You're psyched to go on your trip. You've made arrangements and paid for plane tickets (including checked baggage fees), a rental car, and lodging. But then one of many possible travel interruptions happens. Maybe you get sick. Or a hurricane makes your trip impossible. A good credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® can come to the rescue in such situations, as it covers lots of trip expenses you might claim.
Let's take a closer look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card's trip cancellation features. You'll want to know about them if you have the card or are thinking of getting it -- and even if you use another card, you might compare its trip cancellation policies with this generous one. (Learn more in our detailed Chase Sapphire Preferred® review. The card tops our list of the best travel credit cards.)
Chase Sapphire Preferred® trip cancellation benefits -- the basics
As with most financial policies, there are many rules and details involved in these trip cancellation benefits. Before we dive into some details, here are the key things to know.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® trip cancellation benefit actually covers canceled trips and interrupted trips. It's designed to reimburse you up to $10,000 per covered trip if a covered loss results in the cancellation of the trip on or before the departure date -- or if a covered loss results in the interruption of a covered trip on or after the departure day.
Non-refundable sums are the ones that may be reimbursed. If some of your expenses are indeed refundable, you'd be expected to pursue those refunds. Also, if you have any trip insurance, such as through your job or from a travel company, this coverage does not apply to losses covered by that insurance.
If you paid for some or all of your trip with Rewards instead of cash, the card will reimburse you for the monetary value of the Rewards.
Note that this benefit applies not only to you, the cardholder, but also to your immediate family members such as your spouse, domestic partner, children, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews. Siblings-in-law and parents-in-law count, too. Better still, the primary cardholder doesn't even have to be taking the trip in question.
Defining terms -- covered trips and covered losses
You'll notice that there are certain terms, such as "covered trip" and "covered loss" that may seem vague. Well, they're actually defined rather clearly in the fine print:
A covered tip refers to a pre-paid tour or trip where some part of the costs (less Rewards and other offsets) were charged to your card. The charges need to have been made while the insurance was in effect and the trip must be to a destination more than a mile away from your primary resident and must last no more than 60 days.
A covered loss refers to one of many events that can derail travel plans. These include: a change in military orders, accidental injury, death, illness, quarantine, severe weather, a terrorist event (including a hijacking), a subpoena or jury duty call that can't be rescheduled or waived, and if a travel company you contracted with goes out of business.
What's not covered?
So far this policy may be sounding very generous -- and it is. But it doesn't cover everything. For example, the trip cancellation benefit doesn't cover:
- A travel company's change or cancellation of your trip for non-covered reasons, such as for its own convenience or to maximize bookings.
- A change in plans for you or your immediate family members or traveling companions because of a change in your financial circumstances or a pre-existing condition.
- A change in travel plans resulting from a declared or undeclared war.
The trip interruption benefit, meanwhile, doesn't cover:
- When you're traveling against the advice of your doctor, traveling with a pre-existing condition, traveling to get medical treatment, or traveling while on a waiting list for a particular medical treatment.
- When you're interrupted because you're involved in a speeding contest or race.
- When you're interrupted because you're involved in an illegal activity.
The coverage provides for reimbursement up to $10,000 per covered trip and up to $20,000 per occurrence. The maximum benefit per 12-month period is $40,000.
You're expected to file a written claim within 20 days of your trip's cancellation or interruption -- or as soon as is reasonably possible. You'll receive a Proof of Loss form after reporting your loss and must submit it with all your supporting documentation within 90 days of the occurrence (or as soon as is reasonably possible).
Travel plan disruptions can be frustrating and inconvenience, and they can be costly, too. Fortunately, if you hold a credit card with a generous trip cancellation or interruption policy, your financial losses can be reduced considerably. That's just one more reason to choose your credit cards with care, finding the ones that will serve you best.
Keep in mind that you typically need a high credit score to qualify for the best credit cards. It can be worth spending a little time increasing your score before applying for great cards.
Selena Maranjian owns shares of JPMorgan Chase. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. The statements above are The Motley Fool's alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. Review The Motley Fool’s ratings methodology to uncover how we pick the best credit cards.