We spend a lot of time thinking about maximizing rewards points. I do this too and its definitely an important consideration when determining what card to get and/or what card to use for a particular purchase. However, I would like to posit that there are many times when the attempt to maximize rewards on a purchase can end up putting you in a worse position.
Unless people think we should have a thread dedicated to this benefit for each particular card, I think a single thread for this benefit is fine so I’d like to turn this thread into a master thread for these benefits.
I always purchase my airline tickets, at least in part, with the Citi Prestige card. In my experience, they have the best claims process for these claims, and the most beneficial window - they reimburse for trip delays or baggage delays of 3 hours. The reimbursement amount is $500 per eligible traveler for reasonable expenses, which matches the CSR/CSP.
For the Prestige, eligible travelers include traveling companions and/or certain relatives even if the cardholder is not traveling. Only a portion of the ticket must be paid for with the Citi card. Meaning - a mileage ticket where you spend only $5.60 on the card (where the rewards points would be valued at less than $1) gives you access to significant benefits should a delay occur. Despite Trump’s success in keeping plane fatalities to 0, he hasn’t been able keep delays down - 2017 will have the most domestic delays of at least 3 hours since 2008. With more and more unusual weather and the increase in usage of smaller planes, my guess is that this will continue to go up.
I’ve used this benefit sparingly in the past, but over the past 3 months I’ve had the (un?)fortunate experience of having items stolen from checked luggage, checked luggage delayed twice, and three trip delays of greater than 3 hours. Of the ~$500 I’ve spent on all flights in the past 3 months (lots of mileage tickets toward the end of the year) Citi has reimbursed me over $1,500.
It’s possible your terms differ from these, make sure you login to your account to confirm and check any other exclusions. This is just a summary of the benefits, for more detail, you should review the terms associated with your particular card.
Trip Delay Protection
Citi Prestige Card
Delay time: 3 hours or greater
Coverage Amount: $500 per “Covered Traveler” per "Trip"
Covered Expenses: “Reasonable and necessary” expenses: Lodging, Ground Transportation, Meals, Personal or business accessories such as toiletries or items the Covered Traveler(s) need when delayed.
Covered Travelers: Cardholder, Family Members, and Traveling Companions traveling on the Trip
Eligibility threshold: All or a portion of the trip must be paid using the Prestige card and/or Thank You points for all Covered Travelers
Other: If your Family Member is traveling on the trip with Traveling Companions, you still receive the benefit as long as other requirements are met. If a Family Member of the Cardholder is not on the Trip, you are not eligible.
I’ve used all of the categories for trip delays (not all on one trip) - lodging (a sleeping room in the airport), meals, uber into the city, toiletries (toothbrush, shaver), clothes when the airline forced me to gate check and I needed to shower.
Since you bolded “reasonable expenses” I’ve never had pushback related to this, but then again I don’t go overboard. I went to Hudson to buy a shirt - not Brooks Brothers. I took UberX to get into the city to have a meal - not Uber Lux (or whatever it’s called). Meals were generally more expensive than what some might consider “reasonable” but most of the meals I eat out apart from this are more expensive so I think it’s fair. There’s no requirement that you have to go to McDonalds if you usually eat at Nobu (not that I usually eat at Nobu - just an example).
You either travel a lot more than I do, or you have terrible luck.
I fly over 100,000 miles a year, and in the past two years I’ve only had one trip delay over three hours (I got stuck in Chicago overnight due to weather).
I booked a room at a nearby Courtyard with points and continued my journey the next day. I had toiletries in my carry-on bag and I would have had to eat no matter where I was, so I wouldn’t count food as a “delay expense.”
I almost never check a bag, which is probably why I haven’t had a baggage delay for as long as I can remember. In over 1,000,000 miles of flying I have literally never had anything stolen from a checked bag, and I’ve never had a bag get lost forever.
I wouldn’t divert tens of thousands of dollars a year in travel spending to a Citi Prestige (or any other card specifically for the trip delay protection) because of what it would cost me in other rewards – like 5X MRs on airfare on my Amex Platinum. I value MRs a lot higher than TY points.
