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
USB Altitude Reserve CNB Crystal Visa Infinite
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver Primary Primary
outside US
Secondary Primary Primary
Roadside Assistance 4X per year limit
No $ limit
No freq limit
No $ limit
4X per year limit
N/A Pay $59.95 per use
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Pay partial Can pay partial, but then coverage limited to amt paid
N/A Pay in full Pay in full
Trip Delay 6 hour delay
Pay partial
6 hour delay*
Pay partial
N/A
6 hour delay
Pay in full
6 hour delay
Pay in full
Lost Luggage Pay partial Pay partial Pay in full Pay in full Pay in full
Baggage Delay 6 hour delay
Pay partial
6 hour delay*
Pay partial
N/A N/A N/A
Travel Accident Insurance Pay partial Pay partial Pay in full Pay in full Pay in full
Emergency Evacuation and Transportation $100K limit
Pay partial
$100K limit
Pay partial
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

Click on any of the above links for more information.

* Citi does not count missed connections as delays.

Based on the above chart, we can conclude that:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Ritz card have the best all around coverage
  • 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.
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, Citi, 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; ThankYou points for Citi Prestige 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 Outside US No Yes Yes
Limit per claim $75K $75K $75K $75K $75K
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit 100% 100% 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;
Max tow 10 miles, max 2 gallon fill-up 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 None None N/A None
Amount charged per use to cardholder if within limits
$0 $0 $0 N/A $59.95

 

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

 

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

* Note that delays caused by missed connections do not count.

Lost Luggage Reimbursement Sapphire Reserve / Ritz Citi Prestige Amex Plat Altitude Reserve CNB
Max coverage per person per trip $3K $3K $3K ($2K for checked bags) ? $5K
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of common carrier transportation Any part of common carrier transportation 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 6 N/A N/A N/A
Max coverage per person per trip $500 ($100 per day) $500 N/A N/A N/A
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of common carrier transportation Any part of common carrier transportation 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 $1M $500K $500K $1M
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of common carrier transportation Any part of transportation Full cost of transportation 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 $100K No set limit $10K $10K
Amount required to pay w/ card to be eligible for benefit Any part of trip Any part of trip 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”.

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.

Last updated on October 28th, 2018

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[…] Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, and Amex Platinum).  You can find the comparison page here: Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance.  In response to my post analyzing this comparison, a number of readers asked me which cards cover […]

ucipass
Guest
ucipass

This is some really good stuff. I am actually thinking about keeping the CSP just for the partial payment coverage for award tickets. Thank you!

ranova
Guest
ranova

Please add USBank Altitude Reserve!

Thanks

Dave @ MilesTalk
Guest

Really great stuff but one comment on CSR medical: I recently tried to use while away and had paid for my rental car w CSR but not the airline tickets. Was advised that only ‘common carrier’ charges count and paying for the rental car did not count. So it’s not quite ‘any part of trip’.

Rick
Guest
Rick

The CSR does not require you to be 50 miles from your home to receive the roadside assistance benefit. You only need to be away from home.

trackback

[…] is able to offer and/or with portal rewards or mileage offers. You’re giving up some of the Travel Insurance you might have when booking with premium cards, but the savings might outweigh those benefits for […]

ed
Guest
ed

Compare the coverage for the free B of A Merrill card

TomT
Guest
TomT

Can you please add the travel insurance from the City National Bank Crystal card to this comparison?

John
Guest
John

Does Roadside assistance only apply to rental car? How does it work or use it? What if I have Roadside assistance with my personal insurance? Which should I use for rental car or personal car? Thanks.

TomT
Guest
TomT

I suggest also mentioning the Chase Ritz-Carlton (RC) card since it MOSTLY shares the same Travel Insurance benefits with the CSR. Sometimes the RC card has better coverages, other times the CSR is better. The full RC card benefits can be found at https://www.chasebenefits.com/ritzcarltonVW1

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[…] Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance […]

tina
Guest
tina

Wonderful coverage on these benefits. Are these additive? Say I pay for a trip with the Reserve card for a Galapagos trip and need evacuation. Can I use the $100K chase and $100K amex platinum to cover a $200K medical evacuation?

Nick Reyes
Editor

The Amex Platinum has no set limit and you don’t need to have paid for the trip with your Platinum card to get the coverage. In a sense, I guess that it might be possible to pay with your CSR and use the $100K Chase coverage as well, but the Platinum card would theoretically cover the entire $200K evacuation fee.

