The number of travelers in the U.S. has reached an all-time high. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported nearly 2.8 million people were screened on a single day over Memorial Weekend 2019, its busiest day ever.
Unfortunately, with the large volume of travelers, flight cancellations and delays can cause even the savviest of travelers significant inconvenience.
Plus, your chances of having a flight disruption are likely. According to Flight Aware, a site that tracks flights globally, you’ll find thousands of worldwide cancellations and delays each day.
On just July 16, 2019, there were 17,736 flight delays worldwide. Of those delays, 4,805 flights were within the U.S. or flying into and out of the U.S.; on the same day, cancellations worldwide numbered 891, of which 201 involved flights to, from, and within the United States.
Trip disruption can also cost you. Whether it’s the expense of a hotel room, transportation, meals, or incidentals you might need, chances are you’ll end up paying some of these expenses out of your pocket, especially in the case of severe weather.
Having trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance coverage on your credit card can be a real plus for travelers. While it won’t take the place of a comprehensive travel insurance policy, you may find the coverage more than adequate to cover your trip.
With credit card issuers reducing and even eliminating travel insurance on their cards, it is good timing to highlight cards that offer this valuable coverage.
What is Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Coverage?
Put simply, trip cancellation insurance reimburses you, eligible family, or covered travel companions for non-refundable prepaid trip expenses if a covered loss prevents you from traveling and your trip is canceled as a result.
Trip interruption insurance offers coverage for unexpected events that happen during your trip and cause your trip to be disrupted.
Examples of Covered Events
- Bodily injury due to an accident, loss of life, or sickness of the cardholder, traveling companion, or immediate family member of yours or of a traveling companion
- Severe weather
- Change in military orders for you or your spouse/domestic partner
- Terrorist action or hijacking
- Jury duty or subpoena that cannot be postponed or waived
- Finding you or your traveling companion’s dwelling unable to be occupied
- Travel agency insolvency
Examples of Covered Non-Refundable Expenses
- Prepaid tours
- Tickets on common carriers such as airlines, trains, bus, or cruise
- Non-refundable hotels
Generally Not Covered Events
- You are traveling against the advice of a doctor, while awaiting a specified medical treatment, or to receive medical treatment
- Traveling in the seventh month or later of pregnancy
- Traveling with a pre-existing medical condition
- Illegal acts while traveling
- Being involved in a motor vehicle race or speeding contest
- Participating in professional sports for pay or prize money
- Traveling on a rocket-propelled aircraft
Several credit cards offer trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, each with varying degrees of coverage.
Bottom Line: Having complimentary trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage on your credit card can save you from losing your hard-earned travel dollars by reimbursing you for non-refundable or unexpected expenses caused by trip cancellations or interruptions.
The Best Amex Cards for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance
Amex offers trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance on several of its premium cards.
You could receive a benefit of up to $10,000 per trip and a maximum of $20,000 per account per 12 month period for a covered loss.
Let’s look at which cards now offer this valuable coverage.
Additional Amex Cards with Coverage
You’ll also find trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage on these additional Amex cards:
Amex Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance Coverage Details
Amex trip cancellation coverage provides for the reimbursement of non-refundable expenses paid to the travel provider when a covered loss causes the cancellation of your trip.
Examples of potential covered losses causing you to cancel your trip would be illness, weather, jury duty, or a change in military orders.
Trip interruption coverage also reimburses for non-refundable expenses paid to the travel provider, plus it can also provide reimbursement for additional eligible transportation expenses.
Who is Covered?
You, your family, and your traveling companions are covered when the eligible trip has been purchased with your card. Family is defined as a spouse, domestic partner, or unmarried dependent child up to age 19 (age 26 if full-time college/university student).
Conditions for Valid Amex Coverage
For coverage to be active, you must adhere to the following:
- Pay for your common carrier trip in full with your eligible Amex card or in combination with points accumulated on the card, frequent flyer miles, vouchers, or coupons
- The trip must be somewhere other than your place of residence
- The trip cannot exceed 365 days in length
- The period of travel can consist of round-trip, one-way, or combinations of the 2
How to File a Claim With Amex
The trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance on your applicable Amex card is secondary to any other travel insurance that may apply. For this reason, you’ll want to contact and file a claim with any existing insurance company first before filing a claim with Amex.
You must notify the Amex claim administrator within 60 days of the incident and provide any or all of the following:
- Copies of your common carrier ticket and travel supplier receipts
- Billing statement for your card showing the trip charges
- Documentation showing proof of the loss
- A copy of the travel supplier’s cancellation policy
- Other documentation requested by the claim administrator
You will have 180 days from the date of the loss to submit the required information.
Bottom Line: Amex now offers trip cancellation, trip interruption, and trip delay coverage for eligible trips paid for with several of its premium cards.
The Best Chase Credit Cards for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance
Chase is a leader when it comes to overall travel insurance coverage, specifically trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. The issuer offers several cards with these valuable benefits.
Expect to receive the following benefit compensation levels for a covered travel incident, from these Chase credit cards:
If your trip is canceled for a covered reason, you or a covered immediate family member could be reimbursed for the non-refundable amount of your trip. The limit for each coverage is $10,000 per occurrence.
The maximum benefit under each separate coverage for trip cancellation and trip interruption is $20,000 per incident and $40,000 per 12-month period.
For more about the Sapphire Preferred’s travel insurance, explore our in-depth guide.
If a covered event causes your trip to be canceled or interrupted, you can expect to receive up to $5,000 per person, a maximum of $10,000 per occurrence, and no more than $20,000 total for a 12-month period.
If your trip needs to be canceled or becomes interrupted due to a covered event, you could receive up to $10,000 per person / $20,000 per trip, up to $40,000 maximum within a 12 month period.
