Amex cost me $900 in Sandy, always book airfare with Chase

Chase offers free trip delay insurance on several cards. With Amex it is $9.95, requiring enrollment of a card which then auto-charges for each air ticket, and even then their benefit is less generous than Chase.

That was my pain in the wallet morning lesson reading Deals We Like’s Stranded by Sandy.

I took wife and mother-in-law to Orlando this past weekend and our Monday return to New York is currently a very tentative Thursday. We count ourselves lucky to be safe and out of the storm, yet it is no fun to be paying additional hotel nights, car rental days, and meals.

It turns out I quite stupidly booked my Delta airfare with my Delta Platinum Business Amex, working on the minimum spend. Chasing a few miles, and not paying attention to card coverages, is costing me dearly. If I had booked with one of several Chase cards that provide trip delay insurance, I would have be eligible for up to $300 per ticket for lodging and meals. The cards are Hyatt Visa, Ink, Ink Bold, Ink Plus, Marriott Rewards and Rewards Premier, Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred,  United MileagePlus Club and Explorer.

Key lessons for me and you:

  1. Understand card benefits – Chase makes it quite difficult to locate this information online, even to verify if a certain card has this benefit.
  2. Keep the paper terms mailed with your card – the coverage details are typically not online for any cards.
  3. Consider coverages like trip delay, not just card category bonuses and meeting minimum spends, when booking travel.
  4. If trip delays happen, make sure to use the same card as used for the airfare to pay for hotels and meals, as this is typically required for credit card insurance coverages.

So, now I am out big for buying Delta tickets with the Delta Amex. I won’t make that mistake again. And have paid for hotels and meals with a Chase card so it is a real stretch to think Amex will help, despite their unspecific broadcast email to help with Sandy issues. No reason Chase should help, but maybe will give them a try, their customer service is often so good.

Also note, that while I still don’t have a Chase card with Ultimate Rewards, those that do can book through their portal for 3x on airfare.

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  • This is a great point.

  • Paul

    Thanks for this post. Very good reminder. I didn’t even know/remember that my Chase Club card offers that trip insurance.

  • Any idea if this also includes Award Tickets if you paid the taxes and fees with a Chase Card. Could be mighty useful right about now as I am stuck in NYC.

  • webazoid

    can u tell me more of the sapphire preferred protection program? do u have to pay extra once a trip is booked? link?

  • @Frequent Flyer University – my printed terms are stuck in NYC so I can’t tell for sure, but what I see from Amex is only that the ticket be paid for with the card, nothing excluding award tickets. Amex also says each ticket must be charged separately but even when purchased together Amex breaks out the charges on the statement so maybe not an issue. Back to Chase, I suppose you could call as ask for the actual terms, if nothing explicitly excludes, I would guess you should be ok.

  • @webazoid – there are no official links from Chase with details, anything they have refers people to the hard copy “Guide to Benefits” that come with the cards. When I get back to NYC I will get the exact wording, but for now, consult the Deals We Like post I linked to in the post.

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. In fact, one of my wise friends recently reminded me that there’s no trip where something is perfect. 🙂

    You made the best decision, based on the available information, when you booked your tickets.

  • hello

    are award tkts pd for on chase covered? when only taxes and fees are paid for?

    what about penfed? do they offer any coverage?
    thanks

  • PointsObsession

    Good point Daraius. It’s a complex game we’re playing.

  • @hello – I see no exclusion for award tickets, it should be ok as long as you have paid the taxes & fees for the award with the card.

    PenFed does not appear to provide this coverage, but double check your hard copy terms in case, since the websites for most card provide scant details.