Here’s a story VFTW shared about the Platinum card covering a $275,000 medical evacuation.

https://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2017/05/10/know-benefits-amex-platinum-medical-evacuation-claim-award-ticket-saves-275000/

I can’t think of other situations where additive coverage could work unless you were able to somehow split the cost of a flight over two cards or something? I’m not sure how you would go about doing that, so I’m not sure I can think of a way where they would work addititvely.

tina
Guest
tina

Wow! Thanks for that clarification. So even if I paid for a Galapagos cruise, and used award flights with the tax etc using my chase card and need evacuation the Amex platinum will cover evacuation fees. That’s amazing. Between the two cards I don’t see why I would ever have to buy trip insurance.

thomasp
Guest
thomasp

altitude seems to suck

thomasp
Guest
thomasp

when compared to others at the same price point.

whats the benefit? if i lived in europe i could do 3x mobile purchases everywhere…

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[…] always use my Sapphire Reserve card to pay airfare or award fees.  When I published my guide to Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance, I learned that the Sapphire Reserve had best-in-class coverage.  With the standard stuff offered […]

Andy
Guest
Andy

Would you mind including or discuss premium cards that include above benefits for family not traveling with you. For example, my daughter is going to Europe for a couple of weeks. If I book her flight with my Chase Sapphire Reserve, will she be given the same flight delay, etc. coverage. (If you did cover this, my apologizes as I couldn’t find it and please point me to the link.) Thanks!

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[…] I declined insurance since I paid with my Sapphire Reserve card (which includes primary auto rental insurance). […]

Steve
Guest
Steve

US Bank Altitude excludes rental car coverage in Israel, Jamaica, the Republic of Ireland, or Northern Ireland as well

https://mycard.usbank.com/credit/offer.do?loc=8985&prod=05&file=/content/offers/2015-16/valuableVSig_auto_rental_collision_waiver_offer.xml&fileAltLang=&exp=&referral=

bluecat
Guest
bluecat

Nice work. I just booked some super expensive trips and needed to figure out which credit cards to use for trip insurance. I googled to find what I could but your page did not come up. (TPG’s less helpful post came up, though)–You need someone to help you with your SEO!

So I basically had to recreate what you did on my own. We came to same conclusion though about the Ritz/CSR being best and Prestige second.

Travel Insurance might seem unimportant until you need it. Or when an airline misdirects your bags….

US Bank is never going to be used for my travels again (once I burn my points)

Yoni
Guest
Yoni

This is great resource – we are spending about 3 weeks next spring out of the country and it was very helpful – nice to know that the Amex Pt evacuation may provide coverage even if the trip wasn’t charged on the card.

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[…] our Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance guide for a full comparison showing how far the Sapphire Reserve comes out on top of the Amex […]

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[…] Why this is a great combo: With points worth 1.5 cents each towards travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal, you’ll earn at least 2.25 cents in travel per dollar spent with your Freedom Unlimited card, 4.5 cents in travel per dollar spent on travel & dining with your Sapphire Reserve card, and 7.5 cents in travel per dollar on phone, internet, cable, and office supplies with your Ink Business Cash card. And while 1.5 cents per point is good value, you can often get even better value by transferring points to high value partners.  See: Chase Transfer Partners.  Also note that the Sapphire Reserve offers best in class automatic travel protections.  See: Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance. […]

matt
Guest
matt

Hi Greg,
Just wanted to give you a heads up that US Bank Altitude apparently does not give you primary rental coverage if you pay with points. My wife had somebody hit her from behind during a recent trip where the rental was made through the US bank travel site using the AR. Just got off the phone with them and they told me T&C state the booking must be “Secured and PAID” for with the card, using points does not count. Specifically it says:
“Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
Receive Auto Rental coverage by charging your entire rental transaction amount to your eligible card…”

What is even worse is that you can’t use the instant rewards unless your rental is over $250, so you have to go through their site if you want to redeem points this way. Until this point I had been fairly happy with USB but this is going to be a big expensive mess for us, that I thought we were covered for. So a warning to anybody else out the thinking they have primary coverage…

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[…] Best in-class […]

bluecat
Guest
bluecat

Just visited this page again after quite a while and wonder if you would consider putting a date of publication and/or update at the top of the page. (So much of this stuff changes and I cant tell if it’s current). Thanks!

Jags
Guest
Jags

Upon reviewing all the benefits of some of my lesser used cards I discovered that the FNBO Travelite AMEX offers many of these benefits for no annual fee. Granted some of the limits are not as high as listed here, but since I no longer hold a ultra premium card, I plan on putting all of my $5.60 award fees on FNBO Travelite going forward.

A few highlights:

Travel Delay (6 Hours): $200 per person, $400 max per trip

Trip Interruption/Cancellation: $1500, $3000 maximum (I believe this is $1500 per person up to two people)

Baggage Delay (6 hours): $200/person, $800/trip, $1600 annual maximum

Checked Baggage Protection: $1000/trip