The best credit cards with travel insurance

Mar 18, 2020

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Some credit cards offer valuable travel protections that can save you significant money if something goes wrong. For example, the travel insurance provided when you pay for travel with select cards can reimburse you for expenses if your baggage is damaged, you’re stranded overnight due to a flight delay or cancellation or you have to return home to handle a family medical emergency.

This guide presents some of the best travel credit cards that can provide both travel insurance and solid earnings when you use the card to purchase at least part of the fare for flights, trains, buses and other scheduled transportation.

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Best credit cards with travel insurance

Types of travel insurance you can get from a credit card

Travel rewards credit cards often offer various types of travel insurance when you use your card to purchase at least part of a common carrier fare. See the links below for more information on these types of insurance as well as the best cards for each type of insurance.

As you likely noticed in this guide, the types and levels of protection vary significantly across credit cards. Many protections have some exclusions or limitations, so be sure to read the guide to benefits on your card before assuming something or someone will be covered.

Related reading: Be careful: Avoiding outbreaks isn’t covered by most travel insurance

In This Post

Comparing credit cards with travel insurance

Card Welcome bonus Protection notes Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Good protection in all areas; the biggest flaw is the low limit for high-risk items under the lost/damaged baggage protection $550
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card 50,000 online bonus points after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening Solid protection where it counts. The secondary auto rental collision damage waiver is a letdown $95
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Weaker across the board than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but good enough for most situations $95
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Weaker across the board than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but good enough for most situations $95
United Club Card 75,000 miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Weaker across the board than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but good enough for most situations $450
The Platinum Card from American Express 60,000 points after you make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. (terms apply) Doesn’t offer baggage delay protections and has more restrictions on what trips are covered than Chase cards $550 (see rates & fees)
The Business Platinum Card from American Express 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of account opening Doesn’t offer baggage delay protections and has more restrictions on what trips are covered than Chase cards $595 (see rates & fees)
Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Terms apply. Doesn’t offer baggage delay protections and has more restrictions on what trips are covered than Chase cards $550 (see rates & fees)
U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card 50,000 points after you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening Doesn’t offer baggage delay protections; a guide to benefits isn’t publicly available to non-cardholders $400

The information for the United Club Card and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Now let’s take a closer look at each one to determine how you can use these perks when things go wrong on a trip.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, these points are worth $1,000.

Rewards: 10x points per dollar spent on Lyft rides through March 2022; 3x points per dollar spent on dining and travel; 1x point per dollar spent on everything else

Travel insurance:

  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 reimbursed per day for up to five days if your baggage is delayed more than six hours
  • Lost/damaged baggage: $3,000 per passenger, but only $500 per passenger for jewelry, watches, cameras and other electronic equipment
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per ticket if you’re delayed more than six hours or require an overnight stay
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses
  • Medical evacuation benefit: Up to $100,000 for necessary emergency evacuation and transportation when on a trip of five to 60 days and traveling more than 100 miles from home (100-mile requirement waived for New York residents)
  • Travel accident insurance: Travel accidental coverage of up to $100,000 (up to $1,000,000 for common carrier travel)
  • Emergency medical and dental benefit: Up to $2,500 for medical expenses when on a trip arranged by a travel agency and traveling more than 100 miles from home (100-mile requirement waived for New York residents)
  • Rental car coverage: Primary coverage for damages caused by theft or collision at up to $75,000 on rentals of 31 days or less

Annual fee: $550 ($75 for each authorized user)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is my go-to card for travel expenses, since it offers 3X Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on all travel and dining purchases. Due to an effective 6% return and excellent travel protections, I purchase most of my flights, trains and buses using the Sapphire Reserve. Plus, the Sapphire Reserve provides protections on award tickets even when only the taxes and fees are charged to the card.

Related reading: Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review

APPLY HERE: Chase Sapphire Reserve

Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa Credit Card

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points – a $500 value – after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening.

Rewards: 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1.5 points per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Travel insurance:

  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per ticket if you’re delayed more than 12 hours or require an overnight stay
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection: Up to $50,000 per person, per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses
  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 reimbursed per day for up to five days if your baggage is delayed more than six hours
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: Provides coverage for luggage and its contents if they are lost or stolen due to theft or misdirection by the common carrier (airline, bus, train, cruise ship).
  • Travel and emergency assistance service: Provides help in coordinating medical, legal, and travel services when you are traveling. Does not cover the cost of goods or services.
  • Emergency evacuation and transportation coverage: Covers eligible medical services and transportation if you or a member of your immediate family are injured or become sick during a trip far from home that results in an emergency evacuation.
  • Rental car coverage: Secondary coverage for damages caused by theft or collision.

