Ultimate Rewards Credit Card Travel Insurance

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Many credit cards include automatic travel protections when you use your card to purchase travel.  I’ve separately compared these protections for ultra premium cards, here: Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance.  In this post, I compare protections provided by each of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards including the Sapphire Reserve, Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Preferred, and more.

The following chart summarizes travel insurance provided automatically by each Ultimate Rewards card. Cells in green indicate best in class coverage, yellow indicates good coverage, red indicates worse than peers’ coverage. “Pay partial” means that you can get full coverage even if you pay only part of your transportation costs with this card. For example, you could pay just the taxes and fees for an award flight. Or, you could pay part of a cruise with gift cards and the rest with the credit card.

Sapphire
Reserve
Sapphire Preferred Ink Business Preferred Ink Cash, Ink Business Unlimited Freedom, Freedom Unlimited
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Primary Primary Primary for Business*
Primary for Business* Secondary*
Roadside Assistance 4X per year limit
Pay per use
Pay per use Pay per use Pay per use
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Pay partial Pay partial Pay partial
N/A Pay partial
Trip Delay 6 hour delay
Pay partial
12 hour delay
Pay partial
12 hour delay
Pay partial
N/A N/A
Lost Luggage Pay partial Pay partial
Pay partial N/A N/A
Baggage Delay 6 hour delay
Pay partial
6 hour delay
Pay partial
6 hour delay
Pay partial
6 hour delay
Pay partial
N/A
Travel Accident Insurance Pay partial Pay partial
Pay partial Pay partial N/A
Emergency Evacuation and Transportation $100K limit
Pay partial
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Emergency Medical and Dental $2,500 limit
Pay partial
N/A N/A N/A N/A

* Each of these cards offers primary coverage outside of your country of residence.  Unfortunately, the Ink Cash, Ink Business Unlimited, Freedom, and Freedom Unlimited cards all incur foreign transaction fees outside of your country of residence.

Based on the above chart, we can conclude that:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve has the best all around coverage compared to other Ultimate Rewards cards (it also has the best when compared to ultra-premium cards).
  • The Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred cards have nearly identical coverage.  The only obvious difference is that the Sapphire Preferred offers primary coverage within your country of residence for personal or business travel.  The Ink Business Preferred offers primary coverage within your country of residence only for business purposes.  Outside of your country of residence, all of the cards in this roundup offer primary coverage.
Caution: I’m far from an expert on this stuff. I did my best to read through the benefit guides to figure out what was covered and when, but I can’t promise that I got all of the details correct.

Card comparison for other travel related perks

Sapphire
Reserve
Sapphire Preferred Ink Business Preferred Ink Cash, Ink Business Unlimited Freedom, Freedom Unlimited
Foreign Transaction Fee? Waived Waived Waived Yes Yes
Points per dollar for travel 3X
2X
3X 1X (Ink Cash)
1.5X (Unlimited)
1X (Freedom)
1.5X (Unlimited)
Points per dollar for dining 3X 2X 1X
2X (Ink Cash)
Occasional 5X (Freedom)
Cents per point redeemed for travel 1.5
1.25
1.25
1
1
Transfer points to partners? Yes
Yes
Yes
No*
No*
Priority Pass Select Lounge Membership Yes
No
No
No
No

* Points earned on the fee-free Ink and Freedom cards cannot be directly transferred to airline and hotel partners, but you can move the points to your or a household member’s Preferred or Reserve card and then transfer.

Card overviews

Chase Freedom

FM Mini Review: Great for 5X categories. Good companion card to Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred.


Annual Fee: $0

Card Type: Visa Signature or Platinum

Base
Grocery
Shop

Earning rate: 5X Lyft ⚬ 5X in rotating categories on up to $1,500 spend per quarter. Q3 2020: 5X Amazon and Whole Foods

Noteworthy perks: Free DashPass for up to 3 months upon activation

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Freedom Unlimited

FM Mini Review: Great to earn 1.5X Ultimate Rewards in categories with no bonuses. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred!


