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Best credit cards for trip cancellation

Credit cards that can provide peace of mind if your travel plans go awry

Summary

Credit cards may reimburse you for your prepaid expenses if your trip is canceled or interrupted. Here’s how trip cancellation and interruption insurance works and what cards offer it.

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COVID-19 seems to have taught us a new fear — disruptions to your travel plans. Whether it’s illness or severe weather or family emergencies, plenty of unexpected elements can halt your vacation in its tracks. That’s why travel credit cards that provide trip cancellation and interruption coverage are all the rage these days to provide a sense of security when booking your next trip.

What does this particular travel insurance entail? Trip cancellation insurance covers you if certain circumstances prevent you from traveling on or before your scheduled departure date and you have to cancel your flight, hotel or other travel arrangements that you’ve already paid for. Trip interruption insurance kicks in if certain covered circumstances arise while you’re traveling and your trip is interrupted.

So before you make a travel purchase, it’s important to check whether your credit card has trip cancellation and interruption coverage. If it does, be sure to find out how much it covers and under what circumstances the coverage kicks in. These days several credit cards provide trip cancellation and interruption insurance, but it may cost you a hefty annual fee. These are some of our favorite picks.

The Platinum Card: Best luxury card

For most consumers, the $695 annual fee on The Platinum Card® from American Express is hard to swallow, but it’s a good option for those who travel many times a year. The Platinum Card earns good rewards, but it shines because of its numerous credits on travel, entertainment, delivery food and more. It also gives you extensive airport lounge access and various travel insurances, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance.

What it covers:

  • Accidental bodily injury or sickness of the cardholder, traveling companion or family member
  • Harsh or severe weather that prevents you from traveling or continuing travel
  • Change in military orders for either cardholder or their spouse
  • Terrorist action occurs near you
  • Jury duty or subpoena by the courts that you cannot postpone or waive
  • Dwelling becomes uninhabitable (fire, flooding, etc.)
  • Quarantine imposed for health reasons

What it doesn’t cover:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Cardholder dies by suicide, attempts suicide or self-inflicts an injury
  • War (declared or undeclared)
  • Mental or emotional disorders, unless you are hospitalized
  • Cardholder under the influence of alcohol, narcotic or other controlled substance when a covered accident occurs
  • Cardholder commits, attempts to commit a crime or is incarcerated
  • Cardholder participates in parachuting, motorized vehicular race or speed contest
  • Non-emergency treatment or medical procedure

Maximum coverage amount:

  • Up to $10,000 per trip and $20,000 per card, every 12 months
  • Up to $10,000 per trip and $20,000 per card, every 12 months

Read about the full details on American Express’ official website.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Best mid-tier travel card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card’s reputation precedes itself and for good reason. For only $95, it provides great rewards, a generous sign-up bonus and a slew of travel insurances, including trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Considering its lower annual fee, the maximum amount of its insurance — up to $40,000 every 12 months — is rather impressive.

Chase has also recently added some helpful annual bonuses, like a $50 Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit and 10% anniversary points bonus.

What it covers:

  • Accidental bodily injury, sickness or loss of life of cardholder, traveling companion or immediate family member
  • Harsh or severe weather that prevents you from traveling or continuing travel
  • Change in military orders for either cardholder or their spouse
  • Terrorist action occurs near you
  • Jury duty or subpoena by the courts that you cannot postpone or waive
  • Dwelling becomes uninhabitable (fire, flooding, etc.) or is burglarized
  • Quarantine imposed for health reasons
  • Lodgings at destination become uninhabitable
  • Loss of life or hospitalization at destination

What it doesn’t cover:

  • Change in plans, financial circumstances or the like for cardholder, traveling companion or immediate family member
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Cardholder dies by suicide, attempts suicide or self-inflicts an injury
  • War (declared or undeclared) or civil unrest
  • Cardholder commits, attempts to commit a crime or is incarcerated
  • Loss for a trip booked while on a waiting list for medical treatment
  • Cardholder under the influence of alcohol, narcotic or other controlled substance when a covered accident occurs
  • Failure to obtain required visas, passports or other travel documents
  • Personal desire to not travel or a foreign country closes its borders due to an epidemic or pandemic

Maximum coverage amount:

  • Up to $20,000 per trip and $40,000 every 12 months
  • Up to $20,000 per trip and $40,000 every 12 months

Read about the full details of the coverage on the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s Guide to Benefits.

