Below is a comparison of travel insurance benefits available through the Amex Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ritz Carlton, and CNB Crystal Infinite credit cards.

Citi Eliminated Travel Protection Benefits

In 2019, Citi removed many of the valuable travel benefits associated with their cards. Among the benefits removed were:

  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
  • Trip Delay Protection
  • Baggage Delay Protection
  • Lost Baggage Protection

Trips that are purchased prior to September 22nd were still covered, but anything booked after that date is not.

My experience with credit card travel insurance

I have had the pleasure, or should I say misfortune, of taking advantage of these credit card travel insurance benefits many times. In particular, I have utilized baggage delay protection several times over the past few years.

Earlier this year, my fiancée and I traveled to the Maldives. The only availability for Qatar Qsuite business class was out of Boston, so our trip originated with a flight from LaGuardia (LGA) to Boston (BOS) on American. Unfortunately, LaGuardia was suffering from delays, something that seems to happen all too often whenever there is at least a slight breeze.

Our LGA-BOS flight ended up being delayed around 45 minutes, which left us with about a 45-minute connection time in Boston. As an aside, 45 minutes is cutting it pretty close to make a domestic to international connection in Boston, especially if you’re not familiar with the airport. Needless to say, while we made the flight, our bags did not.

Luckily, while we had used American Airlines miles for our Qatar tickets, we paid the taxes and fees using my Citi Prestige card. At the time, Citi offered travel insurance benefits on their Prestige card. This entitled us to delayed bag coverage, meaning we would be reimbursed for up to $500 in purchases of necessities.

During our layover in Doha, we purchased $50 worth of various essentials we knew we would need. When we arrived at W Maldives, we also purchased around $150 worth of items from the shop at the resort.

Thankfully, our suitcases arrived a day later.

After we returned from our trip, we emailed in a claim form along with our receipts. The statement credits for the full amount of our purchases were posted on my account a few weeks later.

This mirrored the other positive experiences I have had with Chase’s travel protection benefits. I have never been asked to justify expenses or provide additional documentation beyond what is required by the instructions on the claim forms.

Needless to say, I place a substantial value on having this coverage.

Searching for alternative credit card travel insurance

Citi’s elimination of these key benefits led me to rethink what credit card to use going forward for travel insurance.

To answer this, I reviewed the trip cancellation, trip delay, bag delay, and bag loss insurance benefits for all the premium travel credit cards. These included the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ritz Carlton Card, CNB Crystal Infinite Card, and HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard. Note that Chase offers the same benefits on its Ritz Carlton card as they provide with the Sapphire Reserve.

Many of these cards also come with other travel insurance benefits, such as roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, emergency evacuation, and emergency, medical, and dental coverage. For more information on these benefits, check out the links to the full benefit guides at the bottom of this post.

Chase Sapphire Reserve travel insurance is top-notch. In all the categories I looked at, the card outperformed.

My next takeaway was that the travel insurance offered by Amex Platinum does not offer trip cancellation/interruption, trip delay, or bag delay protection. They only provide reimbursement for lost baggage.

Trip Cancellation

Trip Cancellation insurance provides coverage when you are unable to embark on or complete your trip due to eligible reasons.

Sapphire Reserve & Ritz

  • Eligible Reasons for cancellation: Death, injury, illness of the cardmember, or immediate family member. Severe weather, military orders, terrorism, jury duty, or bankruptcy of your travel agency/tour operator.
  • What is covered: “The forfeited, nonrefundable pre-paid land, air and/or sea transportation arrangements that were missed” and change fees up to $10,000 per person, and up to a maximum of $20,000 per occurrence.
  • Who has coverage: The primary cardmember and “Spouse or Domestic Partner and their children, including adopted children or stepchildren; legal guardians or wards; siblings or siblings-in-law; parents or parents-in-law; grandparents or grandchildren; aunts or uncles; nieces or nephews.”
  • Does the cardmember need to be traveling: No.
  • The portion of fare required to be paid by the card: “Some portion.”

CNB Crystal

  • Eligible Reasons for cancellation: “Death, injury, illness of the cardmember, immediate family member or bankruptcy of the carrier.”
  • What is covered: The “nonrefundable amount paid for common carrier fare, up to $5,000.”
  • Who has coverage: You and your “Spouse, Dependent Child or Children, or other relatives residing with the Insured Person.”
  • Does the cardmember need to be traveling: Yes.
  • The portion of fare required to be paid by Crystal card: “The entire cost of the passenger fare for such transportation, less redeemable certificates, vouchers, or coupons.”

Amex Platinum

Trip Cancellation coverage is not offered with Amex Platinum.

Best Trip Cancellation/Interruption Coverage: Sapphire Reserve

Trip Delay

This benefit reimburses you from expenses you incur when your trip is delayed by an eligible reason for more than a specified number of hours. The Citi Prestige card originally provided best-in-class trip delay coverage, providing benefits when your trip was delayed by as little as three hours. However, in 2018, Citi moved to the industry-standard six hours, the point at which CNB and Chase Sapphire Reserve will continue to offer benefits.

