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If this winter’s harsh conditions haven’t caused your flights to be delayed or canceled, consider yourself lucky. At the start of this snowy season, USA Today reported there were 7,000 delays, 2,800 cancellations, and recent below-zero temperatures caused more than 1,000 cancellations.

Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site. 

Credit Cards for Trip Cancellations and Delays

Ways to Protect Yourself With Credit Cards for Trip Cancellations and Delays

One of the best ways to protect yourself against canceled or delayed flights is to get a solid travel rewards credit card. Read more about our picks for the best rewards credit cards 2019.

Booking your airline tickets with a travel rewards credit card instead of your debit card means you’re protected up to a certain amount in case you experience delayed flights, canceled flights, or lost luggage.

Travel tip: Understand the difference between travel insurance and credit card insurance

Keep in mind that many of these protections require you to pay for the amount upfront with your credit card. You need to file a claim in order to get reimbursed.

Credit Cards for Trip Cancellations and Delays

Here are the top five credit cards that can help ease the stress around trip cancellations and delays. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use these benefits. However, if you have one of these cards, you can avoid extra stress by knowing you’ve got a backup.

1. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Travel protection

  • Trip cancellation/interruption: up to $10,000
  • Trip delay reimbursement: $500 per ticket for flights delayed more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay
  • Lost luggage: up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Baggage delay protection: up to $100 per day (5 days limit) for bags delayed for up to 6 hours
  • Additional benefit other cards may not offer: Emergency dental or medical visit

Benefits and fees

  • Bonus offer for signing up: 50,000 (after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months)
  • Points earned on travel: 3X
  • Annual fee: $450 (but Chase gives you an annual $300 travel credit, which helps offset this cost)

There’s a reason why Chase Sapphire Reserve® tops many best credit card lists — the array of travel perks include a $300 annual travel credit, TSA PreCheck credit, and free access to over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide.

Chase Sapphire Reserve also offers up to $10,000 for trip cancellation or interruption. This means they’ll reimburse you up to $10,000 if your trip is canceled or even interrupted before the departure date.

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Travel protection

  • Trip cancellation/interruption: up to $10,000
  • Trip delay reimbursement: $500 per ticket on flights delayed up to 12 hours or requires an overnight stay
  • Lost luggage: up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Baggage delay protection: up to $100 per day (5 days limit) for bags delayed for up to 6 hours

Benefits and fees

  • Bonus offer for signing up: 60,000
  • Points earned on travel: 2X
  • Annual fee: $95

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers similar coverage, like its pricier counterpart Chase Sapphire Reserve, but the reimbursement requirements are slightly different. The trip delay requirement is 12 hours, rather than six.

The annual fee is $355 less than Chase Sapphire Reserve, so it’s great if you’re a budget-minded traveler who’d rather spend that extra money splurging on a premium seat on a flight. Plus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred perks make this card worthwhile.

3. The United Explorer Card

Travel protection

  • Trip cancellation/interruption: up to $6,000 per trip (up to $1,500 per person)
  • Trip delay reimbursement: $500 per ticket on flights delayed up to 12 hours or requires an overnight stay
  • Lost luggage: up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Baggage delay protection: up to $100 per day (3 days limit) for bags delayed for up to 6 hours
  • Additional benefit other cards may not offer: 25 percent back on food, beverages, and Wi-Fi on United flights

Benefits and fees

  • Bonus offer for signing up: 40,000 (after you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months of account opening)
  • Points earned for purchasing airfare: 2X
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived after the first year)

If you find yourself frequently flying on United Airlines, you may consider the United℠ Explorer Card, formerly known as the United MileagePlus Explorer card.

Although the trip cancellation reimbursement (up to $6,000) isn’t as high as Chase Sapphire Reserve or Preferred, you’d be covered in the event of lost bags and flight delays. Plus, the card offers a generous 40,000 bonus points for signing up. Just like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it gives cardholders a $100 TSA Precheck credit.

Learn more: Airline Credit Cards

The information related to the United Explorer Card has been collected by Johnny Jet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

4. Citi Double Cash

Travel protection

  • Trip cancellation/interruption: up to $5,000 per trip (up to $1,500 per person)
  • Trip delay reimbursement: $500 per ticket on flights delayed up to 12 hours or requires an overnight stay
  • Lost luggage: up to $3,000 per passenger ($2,000 per bag for New York residents), up to $10,000 for all covered travelers
  • Baggage delay protection: up to $100 per traveler, per day for bags delayed for up to 6 hours

Benefits and fees

  • Bonus offer for signing up: None
  • Points earned for purchasing airfare: 2X
  • Annual fee: None
  • Additional benefit other cards don’t offer: Credit card late fee pass that waives your first late fee

Citi Double Cash is a great option for travelers who don’t care about bonus points and want a straightforward rewards structure.

While the trip cancellation is among the lowest at $5,000, there’s no annual fee either. Citi Double Cash has similar bells and whistles to protect you against nightmare travel situations, such as losing your luggage.

The card doesn’t have a sign-up bonus and has a foreign transaction fee, so it’s best to use this card for domestic travel.

5. Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Card (Expired)

Editor’s Note: The new Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card has replaced the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card. You can read more about the new cards here

Travel protection

  • Trip cancellation/interruption: up to $5,000 per trip
  • Trip delay reimbursement: $500 per ticket on flights delayed up to 6 hours or requires an overnight stay
  • Lost luggage: up to $3,000 per passenger
  • Baggage delay protection: up to $100 per traveler, (limit 5 days) per day for bags delayed for up to 12 hours
  • Additional benefit other cards may not offer: up to $2,500 emergency medical or dental visit (as long as you are within 100 miles from home)

Benefits and fees

  • Bonus offer for signing up: 75,000 (after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of account opening)
  • Points earned for purchasing airfare: 2X
  • Annual fee: $95

Additional benefit other cards don’t offer: Earn 6X the points per $1 spent at Marriott Hotels and SPG Hotels, plus 1 free night every year at a hotel on your account anniversary

Rated the no. 1 best hotel rewards program from U.S. News & World Report, the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card (which replaced the Marriott Rewards Premier Card) gives you travel protections plus a higher-than-average bonus offer for signing up at 75,000 points.

Marriott has integrated with Starwood Hotels & Resorts (and their SPG rewards program). This card is a good choice if you’re looking for a wide variety of hotel options (more than 6,700 in their network).

Research and Read the Fine Print When Looking at Credit Cards for Trip Cancellations and Delays

Each credit card issuer has different detailed policies for purchases that qualify for trip interruption or cancellation reimbursement. Call the credit card issuer and get clarity on what circumstances are covered and how much money you’d get back.

Having to cancel a trip for matters outside of your control, like harsh weather or a family emergency, sometimes happens. A credit card that covers you may recoup some of the lost expenses, which can add a sense of relief to the travel experience.

Johnny Jet Editorial

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Credit Cards To Make Sudden Trip Cancellations & Delays More Bearable
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