Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance

This page compares the travel insurance benefits provided automatically by various ultra-premium travel cards such as Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, Amex Platinum, and US Bank Altitude Reserve. For full details about each card’s coverage, please consult each card’s benefit’s guide:

Overall Summary

The following chart summarizes travel insurance provided automatically by each ultra-premium 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.

Chase
Sapphire
Reserve
,
or Ritz-Carlton
Citi
Prestige
Amex
Platinum
*
(as of 1/1/20)
USB Altitude Reserve CNB Crystal Visa Infinite
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Primary N/A Secondary Primary Primary
Roadside Assistance 4X per year limit
N/A
No $ limit
4X per year limit
N/A Pay $59.95 per use
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Pay partial N/A
Pay in full**
Pay in full Pay in full
Trip Delay 6 hour delay
Pay partial
N/A 6 hour delay
Pay in full**
6 hour delay
Pay in full
6 hour delay
Pay in full
Lost Luggage Pay partial N/A Pay in full Pay in full Pay in full
Baggage Delay 6 hour delay
Pay partial
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Travel Accident Insurance Pay partial N/A N/A Pay in full Pay in full
Emergency Evacuation and Transportation $100K limit
Pay partial
N/A No set limit
No pay requirement
$10K limit
Pay in full
$10K limit
Pay in full
Emergency Medical and Dental $2,500 limit
Pay partial
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Hotel Theft Protection
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
$1,000
Pay in full
US & Canada Only

* Amex offers the same coverage for all versions of the Platinum card, including the Business Platinum card.  Similar coverage (except for Emergency Evacuation) is included for all other ultra-premium Amex cards: Hilton Aspire, Delta Reserve, Delta Reserve for Business, and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant.

** Coverage for these benefits begins Jan 1 2020. Amex covers round-trip travel paid “in full” with their card, but “in full” includes situations where you pay full award taxes and fees or when you pay with Amex points for travel.

Based on the above chart, we can conclude that:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ritz card have the best all around coverage.
  • Now that Citi has dropped travel protections from almost all of their cards, the Prestige card is no longer a good choice peace of mind when purchasing travel.
  • The Amex Platinum card is great to have for its emergency evacuation and transportation benefit. There is no need to pay for travel with this card in order to get that benefit.  However, starting January 1, 2020, it is no longer a bad choice to use Ultra-Premium Amex cards to purchase round-trip airfare.  In fact, the 6 hour trip delay coverage matches Chase’s best-in-class coverage.  That said, Chase still covers a number of things that Amex does not.
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.

Summary by coverage type

Each of the tables shown below summarize the benefits available with each card. With each type of coverage, I’ve listed whether you must pay for travel with the card in order to get coverage. With Chase and Amex, it is OK to pay with points rather than the credit card directly (e.g. you can pay with Ultimate Rewards points for Sapphire Reserve coverage or Membership Rewards points for Amex Platinum coverage).

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Sapphire Reserve / Ritz Citi Prestige Amex Plat Altitude Reserve CNB
Primary? Yes N/A No Yes Yes
Limit per claim $75K N/A $75K $75K $75K
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit 100% N/A 100% 100% 100%
Where coverage is not available
Israel, Jamaica,  Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland Israel, Jamaica, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland

 

Roadside Assistance
(Towing, jump-start, tire change, lock out service, fuel delivery)
Sapphire Reserve / Ritz Citi Prestige Amex Plat Altitude Reserve CNB
Limits $50 per service; max 2 gallon fill-up, 4X per year;
N/A Max tow 10 miles, max 2 gallon fill-up, 4X per year* N/A None
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit
None N/A None N/A None
Amount charged per use to cardholder if within limits
$0 N/A $0 N/A $59.95

* Note that Amex will end their Roadside Assistance Hotline on Jan 1 2020, but the Platinum card’s towing (and related services) benefit remains.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Sapphire Reserve / Ritz Citi Prestige Amex Plat Altitude Reserve CNB
Limit per person, per trip $10K N/A $10K $2K $5K
Max per trip
$20K N/A $10K $2K $5K
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of travel arrangements
N/A Entire round-trip fare* Entire fare Entire passenger fare

* Amex covers round-trip travel paid “in full” with their card, but “in full” includes situations where you pay full award taxes and fees or when you pay with Amex points for travel.

Trip Delay Reimbursement Sapphire Reserve / Ritz Citi Prestige Amex Plat Altitude Reserve CNB
# hours delay required 6 N/A 6 6 6
Max coverage per person per trip $500 N/A $500 $500 $500
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of common carrier transportation N/A Entire round-trip fare* Pay entire common carrier transportation Pay entire common carrier fare

* Amex covers round-trip travel paid “in full” with their card, but “in full” includes situations where you pay full award taxes and fees or when you pay with Amex points for travel.

