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What Happens to Your Travel Credit If You Cancel Your Booking?

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What Happens to Your Travel Credit If You Cancel Your Booking?

Jason StaufferWhat Happens to Your Travel Credit If You Cancel Your Booking?Million Mile Secrets Team

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Some folks don’t mind paying high annual fees on premium credit cards because the perks can easily offset the extra expense.  This is definitely the case with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which has one of the most generous travel credits of any card!

But Million Mile Secret Agent BFD asked:

What happens if you have to cancel the travel booking that you used the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s annual $300 travel credit for?

What Happens To Your Travel Credit If You Cancel Your Booking
The Chase Sapphire Reserve $300 Annual Travel Credit Is a Great Perk Because Anything That Codes as Travel Qualifies, Like Uber & UberEATS. Sushi, Anyone?

The good news is nothing happens to your Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit if you cancel the travel you have already been credited for.  Once you’ve paid for your hotel, airfare, or other travel expense, any refund will be subject to the rules of the travel provider.  So depending on your situation, you might receive a refund, travel voucher, or nothing at all (on non-refundable bookings). 🙁

Travel credits on other premium cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express, Citi Prestige, or U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card, work the same way when you cancel your travel booking after earning your credit.  So once you receive your travel credit with any card, you’ll keep it regardless of whether or not your travel plans change.

What Counts Toward the Travel Credit?

Every account year, your first $300 of travel purchases with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card will automatically be reimbursed.  The credit will show up in your account the same day the travel purchase posts.  And you’ll also earn 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1 spent on travel & dining in addition to the $300 travel credit!

Chase broadly defines travel to include:

  • Airlines (including airfare and incidentals like change fees or checked bags)
  • Hotels & motels (including Airbnb)
  • Campgrounds
  • Car rental agencies
  • Passenger trains
  • Buses
  • Taxis (including Lyft, Uber, and UberEATS)
  • Ferries
  • Toll bridges & highways
  • Parking lots & garages
  • And more!

What Will NOT Qualify as Travel?

Certain businesses code purchases differently.  For example, vacation rentals might not be reimbursed because they usually post as real estate charges, not travel.

According to Chase, these other expenses will NOT qualify for the travel credit:

Traveler’s checks, foreign currency, money orders, wire transfers or similar cash-like transactions, lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, race track wagers or similar betting transactions.

Folks on this FlyerTalk thread share which specific charges were reimbursed for them and which weren’t.  For example, purchases of airline in-flight food & beverages may not count as travel expenses, depending on the airline.

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has a generous $300 annual travel credit.  And it’s easy to use because any travel purchase qualifies for the credit.

The first $300 you spent on travel each account anniversary year will be automatically reimbursed, including hotels, airfare, or Uber (and UberEATS!).  But some purchases might not count as travel, like in-flight food and certain vacation rentals.

And once you receive your credit it’s yours to keep, even if you cancel your booking!  This is true for travel credits with all credit cards that have the perk.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Do check your statements because although you get the credit back to your statement, they might take points away too.

Ie, booked a hotel – got 0 points because it’s a travel credit qualifying purchase, cancelled the hotel and they also removed x amount of points.

I booked several campgrounds last year and none of them were considered Travel because apparently the charges went through a third party.