Million Mile Secrets reader, Phil, writes:
I’d like to see you do an article on flight insurance options for those of us who use miles for our trips. I use miles on almost every trip I make and struggle to find private insurance that will cover delays, cancellations, etc. at a decent premium.
I typically get something off Insuremytrip.com and luckily have never had to file a claim.
Thanks for your question, Phil!
It’s a good idea to make sure you’re covered if the unexpected happens during your trip. Trip insurance from private providers can get pricey when you travel frequently. But paying with certain cards will automatically cover you at no extra charge!
I’ll explain which cards offer this perk and what’s covered!
You May Already Be Covered!
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
I like paying for the taxes and fees on my award flights with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Sure, it’s my favorite card because I earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining. And I can transfer the Chase Ultimate points I earn to great partners like United Airlines and Hyatt.
But did you know you can also get reimbursed for the miles you use to book your flight if you or a member of your immediate family’s award flight is cancelled?
So if Phil is a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder, he may already be covered and can avoid paying for the extra insurance.
If you pay for a portion of your (or your immediate family’s) paid or award flight with your Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you could be reimbursed if your trip is cancelled due to:
Accidental bodily injury, loss of life, or sickness experienced byyou, a traveling companion, or an immediate family member of you or a traveling companion
Severe weather, which prevents a reasonable and prudent personfrom beginning or continuing on a covered trip
- Change in military orders for you, your spouse, or your domestic partner
- A terrorist action or hijacking
A call to jury duty or receiving a subpoena from the courts, neitherof which can be postponed or waived
- Finding you or your traveling companion’s dwellingto be uninhabitable
- Quarantine imposed by a physician for health reasons
Financial insolvency of the travel agency, tour operator, ortravel supplier whose services you booked
Just be sure to read the benefits guide carefully for information about things that are NOT covered such as a change in plans, pre-existing conditions, and war.
Other important terms and conditions:
- Your trip must be more than 1 mile from your house and for a period no longer than 60 days
- You must notify the travel provider if you’re unable to make the trip
If a physician has advised that making the Covered Trip is medically inadvisable, you must immediately notify the appropriate travel supplier that you are cancelling your travel arrangements. If you don’t notify the supplier, the company’s reimbursement will not exceed the cancellation penalties imposed during the period by the supplier and in effect forty-eight (48) hours immediately following your receipt of advice from your physician that travel is not advisable.
Note: Trip interruption and cancellation insurance through the Chase Sapphire Preferred is supplemental. This means you can only be reimbursed after you’ve gone through any other insurance you may have.
For information specific to your situation, call the Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits administrator at 888-320-9961.
How Much Will You Get for Your Miles?
Chase will reimburse you for miles, points, or cash rewards earned through a Chase rewards program or
from its affiliates. So that includes airline and hotel transfer partners like United Airlines, Southwest, or Hyatt.
It’s up to the claims administrator to decide if you’ll be reimbursed for the monetary value of the award (if it’s documented) up to $10,000.
Otherwise, you’ll be reimbursed for award flights at 1 cent per point, up to $10,000. So if Phil uses 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a round-trip United Airlines ticket to Europe and he can’t make the flight due to illness or another covered reason, he could get $600 from Chase to help cover his losses.
If you’re traveling with your immediate family on the same trip, the maximum benefit is $20,000 per incident and $40,000 per 12 month period.
How Do You File a Claim?
Contact the plan administrator within 20 days of the occurrence at:
Plan Administrator Card Benefit Services
P.O. Box 72034
Richmond, VA 23255
Within 15 days of receiving your notification, they’ll respond by asking you to provide:
- Complete claim form
- Copy of your travel itinerary
- Documentation supporting your inability to make the flight such as a medical records or a death certificate
- Copy of your statement showing you paid for a portion of the trip with your card
- Copy of the cancellation and refund policy of the travel operator or supplier
You’ll need to submit this information within 90 days or as soon as possible not exceeding 1 year after the incident. You should then receive your payment within 60 days of the company receiving the documentation.
For more information, you can also call the plan administrator at 800-320-9961. Or if you’re outside of the US, 804-673-1691.
You’re Also Protected Against Other Losses
You could also be covered for:
- Trip Interruption – If you have to end your trip early you could be reimbursed for any prepaid transportation (not including miles & points) up to $10,000
- Trip Delays – Get up to $500 per ticket when your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours
- Lost Luggage – Luggage or items inside are lost or damaged for up to $3,000 with a limit of $500 for certain items like cameras, jewelry, and electronics
- Delayed Luggage – After 6 hours, up to $100 a day for up to 5 days
- Primary Car Rental Insurance – Covers the damage to your rental car in case of an accident of theft (other vehicles and injuries are NOT covered)
Other Cards That Offer Trip Insurance for Award Travel
There are other Chase cards that also offer some of the above benefits including:
- Chase Hyatt
- Chase Ink Plus
- Chase United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
- Chase United Mileage Plus Business
The Citi Prestige also offers protection when you book award flights and pay the taxes and fees with your Citi Prestige card, Citi reward points, or a combination of both.
The plan includes:
- Trip Cancellation – Up to $5,000 per person, per trip
- Trip Delay – After 3 hours, up to $500 for yourself, spouse, and dependents
- Lost Luggage – Up to $3,000 per person, per trip ($2,000 per person, per bag, per trip for New York residents) to a maximum of $10,000 per trip
- Delayed Luggage – After 3 hours, up to $500
You can read more about what’s covered and what isn’t in the benefits guide.
Some Folks May Still Want to Pay for Additional Coverage
The travel insurance coverage you get with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and other Chase cards is much better than you get with cards from other banks.
But there are exclusions, and things like medical evacuation aren’t covered so you may still want to pay for additional coverage. Insuremytrip is a great site for comparing travel insurance plans.
You can tailor paid plans to fit your needs. For example, if you have a pre-existing condition you can pay more for an insurance policy that covers this.
You should also check with your health insurance provider to see if you’re covered.
Additionally, if there’s a medical emergency and you have to be evacuated, you want to make sure you’re covered. Otherwise, this could end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars!
Many folks gladly pay the ~$50 to ~$200, for the peace of mind!
Note: The insurance provided by the Chase Sapphire Preferred is NOT travel medical insurance!
- Trip cancellations and interruptions
- Lost or damaged luggage
- Primary rental car insurance
That said, some folks may still want to pay for a private travel insurance plan for issues that are excluded in the Chase policy. And I typically buy at least a separate medical evacuation plan because if things go really wrong, a helicopter ride could be an expense you can’t afford.
Have you ever filed a claim with your Chase travel insurance policy? I’d love to hear about your experience!