Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$750 for air / hotel / car bookings. Or transfer points to United, Southwest, Hyatt, and more.
No annual fee.
When your flight is delayed, there’s a good chance your airline won’t try to do anything more than get you on the next available flight. And with flights running more full than ever these days that means you could be stuck for days.
When weather is the culprit you’re literally left out in the cold as the government doesn’t require the airlines to put you up in a hotel or provide other help.
An overnight stay could cost you hundreds of dollars, especially on a night when thousands of other travelers are in the same position as you, leading to even higher hotel rates. And if you can’t afford that you could be stuck sleeping at the airport.
Fortunately, there is some help that might already be in your wallet. It comes in the form of several credit cards that will actually pay for your hotel and meal expenses if your flight encounters a long delay. All they ask is that you book your ticket with your card.
Below is a list of every credit card we know of that offers this trip delay coverage:
The information related to these credit cards been collected by MileCards.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the cards.
|Coverage||Delay required||Annual Fee|
|Chase Sapphire||$500||12 hours||None|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card||$500||12 hours||$95|
|Citi AAdvantage Gold||$500||12 hours||$50|
|Citi AAdvantage Platinum||$500||12 hours||$95|
|Citi Chairman||$500||3 hours||$500|
|Citi Executive AAdvantage||$500||3 hours||$450|
|Citi HHonors Reserve American Express||$500||12 hours||$95|
|Citi Prestige||$500||3 hours||$450|
|Citi ThankYou Premier||$500||12 hours||$95|
|Ink Plus Business Credit Card||$500||12 hours||$95|
|Merrill+ Visa Signature||$500 ($100 / day up to 5 days)||12 hours||None|
|Ritz Carlton Rewards||$500||12 hours||$395|
|The Hyatt Visa||$500||12 hours||$75|
|United MileagePlus Club Card||$500||12 hours||$450|
|United MileagePlus Explorer||$500||12 hours||$95|
|United MileagePlus Explorer Business||$500||12 hours||$95|
What are the catches?
There aren’t many. Most of the listed cards have the coverage kick in for delays of 12 hours or more, and will reimburse you for up to $500 in expenses. That includes hotels, meals, taxi fare, and even toiletries or other essentials.
They won’t cover delays that happen at your home airport, since it’s easy to spend the night at home.
And you’ll need to keep itemized receipts of all your expenses, whether you charged them to your card or not. You’re also going to want to get proof from your airline that your flight was delayed.
Chase will cover mileage award tickets as long as you use your card to pay for the taxes and fees.
And of course its always a good idea to call your card company to double check the coverage is still in effect before you book your tickets.
How do you get reimbursed?
No need to get approval before you book hotels or pay for meals while you’re delayed.
Afterward just call the number on the back of your card and they’ll connect you with the claim administrator who will send you a form and list of the documents you’ll need to provide.
Once it’s all verified they’ll cut you a check reimbursing you for up to $500.
Who is covered?
The coverage applies for yourself, your spouse, and your children (under age 22 for Chase and under age 19 for Citi, though full time students under age 24 are also covered). You don’t have to be traveling with them for the coverage to apply, but you do need to use your card to pay for the ticket to activate the coverage.
Which is best?
The most comprehensive trip delay coverage is from Citibank, which offers coverage that kicks in after delays of just 3 hours if you hold one of its premium cards like the Citi Prestige or Executive AAdvantage card, both with $450 annual fees. It also offers coverage on its lower fee Citi ThankYou Premier, though that coverage only kicks in for longer delays.
The most affordable coverage is from Merrill Lynch, via its no annual fee Merrill+ Visa Signature.
What are the alternatives?
If you don’t have one of these cards you can buy separate delay coverage from a travel insurance company, though those policies are usually geared toward people going on longer international trips, not flying home for the holidays and getting stuck in a snowstorm.
Another alternative is a policy called AirCare, which will pay you up to $500 if you miss a connecting flight. But it will only pay $50 for delays that don’t involve missing a connecting flight. That’s not much for a policy that costs $25 per trip.
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