Skip to content

TPG reader question: What happens to my card's travel protection benefits when I downgrade?

March 01, 2021
4 min read
TPG reader question: What happens to my card's travel protection benefits when I downgrade?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This article is part of our weekly column to answer your credit card questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at tips@thepointsguy.com.


Over the past year, cardholders have had to make some difficult decisions about what to keep in their wallets.

While we've seen some incredibly generous sign-up bonuses and limited-time perks, the reality is that some people may not need a high-annual-fee card anymore. Before you cancel a card, remember to consider your options, including whether a downgrade may make the most sense.

TPG reader Daniel K. asks us this week what happens to baggage and travel protections on a card that he plans to downgrade.

Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG’s free daily newsletter.

[pullquote source="TPG reader Daniel K."]I have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and I was planning to downgrade. I was wondering how my lost baggage and travel protection works when this happens. Will the coverage still be under the original card's protection plan or fall under the new card's coverage?[/pullquote]

The premium Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the best cards to use for travel, with perks such as 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases and an annual $300 travel credit. But beyond this, the $550-per-year Sapphire Reserve has one of the most comprehensive protection benefits of any card on the market. That includes trip cancellation and delay coverage and delayed and lost luggage reimbursement.

As a cardholder, you are bound to the benefits guide of your specific card product. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve -- and for most cards -- most of your protections and benefits will no longer apply after your account is closed.

That is, all of your protections and benefits will change to those offered by the new card, whichever one that may be.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Related: How to downgrade a Chase card

For instance, for the baggage delay benefit, the Chase Sapphire benefits guide states, “coverage will not be provided if the Cardholder’s Account is closed before the Baggage Delay occurs." That means if you pay for a trip with your Sapphire Reserve and cancel the card before the trip, the benefit would likely not apply.

However, Chase goes on to note that "a Cardholder’s cancellation of his or her Account [does not] invalidate or reduce any otherwise valid claim that has already been submitted." Therefore, if you already have an active claim but close your card, fear not, as your claim will still be valid.

Related: Which cards offer baggage delay protection?

Baggage claim at LGA Terminal B (Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

For other benefits, such as travel protection and trip cancellation, there is less certainty on whether it would remain eligible after closing or downgrading your card account. It's best to refer to your card's individual benefits guide and call your card issuer for more details.

Related: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which card is right for you?

Bottom line

At the end of the day, the safest course of action is to assume that any protection and benefits will be null and void on your current card once you close your card account and switch or downgrade to a new card.

In Daniel's case, downgrading to a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card may be a wise option considering the healthy array of travel and return protection benefits offered on this sister card with a much more palatable $95 annual fee.

The one disadvantage of downgrading a card is that you typically won’t get a sign-up bonus for the card you’re downgrading to. However, downgrading allows you to maintain your credit line and the average age of credit, so it doesn’t have the same negative effect on your credit score as canceling a card might. Finally, Daniel will retain full use of his transferable Ultimate Rewards points by holding onto an Ultimate Rewards-earning card that has an annual fee.

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

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023