TPG reader question: Does Chase travel insurance apply if I pay for my trip with Ultimate Rewards points?

Feb 1, 2021

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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. 

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused one of the greatest disruptions in commercial travel, with unprecedented restrictions and a number of well-known airlines filing for bankruptcy protection. Whether or not you personally had a trip impacted by the pandemic, now is a great time to study up on trip cancellation insurance benefits offered by many top travel rewards cards.

TPG reader Vin reached out to ask whether award tickets would qualify under this coverage …

If you book a flight with Chase Ultimate Rewards points, do they still offer travel protection?

Vin

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First, the bad news: Most insurance plans probably won’t reimburse you for coronavirus-related travel mishaps. This holds true whether your plan is included with your Chase credit card, or was purchased from a third-party underwriter.

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

With that said, cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points (such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve) still feature some of the most generous travel insurance policies. Depending on the card, you may enjoy coverage for trip delays, cancellations, baggage losses and car rental damage or theft.

Related: TPG’s comprehensive guide to independent travel insurance — including coronavirus coverage

In addition, the circumstances under which these policies kick in are extremely generous as well. If you find your trip canceled or interrupted for a covered reason, you’ll be eligible for reimbursement through Chase if either of the following is true:

  • Some portion of the cost has been charged to your Chase credit card.
  • You used Ultimate Rewards to pay for all or part of your trip.

Chase is incredibly generous in this regard, as many other issuers require you to pay for the entire trip with your card in order to receive coverage, and/or they don’t extend coverage to travel booked using points.

Related: The ultimate guide to Chase pay with points

You’ll be reimbursed for the monetary value of the redemption (or 1 cent per point if the value doesn’t appear on your itinerary or confirmation). Coverage is capped at $10,000 per trip. Unfortunately, after a large number of airline bankruptcies over the last few years (even before the pandemic began), Chase changed the policy so that “financial insolvency of the travel supplier” is no longer covered:

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

Chase does provide a few examples of what counts as a covered event, but if you’re not sure you can always call the number on the back of your card and ask to speak to a benefits administrator:

Related: Why you should consider an airline with free COVID-19 insurance

(Screenshot courtesy of Chase)

Bottom line

As the coronavirus pandemic has ripped through the travel industry with unprecedented speed, causing travel disruptions, many people struggled to get the refunds or insurance coverage they were entitled to.

Let this serve as a reminder that the best time to learn about your credit card’s travel insurance policies is before you actually have to use them. The good news for Chase cardholders is that your trip will be covered even if you pay with points, although there are a number of COVID-19-related exceptions.

Thanks for the question, Vin, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at tips@thepointsguy.com.

Related: What happens if you test positive for COVID-19 and can’t fly back to the US?

Additional reporting by Chris Dong. 

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy. 

2020 TPG Award Winner: Premium Card of the Year
Chase Sapphire Reserve

SIGN-UP BONUS: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

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.

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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 $900 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. Through December 31, 2021, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
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  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
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

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