Annual Fee: $0

Card Type: Visa Signature or Platinum

Base
Other

Earning rate: 1.5X on all purchases ⚬ 5X Lyft

Noteworthy perks: Free DashPass for up to 3 months upon activation

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

FM Mini Review: This one should be in everyone's wallet. Incredible signup bonus for a no-fee card. Great card for 5X categories. Excellent companion card to Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred!


Annual Fee: $0

Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Dine
Gas
Phone
Office
Other

Earning rate: 5X office supplies ⚬ 5X cellular/landline/cable (on up to $25,000 in total purchases in 5x categories annually) ⚬ 2X gas and restaurants ⚬ 5X Lyft

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Ink Business Preferred Card

FM Mini Review: Great card for signup bonus and 3X categories. Also consider the no-fee Chase Ink Cash for its 5X categories, and the no fee Ink Business Unlimited to earn 1.5X everywhere.


Annual Fee: $95

Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Travel
Phone
Biz
Other

Earning rate: 3X travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone, and advertising with social media sites (up to $150K spend per year) ⚬ 5X Lyft

Noteworthy perks: ⚬ Points worth 25% more when redeemed for travel ⚬ Cell phone protection against theft or damage

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

FM Mini Review: Great to earn 1.5X Ultimate Rewards in categories with no bonuses. Excellent companion card to Ink Business Preferred, Sapphire Reserve or Sapphire Preferred!


Annual Fee: $0

Card Type: Visa Signature Business

Base
Other

Earning rate: 1.5X on all purchases ⚬ 5X Lyft

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

FM Mini Review: Great signup bonus. This may be the single best "starter card" for those eager to get into miles & points.


Annual Fee: $95

Card Type: Visa Signature

Base
Travel
Dine
Other

Earning rate: 2X Travel and Dining ⚬ 5X Lyft

Noteworthy perks: Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ⚬ Free DashPass for up to 2 years upon activation

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Chase Sapphire Reserve Card

FM Mini Review: Excellent all-around card for frequent traveler. Best when paired with no-fee Chase Freedom, no-fee Freedom Unlimited & no-fee Chase Ink Cash


Annual Fee: $550

Card Type: Visa Infinite

Base
Travel
Dine
Other

Earning rate: 3X Travel and Dining ⚬ 10X Lyft

Noteworthy perks: $300 Annual Travel Credit ⚬ Points worth 1.5 cents each towards travel ⚬ Primary auto rental collision damage waiver ⚬ Priority Pass Select lounge access ⚬ $100 Global Entry fee credit ⚬ $60 annual DoorDash credit in 2020 & 2021 ⚬ Free DashPass for up to 2 years upon activation ⚬ One year Lyft Pink membership ⚬ Earn 10X on Lyft spend

See also: Chase Ultimate Rewards Complete Guide

Conclusion

It should be no surprise to anyone that the ultra-premium Sapphire Reserve card offers the best travel protections and perks.  For those who use points primarily to transfer to airline and hotel partners, the much cheaper Sapphire Preferred and Ink Business Preferred cards may be good alternatives.  Like the Sapphire Reserve, both of these cards provide very good travel protections (not as good, but very good), no foreign transaction fees, and the ability to transfer points to airline and hotel programs.  The Ink Business Preferred has the edge over the Sapphire Preferred in offering 3X for travel, but the Sapphire Preferred counters with 2X for both travel and dining.

Overall, I continue to be a big fan of the Sapphire Reserve card, but it’s definitely worth considering one of the less expensive Preferred cards if the Sapphire Reserve’s annual fee is too much to swallow.

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Deb b
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Deb b

Quite surprised to learn that airfare is not a part of the trip interruption (at least for mechanical delay). Had allowed near 5 hours to go from COPA in Santiago to Punta arenas on latam and the COPA delay out of Ord cost me $300 for a later flight on latam. The odd part is that if I hadn’t paid for the latam flight, I would have missed a $10,000 cruise which presumably they WOULD have had to reimburse for. Grateful that I rarely have to travel on non-connected itinerary!

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

deb
When we would go on a Big $$$ cruise I would let the cruise handle all travel. I have seen to many people boarding @ the first stop . I almost missed my United award connecting flt by weather but they held it for 28 people.
CHEERs

miafll
Guest
miafll

We always fly in a day or a couple days early on our port of boarding a cruise. Much less stress this way especially if it is during the winter time when weather delay is inevitable.

