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Travel Insurance Saved Our Vacation — Reader Success Story

March 13, 2019
5 min read
Travel Insurance Saved Our Vacation — Reader Success Story
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Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Noah, who got massive value from one of his credit card benefits:

My wife and I take one big trip and a few small trips every year. We wanted a card that earns bonus points on travel purchases, along with no foreign transaction fees, lounge access, and most importantly for this story, travel insurance. After a lot of research at the beginning of last year, we determined the Chase Sapphire Reserve best aligns with our wants and needs. A week after getting the card, we booked a big trip to Southeast Asia over the holidays after I found a great business class fare. Over the course of six months, we booked a few regional flights, hotels, tours, etc., and waited excitedly for our adventure.

Fast forward to 10 days before we were supposed to leave: I got a call from my wife saying she was in an accident at work and was headed to the emergency room. She sustained a serious chemical burn to her eye, and we spent five hours there while they flushed out as much as possible. Five days later (on Christmas Eve), a specialist told us we had to cancel our trip. My wife needed to be closely monitored, with appointments every two days for a couple of weeks and possibly surgery. Her health was the top priority, but our hearts sank as we realized our trip was ruined. The only comfort was knowing that we had travel insurance through the Sapphire Reserve.

When we got home from the doctor, I called customer service and spent the next couple of hours asking questions and filing a claim — I was advised to do this as soon as possible, since you need to contact travel suppliers within 48 hours of a doctor determining travel is not medically permitted. I spent the following weeks getting the proper paperwork filled out by doctors, talking for countless hours on the phone with Chase and the insurance representatives, and gathering all the information I needed to submit.

And the results? After two months, my wife is expected to make a full recovery and we are about to leave on our (doctor approved) adventure to Southeast Asia thanks to our Sapphire Reserve benefits. While many travel suppliers were willing to issue a refund after we provided a doctor’s letter, not all of them agreed. In those instances, the travel insurance cut us a check to make us whole. To put it into perspective, the amount we recovered could pay the $450 annual fee [increased to $550 as of Jan.12, 2020] for our card for almost a decade! Fingers crossed that I never have to use it again, but I am glad I have it for peace of mind.

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'Travel insurance' encompasses a variety of benefits, ranging from baggage delay protection and emergency evacuation coverage to the trip cancellation protection Noah used. When a covered event (like illness, injury or weather) keeps you from traveling as planned, this benefit can reimburse you for non-refundable expenses like flights or pre-paid hotel reservations. The Sapphire Reserve card offers coverage up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip (with a cap of $40,000 in any 12-month period). As Noah points out, you hope to never need cancellation protection, but the strength of the Sapphire Reserve coverage compared to other travel rewards cards is an underappreciated reason to use it for travel purchases.

Like most credit card benefits, you'll need to abide the rules and restrictions for your claim to be approved. Apart from needing to act quickly after receiving a doctor's advice not to travel, you'll have limited time to file a written claim, and you'll likely need to include abundant supporting documentation. In short, the claims process isn't simple, but as Noah's story shows, it should still be worthwhile if you're facing significant losses.

Credit card travel insurance is convenient because you don't have to sign up for it independently — the benefit applies so long as you use your card to pay for your trip and meet the other requirements. However, it's worth considering whether your coverage is a good fit for your plans. If your trip doesn't qualify for protection (for example, if it's more than 60 days in duration) or if you're traveling with a large group and worried about running up against coverage limits, you may want to invest in travel insurance independent from whatever protection is attached to your card.

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Noah a $200 airline gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you. Please email your own award travel success stories to info@thepointsguy.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes, or to contribute to our new award redemption series. If your story is published, we’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can't respond to each story individually, but we'll be in touch if yours is selected.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured image by (Feature photo by Shutterstock)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023