Which Credit Cards Provide Trip Delay Insurance

One of the big perks of having a premium travel credit card is the travel protections the card provides, like trip delay insurance. Travel delays or cancellations are a part of life but knowing the costs that you incur will be reimbursed makes one less thing to worry about. All you need to do is make alternate plans to get to/from where you were going and arrange to be comfortable until that happens.

Trip delay insurance is something you don’t think about until you need to use it. Say you show up to the airport for your plane and it’s delayed 30 minutes, then 60 minutes, then 2 hours and eventually you’re told that there’s no way to get you to where you were going until the next day. You’ll need to find somewhere to stay, somewhere to eat and a way to get to/from those locations. Most people will get on a very long line to see if the airline will give them a free hotel night or a meal voucher. If you used a card that provides trip delay insurance, you know that you’ll be reimbursed the reasonable cost of a hotel, meals, taxi/Uber and travel essentials during your delay and can make your own plans without having to wait.

Up until now, I used my Citi Prestige for travels where trip delay coverage was important. However, Citi just changed the rules for claims made for trip delays and it’s time for me to find out if I have another card that provides better coverage. 

Things to consider when looking at trip delay coverage

Just like all types of insurance, there are several things to think about when evaluating trip delay coverage between credit cards. They can include:

  • How long does the delay need to be before I can file a claim?
  • What types of delays are covered?
  • Do I need to pay for the entire ticket to be covered (award tickets)?
  • How much coverage does the card provide?

Premium travel cards that provide trip delay insurance

Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige previously had the best trip delay insurance available. However that was recently devalued and here are details of the current insurance provided:

  • Claims can be made for delays longer than six hours
  • Delays due to missed connections are not covered
  • You need to have paid for at least part of the ticket with your Citi Prestige card or with Thank You points
  • Coverage is up to $500 per covered traveler per trip
  • Coverage is for you and your family members (Citi has a broad definition of family members but if you’re traveling with a friend and paid for his ticket in the name of convenience [and then he paid you back], he’s not covered)

The following expenses are covered:

  • Lodging
  • Ground Transportation (excluding car rentals)
  • Meals
  • Personal or business necessities, such as toiletries or items that the Covered Traveler(s) needs when delayed.

The Sapphire Reserve is the other premium travel card that offers comparable coverage to the Citi Prestige:

  • Claims can be made for delays longer than six hours
  • You need to purchase either a portion or the entire cost of the fare using your account
  • Coverage is up to $500 for each purchased ticket for reasonable expenses
  • Coverage is for you, your spouse and dependent children under 22
  • You are covered for reasonable additional expenses, including but not limited to meals, lodging, toiletries, medication and other personal use items

Other travel cards

Many other cards like the Citi Thank You Premier, United MileagePlus Explorer and the Chase Sapphire Preferred also provide trip delay coverage but only if your flight is delayed more than 12 hours.

Notably missing from this list is American Express cards such as the AMEX Platinum card. While marketed as a premium travel card that provides 5x Membership Rewards points for airfare purchased with the card, it doesn’t provide any coverage for trip delays.

While I used to charge our airfare to either the Citi Prestige, for the outstanding coverage, or the AMEX Platinum, for the 5x points, I’m going to start to use my Sapphire Reserve for our airfare. The Sapphire Reserve covers delays over six hours (without the restrictive language excluding connecting flights of the Citi Prestige) and works even if you only pay for a portion of the ticket with the card (like paying the taxes of an award ticket). If you have an airline co-brand card like Delta or American, you don’t have to use the card to pay for your ticket in order to get the free bag benefits (except for United, but we’re not flying on them anyway) so why not get the best of both worlds by using a card that gives you excellent trip delay coverage and 3x Ultimate Rewards points.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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