Annual fee: $95

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa Credit Card is a great option for those who want a rewarding credit card with substantial travel protection and a reasonable annual fee. The card also offers exceptional value in exchange for the $95 annual fee – mainly a $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee credit every four years and an annual $100 Airline Incidental credit.

This card is ideal for Bank of America Preferred Rewards customers, who earn between 25%-75% more points on their purchases. That means the card’s 2x earnings on travel and dining could increase up to 3.5 points per dollar. Meanwhile, the 1.5x earnings on all other purchases increases as high as 2.62 points per dollar.

Related reading: Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa Credit Card review

APPLY HERE: Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, these points are worth $1,600.

Rewards: 5x points per dollar spent on Lyft rides through March 2022; 2x points per dollar spent on dining and travel; 1x point per dollar spent on everything else

Travel insurance:

  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 reimbursed per day for up to five days if your baggage is delayed more than six hours
  • Lost/damaged baggage: $3,000 per passenger, but only $500 per passenger for jewelry, watches, cameras and other electronic equipment
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per ticket if you’re delayed more than 12 hours or require an overnight stay
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses
  • Travel accident insurance: Accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $100,000 (up to $500,000 for common carrier travel)
  • Rental car coverage: Primary coverage for damages caused by theft or collision up to the actual cash value of most rented cars on rentals of 31 days or less

Annual fee: $95

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best travel rewards credit cards for infrequent travelers. Although an effective 4% return on travel purchases isn’t amazing, it’s still respectable, considering the card’s modest $95 annual fee and decent travel protections. As with the Sapphire Reserve, your award tickets are protected even if you only use your Sapphire Preferred to pay the taxes and fees.

Related reading: Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card review

APPLY HERE: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, these points are worth $2,000.

Rewards: 3x points per dollar on the first $150,000 spent each account year in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services and advertising purchases with social media sites and search engines; 1x point per dollar spent on everything else

Travel insurance:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection: Up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses
  • Rental car coverage: Primary coverage (except when renting for personal reasons in your country of residence, in which case coverage is secondary) for damages caused by theft or collision up to the actual cash value of most rented cars on rentals of 31 days or less

Annual fee: $95

The Ink Business Preferred is one of the best business travel rewards credit cards. It earns an effective 6% return on the first $150,000 spent in select categories, which is excellent considering the card’s $95 annual fee and travel protections. As with other Chase-issued cards, you’ll be protected on award tickets even when you only use your Ink Business Preferred to pay the taxes and fees.

Related reading: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card review

APPLY HERE: Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

United Club Card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 75,000 United miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations, these miles are worth $975.

Rewards: 2x miles per dollar spent on purchases with United; 1.5x miles per dollar spent on everything else

Travel insurance:

  • Baggage delay: Up to $100 reimbursed per day for up to three days if your baggage is delayed more than six hours
  • Lost/damaged baggage: $3,000 per passenger, but only $500 per passenger for jewelry, watches, cameras and other electronic equipment
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per ticket if you’re delayed more than 12 hours or require an overnight stay
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses
  • Rental car coverage: Primary coverage for damages caused by theft or collision up to the actual cash value of most rented cars on rentals of 31 days or less

Annual fee: $450

The United Club Card provides decent travel protections and a United Club membership, but its effective 2.6% return on purchases with United and 1.95% return on all other purchases means you’ll earn rewards rather slowly. As with other Chase-issued cards, you’ll be protected on award tickets even when you only use your United Club Card to pay the taxes and fees.

Related reading: Credit card showdown: United Explorer Card vs. United Club Card

The Platinum Card from American Express

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 60,000 Amex Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first three months. Based on TPG’s valuations, these points are worth $1,200. However, you may be able to snag a targeted 100,000-point offer through the CardMatch Tool (offer subject to change at any time).

