The best credit cards for travel insurance offer valuable travel benefits that protect you when problems happen on your trip. Your ideal card should include a generous welcome bonus, strong earning power and attractive benefits that you’ll actually use.
Over the last year, travel has had its share of challenges. And, that’s especially true for airline travel, which has been plagued with delays and cancellations due to a perfect storm of increased demand, problems with staffing and other challenges.
When you fly, these types of interruptions can derail your entire vacation, making for a frustrating experience. But the good news is that there are credit cards that offer travel protections to cover expenses when your flight is delayed, interrupted or canceled. They may even cover certain expenses if your checked bag is lost or damaged. These perks can be pretty useful if you’re a regular traveler.
To help you get started, here’s a look at the best credit cards for travel insurance based on the features that are most important to you, as well as tips on how to choose the perfect option for your travel and spending style.
Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best travel insurance coverage amounts
Travel benefits rundown: Auto rental collision damage waiver; baggage delay insurance; emergency evacuation and transportation services; lost luggage reimbursement; roadside assistance; travel accident insurance; travel and emergency assistance services; trip cancellation/interruption insurance; trip delay reimbursement
Why we picked it: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers some of the top coverage amounts among travel credit cards. Your trip is covered against cancellation or interruption up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip, and when your trip is delayed more than six hours, you and your family are covered up to $500 per ticket. And in terms of baggage, you’ll receive lost baggage reimbursement of up to $3,000 per passenger per trip, even when your luggage is damaged, and baggage delay insurance for delays of more than six hours (up to $100 a day for five days).
The Reserve also offers emergency evacuation and transportation services for up to $100,000 if you or a member of your immediate family becomes sick or injured, as well as travel accident insurance of up to $1,000,000. And when you rent a car, you’ll receive primary rental car insurance for up to $75,000 against theft or damage to the vehicle.
- Generous travel protections
- $300 annual travel credit
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge access
- Up to $100 in credits toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- $550 annual fee
- Lower sign-up bonus compared to similar premium cards (60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in your first three months)
Who should apply: If you’re a frequent traveler, can deal with the $550 annual fee and want access to a variety of solid travel insurances, this card is hard to beat. Plus, you’ll get stellar rewards rates on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards as well as on general travel purchases. For a full list of perks, be sure to read through our Chase Sapphire Reserve card benefits guide.
Who should skip: There are similar travel cards with slightly fewer offerings but much lower annual fees, such as the Sapphire Reserve’s sister card — the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, highlighted below. If you don’t anticipate spending enough to offset the Reserve’s annual fee (or use enough of its added statement credits), you might look elsewhere.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: Best travel insurance coverage for a low annual fee
Travel benefits rundown: Auto rental collision damage waiver; baggage delay insurance; lost luggage reimbursement; roadside dispatch; travel accident insurance; travel and emergency assistance services; trip cancellation/interruption insurance; trip delay reimbursement
Why we picked it: At first glance, it appears that the Sapphire Reserve and Preferred offer the same travel insurance coverages (minus emergency evacuation and transportation, which is only offered by the Reserve). But where they differ is in timing and coverage amounts — through which the Reserve offers better coverage.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card charges one of the lowest annual fees ($95) of all the cards on this list, but you still receive some stellar travel insurance perks. The collision damage waiver for rental cars carries no country exclusion like many other credit cards (though you’ll receive coverage for up to the cash value of the vehicle), and you get many of the same benefits as the Sapphire Reserve.
Here’s a look at other travel insurance differences between the Preferred and Reserve:
- Travel accident insurance goes up $1,000,000 for the Reserve and up to $500,000 for the Preferred.
- Trip delay reimbursement starts at delays of six hours or more for the Reserve and 12 hours or more for the Preferred (or if an overnight stay is required). Both cards cover you and your family up to $500 per ticket for unreimbursed expenses.
- Roadside assistance with the Reserve covers you for up to $50 per incident four times a year, whereas you’ll need to pay for any services when using the Preferred’s Roadside Dispatch perk.
- Comparable travel insurance benefits without a large annual fee
- 80,000-point welcome bonus when you spend $4,000 in three months (for a reasonable annual fee)
- $50 annual statement credit when booking hotels through Chase
- 10 percent anniversary points bonus
- No airport lounge access or access to multiple travel-related statement credits
- Less elevated travel insurance perks compared to the Reserve
Who should apply: If you’re interested in a travel card with solid travel insurance benefits but can’t quite justify the Reserve’s high annual fee, you’ll do well with the Sapphire Preferred. Similarly, the card offers ongoing rewards on general travel and travel through Chase. For more information, you can read through our Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits guide.
