Lesson Learned: My Friend’s ~$1,000 Airfare Booking Mistake (And Why He’ll Always Pay With a Chase Credit Card Now)
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The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the most popular premium cards to use to purchase airfare. That’s because you earn 5 AMEX Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on airfare (booked either directly with the airline or through AMEX Travel).
But unlike some other travel cards, which have excellent travel protection benefits, the AMEX Platinum does NOT provide coverage for mishaps like trip delays or cancellations. And not having this coverage cost my friend dearly.
Here’s what happened. He booked 2 separate flight reservations through the AMEX travel portal. First, he booked a United Airlines flight from North Carolina to Newark. Then, he purchased a round-trip Norwegian Air ticket from Newark to Barcelona.
Because of a significant delay on his first flight, he was 3 hours late arriving in Newark and missed his flight to Barcelona. Norwegian Air canceled his ticket and AMEX travel said there was nothing they could do. So my buddy ended up losing ~$1,000, the cost of the round-trip ticket. Plus, he ended up paying out of pocket for another flight to Europe, which could have been avoided had he paid for his trip with one of the best travel insurance credit cards.
Here’s why my friend will always pay for travel with Chase Sapphire Reserve moving forward.
You’re entitled to up to $500 per ticket for you, your spouse or domestic partner, and any immediate family on your reservation after a delay of 6+ hours. That’s HALF the time of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. So you’re MUCH more likely to use this perk.
Even though my friend didn’t have a 6+ hour delay, I’ve read plenty of successful data points for folks using this coverage after a missed connection. For example, I read about a cardholder who got $625 back for 2 tickets to cover the cost of an overnight hotel stay, Uber, dinner, and incidental items at Walgreens.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders are also covered up to $10,000 per person per covered trip (maximum $20,000 per occurrence) for trip cancellation & interruption claims. If my friend paid with the Sapphire Reserve, he would have likely been able to file a claim under this benefit, too.
My friend’s story is a reminder that sometimes earning the most points for a purchase isn’t the best strategy. It’s a good idea to check your card’s benefits to see if it could potentially save you money if something goes wrong.
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