In fact we also fly to the departing airport of a longhaul transpacific or tranatlantic flight. The last thing I want to see is we miss the original booking therefore also lose our business class / first class award seats due to availability. No way we would risk that by doing same day connection, even it is on same ticket (hence you are “protected” but by no means for the same class of service!)

Dee
Guest
Dee

Greg, do you have any idea of the “If” and “When” of the rumored Reserve annual fee going up?

Captain Greg
Guest
Captain Greg

This is a good question and one that could heavily factor into me keeping or cutting the CSR. I’m very on the fence about keeping it at the moment. Any positive or negative changes could strongly influence the decision.

ken
Guest
ken

My recent experiences with CSR insurance was mediocre. My flight was cancelled due to a strike (which qualifies for compensation) so I bought a new ticket on an airline that was not affected by strike. But chase said the new ticket price doesn’t qualify for the item. Really oddly, if I stayed overnight, then I could have claimed for the hotel and food etc, which would have been more expensive for the insurance. I always assumed that the additional cost due to cancellation including the new ticket would be a part of the insurance but no! The insurance agent won’t even accept my claim. And she was not very friendly. I usually have a very good customer service with chase but this particular department is full of grumpy and nasty people at least from 4 agents I talked to in the past two cases. Apparently they also update the benefits quite regularly and won’t even send me the most updated benefit guide through email. They even claimed it is a benefit, not an insurance so I should have bought a different insurance product if I wanted an insurance. That is exactly the words by their agents.

the second case was when I had to cancel my ticket due to political unrest. Apparently, it doesn’t qualify….So I digged quite a bit on this and it seems like weather is the most robust way of claiming the insurance BUT what qualifies in the terms of expenses is very limited, so overall, I don’t rely on this benefit anymore. Which means, I should use the citi prestige or amex plat for my tickets, which would be a large junk of spending on my CSR as now. I also get the priority pass from a different card, so I am not really sure whether I should keep this card anymore….

Money
Guest
Money

I had thr same experience with that department. I had a claim and lady jusf said “no, we cant reimburse that ” no sorry no explanation just no. I couldn’t believe it.

Phil
Guest
Phil

@ Ken, as you now know this type of ins. will NOT reimburse you if you choose to buy a new ticket for onward travel. Very important point.

miafll
Guest
miafll

Exactly. New costs are NOT covered. It is written in the T&Cs so nobody should not be surprised. if anyone is surprised by that, it is the person’s own fault by not reading the fine prints.

ken
Guest
ken

well, it is hard to keep track of their ever changing terms and conditions. I talked to their agents a few times in the past three months and I learned that they regularly change the terms (at least twice in the past year) and ask Chase to send the new document by MAIL, not email. But I never got the new terms in the mail and I asked Chase about this and they are still figuring out…

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Good Post they sell this VIP stuff with Loads of always changing Fine Print . I wisely looked @ AIG $247 annual for what I need . My broker gave me $1,000 rebate then 2 days later the firm sent me the Fine Print . Most of CC benefits are BS my Prestige card should BE Gone in 60 days and get the AF rebate back to me .
Thanks !!
CHEERs

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

All my Trips are booked by Citi Prestige ect. till Oct. online . I almost booked SYD like 12/5 I wonder what they would’ve done for the 8 nites there on a account of the SMOKE .Then the New Zealand part Hmmmm.
CHEERs

miafll
Guest
miafll

The coverage is only for ALREADY incurred expenses before the flight interruption.

Last year when Italian airtraffic controller went on a strike that caused our flight from Sicily back to mainland canceled. We had to buy new tickets to fly a day before the strike, also lost a lodging booking due to the cancellation deadline had passed and the property owner refused to take into consideration of the canceled flight.

Chase did reimburse the lost lodging booking. Since Ryanair refunded the canceled flight we did not file claim on the flight but the Chase rep noticed a discrepancy on the initial charged amount and the refund amount due to exchange rates (Euro went down almost 3% from ticket purchase to ticket refund), we got the difference reimbursed.