Who should skip: The Sapphire Preferred is really only worth skipping if you’re looking for more elevated travel insurance perks, ongoing rewards or statement credits. Otherwise, it’s a great option.
The Platinum Card from American Express: Best range of travel insurance benefits
Travel benefits rundown: Travel assistance (including lost luggage reimbursement and legal assistance); travel inconvenience or delay insurance (including missed flights and luggage delays); trip cancellation and interruption insurance; travel accident insurance; car rental loss and damage insurance; various travel medical coverages (including emergency medical transportation, emergency medical services, emergency dental treatment and prescription expenses)
Why we picked it: The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a pretty comprehensive travel insurance package if you can handle its hefty $695 annual fee. It also comes with many of the same travel insurance benefits as the rest of the American Express travel card slate, but its benefits, in particular, are so significant that they’re worth a spot on this list.
Enjoy travel assistance that includes help tracking down lost luggage and, in the event it’s not found, get reimbursed for up to $1,200 per trip. This coverage also includes up to $10,000 per trip for legal assistance. With travel inconvenience insurance — including missed departures, connections and luggage delays — get up to $250 per person for additional travel and food and up to $1,000 for baggage delays of four hours or more. Further, secondary trip cancellation and interruption insurance covers up to $10,000 per trip and $20,000 per year, travel accident insurance covers up to $500,000 and car rental loss and damage insurance covers up to the repair cost or value of the car.
To round out the Amex’s Platinum’s premium travel insurance benefits, in the event of an emergency, you’ll receive: $100,000 for medical transportation, $250,000 for medical services, $1,000 for dental treatment and $1,000 for prescriptions.
- Extensive list of travel insurance benefits and annual statement credits
- Global Lounge Collection access, including the Centurion Lounge, Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass Select lounges and more
- Exceptional 80,000-point welcome bonus when you spend $6,000 in your first six months
- Automatic hotel elite status
- Limited ongoing rewards categories if you spend quite a bit outside of travel
- Very high $695 annual fee
Who should apply: If you’re looking for the best of the best in terms of a travel rewards card, the Amex Platinum is hard to beat. Be sure, of course, that you can either afford to pay its high annual fee or would spend enough and use enough of its statement credits to offset the yearly cost. For more information on all that this premium American Express card has to offer, read our Amex Platinum benefits guide.
Who should skip: The Amex Platinum has a lot going on, and if you’re not interested in taking advantage of its many, many benefits (Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit, Clear credit, hotel and airline credits, Uber, Walmart+, digital entertainment credits and more), you may be better off with a lower-fee travel card with slightly less robust travel insurance perks.
Capital One Venture X: Best for adding authorized users
Travel benefits rundown: Auto rental collision damage waiver; trip cancellation and interruption insurance; travel and emergency assistance services; trip delay reimbursement; travel accident insurance; lost luggage reimbursement
Why we picked it: With the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, you can add up to four authorized users at no additional charge. These authorized users have access to the same trip protections, lounge access and other benefits as the primary cardholder — making it our pick for the best option for authorized user access.
The Venture X offers numerous travel protections, including an auto rental collision damage waiver of up to the cash value of the car (or up to $75,000 for new cars), trip cancellation and interruption insurance of up to $2,000 per person, travel accident insurance of up to $1,000,000, lost luggage reimbursement of up to $3,000 per trip for common carrier tickets, trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 per ticket when a trip is delayed for six hours or more (or requires an overnight stay), and travel and emergency assistance services (though you’ll need to pay any associated fees out of pocket).
- Reasonable annual fee given its ongoing rewards, welcome bonus and statement credit opportunities
- Ability to add up to four authorized users at no cost
- 75,000-mile welcome bonus after spending $4,000 in your first three months
- Cellphone protection
- Travel bonus categories limited to the Capital One Travel portal
- Not as many travel-related statement credits compared to other premium travel cards
Who should apply: If you’re looking for a premium travel card with quality travel insurance benefits and a few statement credits, but without an incredibly high annual fee, the Venture X could be the right choice for you. Other Capital One Venture X benefits include an annual travel statement credit, a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit and access to Priority Pass and Capital One lounges.
Who should skip: If you aren’t keen on booking a majority of your travel through the Capital One portal, you may look elsewhere. This card offers 10X miles on hotel and rental cars booked through the portal, 5X miles on flights booked through the portal and just 2X miles on all other purchases.