Rewards: 5x points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines, flights booked with American Express Travel and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com; 1x point per dollar spent on everything else

Travel insurance:

  • Lost/damaged baggage: Up to $3,000 per traveler for carry-on baggage and up to $2,000 per traveler for checked baggage, but only $1,000 per traveler for high-risk items
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per covered trip and up to two claims per 12-month period per card if you’re delayed more than six hours. Coverage only provided on round-trip flights purchased entirely with an eligible card (paying taxes and fees on award tickets or Pay With Points tickets is covered)
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection: Up to $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 per eligible card per 12-month period for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses. Coverage only provided on round-trip flights purchased entirely with an eligible card (paying taxes and fees on award tickets or Pay With Points tickets is covered)
  • Rental car coverage: Secondary coverage for damages caused by theft or collision at up to $75,000 on rentals of 30 days or less, can pay per rental to upgrade to primary coverage through the American Express Premium Car Rental Protection program

Annual fee: $550 ($175 for up to three additional Platinum cards, then $175 for each additional Platinum card after the first three; see rates and fees)

The Amex Platinum provides an impressive 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel. Using TPG’s latest valuations, this means you’ll get a 10% return on these purchases. But even with a 10% return on select airfare purchases and the recent addition of additional travel insurance protections, I still use the Amex Platinum primarily as a membership card, since the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s travel insurance protections are more comprehensive for my travel style.

Related reading: The Platinum Card From American Express review

APPLY HERE: The Platinum Card from American Express

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

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

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 points after you spend $15,000 on qualifying purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Rewards: 5x points per dollar spent on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com; 1.5x points per dollar spent on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more (up to 1 million additional points per year); one point per dollar spent on everything else

Travel insurance:

  • Lost/damaged baggage: Up to $3,000 per traveler for carry-on baggage and up to $2,000 per traveler for checked baggage, but only $1,000 per traveler for high-risk items
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per covered trip and up to two claims per 12-month period per card if you’re delayed more than six hours. Coverage only provided on round-trip flights purchased entirely with an eligible card (paying taxes and fees on award tickets or Pay With Points tickets is covered)
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection: Up to $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 per eligible card per 12-month period for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses. Coverage only provided on round-trip flights purchased entirely with an eligible card (paying taxes and fees on award tickets or Pay With Points tickets is covered)
  • Medical evacuation benefit: Offered with no cap on trips of less than 90 days but excludes pre-existing conditions; no requirement to put any trip expenses on your card
  • Rental car coverage: Secondary coverage for damages caused by theft or collision at up to $75,000 on rentals of 30 days or less, can pay per rental to upgrade to primary coverage through the American Express Premium Car Rental Protection program

Annual fee: $595 ($300 for each additional Business Platinum card; see rates and fees)

The Amex Business Platinum provides an impressive 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel. Using TPG’s latest valuations, this means you’ll get a 10% return on these purchases. But, if you don’t want to book travel through Amex Travel and would prefer to earn bonus points on a wide variety of business expenses, you may be better off with the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card.

Related reading: The Business Platinum Card from American Express card review

APPLY HERE: The Business Platinum Card from American Express

Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Welcome bonus: 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. Based on TPG’s valuations the full 40,000-mile bonus is worth $480.

Rewards: 3x miles per dollar spent on eligible Delta flights and Delta Vacations; 1x mile per dollar spent on everything else

Travel insurance:

  • Lost/damaged baggage: Up to $1,250 per traveler for carry-on baggage and up to $500 per traveler for checked baggage, but only $250 per traveler for high-risk items
  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per covered trip and up to two claims per 12-month period per card if you’re delayed more than six hours. Coverage only provided on round-trip flights purchased entirely with an eligible card (paying taxes and fees on award tickets or Pay With Points tickets is covered)
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection: Up to $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 per eligible card per 12-month period for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses. Coverage only provided on round-trip flights purchased entirely with an eligible card (paying taxes and fees on award tickets or Pay With Points tickets is covered)
  • Medical evacuation benefit: Offered with no cap on trips of less than 90 days but excludes pre-existing conditions; no requirement to put any trip expenses on your card
  • Rental car coverage: Secondary coverage for damages caused by theft or collision at up to $75,000 on rentals of 30 days or less, can pay per rental to upgrade to primary coverage through the American Express Premium Car Rental Protection program

Annual fee: $550 ($175 for each additional Delta Reserve card; see rates and fees)

The Delta Reserve Amex provides a 3.6% return on Delta flights and Delta Vacations, as well as travel protections that can protect you on eligible round-trips. I’d personally opt to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card to purchase flights — or pay taxes and fees on award flights — but the Delta Reserve does offer decent travel protections if you don’t have any of these Chase-issued cards or want to earn Delta miles.

