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

Mar 23, 2020

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Select credit cards provide travel insurance when you use the card to book travel. Two of the most popular consumer cards offering the highest levels of protection and earnings for select travel purchases are the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express. In this guide I’ll compare the travel insurance offered by both 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+ hours or overnight Up to $500 per covered trip when you’re delayed by 6+ hours
Baggage delay insurance Up to $100 per day for up to five days when your baggage is delayed by 6+ hours None
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance Up to $10,000 per person,  up to $20,000 per trip Up to $10,000 per trip
Auto rental collision damage waiver Primary insurance, covers up to $75,000 Secondary insurance, covers up to $75,000
Emergency medical and dental benefit Up to $2,500 for emergency treatment, subject to a $50 deductible

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

None
Emergency evacuation insurance 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 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. So, for brevity, the protections provided by the Chase Sapphire Reserve in these areas won’t be discussed further in this guide.

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

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

Trip delay insurance

Trip delay insurance may provide reimbursement for reasonable expenses during a delay when traveling on a common carrier.

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

Two 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, medication and other personal use items
How long a delay is required 6+ hours or overnight 6+ hours
Who is covered You and your family members You, your family members 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 which 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 deduce from the above table, the primary differences in trip delay coverage are:

  • The Amex Platinum requires round-trip travel, all of which must be paid for with your card (in full or in 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 reading: Best credit cards that offer trip delay reimbursement

Trip cancellation/interruption insurance

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance provides reimbursement for nonrefundable, prepaid trip expenses when a trip must be canceled or altered due to a covered situation. In some cases, you may be covered for additional expenses.

Chase Sapphire Reserve Amex Platinum
Trip cancellation benefit may reimburse: Nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses charged by a travel supplier

Redeposit fees imposed by a rewards program

Nonrefundable amount paid to a travel supplier
Trip interruption benefit may reimburse: Nonefundable prepaid travel expenses charged by a travel supplier

Redeposit fees imposed by a rewards program

Change fees

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

The forfeited or unused nonrefundable, prepaid land, air and sea transportation arrangements

Additional transportation expenses, less any available refunds, to rejoin the common carrier covered trip or to return to his or her place of origin

Additional expenses incurred to purchase tickets for a new departure

Who is covered You and your family members You, your family members 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 $20,000.00 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

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

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

  • The Amex Platinum requires round-trip travel, all of which must be paid for with your card (in full 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, your host at your destination dies or is hospitalized, a relevant terrorist incident occurs that wasn’t anticipated or a relevant travel warning due to terrorism is issued that wasn’t anticipated.
  • 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.

Related reading: The best credit cards that offer trip cancellation and interruption coverage

Auto rental collision damage waiver

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.

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 nine people

Cargo vans, custom vans, vans with a seating capacity over eight passengers, cube van or box truck, or any truck that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs. 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

Benefits may be provided if accidental death or dismemberment, accidental injury or damage or theft of car rental personal property occurs

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

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

Related reading: Best credit cards for rental car coverage

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.

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 may be provided at no cost to another, more appropriate medical facility, or from point of origin back to a hospital near your home
How to get coverage Charge all or a 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/or 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 the age of 23 or under the age of 26 if enrolled in school on a full-time basis (all when traveling on the same trip itinerary as the cardmember)

Other restrictions Transport must be preapproved by the benefit administrator

Duration of the trip cannot be less than five days or more than 60 days and must be over 100 miles from the traveler’s residence

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 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 reading: What’s covered by credit card travel accident and emergency evacuation insurance?

Lost luggage reimbursement

The lost luggage benefit offered by both cards may reimburse you if your baggage is lost, damaged or stolen during a trip.

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 family members You, your spouse or domestic partner, your dependent children under 23 years of age and your incapacitated, unmarried and dependent children because of an eligible handicap
What is covered Checked baggage, carry-on baggage and/or personal property contained within due to loss, damage, or theft occurring during a common carrier 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 travelers’ 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

Travelers checks and other negotiable instruments (including gift certificates, gift cards, gift checks, food stamps), cash or its equivalent, notes, accounts, bills, currency, deeds, evidences 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 timeframe Trips can not exceed 365 days

You must report the loss to the common carrier within a required timeframe

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

  • Amex Platinum explicitly notes that losses due to confiscation by TSA aren’t excluded
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve covers a wider 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 reading: What to do when your luggage is delayed or lost by an airline

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

(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Josh Gribben/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 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.

Related reading: 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. Check out the guide to benefits for both cards and consider which card is best for your travel expenses. To help, here are some reasons to consider each card.

Arguments for the Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
  • Offers a baggage delay benefit, an emergency medical and dental benefit and roadside assistance up to $50 up to four times a year
  • Only a portion of your travel expenses must be charged to your card to unlock most benefits (whereas the Amex Platinum generally only provides benefits when you charge the entire common carrier fare to your card)
  • No requirement for round-trip travel
  • Provides trip delay benefits overnight even if you’re delayed for less than six hours
  • Provides primary car rental coverage
  • Offers travel accident insurance (although the Amex Platinum provides some travel accident insurance on car rentals)
  • Includes strikes as an eligible reason for trip delay insurance
  • May reimburse redeposit fees imposed by a rewards program under trip cancellation/interruption insurance

Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Arguments for the Amex Platinum

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
  • Provides an emergency medical evacuation benefit if the traveler is simply a cardmember
  • 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

Bottom line

Some travelers who have both cards prefer to put their flights on the Amex Platinum for 5x earnings but put other travel expenses on the Chase Sapphire Reserve for 3x earnings and trip cancellation/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 don’t book flights with the card 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 most other travel expenses.

Related guides

Featured photo by Josh Gribben/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, 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 60,000 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®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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.