Yeah, I’ve had pretty bad luck over the past several months, but even before that delays > 3 hours weren’t extremely uncommon. I also fly through and into/out of airports with some of the worst on-time percentages. That combined with very tight connections thanks to my company’s travel policy (which also means often being forced to gate check bags even as an AA EXP). I’m about the same as you - I usually fly 100k paid and ~15k award.
No one’s ever had anything stolen until the first time but point is well taken and this is probably the most unlikely use of this class of benefits. I don’t have an accurate count of lifetime BIS miles, but I’d guess I’m at about 600k before it happened to me.
This is significantly poorer terms for rewards travel than through Chase (reserve). Chase does NOT require you to have booked fully with Chase UR points or cash. You can also book with transfer partners’ points, if you have transferred Chase points to a partner or earned the partner points through Chase. For example, I can transfer points to Southwest ( or use points from Southwest credit card, etc), book with Southwest points and pay the $5.50 groping fee, and it qualifies. I don’t even need to earn the points myself or pay with my own Southwest account. The points just needed to be earned by someone through Chase. A family member can use their Southwest account to pay, along with $5.50 from my credit card and it’s still covered.
That said, how does Citi prestige define family member? Chase is very broad(aunts uncles cousins nieces siblings in law, etc), but I think the delay insurance is the only one that’s restrictive and is only spouse and children. Chase also requires 6hrs vs 3
It’s great in theory, but a fairly rare event in practice. Also, if you’re doing miles/points in size, it’s unlikely you’ll be traveling on a revenue ticket that often, and the coverage for awards is spotty. Having said that, I do try to use the right card for the right ticket. Never had a claim.
One thing I’d like to see is a comprehensive primer on what cards cover award tickets and to what extent. They’re constantly changing the rules and it’s different for each issuer/card. For instance, some cover awards (Chase) but only if their points currency is transferable to the airline. Others (Amex) only offer baggage insurance and not on awards at all. Frequent Miler took a stab at it,
You don’t have to use the Citi card or TY points for the whole trip. Only a portion. The rules on this are the same between Chase and Citi.
For both Citi and Chase only a portion needs to be paid with the card. It doesn’t matter how the rest of the fare is paid (travel voucher, gift card, airline miles, third party miles, etc.) But your point about using an affiliated airline brings up a good point and something that stands out for Chase.
I, too, fly over 100K a year and have had my share of delays. I do check a bag as, unfortunately, the equipment I travel with wouldn’t fit in the overhead.
Just within the last 2 weeks. I had to use Citi’s benefit for the first time. I went to London, my bag went to Indianapolis. It took over a day to get the bag back to me, but I needed some toiletries, etc., and Citi handled it well. Did everything through email and they only asked me to email them the receipts (which I had done in the first email) - but once I did that, it was done. Didn’t get my check yet but it was just approved today, so I expect it within a few days.
The reason that I used the Citi card was that it had a 3 hr deadline as opposed to the other cards that I have which kick in at 12 hours.
I wish I didn’t have to check a bag, but I do… most delays for me are frequent, too, being on the East Coast with some very tight connections.
I use the 4th night free benefit a lot with the Prestige card, so I won’t get rid of it, just for that. The 3 hour window for the delayed baggage is a nice perk for me, even if I don’t use it often, as when I’ve been delayed, it has been under 12 hours but longer than 3.
I’ve had great luck using Chase Sapphire Reserve’s benefits. Flight was a one way award ticket for wife and I from Boston to Montreal, booked under 2 separate PNRs - 1 was an award ticket with Air Canada and the $5.60 and taxes were paid with the CSR, the other was booked with Chase UR points as a cash fare. Return fare was booked under a different reservation.
We got stranded in Boston on our outbound flight due to an airline cancellation and bumped to an evening flight, then the evening flight was cancelled due to weather. Ended up traveling 22 hours after our original flight. We live ~1.5 hours away from BOS and were staying with my brother the morning before, but I think since it was that far, they didn’t count it as our “home” airport.
Reimbursement was $200 for a hotel in the city, $60 for ubers around town for the day, and $340 for food for the 2 of us (we went to some fancy lunch/dinners… thanks Chase!). It was nice ordering the “market price” sushi and not caring what the market was.
I travel pretty much exclusively on points/miles, and always pay the TSA fee with a CSR because of this benefit.