Related reading: Earn 20,000 MQMs the easy way: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card review

APPLY HERE: Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card

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

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,500 in the first 90 days of account opening. These points are worth $750 when redeemed to offset eligible travel purchases. This card is only available to U.S. Bank customers who have an eligible U.S. Bank account relationship open and active a minimum of five business days prior to applying.

Rewards: 3x points per dollar spent on eligible net travel purchases and Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay mobile-wallet systems; 1x point per dollar spent on everything else

Travel insurance:

  • Trip delay reimbursement: Up to $500 per air travel ticket purchased with your card if you’re delayed more than six hours or require an overnight stay
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection: Up to $2,000 per trip when you use your card to purchase eligible transportation
  • Lost/damaged baggage: Yes, but details aren’t available publicly
  • Medical evacuation benefit: Yes, but details aren’t available publicly
  • Travel accident insurance: Yes, but details aren’t available publicly
  • Rental car coverage: Yes, but details aren’t available publicly

Annual fee: $400 ($75 for each additional card)

The U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card can be an excellent choice for daily spending as well as travel purchases, especially if many of the merchants you shop with accept mobile wallet payments. It’s difficult to compare this card’s protections to the Chase Sapphire Reserve since the guide to benefits isn’t publicly available. But, one obvious downside of the card is a lack of baggage delay protection and the limitation that trip delay protection only applies to air travel. However, it provides a solid alternative to those who can’t get accepted for a Chase card.

Related reading: U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card review

Main benefits of having a credit card with travel insurance

(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)
(Photo of the Ritz-Carlton South Beach by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

There are multiple benefits to having a credit card that provides travel insurance when you pay for eligible travel expenses with your card. The main benefit for me is simplicity: I don’t need to comparison shop independent travel insurance unless I’m going on a trip for which my credit card’s travel insurance doesn’t provide the level of coverage I want.

Having a credit card with travel insurance can also save you money. My sister-in-law recently paid more than $100 to purchase theft and collision insurance from a car rental company before getting the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers this same type of car rental insurance as a benefit when she uses her card. Even if she just rents a car a couple of times each year, she’ll come out ahead.

Finally, having a credit card with travel insurance provides reassurance. I don’t need to worry if bad weather causes a flight cancellation and I’m stranded away from home overnight since I know my card will provide trip delay protection. And, I’m almost happy when the airline temporarily loses my checked bag for a few days, as my card’s baggage delay insurance means I can purchase some essential clothing items while I wait.

Related reading: Why you might want to get a premium credit card instead of purchasing travel insurance

How to submit a claim

If you’re in a situation where you believe you may be eligible for your credit card’s travel insurance, your first step should be to read your card’s guide to benefits and/or call the number on the back of your card. Even if you believe you’ll be covered after reading your card’s guide to benefits, it is usually a good idea to call the number on the back of your card to ensure you’re covered, learn about deadlines for making your claim and determine what documents you’ll need to collect.

The benefits administrator will usually walk you through the necessary steps for making your claim. Luckily, many card issuers now allow you to file claims online, so you may not even need to send in any physical documents. Be sure to pay attention to any deadline for starting your claim and uploading documents, as well as any specific requirements for requested documentation.

Related reading: What proof is needed for Chase’s trip insurance?

What card should I use for travel insurance?

The Amex Platinum‘s 5x points for airfare booked directly through airlines or Amex Travel is impressive. But, the lack of baggage delay protection and the requirement of round-trip travel usually discourages me from using Amex-issued cards for flights.

Instead, I use the Chase Sapphire Reserve when booking flights and other common carrier travel due to the solid mix of earning and protections. Or, if you can’t quite justify the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card both provide good travel protections for a sub-$100 annual fee.

Related reading: When to buy travel insurance versus when to rely on credit card protections

Related guides

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve Amex, please click here.

Featured photo by Benjamin Wu/EyeEm.

2019 TPG Award Winner: Premium Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

SIGN-UP BONUS: 50,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,000

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on all travel and dining, $300 annual travel credit, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • One Year Complimentary Lyft Pink ($199 minimum value). Complimentary DashPass subscription from DoorDash after activating by 12/31/21.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.99%-23.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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.