This Forgotten Card Benefit Paid for My $300 Mustang Convertible Rental and My Whataburger, Too!

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This Forgotten Card Benefit Paid for My $300 Mustang Convertible Rental and My Whataburger, Too!

JasonThis Forgotten Card Benefit Paid for My $300 Mustang Convertible Rental and My Whataburger, Too!Million Mile Secrets Team

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This past summer my wife and I celebrated our 5th anniversary with a trip to the Miraval resort outside of Tucson.  We couldn’t have been happier with our $3,000+ resort stay that we booked for free with points!

But the trip there was a different story.  Our late night American Airlines flight out of O’Hare was delayed several times, and after hours of waiting around, it was eventually canceled.  A staffing issue caused the cancellation.  If our flight had departed the pilots would have been over the legal limit for their flight hours by the time we landed.

They offered to put us on a flight the next evening, but that would’ve cut our short trip in half.  All of the other early flights to Tucson were completely booked, so we opted to fly into Phoenix and rent a car to Tucson.  We were assured by customer service agents in Chicago and Phoenix that we would be reimbursed for our extra expenses because it was “their fault.”

Of course, that’s not how it worked out at all.

The Points I Earned With My Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Paid for the Resort Stay and the Card’s Trip Delay Perk Paid for This Ride!

In retrospect, I should have known better than to trust what an airline customer service representative was telling me.  I’ve seen a gate agent tell an angry mob of passengers to go to the customer service desk to get their hotel vouchers only to have customer service let those same people know that they weren’t getting a dime from the airline.

In these situations, there is a lot of incentive to pass the buck and I don’t think airline employees are given much power to fix the problem.

When American Airlines Let Me Down, Chase Came to the Rescue!

The one thing we did right was to save our receipts for everything – food, gas, transportation to/from the airport, and of course the rental car.  We even upgraded our rental to a luxury car for ~$30 and paid extra for insurance.  And we stopped at a Whataburger on the way to Tucson in hopes that American Airlines would pick-up the tab.

After several phone calls and emails with American Airlines over the next few weeks, it was clear they weren’t going to reimburse us for ~$365 tab we had racked up.

I had paid for the airfare with my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which comes with trip delay insurance.  But this flight was technically canceled, so I wasn’t too hopeful that our expenses would be covered.  And I was even told by a Chase phone rep that it wouldn’t be.

But I had already had a positive experience with Chase’s trip delay benefit earlier this year when I was reimbursed $200+ for a hotel room and incidentals for a delayed flight.  And I figured it doesn’t hurt to try, so I submitted a claim, which is easy to do online.  You can read more about how to file a Chase trip delay claim here.

A week or so later I got an email from the claims department asking for additional documentation.  I uploaded the necessary documents and forgot about it, thinking it was a lost cause.

Then, out of the blue, I got a call back from Chase to ask me questions about the claim.  I explained why I needed the rental car and what happened with the trip.  I had rented the car for two days so we wouldn’t have to bother with dropping it off at the airport and then figuring out transportation from there to the resort.

At first, I was told they would only reimburse me for one day of the rental.  But then, without me even asking, the agent went and talked to her supervisor and told me they would be reimbursing all of our expenses in full!  And the money was deposited into my account within a few days.

I had counted the ~$365 as long gone and I wasn’t going to let the cost overshadow the great time I had at the Miraval.  But after this experience, I’ll be paying for just about all my flights with my Chase Sapphire Preferred.

What to Know If You’re In a Similar Situation

The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, Chase Sapphire Preferred, and Chase Sapphire Reserve® all come with trip delay coverage that will reimburse you for up to $500 in expenses (incurred as the result of the delay) per ticket.  This includes transportation, food, and other incidentals like toiletries.

To be eligible for the benefit, you must pay for your travel with the card.  But even if you book an award flight with miles (which is what I did for this trip) you’ll be covered, as long as you pay the taxes + fees with your card!

It’s also important to note that you don’t actually have to pay for the reimbursable expenses with your Chase card.  I was working toward earning a bonus on a Delta AMEX card when this all happened.  So I put the rental car on that card and just submitted the receipt.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Ink Business Preferred will cover delays of 12+ hours (or delays requiring an overnight stay).  But if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, the delay only needs to be 6+ hours for the benefits to kick in!

It’s benefits like this that make paying an annual fee on a travel rewards credit card absolutely worth it.

For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred has a $95 annual fee (which is waived the first year), but the trip delay insurance alone has saved me ~$568 just this year!  And that’s not including all the travel I can book for next to nothing with the Chase Ultimate Rewards points I’ve earned with the card!

What has your experience been like with less well-known credit card benefits, like trip delay coverage?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

More Info

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Jason, I am glad you had a great experience with Chase. I did not! I had to cancel an international flight due to my sisters illness. I called chase travel (where I booked the trip) and was told not to worry. I could rebook within a year. When I realized I would not be able to, I called again to see how to get a refund. Over a week and a half I spoke to 5 different agents. Each with a different answer the credit was there the credit wasn’t there. My time limit was extended then when I called to book it wasn’t. Transferred to a supervisor who was to help me apply for a refund. She hung up on me half way through my explanation. (There is a different sound when someone hangs up from the sound of a disconnect.) She sent me a screen shot of I am assuming the American Airlines website with no explanation of what I was to do for a refund. I finally gave up I guess that is what they count on. I will book my travel with another travel card from now on.

I would like to learn more about the Trip delay perk. Do cancelled flights (causing you to be stuck at the airport that is not in your home town) fall under a different category or are basically never covered?

Author

For any specific situation you’d want to talk with Chase. But trip delay coverage should pay out for certain additional expenses you incur from a delay, like hotel, transportation, food, etc.

In my situation I was still able to travel. My guess is that even though my flight was cancelled, my trip was only delayed. So I was covered by the trip delay benefit.

The trip cancellation or interruption benefit would reimburse you for prepaid expenses under certain circumstances. For example, if an injury or severe weather prevented you from traveling altogether, but your hotel stay is non-refundable then you could be reimbursed that under that benefit.

Does that help?

Wow! Wish I had gotten your customer service reps when dealing with my claim. I have the Chase Sapphire Reserve which I pay $450 annually for. I submitted a claim for repair of a cracked screen on a brand new cell phone (less than 1 month old) purchased with that card. This is a covered claim & should have been a very simple process. However, it took literally months, with an unreasonable number of emails & customer service phone calls to get the claim paid. The benefit is nice, but the hoops I had to jump through negated any value for me.

Author

That’s what I expected my experience to be like too! What benefit was your phone’s cracked screen covered under? Was it the purchase protection perk?

Cool card benefit and CSRs.

But I read about your original trip and wondered if alcohol wasn’t covered and classes weren’t covered (other than via a limited credit), what did the “all-inclusive” descriptor refer to at Miraval?

Author

All food and some activities are included with the room rate at Miraval. And the food was absolutely top notch!

I’m glad to hear that the process worked and you were able to recoup your out-of-pocket costs.

“We even upgraded our rental to a luxury car for ~$30 and paid extra for insurance.” This is the point you lose me. Do you really believe reimbursement should include upgrades?

Author

I didn’t expect the reimbursement to include the upgrade. But I figured it’s worth a shot and was prepared to pay at least the $30 out of pocket.