World of Hyatt Credit Card: Best hotel card

Perhaps not as widely spoken of as the Marriott Bonvoy program, the World of Hyatt program is a solid one to participate in. In fact, The Points Guy values World of Hyatt points at 1.7 cents per point, not bad at all, for a smaller hotel chain.

For only $95, The World of Hyatt Credit Card gives you great rewards on everyday categories, like restaurants, local transit and gym and fitness club memberships, as well as Hyatt hotel purchases.

Its sign-up bonus is also generous — 30,000 points if you spend $3,000 in three months — then up to 30,000 bonus points (at a rate of 2X points on general purchases) on up to $15,000 in the six months. All this, plus an annual bonus of a free night (of a category 1-4 hotel) and trip cancellation and interruption insurance to boot? This is a difficult card to say no to.

What it covers:

  • Sickness
  • Severe weather
  • Other covered situations

What it doesn’t cover:

  • Not specified

Maximum coverage amount:

  • Up to $5,000 per person and $10,000 per trip

Unfortunately, the World of Hyatt credit card does not specify what its insurance covers. However, since the card is also issued by Chase, it likely covers similar situations to those of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. After you’re approved for the card, Chase will send you a full benefits guide that lists out all covered and uncovered losses.

Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card: Best for simplicity

In terms of rewards, there isn’t much to the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card compared to the other cards on this list. It gives you 2X points on travel and dining purchases and 1.5X points on all other purchases. If you spend $3,000 in 90 days, the card will reward you with 50,000 bonus points, and each year you receive up to $100 in statement credit for airline incidentals.

Nevertheless, the card is a solid one if you don’t want to think about maximizing which categories and such. The Bank of America Premium Rewards card is thankfully straightforward.

What it covers:

  • Sickness
  • Other covered situations

What it doesn’t cover:

  • Not specified

Maximum coverage amount:

  • Up to $2,500 for non-refundable passenger fares

Bank of America is relatively tight-lipped about the cover situations its travel insurance covers. Nevertheless, it is likely that their insurance covers many of the most common covered losses like accidental bodily injury, harsh or severe weather and more. Once you have been approved for the card, the issuer will send you a benefits guide along with your physical card to explain the details.

Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Best for business owners

We know you business owners out there need trip cancellation and interruption insurance too. Have you considered the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card? First things first, its sign-up bonus is quite good — 100,000 points if you spend $15,000 in three months. As for the rewards structure, it offers 3X points on travel, shipping, internet, cable, phone services and advertising purchases (up to $150,000 per year) and 1X point on general purchases.

Other than that, it gives you a slew of other perks like extended warranty, cellphone protection, baggage insurance and more, as well as trip cancellation and interruption insurance. All that for a $95 annual fee? It’s a small but mighty business card. Perhaps that’s why it consistently ranks as one of the best business cards.

What it covers:

  • Accidental bodily injury, sickness or loss of life of cardholder, traveling companion or immediate family member
  • Harsh or severe weather that prevents you from traveling or continuing travel
  • Change in military orders for either cardholder or their spouse
  • Terrorist action occurs near you
  • Jury duty or subpoena by the courts that you cannot postpone or waive
  • Dwelling becomes uninhabitable (fire, flooding, etc.) or is burglarized
  • Quarantine imposed for health reasons
  • Travel agency, tour operator or travel supplier experiences bankruptcy

What it doesn’t cover:

  • Change in plans, financial circumstances or the like for cardholder, traveling companion or immediate family member
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Cardholder dies by suicide, attempts suicide or self-inflicts an injury
  • War (declared or undeclared) or civil unrest affects you
  • Cardholder commits, attempts to commit a crime or is incarcerated
  • Cardholder participates in motorized vehicular race or speed contest
  • Loss for a trip booked while on a waiting list for medical treatment
  • Covers up to $5,000 per trip
  • Covers up to $5,000 per trip

To read the full details of covered situations, check out the guide to benefits provided by Chase.

Bottom line

Above all, read the fine print before using your card’s travel insurance. Other than uncovered losses, the insurance often doesn’t cover a trip that exceeds a certain number of days and requires you to write a claim within a certain time frame for you to be eligible for reimbursement.

For most issuers, you must use your eligible card, the one that provides the trip cancellation and interruption insurance, to pay for all the travel expenses you’d like to cover. If, for example, you pay for a hotel with an eligible card and airfare with a different card, only your hotel expenses may be reimbursed in case of an emergency.

Nevertheless, having trip cancellation and interruption insurance only benefits you. If you’re willing to pay an annual fee for one of these cards, it’s a good advantage to have on your side. That way you can book and travel, worry-free.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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