Comparing built-in travel insurance with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum

Apr 14, 2021

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.


The Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card® from American Express are two of the most popular travel rewards cards. After all, both cards offer valuable transferable rewards, lounge access and the ability to receive elite-like perks when booking hotels through Amex’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Chase’s Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection.

Like many of the top rewards cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum Card also provide travel insurance when you use your card to book travel. In particular, these two premium travel rewards cards offer an excellent combination of trip insurance and bonus earnings on select travel purchases. So, in this guide, I’ll compare the travel insurance provided by these two cards.

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In This Post

Overview of the travel insurance provided by these cards

Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum
Trip delay insurance Up to $500 per ticket when you’re delayed by 6-plus hours or overnight Up to $500 per covered trip (up to 2 claims per card per 12-month period) when you’re delayed by 6-plus hours
Baggage delay insurance Up to $100 per day for up to five days when your baggage is delayed by 6-plus hours None
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance Up to $10,000 per person,  up to $20,000 per trip Up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per card per 12-month period
Auto rental collision damage waiver Primary insurance up to $75,000 Secondary insurance up to $75,000
Emergency medical and dental benefit Up to $2,500 for emergency medical expenses, subject to a $50 deductible

Up to $75 per day for up to 5 days for a hotel room after a hospital stay

None
Emergency evacuation insurance Up to $100,000 when you pay for your common carrier travel with the card As a benefit of being a cardmember
Lost luggage reimbursement Up to $3,000 per person, with a $500 cap on jewelry and watches and a $500 cap on cameras and other electronic equipment Up to $3,000 per person (up to $2,000 for checked luggage), with a $1,000-per-person cap on high-value items
Roadside assistance Up to $50 per service event, up to four times per year None
Travel accident insurance Up to $1,000,000 loss of life common carrier insurance per person

Up to $100,000 loss of life travel accident insurance per person

None

As you can see in the table above, the Amex Platinum doesn’t provide baggage delay insurance, an emergency medical and dental benefit, roadside assistance or travel accident insurance. For brevity, I won’t discuss the types of insurance the Amex Platinum doesn’t provide any further in this guide.

Instead, I’ll compare the protections head-to-head for the types of insurance provided by both cards. You can find the guide to benefits for both cards as follows:

And to learn more about both cards, check out the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card review and Amex Platinum card review.

Related: Amex Platinum vs. Chase Sapphire Reserve: Which card is right for you?

Trip delay insurance

Airport flights delayed screen
(Photo by bunhill/Getty Images)

Trip delay insurance may provide reimbursement for reasonable expenses during a delay when traveling on a common carrier. Here’s a comparison of the Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s and Amex Platinum Card‘s trip delay insurance.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum
Maximum reimbursement $500 for each ticket purchased $500 per covered trip

2 claims per eligible card per 12 consecutive months

What can be reimbursed Reasonable additional expenses incurred during a covered trip delay, including meals, lodging, toiletries and medication Reasonable additional expenses including, but not limited to, meals, lodging, toiletries, medicine and other personal use items
How long a delay is required 6-plus hours or overnight 6-plus hours
Who is covered You, your spouse or domestic partner
and your legally dependent children under 26
You, your spouse or domestic partner, your unmarried dependent child up to 19 (or under 26 if a full-time student at an accredited college or university) and traveling companions
How to get coverage Charge all or a portion of a common carrier fare to your credit card account and/or rewards programs associated with your account Charge the full amount of round-trip transportation by common carrier to your card or in combination with accumulated points on your card or redeemable certificates, vouchers, coupons or discounts awarded from a frequent flyer program or similar program
What is covered Delays caused by equipment failure, inclement weather, strike and hijacking/skyjacking Delays caused by inclement weather, terrorist action or hijacking, common carrier equipment failure and lost or stolen passports or travel documents
What isn’t covered Any delay due to a covered hazard that was made public or made known to you before your departure

Any prepaid expenses related to your covered trip

Covered losses that are made public or known to the traveler before departure

Expenses paid before the covered trip

Loss due to intentional acts by the traveler

Other restrictions Travel must not exceed 365 days

Travel must be to a destination other than the traveler’s city of residence

Requires round-trip travel to one or more destinations other than the traveler’s city of residence

Period of round-trip travel must not exceed 365 days away from the traveler’s city of residence

As you may gather from the above table, the primary differences in trip delay coverage are:

  • The Amex Platinum requires round-trip travel, which you must buy with your card (in whole or combination with other eligible methods).
  •  The Amex Platinum doesn’t cover overnight delays that are less than six hours.
  • The Amex Platinum caps your claims to two per 12-month period.
  • The Amex Platinum covers traveling companions as long as you pay for their round-trip common carrier fares with your card.
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve explicitly covers delays due to strikes, while the Amex Platinum explicitly covers delays due to lost or stolen passports or travel documents.

