Chase removes some protections if your airline goes bankrupt

Jan 16, 2020

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While we spend a lot of energy here at The Points Guy talking about earning and redeeming points on travel rewards credit cards, sometimes the less-appealing perks of these cards can be just as valuable — if not more so. They don’t have the cache of giving you a free first-class flight or luxury hotel room, but benefits like trip delay protection and primary car rental coverage can help ease the hassle (and expense) of things going wrong when traveling.

Unfortunately, one popular perk from Chase — trip cancellation and interruption coverage — took a small hit recently. As noted by Doctor of Credit, certain cards have now removed a key covered reason for invoking this protection. If you are forced to cancel a trip because your airline or tour operator goes under, you’re no longer eligible for reimbursement for other nonrefundable, prepaid travel expenses.

Here’s the exact text from the benefits guide for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, as listed under the “What’s not covered?” section:

“Default of the Common Carrier resulting from Financial Insolvency or Financial Insolvency of a Travel Agency, Tour
Operator, or Travel Supplier.”

We’re seeing similar language in the benefits guide for the following cards, all of which now bear December 1, 2019 as the effective date:

However, the guides for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card (no longer open to new applicants) and the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card still include it as a covered reason — though these have an earlier effective date, so it’s entirely possible that the new ones just haven’t been loaded.

Related: What you should know about the trip cancellation and interruption protection offered by select credit cards

While removing a single covered reason may not seem like a big deal, it’s nevertheless a blow given the recent problems we’ve seen with companies like Thomas Cook, WOW air and Primera Air. Had you swiped one of the above cards for a flight with this airlines — many of which are solid credit cards for airfare — you would’ve been able to file a claim under the trip cancellation and interruption benefit. However, if you have an upcoming trip with an airline or travel provider that winds up going under, you’ll no longer be able to submit a claim for reimbursement of all eligible, prepaid travel arrangements.

It’s worth noting that the new trip protection benefits that recently went live for higher-end Amex cards (like The Platinum Card® from American Express) also exclude financial insolvency as a covered reason, so there’s not a better credit card option out there. If you’re truly nervous about a company going under, this might be a good reason to purchase third-party travel insurance for the given trip.

We reached out to Chase for additional information on the changes, and a spokesperson provided the following statement:

“A cardmember can continue to submit a dispute as a result of financial insolvency, as they have always been able to. We always want to help our customers when they are experiencing issues and will work with them to find solutions.”

While it’s nice that Chase has reiterated its support for cardholders via an existing method (disputing the charge), this doesn’t mean that you’re entirely covered in the event that a carrier goes under. For example, if you use one of the above Chase cards to book a flight, prepay for a nonrefundable hotel room or tour and then can’t take the trip for a covered reason — like hospitalization or military deployment — you’d be eligible for reimbursement under your card’s trip cancellation/interruption benefit.

If, on the other hand, your airline goes out of business, you can ask the credit card company for your money back on your flights due to a service not being provided. However, you may need to forfeit those other prepaid expenses.

Featured photo by Andrew Bret Wallis / Getty Images

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