Sapphire Reserve & Ritz

  • Eligible Reasons for the delay: Equipment failure, inclement weather, labor strikes, and hijacking or skyjacking.
  • What is covered: “Reasonable additional expenses, including but not limited to meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items” up to $500 per covered traveler.
  • Who has coverage: Primary cardmember and “your spouse and your dependent children under twenty-two (22) years of age are automatically covered when a portion of the entire cost of the Common Carrier fare, is purchased with your Chase credit card account (“Account”).”
  • Does the cardmember need to be traveling: No.
  • The portion of fare required to be paid by Reserve or Ritz card: “Either a portion or the entire cost of your Common Carrier fare.”

CNB Crystal

  • Eligible Reasons for the delay: Equipment failure, inclement weather, strike, and hijacking/skyjacking.
  • What is covered: “Reasonable additional expenses incurred” up to $500 per ticket.
  • Who has coverage: “You, your spouse, and your dependent children under twenty-two (22) years of age.”
  • Does the cardmember need to be traveling: Yes
  • The portion of fare required to be paid by Crystal card: “The entire fare.”

Amex Platinum

American Express travel insurance offered through the Platinum card does not provide Trip Delay coverage.

Best Trip Delay Coverage: Sapphire Reserve

Baggage Delay

Sapphire Reserve & Ritz

  • When are you covered: When “baggage is delayed or misdirected by a Common Carrier for more than six (6) hours.”
  • What is covered: “$100 dollars per day for a maximum of five (5) days and is limited to emergency purchases of essential items needed as a result of the delay, including but not limited to: clothing, toiletries, and charging cables for cellular telephones; however, only one (1) cellular telephone charging cable shall be covered per Baggage Delay claim.”
  • Who has coverage: Primary cardmember and “Spouse and parents thereof; sons and daughters, including adopted children and stepchildren, and spouses thereof; parents, including stepparents, and spouses thereof; brothers and sisters, and spouses thereof; grandparents and grandchildren, and spouses thereof; aunts or uncles, and spouses thereof; nieces or nephews, and spouses thereof; and Domestic Partner and parents thereof, including domestic partners of any individual of this definition.”
  • Does the cardmember need to be traveling: No.
  • The portion of fare required to be paid by Reserve or Ritz card: “Some portion of the fare” or “when free flights have been awarded from frequent flier or Rewards programs, provided that all of the miles or Rewards points were accumulated from a Rewards program sponsored by Chase.”

CNB Crystal

Bag delay coverage not offered with CNB Crystal.

Amex Platinum

Bag delay coverage not offered with Amex Platinum.

Best Baggage Delay Coverage: Sapphire Reserve

Baggage Loss & Damage

Sapphire Reserve & Ritz

  • When is coverage provided: When “loss (including theft) or damage occurs” to your baggage “during a Common Carrier Covered Trip.”
  • What is covered: “Physical loss or damage of Checked Baggage and/or Carry-On Baggage and personal property in the baggage belonging to you or an Immediate Family Member” up to $3,000 per person. However, only $500 of “jewelry, watches, cameras, video recorders, and other electronic equipment” is covered.
  • Who has coverage: You and “your Spouse or Domestic Partner and their children, including adopted children or stepchildren; legal guardians or wards; siblings or siblings-in-law; parents or parents-in-law; grandparents or grandchildren; aunts or uncles; nieces or nephews.”
  • Does the cardmember need to be traveling: No.
  • The portion of fare required to be paid by Reserve or Ritz card: “Some portion of the fare” or if you used “frequent flier or Rewards programs, provided that all of the miles or Rewards points were accumulated from a Rewards program sponsored by Chase.”

CNB Crystal

  • When is coverage provided: “Luggage or contents are lost due to theft or misdirection by the Common Carrier.”
  • What is covered: Up to $5,000 (up to $2,000 for NY residents) per trip (not per bag).
  • Who has coverage: You and “your spouse or legal dependent children under age eighteen (18) [under age twenty-five (25) if enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited institution].”
  • Does the cardmember need to be traveling: No.
  • The portion of fare required to be paid by Crystal card: “Entire fare.”

American Express

  • When is coverage provided: “Damaged, stolen, or lost Baggage, whether checked or carry-on.”
  • What is covered: Up to $3,000 ($2,000 for checked bags). However, only $1,000 is covered for jewelry, sports equipment, photography, or electronic equipment.
  • Who has coverage: “The Card Member and the Card Member’s spouse or Domestic Partner and dependent children under 23 years of age.”
  • Does the cardmember need to be traveling: No.
  • The portion of fare required to be paid by Platinum card: “Entire fare.”

Best Baggage Delay Coverage: Sapphire Reserve

Conclusion: Sapphire Reserve offers the best travel insurance benefits

It seems clear that in a post-Citi benefits world, the Chase Sapphire Reserve travel insurance benefits will soon be the best in the industry. The card offers all four of the benefits listed above and only requires you to pay a portion of the fare with the card to have coverage.

For all the details, make sure to review the full benefit policies:

Featured Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

1 thought on “The Best Travel Insurance Credit Cards”

  1. Any chance you still have a pdf of the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits at the time of your writing? I’m looking for any version from 2019.

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