Related: Chase paid for my $1,100-per-night hotel room thanks to built-in trip delay coverage

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance may provide reimbursement for nonrefundable, prepaid trip expenses when you must cancel or alter a trip due to a covered situation. In some cases, you may be covered for additional expenses. Here’s a comparison of the Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s and Amex Platinum Card‘s trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum
Trip cancellation benefit may reimburse Nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses charged by a travel supplier (not including event tickets or prepaid fees to theme parks, museums, golf courses or other points of interest unless part of a package)

Redeposit fees imposed by a rewards program

Nonrefundable amount paid to a travel supplier with your card
Trip interruption benefit may reimburse Nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses charged by a travel supplier (not including event tickets or prepaid fees to theme parks, museums, golf courses or other points of interest unless part of a package)

Redeposit fees imposed by a rewards program

Change fees

Costs to return a rental vehicle to the closest rental agency or your car to your closest leased or owned residence

The forfeited or unused nonrefundable, prepaid land, air and sea transportation arrangements paid to a travel supplier with your card

Additional transportation expenses, less any available refunds, paid to a travel supplier with your card to rejoin the common carrier covered trip or to return to your place of origin

Additional expenses incurred to purchase tickets for a new departure

Who is covered You and your immediate family members You, your spouse or domestic partner, your unmarried dependent child up to 19 (or under 26 if a full-time student at an accredited college or university) and traveling companions
How to get coverage Charge all or a portion of a trip to your credit card account and/or rewards programs associated with your account Charge the full amount of round-trip transportation by common carrier to your card or in combination with accumulated points on your card or redeemable certificates, vouchers, coupons or discounts awarded from a frequent flyer program or similar program
Maximum coverage $10,000 per covered person, up to $20,000 per trip and up to $40,000 per 12-month period $10,000 per covered trip and $20,000 per eligible card per 12 consecutive months
Other restrictions Trips scheduled to last longer than 60 days aren’t covered

Excludes preexisting conditions

Most additional transportation expenses will not be reimbursed

Requires round-trip travel to one or more destinations other than the traveler’s city of residence

Period of round-trip travel must not exceed 365 days away from the traveler’s city of residence

Excludes preexisting conditions

As you can see in the above table and the related benefits guides, the primary differences in trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage are:

  • The Amex Platinum requires round-trip travel, paid with your card (in whole or in combination with other eligible methods). Only travel expenses put on the card used for round-trip common carrier travel will be covered.
  • The Amex Platinum covers traveling companions as long as you pay for their round-trip common carrier fares with your card.
  • The Amex Platinum may cover the cost to return home or rejoin the trip if your trip is interrupted.
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve may reimburse redeposit fees imposed by a rewards program if your trip is canceled or interrupted, as well as change fees and car positioning fees if your trip is interrupted.
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve covers more types of losses, including if your accommodation at your destination is made uninhabitable or your host at your destination dies or is hospitalized.
  • The Amex Platinum excludes losses related to mental or emotional disorders unless hospitalized. The Amex Platinum also excludes losses that occur when you’re intoxicated. The Chase Sapphire Reserve excludes any loss for any trip booked while on a waiting list for specified medical treatment.

Check out American Express’ trip cancellation and interruption insurance coronavirus frequently asked questions if you’re wondering whether the Amex Platinum’s insurance will cover coronavirus-related cancellations or interruptions.

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

Auto rental collision damage waiver

Mustang GT rental car hertz
(Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

The collision damage waiver offered by both cards can cover your rental car if you’re in an accident or if it’s stolen or damaged. Here’s a comparison of the Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s and Amex Platinum Card‘s rental car insurance.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum
Primary or secondary Primary Secondary
How much coverage $75,000 $75,000
How to get coverage You use your credit card account and/or rewards programs associated with your account to initiate and complete the entire car rental transaction

You decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver option

You reserve and pay for the entire rental using your eligible card or using Membership Rewards points

You decline select optional coverage types offered by the rental company

Who is covered The cardholder and any authorized drivers on the car rental contract when the cardholder is the primary driver The cardmember, their spouse or domestic partner and authorized drivers
What is covered Theft, damage, valid loss-of-use charges, administrative fees and reasonable and customary towing charges to the nearest qualified repair facility Damage or theft

