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One of the best things about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is its strong travel protection, which while not officially called “insurance,” replicates many of the features of expensive travel insurance plans.
But how do the Sapphire’s benefits compare to standalone plans and how much can the coverage save you?
The details are always subject to change and you should always call the number on the back of your card before relying on coverage, but here’s an example of travel protection benefits when you buy travel with a Sapphire Preferred card:
It’s pretty good coverage, and as you can see below buying similar trip cancellation / interruption and delay protection on its own can set you back almost $200 on a single trip for 2.
But the missing link of the Sapphire Preferred is medical and medical evacuation coverage.
If your main health insurance plan doesn’t have international coverage it’s pretty easy to fill that in at pretty low cost. If you go to a site like InsureMyTrip.com you can search for a plan that just includes medical and/or evacuation coverage.
We found this example from Blue Cross with $1,000,000 in medical and $500,000 in evacuation coverage for about $50 for two people during a week long trip.
How does the Sapphire Preferred coverage stack up?
Let’s look at an example where you’re buying a week long vacation for two with $3,000 in plane tickets and $2,000 in prepaid hotel expenses.
Here’s what you would pay for travel insurance without the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s coverage…
Insurance via the airline: $187.50
Major airlines like United and Delta try to sell you trip insurance coverage when you buy a ticket and as you might expect it’s not a great deal.
Typical cost is about 6.25% of the ticket price per person, so $3,000 in tickets will cost you $187.50.
And here’s what you get:
So the trip cancellation / interruption is a bit weaker than the Sapphire’s coverage, but you do get some medical / medical evacuation protection.
The problem is $10,000 of medical coverage just doesn’t go a long way and won’t protect you from the nightmare scenarios insurance should cover.
You’d still need to get a good supplemental medical plan to be well covered, and pay about $50 extra for that. bringing your costs to over $200.
Standalone travel insurance: $170
An alternative is to buy travel insurance on its own with a plan that offers trip interruption, cancellation, delay, and baggage coverage, like these plans found on InsureMyTrip.
The Nationwide plan above includes…
So for almost $200 you can get a plan that replicates the Sapphire Preferred coverage plus good medical benefits and slightly more generous trip delay coverage.
But that will cost about $150 more than using a Chase Sapphire Preferred to pay for the trip and buying a standalone medical plan.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t the only credit card with this kind of solid travel protection built-in. Some other Chase travel cards like the United Explorer and Hyatt Visa offer similar protection.
And from Citibank several cards like the Citi ThankYou Premier offer similar coverage, though we tend to recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred first because its roster of airline transfer partners, including United and Southwest, is stronger than the ThankYou Premier’s, which only includes international airline programs like Air France Flying Blue, which are less useful if you’re based in the U.S.
In summary – if you have a big trip coming up and want coverage – it may be worth getting a Chase Sapphire Preferred card to pay for it instead of buying a traditional travel insurance policy.
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