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The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has earned plenty of praise for its points-earning power from many of us at TPG. From a potential sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points to the 2x points payout on dining and travel, cardholders can quickly accrue loads of points with a wide range of ways to redeem them. On a recent trip to San Francisco, though, I discovered when the card can really make a difference: when you find yourself stuck on the side of the road after a construction site tears apart the tire on your rental car.

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Accidents Happen

As I was heading back to SFO after a wedding in wine country, I ran over some type of pothole/massive ravine in my rental Chevy Malibu. The tire deflated immediately. I pondered using the spare, but I was 90 miles from the airport and on a time crunch to catch my flight, which meant that the 55 miles-per-hour speed limit would lead to even more travel troubles.

The California highway was not kind to this Chevy Malibu tire.
The California highway was not kind to this Chevy Malibu tire.

After chatting with someone in Budget’s emergency roadside assistance department (who, I should add, was very helpful), my orders were to have the car towed all the way back to SFO. My wife and I climbed into the cab of the truck and prepared for a two-and-a-half-hour trip in Bay Area traffic. John, our tow truck driver, actually dropped us off at the terminal in the truck to make sure we made our flight. Consider it a new definition of Uber XL. As I boarded my flight back to Chicago, the adventure left me with one big question: Was my Chase Sapphire Preferred‘s primary coverage really going to work? Tallying up the expenses of a long tow and a new tire, I worried that my California trip would wind up costing a lot more than expected.

The thumbs up was my sarcastic attempt to relieve the stress of dealing with a tow truck and worrying about catching my flight.
The thumbs up was my sarcastic attempt to relieve the stress of dealing with a tow truck and worrying about catching my flight.

Hassle-Free Claims Process

To file an insurance claim tied to your Chase Sapphire Preferred, visit and submit all appropriate documentation.

Shortly after I returned home, the bill from Budget arrived with a notice that my card would be charged for the full amount of $762.92. Submitting insurance claims can be, well, a terrible process, so I visited — the online claims center for CSP cardholders — with a sense of dread. However, the process couldn’t have been easier. After completing a simple form with a report of the incident, I uploaded a letter from Budget about the damage, my prepaid reservation email confirmation, my monthly billing statement that displayed the charges and photos of the tire.

The only hiccup was the need to request additional documentation from Budget. After my initial submission, Card Benefit Services requested a copy of the incident report, the towing invoice and an itemized estimate of the repair. Budget’s customer service department sent me all I needed. In just over two weeks from my initial claim, I received this email:

All my communication with card benefit services was via email, and the entire process was simple.
All my communication with card benefit services was via email, and the entire process was simple.

Annual Fee? Fine by Me. 

In the middle of this process, I noticed the $95 annual fee charge on my card statement. While I’ve written about the ability to get that fee waived, this was a reminder that $95 is a nominal charge for the services that these premium credit cards deliver. Had I needed to submit this claim to my personal insurance, I would have paid a $750 deductible for a whopping $12.92 worth of assistance.

Rental car coverage isn’t the first benefit that comes to mind for cardholders (because they hopefully aren’t regularly having accidents in their rental cars). However, my Chase Sapphire Preferred helped me avoid the hassle of getting my primary insurance involved after declining the protection from Budget. Thankfully, my incident wasn’t dangerous, but it certainly would have been expensive.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred isn’t the only card that will cover your expenses in an auto accident. Check out “Credit Cards That Offer Primary Rental Car Coverage” to learn more.

Feature photo by TuiPhotoengineer/Getty Images

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
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Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.