Reasonable and customary charges related to the rental vehicle after the damage or theft, such as loss of rental vehicle use, appraisal fees provided they are supported with verifiable documentation, towing charges and storage, which are charged by the nearest vendor or facility capable of rendering assistance

Excluded vehicle types Antique cars

Vehicles with open cargo beds, trucks other than pickups

Motorcycles, mopeds, motorbikes

Limousines

Recreational vehicles

Cargo vans and passenger vans with seating for more than 9 people

Cargo vans, custom vans, vans with a seating capacity of more than 8 passengers, cube van or box truck, or any truck that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more

Leased or mini-leased vehicles

Cars that are at least 20 years old or have not been manufactured within 10 or more years before the date of the rental agreement

Limousines

Off-road vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, recreational vehicles, golf or motorized carts, campers, trailers and any other vehicle which is not provided by a rental company

Other restrictions Rental periods of up to 31 days are covered Rental periods of up to 30 days are covered

Excludes rentals in Australia, Italy and New Zealand

As you can see in the above table and the related guide to benefits, the primary differences in car rental collision damage protection are:

  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn’t exclude off-road vehicles.
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides primary coverage.
  • The Amex Platinum offers coverage to spouses when payment is made with an eligible card.

If you’d prefer to get primary coverage for rental cars when using American Express cards, you can enroll in American Express’ Premium Car Rental protection.

Related: 11 common rental car mistakes — and how to avoid them

Emergency evacuation and transportation insurance

The emergency evacuation and transportation insurance provided by these cards can arrange and pay for necessary emergency medical transport and evacuation under eligible circumstances. Here’s a comparison of the Chase Sapphire Reserve‘s and Amex Platinum Card‘s emergency evacuation and transportation insurance.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum
What coverage is provided Necessary emergency evacuation and transportation expenses up to $100,000 to the nearest hospital where you can obtain appropriate medical treatment or to your residence Medical transport and evacuation from an inadequate facility to a more appropriate medical facility, as decided by the Premium Global Assist Hotline

Economy flights home for the evacuee and one family member if the original ticket becomes invalid as a result of the evacuation

How to get coverage Charge any portion of a common carrier fare or travel agent booking to your credit card account and/or rewards programs associated with your account Be a cardmember
Who is covered You, your spouse and eligible children under age 19 (or under 26 if enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited university) The cardmember

The cardmember’s spouse or domestic partner, and dependent children under 23 or under 26 if enrolled in school on a full-time basis (all when traveling on the same trip itinerary as the cardmember)

Other restrictions The benefit administrator must preapprove transport

Duration of the trip cannot be less than 5 days or more than 60 days and must be over 100 miles from the traveler’s residence (distance requirement waived for New York residents)

Transport must be authorized and arranged through the Premium Global Assistance program

The cardmember is traveling on a trip of 90 days or less and is 100 miles or more from his or her U.S. billing address

As you can see in the above table and the related guide to benefits, the primary differences in the emergency medical evaluation benefit are:

  • You’re covered by the Amex Platinum even if you use another card to purchase your common carrier fare, whereas you must at least partially pay with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or associated rewards to be covered.
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve has many more stated exclusions than the Amex Platinum.
  • Both cards offer additional benefits that can bring a family member to your side or return now-unaccompanied minors home.

Related: A Medjet medical transport membership is different than travel insurance. Here’s why you need both

Lost luggage reimbursement

Lost baggage desk
(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/The Points Guy)

The lost luggage benefit offered by both cards may reimburse you if your baggage is lost, damaged or stolen during a trip. Here’s a comparison of the lost luggage reimbursement provided by the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum Card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum
How much coverage Up to $3,000 per person per trip, including a limit of $500 per person per trip for jewelry and watches and a limit of $500 per person per trip for cameras and other electronic equipment Up to $3,000 per person for carry-on baggage and up to $2,000 per person for checked baggage, with a limit of $1,000 per person for high-risk items
How to get coverage Charge all or a portion of a common carrier fare to your credit card account and/or rewards programs associated with your account Purchase the entire fare for a common carrier vehicle ticket on an eligible card or using Amex Membership Rewards points
Who is covered You and your immediate family members You, your spouse or domestic partner, your dependent children under 23 years of age and select older dependant children who are incapacitated
What is covered Checked baggage, carry-on baggage and/or personal property contained within due to loss, damage or theft occurring during a trip The replacement cost of baggage in the event of damage or loss while in direct transit to or from a common carrier’s terminal to board or exit a common carrier vehicle or when baggage is checked in with or carried on the common carrier
What isn’t covered War-related losses

