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If your flight is delayed, and you hold one of a select group of travel credit cards from Chase or Citi, there’s a good chance you can get reimbursed for things like a hotel room, cab fare to a hotel, or meals you’re stuck eating at the airport, thanks to flight delay coverage. Amex cards don’t currently offer coverage for flight delays.
But like any coverage, there are hoops to jump through to make it valid and set you up to file a successful claim.
The first step is to pay for your flight the right way.
In order to be eligible for trip delay protection through a credit card, you must pay for your flights with the card from the start. Simply being a card member and booking your flights with another card won’t get you the coverage.
If you plan to use award points, that’s fine – just make sure you charge the taxes / fees to your card. That will activate the coverage and you’ll see the purchase with an airline ticket number show up on your statement.
The typical coverage offered through credit cards is up to $500 per ticket but usually only covers the cardholder, the cardholder’s spouse/domestic partner, and the cardholder’s dependents. If you are traveling with a friend, they usually will not be covered by your credit card delay insurance even if you purchased their ticket.
Of course, if you share a hotel room the point is moot – your coverage applies.
Trip delay insurance will typically cover “reasonable” expenses – and yes, that is quite vague.
In practice, this means hotel stays for overnight delays, transportation, meals, toiletries, medication, and other personal items.
Technically alcohol purchases and gratuity at restaurants will not be reimbursed, but your mileage may vary.
You will not be eligible for trip delay coverage if you miss your flight because of oversleeping or running late or if you were given advance notice about the delay and had the option to change your plans but didn’t.
Filing a claim isn’t something you can do in a snap with your smartphone. You’ll need to go through some paperwork, and have items like these ready:
To get started with an eligible Chase card, call the number on the back of your card within 60 days of the delay, and you’ll have up to 100 days to submit your documents. They’ll ask you to do it via eclaimsline.com. They’ll send an email approving the claim, or asking for additional information or evidence. If you have questions ask for your claims administrator, and be prepared for pushback.
Here is an example of the Trip Delay benefits coverage information for the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It’s subject to change and may vary based on your account, so call the number on the back of your card before relying on anything.
To get started with an eligible Citi card, call 1-855-569-7446 within 30 days of the delay to file a claim. You’ll have to submit your documents within 90 days of the delay.
Here is an example of the Trip Delay benefits coverage information for the Citi ThankYou Premier. It’s subject to change and may vary based on your account, so call the number on the back of your card before relying on anything.
Note these claim windows can change any time, so call the number on the back of your card to verify before relying on them.
Filing a trip delay claim isn’t something you ever want to do, but if you’re stuck paying for a hotel night at the airport, it’s good to know in advance what to be ready for and get the reimbursement you deserve.
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