Bank of America Premium Rewards: Best for large bank balances
Travel benefits rundown: Trip delay reimbursement; trip cancellation/interruption insurance; baggage delay insurance; lost luggage reimbursement; travel and emergency assistance services; emergency evacuation and transportation coverage; auto rental collision damage waiver; roadside dispatch
Why we picked it: Travelers who maintain large bank balances can earn up to 75 percent more rewards with the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card thanks to Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program. In addition to travel insurance protections, you’ll earn 2X points on travel and dining and 1.5X points on everything else. With the 75 percent maximum bonus, your earning power grows up to 3.5X and 2.625X, respectively.
In terms of travel insurance benefits, you’ll receive trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 per ticket when a trip is delayed for more than 12 hours, trip cancellation/interruption insurance of up to $2,500 for non-refundable tickets and baggage delay insurance of up to $100 per day for five days when baggage has been delayed for six or more hours. You’ll also get lost luggage reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance services, emergency evacuation and transportation coverage, an auto rental collision damage waiver and roadside dispatch, as noted above.
- Monthly bonus for large banking balances via the Preferred Rewards program
- Airline incidental and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credits
- 50,000-point welcome bonus when you spend $3,000 in your first 90 days
- Relatively low $95 annual fee
- Requires larger deposit balances to get maximum value from Preferred Rewards program
- No airline or hotel transfer partners
- Lack of more premium travel benefits
Who should apply: If you’re already a Bank of America banking customer and are looking to boost your card’s rewards rates, owning the Bank of America Premium Rewards card is a great way to do so. Plus, you’ll get access to some pretty valuable travel insurance benefits. For more information, consider reading through our Bank of America Premium Rewards card benefits guide.
Who should skip: If you don’t carry at least a $20,000 balance within a Bank of America account, getting this card for the Preferred Rewards program points boost really isn’t worth it. Instead, consider looking toward the Sapphire Preferred, as it offers comparable travel insurance benefits, but with higher ongoing rewards rates and a bigger first-year bonus.
Comparing the best credit cards for travel insurance
|Chase Sapphire Reserve card
|Travel insurance coverage amounts
|60,000 points after spending $4,000 in 3 months
|Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
|Travel insurance coverage for a low annual fee
|80,000 points after spending $4,000 in 3 months
|The Platinum Card from American Express
|Range of travel insurance benefits
|80,000 points when you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Card
|Adding authorized users
|75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in your first 3 months
|Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card
|Large bank balances
|50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in your first 90 days
Types of travel insurance coverage on credit cards
Rewards credit cards offer valuable travel insurance protections that can help you save money and protect your travel plans. Benefits vary by card, but the most common types of credit card travel insurance benefits include:
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance: This coverage reimburses travelers for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses when a trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather or other covered situations.
- Trip delay reimbursement: When travel is delayed by a set number of hours or requires an overnight stay, trip delay reimbursement covers unreimbursed expenses. Qualifying expenses can include meals and lodging, for example.
- Lost luggage reimbursement: When your checked or carry-on luggage is damaged or lost by the airline, this coverage reimburses travelers for replacing clothing, toiletries, luggage and more.
- Auto rental collision damage waiver: This waiver protects the cardholder when the rental car is damaged or stolen. Coverage is primary or secondary, and it does not cover damage to other property or injuries to people inside or outside the vehicle.
- Emergency evacuation and transportation: If you or an immediate family member becomes injured or sick during a trip and requires emergency evacuation, this benefit covers medical expenses and transportation.
How to choose a credit card for travel insurance
With so many travel credit cards offering travel insurance benefits, some consumers may have difficulty picking the right one. Here are a few factors you should consider before applying:
- Travel protection limits. How much does the card reimburse or cover in case your travel plans are affected? And how many people are included?
- Travel protection exclusions. How long do you have to wait before the card’s benefits can be used?
- Welcome bonus. Does the card offer an attractive welcome bonus, and can you meet the minimum spending requirements within the allotted time frame?
- Earning power. Review the card’s ongoing rewards rates to determine if they align with how you spend.
- Other card perks. What other perks does the card offer beyond travel protections? If it offers statement credits or discounts that you likely won’t use, there’s likely a cheaper option for you.
- Annual fee. Are the card’s features, benefits and earning power worth the annual fee?
- Authorized users. Does the card allow authorized users — and if it does, how much does it cost to add them?
There are many credit cards that can cover you in the event your next trip gets pushed back or ruined altogether. While the best travel credit cards with travel insurance all offer similar protections, the benefits or terms vary by card.
Besides the travel protections offered, be sure to compare benefits, earning power and annual fees to find the card that best fits your lifestyle and travel plans.