We have Great rental car CDW reimbursement on the same trip. From filing eClaim online to money ACHed to our bank account, only took 7 calendar days. They paid exactly the amount shown on the Repair Estimate and Invoice produced by Budget Catania at Sicily. Of course having all the needed documents and pictures attached at the time of filing, helped tremendously.

Budget Catania did an excellent job to generate needed documents – the receiving guy generated the Repair Estimate and Invoice, together with 4 pictures, right on the return parking lot. Before we headed back to the office to retrieve the Final Rental Agreement which could only be done at the counter, we already received the email from the Budget guy. It was so complete that eClaim accepted it without any question.

The one and the only email we got from eClaim after the initial confirmation with Claim Number, was Claim Approval with the instruction on options available for getting reimbursement, 4 business days from the day claim was filed. $1550.xx was ACHed to our bank account on the 7th calendar day. I think everyone should be happy on such speedy settlement. (They actually paid a bit more than they should due to the screwy calculation by Budget, the Repair Cost Estimate included some taxes that by T&Cs were not allowed, but the adjuster obviously did not care about redo the calculation to separate such, rather just approved the whole thing instead.)

Captain Greg
Guest
Captain Greg

Wow!! Thank you so much for writing this post! This is exactly what I was trying to figure out a few days ago when I was wondering if a CIP and an Amex Gold would essentially make the CSR redundant.

It’s a tough call for me. I’d essentially keep the CSR for the priority pass restaurants (which I use somewhat regularly) and the primary car insurance in the U.S. But it led me to this question: how do you prove that your rental car was used for business? Any insight on this?

Paul in RDU
Guest
Paul in RDU

Where does the Ritz Carlton Card fit in here?

Amy
Guest
Amy

How does the Roadside assistance work with the CSR? I haven’t used that benefit.

Ellen
Guest
Ellen

Since I lose roadside assistance with Amex Platinum on Jan. 1 does this post indicate that the reserve will pay 4 times a year for roadside assistance ? If so I don’t need to go get AAA again. Am I correct?

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Ellen
Trust me on this get the $95? per year AAA a female doesn’t need Cheap @ 1am . IF they can’t fix it they TOW u 100 miles for Free . Read their deal like any car ur in too .In 10 years they fixed a Flat in my garage and put a New Great Batt. ($100) in my never used car @ a restaurant .
CHEERs

Nick Reyes
Editor

@Ellen: Keep in mind that AAA has other travel benefits. I typically find the hotel discount to be around 5-10% per night, though in some cases more (I booked a hotel in Switzerland this year where the AAA rate was dramatically lower than the member rate).

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

AAA opened a huge car repair & travel center by me . They looked @ my old truck then gave me a Price free . The office was staffed by 5 people nuts . But some of their deals on PKG’s are very good . I was shocked too with my booking.com hotel better then all . Spend the time on hotels well worth it .
CHEERs

Melanie Owens
Guest
Melanie Owens

I keep the Sapphire Reserve for their roadside assistance. I used it last summer for the first time. I was in a rural location and was blown away by the speed and efficiency of their response.
Conversely, I had AAA for many years. Contacted them twice for roadside assistance in a major metropolitan area. AAA NEVER SHOWED UP AFTER EITHER CALL.
So I’ll rely on the Sapphire Reserve for Roadside Assistance.
I drive a lot and frequently in rural areas. I have ZERO confidence in AAA.

Aquafan
Guest
Aquafan

If I book using only points in travel portal with csr do I still get trip cancellation.

miafll
Guest
miafll

There is no Ink Plus listed, but the card is still alive and Chase even offers retention offer on this card despite it is not available for new application for close to 2 years.

I assume most of the benefits would be the same as Ink Preferred, except the 3x travel is only 2x with Ink Plus, which also has 2x on lodging and gas station, both domestic and international.

Christian
Guest
Christian

I’m thinking of upgrading my CSP to a CSR, in large part due to the emergency evacuation insurance. Any idea what the pay partial means?

Robert
Guest
Robert

I don’t call a $55 annual fee difference between CSR and CSP a ‘significant’ difference.