For more information, check out our complete guide to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s travel insurance benefits.
Receive up to $10,000 per person, up to a maximum of $20,000 per trip for non-refundable travel expenses made with your United Club card.
Coverage of up to $5,000 is provided per trip for non-recoverable travel expenses due to a covered loss.
You could receive up to $5,000 per person, $10,000 per trip reimbursement for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses.
Chase Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance Coverage Details
Who is Covered?
You and your immediate family are covered for trip cancellation and trip interruption when even a portion of your trip is paid for with your qualifying card. You can also use Chase Ultimate Rewards points or a combination of paying with your card and points to receive coverage.
Chase has a broad definition of “immediate family.” The definition includes:
- Domestic partner
- Children (including adopted children and step-children)
- Legal guardians or wards
- Siblings or siblings-in-law
- Parents or parents-in-law
- Nieces and nephews
- Aunts and uncles
You also do not need to be traveling with your family members for coverage to be valid. You must, however, have paid for a portion of the trip with your qualifying Chase card or Ultimate Rewards points.
Bottom Line: While coverage limits vary, the definition of a covered loss, which situations are excluded, and who is eligible for coverage, is consistent across these Chase credit cards.
Conditions for Valid Chase Coverage
- The trip must be paid for with your eligible Chase card and/or points accumulated with a Chase card
- The trip destination must be more than 1 mile from home for coverage
- The trip cannot exceed 60 days in duration
How to File a Claim With Chase
Most trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance is in excess over other coverage you might have, whether from a separate travel insurance policy you purchased or from compensation you received directly from the common carrier.
For example, if an airline pays for your hotel room, transport to the hotel, and meals due to a flight cancellation, your credit card coverage is only going to cover reimbursement for eligible expenses you incurred above what the carrier provided or for which they reimbursed you.
For this reason, some of the documentation you’ll need to submit will need to come from the common carrier. It’s best to be informed upfront, before you travel, of what may be required should you need to file a claim.
Call the benefits administrator as soon as you are aware of the trip cancellation or interruption. The administrator will take down the basic information and send you a claim form to complete.
Documentation You May Need to Provide
- Your completed claim form
- A copy of your travel itinerary
- Documentation of the reason for the trip cancellation or interruption
- Medical documents supporting a covered loss
- Copy of your credit card statement showing the charges for prepaid travel expenses
- Proof of other eligible expenses
- Copy of the carrier’s or travel provider’s refund or cancellation policy
You have 90 days to provide loss documentation but the deadline can be extended to 1 year if there is a valid reason the documentation could not be obtained within the 90 day period.
Chase states that it will pay the claim within 60 days after they have received all of the required documentation.
Additional Credit Cards With Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance
While coverage varies widely, several other credit cards offer trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage.
- United℠ Explorer Card — up to $1,500 in coverage per person, up to a maximum of $6,000 per trip, and a maximum of $6,000 per 12-month period
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Card — up to $5,000 per person, per trip, for reimbursement of non-refundable travel expenses due to a covered loss
- Visa Infinite cards — up to $2,000 reimbursement per trip for non-refundable eligible expenses
Other Trip Protections and Benefits You Can Use
There are other travel protections and benefits that can save you money or provide assurance during your trip. Look for these protections and benefits on your current rewards credit card or one you’re considering.
Note that these are general, abbreviated descriptions of complimentary protections or benefits that may come with your card. Coverage varies widely so you’ll want to check the card’s Guide to Benefits for limits, terms, and conditions.
Rental Car Collision Damage Waiver
Most travel cards carry some type of rental car insurance that covers theft of and damage to your rental car. Here’s our take on which cards provide the best rental car insurance coverage.
Trip Delay Insurance
Trip delay coverage reimburses you for incidentals should your trip be delayed. Cards that include trip delay coverage include the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and Amex Platinum card.
Lost, Damaged, or Delayed Baggage Insurance
Get reimbursed for incidentals if your luggage is delayed or for damage/theft of your bags.
Emergency Evacuation Coverage
Premium travel rewards cards such as the Amex Platinum Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and United Club card have coverage for emergency evacuation transportation services.
The Amex Platinum card, Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and United Club card all offer different degrees of airline lounge access.
Emergency Medical Coverage
Receive up to $2,500 reimbursement for emergency medical and dental with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Bottom Line: Trip cancellation and trip interruption are 2 of the most valuable trip protections that come complimentary on several travel rewards cards. However, there are other travel benefits including rental car insurance, baggage insurance, emergency evacuation, and trip delay coverage that can be equally as useful. Try to select a card that has a package of trip benefits you find valuable.
Everything Else You Need to Know
Citi discontinued travel insurance coverages on all of its cards effective September 2019.
Cards that are no longer open to new applicants that carry trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage include the Ritz Carlton Rewards® Card (possible to obtain via a Marriott-branded card product change) and the Marriott Rewards® Premier Credit Card.
Trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage can provide sufficient no-cost insurance to cover your trip. If you’re planning a complicated, expensive, or lengthy trip, however, you should consider purchasing a separate travel insurance policy.
Also, note that trip cancellation and interruption coverages generally do not include any medical coverage and may have lower limits than you need to cover the entire cost of your trip. Review your card’s coverage in advance and if it is sufficient, you’re good to go. If not, you’ll want to buy extra coverage to fill in the gaps.
Fortunately, trip cancellation and interruption protection, while one of the most valuable benefits, is just one of many travel perks you’ll find on the best travel rewards cards.
If you travel frequently, a travel rewards card that offers complimentary trip protections and benefits should be on your shortlist of cards to consider.
The information regarding the United Club℠ Card, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Card, and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not reviewed nor provided by the issuer.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Business card, please click here.