Items that have been removed from carry-on baggage by you and inadvertently left behind on the common carrier or cruise line

Documents or valuable papers

Money or securities

Tickets

Checks or traveler’s checks

Furs

War-related losses

Acts of customer or other government authority (excluding TSA)

Credit cards and other travel documents (including passports and visas)

Securities

Documents and tickets of any kind

Traveler’s checks and other negotiable instruments (including gift certificates, gift cards, gift checks, food stamps), cash or its equivalent, notes, accounts, bills, currency, deeds, evidence of debt or intangible property, rare stamps or coins

Living plants and animals

Food, consumable and perishable items

Eyeglasses, sunglasses and contact lenses

Hearing aids, prosthetic devices

Prescription or nonprescription drugs

Property shipped as freight or shipped before the departure date

Other restrictions You must report the loss to the common carrier within a required time frame Trips can not exceed 365 days

You must report the loss to the common carrier within a required time frame

As you can see in the above table and the related guide to benefits, the primary differences in lost luggage reimbursement are:

  • The Amex Platinum explicitly notes that losses due to confiscation by TSA aren’t excluded.
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve covers a broader selection of family members when you pay for their ticket using your card.
  • The cards exclude different types of items and types of loss.

Related: Everything you need to know about Amex’s baggage insurance plan

When should I use the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. the Amex Platinum?

(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)

The Platinum Card from American Express earns 5x Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 of these purchases per calendar year) for an approximate 10% return based on TPG’s valuations. The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on travel for an effective 6% return. Both cards come with a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees for the Amex Platinum).

Related: Amex Membership Rewards vs. Chase Ultimate Rewards: Which is the best?

Despite this earning gap, you may want to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve when booking some common carrier travel. I recommend checking out the guide to both cards’ benefits and considering which card is best for your travel expenses. To help, here are some reasons to consider each card.

Reasons to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve

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

Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Reasons to use the Amex Platinum

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
  • Provides an emergency medical evacuation benefit to cardmembers regardless of whether you charged any trip expenses to the card.
  • Covers traveling companions for trip delay insurance and trip cancellation/interruption insurance when you purchase their round-trip fare with your card.
  • May reimburse additional transportation expenses to rejoin the common carrier covered trip or return to the place of origin, or to purchase tickets for a new departure, under trip interruption insurance.
  • Includes lost or stolen passports or travel documents as an eligible reason for trip delay insurance.
  • Has a higher cap on high-value items for lost, damaged or stolen baggage.
  • Some readers have found the claim process to be more straightforward and simple.

Apply here for The Platinum Card from American Express

Which card provides the best trip insurance during the pandemic?

(Photo by FG Trade/Getty Images)

If you plan to travel during the coronavirus pandemic, you may wonder whether the insurance discussed in this guide will protect you if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip for pandemic-related reasons. But, unfortunately, most travel insurance doesn’t cover pandemics. In particular, most pandemic-related losses won’t be covered. For example, you won’t be covered if you can’t or won’t travel due to CDC travel warnings, case counts or border restrictions.

However, if you contract COVID-19 or are quarantined by a physician for health reasons related to COVID-19, you may be eligible for coverage. Amex’s frequently asked questions page notes these reasons may be eligible. But Chase’s guide to benefits states that “any other event that occurs or commences prior to the initial deposit date or booking date of the trip” is excluded. So, whether you’d be covered depends on whether Chase considers the coronavirus pandemic or your sickness/quarantine as the event.

Frankly, I wouldn’t rely on credit card travel insurance for pandemic-related trip cancellation and interruption coverage. Instead, I’d recommend booking fully refundable travel or buying “cancel for any reason” insurance if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to take a trip. However, I’d still use the Chase Sapphire Reserve when booking travel to gain all of the other protections it provides.

Related: Will future pandemics be covered by travel insurance? Experts say yes

Bottom line

Some travelers who have both cards put their flights on the Amex Platinum for 5x earnings and put other travel expenses on the Chase Sapphire Reserve for 3x earnings and trip cancellation and interruption protection. My husband and I keep the Amex Platinum primarily for Centurion Lounge access, hotel elite status and access to Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts. But we don’t book flights with the Amex Platinum because of the round-trip requirement and the lack of baggage delay protection. Instead, we prefer to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve for our common carrier fares and other travel expenses.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

Featured photo by Josh Gribben/The Points Guy.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
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  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
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.