Travel Snag? Your Credit Card Could Help

Booking a trip with the right credit card can save you thousands.

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If you run into travel problems, get sick or have an accident while you’re on vacation this summer, look up your credit card’s benefits. Its perks may include travel insurance for certain incidents on trips that you book with the card.

Such insurance often comes in three varieties, says Joe Resendiz, research analyst for ValuePenguin (opens in new tab), a website that reviews financial products. One is travel accident insurance, which provides reimbursement if you or someone in your party dies or is dismembered on a trip. Another is trip cancellation, interruption or delay coverage, which may refund your airfare or hotel expenses if you miss a trip because of illness or severe weather, or reimburse you for lodging and meal expenses if your flight is delayed. Finally, your card may come with insurance for lost, damaged or delayed luggage.

Before you travel, dig into the details of your card’s benefits. The insurance may, for example, cover only travel companions who are immediate family members. If you return early from a trip because of illness without the direction of a medical professional, you may not be covered.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee, waived the first year) and Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 annual fee) have some of the best benefits. Both offer up to $10,000 per trip in cancellation and interruption insurance, reimbursement of up to $500 for expenses related to a delayed trip, up to $3,000 per passenger for lost luggage, and up to $100 a day for five days for essentials in delayed baggage. Plus, Reserve provides up to $1 million in travel accident insurance ($500,000 with Preferred), up to $100,000 in evacuation coverage for injury or illness, and up to $2,500 for emergency medical or dental expenses.

Lisa Gerstner
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Lisa has spent more than15 years with Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and heads up the magazine’s annual rankings of the best banks, best rewards credit cards, and financial-services firms with the best customer service. She reports on a variety of other topics, too, from retirement to health care to money concerns for millennials. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.