to hear Amex is not as good in this area, especially considering their hefty annual fees.
Yes. I suppose you have to actually pay for the flight with the card to get these benefits, and if you book through a credit card’s site, when a credit card has rewards, like Thank You points, orf you airline miles, and pay the small fee and tax with one of these cards, you don’t get the benefit.
That is not the case. A few minutes reading the guide to benefits will open your eyes to how good the insurance actually is.
Another reason to love the Sapphire Reserve; this is part of the reason both my wife and I have it.
I think one of the first commenters meant, if they pay the fees and taxes on an award booking, does that initiate or activate coverage?
Yes but you need to look at the differences with each card product.
Looks like Citi is a bit cheap on benefits when you pay $450.00 for the prestige card.
The benefits on the card have been slashed pretty significantly over the past year and they haven’t touched the annual fee or added significant benefits. It is a tough sell for the cost.
Amex needs to step up to the plate on this one.
Yes, AMEX certainly falls behind the leader, Chase, in this regard. Thank you for a great explanation and Chase for a solid benefit!
Wow I didn’t know about the 20 days of the cancellation/interruption window with Chase, good to know!
Thank you for the reminder. I just advised a friend of the above as he just suffered a cancellation and delay. I hope he and his family are covered.
I wish amex offered these benefits. Surprised to see Citi DC offers it though
Haven’t used mine yet, luckily, but looks like they continue to be devalued, unluckily. You’d think with interest rates increasing and deregulation, the rewards would be getting good again, but alas not the case.
I believe that Citi has just announced that they are changing their trip delay and cancellation benefits to equal those of the Chase Cards. (no longer including travel companions, only family) So the Sapphire Reserve continues to be the leader. I also wish the Amex Platinum included this type of benefits.
Citi just dramatically reduced their benefits to $5000 per trip (not per person).
Amex really needs to up its game on this front.
Since I use one of these cards to pay for my trips, maybe I should quit buying separate travel insurance.
I’d seriously recommend you read through the benefits guides and then consider it. Could be a hefty saving.
Without question the Chase Sapphire’s are the best for this in my mind.
Well you are wrong. It turns out that all Chase credit card interruption insurance will NOT pay to have a traveler return to his home. This is in contrast to all other trip insurances including other credit card interruption insurance. Even the CITI AAdvantage card will pay to get the traveler home. But NOT Chase – they will not pay for the single most expensive part if your trip is interrupted, I have both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the CITI Prestige and will be terminating 1 card in July. Since I have learned of this I will be terminating the Chase card.
Beware the fine print for Chase Trip Interruption Insurance with Chase Sapphire Reserve ( and I presume the Preferred card). As was pointed out in another blog, Chase, which uses Allianz Ins., will not pay for the extra expense if you have to upgrade to a new last minute ticket to continue your interrupted trip. (Nor I presume the hotel costs until you can resume your trip). I had a medical emergency that would have delayed my return trip. Chase said it would pay for the change fees, but not the cost of an upgraded ticket to change (and airlines often waive the change fee for medical). My ticket was so cheap (8 months out at 50% discount) that Singapore air did not have a comparable seat at that cost, so I would have to upgrade to a normal fare for $1000 more. Chase said it would not cover it. Fortunately my ear infection subsided and I was able to make the original flight. What the other blogger pointed out is that in most Trip Insurances they include the phrase something like “and additional fees” to continue the journey. Chase does not have that.
Rossbo, I think it is reasonable for you to cover the additional cost associated with upgrade.
I am surprised that AMEX overlooks travel insurance benefits.
We purchased trip interruption insurance& medical travel insurance with American Express.
After a trip to Italy last year my husband became extremely ill, he had pneumonia with hemoptysis.
After submitting all documents that we had, including same day urgent care/ER visit. We were seeing his M.D. within 12 hrs after returning to the US, we received not one cent!
We have been Am Ex members since 1970’s.
It is shameful& a waste of the extra insurance!
Shame on you, American Express!
Why didn’t they honor your claim?
I I assume that I can safely assume that paying the fee and tax with a card when using points to pay for the flight won’t work.
Charles, can you restate your question? I don’t understand what you’re asking.