Travel Insurance Saved Our Vacation — Reader Success Story

Mar 13, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

‘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; 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 photo by Shutterstock 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • 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.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
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.