Lost Luggage Reimbursement Sapphire Reserve / Ritz Citi Prestige Amex Plat Altitude Reserve CNB
Max coverage per person per trip $3K N/A $3K ($2K for checked bags) ? $5K
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of common carrier transportation N/A Full cost of transportation Full cost Full cost of Common Carrier tickets

 

Baggage Delay Reimbursement Sapphire Reserve / Ritz Citi Prestige Amex Plat Altitude Reserve CNB
# hours delay required 6 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Max coverage per person per trip $500 ($100 per day) N/A N/A N/A N/A
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of common carrier transportation N/A N/A N/A N/A

* 3 hours until 7/29/2018.

Travel Accident Insurance Sapphire Reserve / Ritz Citi Prestige Amex Plat Altitude Reserve CNB
Max coverage per person per trip $1M N/A N/A $500K $1M
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of common carrier transportation N/A N/A Entire common carrier fare Entire common carrier fare

 

Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Sapphire Reserve / Ritz Citi Prestige Amex Plat Altitude Reserve CNB
Max coverage per person per trip $100K N/A No set limit $10K $10K
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of trip N/A None “charge a trip” (I think this means pay in full) Trip purchased entirely with CNB card

 

Emergency Medical and Dental
Sapphire Reserve / Ritz Citi Prestige Amex Plat Altitude Reserve CNB
Max coverage per person per trip $2,500 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of common carrier transportation N/A N/A N/A N/A

 

American Express Platinum Emergency Evacuation and Transportation Coverage

It’s important to note that this coverage is part of the Amex “PREMIUM GLOBAL ASSIST HOTLINE” which is available to Platinum and Centurion cardholders, but not to cardholders of other ultra-premium Amex cards.  In other words, cardholders of the following cards do not get this benefit: Hilton Aspire, Delta Reserve, Delta Reserve for Business, and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant.

Detailed benefits of the hotline can be found by clicking here.

There is no requirement to pay for any part of your trip with your Amex Platinum card to use this benefit.

Here are the relevant terms from the above linked document:

Premium Global Assist Hotline can help you prepare for your trip with customs information and more. While you’re traveling more than 100 miles from home, coordination and assistance services such as lost passport replacement assistance, translation services, missing luggage assistance, and emergency legal and medical referrals are only a phone call away. Plus, we may provide services related to emergency medical transportation assistance. Card Members may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers. Additional restrictions apply, see below.

Please note that any assistance provided by this benefit cannot be in violation of U.S. economic or trade sanctions.

Premium Global Assist Hotline Toll Free: 1-800-345-AMEX (2639) Direct Dial Collect: 1-715-343-7979

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

Emergency Medical Transportation Assistance In the event that the Card Member or another covered family member (your spouse or domestic partner, dependent up to age 23, or age 26 if full-time student) traveling on the same trip itinerary as the Card Member becomes injured or ill while traveling and is seeking or has sought medical treatment, the Premium Global Assist Hotline medical department can assess the medical need for transportation and provide the service.

A medical evacuation may be provided at no cost to the Card Member or covered family member from point of illness or injury (when the Card Member or covered family member is under the care of a local medical service provider or facility) to a more appropriate medical facility or to a hospital near the person’s home as determined by the Premium Global Assist Hotline designated physician. The Premium Global Assist Hotline designated physician, in consultation with the local medical service provider or facility, will determine whether such transport is medically necessary and advisable. The event must be within the first 90 days of the trip and cannot be a pre-existing condition. A pre-existing condition is any sickness, illness, or injury that has manifested itself, become acute, or was being treated in the 60 day period immediately prior to the start of a trip. The person needing evacuation may need to complete a medical information release as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (a “HIPAA Release”), or provide authorization for next of kin to complete the release. Emergency transportation services in connection with the medical emergency may also be provided to a covered family member pursuant to the full Emergency Medical Transportation Assistance Terms and Conditions at the end of this document. Subject to additional important terms, conditions and exclusions. Please see full Terms and Conditions at the end of this document.

Very Important: Any costs for medical transport not authorized and arranged through the Premium Global Assist Hotline Program are solely the responsibility of the Card Member and such costs will not be reimbursed. Premium Global Assist Hotline does not cover medical expenses (with the exception of cost incurred during the transport) nor transportation of personal possessions including luggage.

Repatriation of Mortal Remains In case of death of a covered Card Member or covered family member (your spouse, dependent up to age 23, or age 26 if full-time student) while traveling with the Card Member, the Premium Global Assist Hotline medical department can provide the necessary administrative services to effect the transportation of the mortal remains back to the person’s principal place of residence or place of burial, whichever is closer. As an additional benefit, Premium Global Assist Hotline can pay for the cost of the transport and, subject to approval, the cost of a coffin or other encasement of the remains suitable for travel.

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