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TPG reader Zach sent me a message on Facebook to ask about trip insurance:

“I recently used AAdvantage miles for a flight, and paid the taxes using my Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Is the trip interruption/cancellation insurance through Chase still applicable, or does it only apply to paid fares?”

Many rewards credit cards offer a variety of travel and consumer coverage to cardholders, ranging from primary car rental insurance to purchase protection and extended warranties. These benefits often get overlooked next to flashier perks like airport lounge access or elite status, but they can be handy when your travel plans (or your appliances) go awry.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers both trip interruption and cancellation insurance, as well as coverage for travel delays, baggage delays and lost luggage. There’s a lot of confusion about these policies, as each one entails a litany of terms and conditions that must be met for a claim to be eligible. The good news is that in most cases, award travel is covered so long you use your card to pay for some portion of the trip, including taxes, fees and carrier-imposed charges.

The interruption and cancellation insurance applies to the total cost of a covered travel arrangement (such as a flight or hotel stay), not just what you put on your card. However, note that each purchase is accounted for separately. For example, if you paid for your flight with the Sapphire Preferred Card but prepaid for your hotel with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, only the flight would be eligible for reimbursement from Chase. While both expenses are ostensibly part of the same “trip,” they’re considered separate travel arrangements.

You’re also eligible to receive compensation for points and miles redeemed, so long as they come from a program affiliated with a Chase card (like Southwest Rapid Rewards or Hyatt Gold Passport). If the monetary value of your award redemption appears on your itinerary or confirmation, then you’ll be reimbursed that same amount (in cash). Otherwise you’ll receive just 1 cent per point, so try to document the value of those awards however you can. Unfortunately, rewards from unaffiliated programs (AAdvantage, SkyMiles, Hilton HHonors, etc.) are not covered.

How will the Department of Transportation handle claims from passengers whose tickets were cancelled?
Even your points and miles may be covered when you redeem from an affiliated rewards program like United MileagePlus.

The rules are similar for lost luggage, baggage delays and trip delay protection. You’re covered so long as you use your card to pay for some portion of your travel (including taxes and fees), or if you’re flying on an award using points from an affiliated rewards program, including Ultimate Rewards. That means you can receive these benefits for awards (even on an unaffiliated carrier) as long as you pay for any extra charges with your Sapphire Preferred.

I want to reiterate that these benefits only apply when all the terms and conditions are met, and that coverage may differ on other cards. If your travel has been affected and you’re trying to decide whether to file a claim, it pays to be thorough. Gather as much documentation as you can regarding damages, expenses and other relevant information. It will help make the claims process much smoother if you do decide to pursue reimbursement.

For more details on Sapphire Preferred travel benefits and travel insurance in general, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

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