Home Credit Cards The Best & Worst Premium Cards For Travel Insurance Coverage

The Best & Worst Premium Cards For Travel Insurance Coverage

by joeheg

All of the major banks have at least one credit card that they market towards the sophisticated traveler. You’ll see promotional materials with models wearing designer sunglasses walking through a warmly lit tropical airport, pulling their overpriced carry-on bag. You know exactly what I’m talking about.

While the banks designed these cards to have the best benefits for frequent travelers, they are not equal. One card is leaps and bounds ahead of the others, and a surprising entry does better than cards costing 5x more.

This comparison is only of the travel coverage each card provides. Other factors like annual fees, the value of points in the program, sign-up bonuses, and points earning possibilities could all come into play when picking out a credit card.

First off, let’s remove the cards that aren’t in the competition.

Pulling up the rear

The Citi Prestige offered great travel protections but they were all removed in 2019, making the card almost useless to pay for travel expenses.

Capital One is trying to become a player in the travel card market by introducing several transfer partners for Venture and Spark Business cardholders. However, neither of these cards provides any travel coverage.

Middle of the Pack

The American Express Platinum card and several other premium cards from AMEX added back some travel coverages in January 2020. Currently, the Platinum Card offers coverages for lost luggage, trip delay, and trip interruption/cancellation.

For lost bag claims, you have to pay for the whole ticket with your AMEX Card.

  • Can rewards points be redeemed towards an Eligible Payment / Entire Fare? Yes, purchases on Eligible Cards that are combined with American Express Loyalty Programs, such as Membership Rewards® points or Pay with Points, would qualify for benefits.
  • However, other Loyalty Programs (i.e. Non-American Express) DO NOT qualify on purchases redeemed in part or full towards the fare or pre-arranged travel cost. An example would be Common Carrier Frequent Flyer Miles point redemption

For Trip Delay and trip interruption/cancellation, you’re able to use the card with points from a frequent flyer program.

  • You must charge the full amount of a Covered Trip to your Eligible Card or in combination with your Eligible Card and accumulated points on your Eligible Card or redeemable certificates, vouchers, coupons, or discounts awarded from a frequent flyer program or similar program.

Since the AMEX cards lack bag delay, they’re not in the running for first place.

Another card that tried to break into the premium travel card market is the US Bank Altitude Reserve. They did a good job with the types of travel insurance coverages the card provides.

The card offers trip cancellation and interruption coverage, but only if you pay for the entire trip with your card or points from your account. The trip delay and lost luggage coverage apply if you pay for a part of your trip with the Altitude Reserve.

A surprising second-place finish

When starting research for the article, I was pretty sure about the winner. I was surprised when I found this runner-up card gives surprisingly good coverage for a reasonable annual fee.

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card provides all four types of travel insurance coverage.

  • Lost Luggage – $3,000
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption – $2,500
  • Trip Delay – $500 if a trip is delayed by 12 hours or more
  • Baggage Delay – $100 per day for up to 5 days if bags delayed for more than 6 hours

You don’t often see this scope of coverages offered by a card with a $95 annual fee. Well, there’s another card that does but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The clear winner

There wasn’t any competition for which card provides the best comprehensive travel coverage.

The Sapphire Reserve card has all of the major coverages at levels far above the rest.

  • Lost Luggage – $3,000 per person per trip
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption – $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip
  • Trip Delay – $500 per ticket if a trip is delayed by more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay
  • Baggage Delay – $100 per day for up to 5 days if bags delayed for more than 6 hours

The Sapphire Reserve coverages specifically mention that coverage applies if you charged all or part of the fare to the card.

You and Your Family Members are covered when Your name is embossed on an eligible card issued in the United States, and You charge all or a portion of a Common Carrier fare to Your credit card Account and/or rewards programs associated with Your Account. Family Member means Your spouse/domestic partner and Your legally dependent children under the age of twenty–six (26).

In addition, the Sapphire Reserve also provides primary coverage against damages to rental cars.

Honorable Mention

While I said that this post would compare the premium cards from each bank, if I limited myself like that, I’d be leaving out a card that provides almost the same coverage as the Sapphire Reserve but with a much lower price tag.

The Sapphire Preferred gives you almost everything you get from the Sapphire Reserve with only a $95 annual fee. The only difference in the travel coverages is that the trip delay coverage kicks in at 12 hours or overnight instead of at 6 hours. There are also differences in the limits on the rental car coverage, with the Reserve covering luxury cars that the Preferred doesn’t.

Final Thoughts

When picking a card to pay for a trip, you need to think about which one will earn the most points while considering which one has the best travel coverage.

When I booked our package trip to Iceland, I used the Sapphire Reserve because of the $20,000 limit on the Trip Cancellation/Interruption coverage. Even though I bought travel insurance which would overlap, the piece of mind that if something would have happened either before or during the trip, we’d be covered financially.

Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.

Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

 

 

 

2 comments

Boraxo September 24, 2021 - 10:35 am

You forgot the most valuable benefit which is trip evacuation coverage. If you need heart surgery or ICU treatment for covid, the CSR provides $100k coverage for private evacuation. That is worth more than a few pesos for lost luggage. There are many horror stories about medical treatment overseas.

Reply
joeheg September 24, 2021 - 11:26 am

This is correct.

Reply

Leave a Reply

BoardingArea

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

%d bloggers like this: