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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

  • $300 travel credit; gas station and grocery store purchases also count towards the annual $300 credit, through Dec. 31, 2021
  • Annual fee: $550 (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.

Plus, earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

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.

New Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardmembers can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $900 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. 

2. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

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

  • Annual fee: $95

Also, enjoy new Chase Sapphire benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x points on dining, and 2x points on all other travel purchases, plus more.

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 much 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.

New Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, worth $1250 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This is the highest bonus offer ever for the Chase Sapphire Preferred!

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

  • 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. Just like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, it gives cardholders a credit of up to $100 for TSA Precheck or Global Entry.

The United Explorer Card has a sign-up offer of up to 70,000 bonus miles. New cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, earn an additional 10,000 bonus miles after spending $6,000 in the first 6 months.

Learn more: Airline Credit Cards

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: up to 2x (1x when you buy, the other 1x when you pay)
  • Annual fee: None
  • Additional benefit other cards don’t offer: Credit card late fee pass that waives your first late fee

Citi® Double Cash Card 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.

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.

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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.

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