The Chase Sapphire Reserve card will cover a hotel room, meals and other expenses during a flight delay — here’s how to take advantage

Flight delays can be brutal; the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card may be able to help.

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Flight delays can be brutal; the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card may be able to help.
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Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

  • Flight delay insurance is one of the often-forgotten benefits of the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve.
  • If you book a flight, train, ferry, bus, or other common carrier using the card, and you’re delayed either overnight, or for more than six hours during the day, you’ll be covered for up to $500 in expenses for each covered person.
  • The Sapphire Reserve has a $450 annual fee – if you want similar benefits at a lower price point, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with a $95 annual fee also offers trip delay insurance. However, it only kicks in after a 12-hour or overnight delay.
  • This is an especially useful credit card benefit to keep in mind around the holidays, when busy airports and bad weather can increase the likelihood of delays.
  • Read more personal finance coverage.

Flight delays and cancellations are a major inconvenience at best. A lot of the time, they can be downright expensive.

If your morning flight gets delayed for long enough, you might find yourself spending a lot on airport food, Wi-Fi, books or magazines, a taxi into town (if you know it’s going to be a long delay), or more while you wait. If you end up stranded overnight, it can be even worse.

If the delay is caused by something outside of the airline’s control, like bad weather, airport or air traffic control problems, IT issues, or certain labor actions, among other things, then it isn’t responsible for your expenses and doesn’t have to provide you with a hotel, food, or anything else.

Fortunately, if you paid for your tickets with a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you’re in luck: The card offers trip delay insurance for delays of six hours or longer, or overnight.

Keep in mind that we’re focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It’s important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back.

How trip delay insurance works

Any trip is covered, as long as you paid for it with the Sapphire Reserve card, and it’s on a common carrier, or public form of transportation like a commercial flight, train, bus, cruise ship, or ferry.

The Sapphire Reserve offers up to $500 reimbursement for each covered person (including the cardholder’s spouse and dependent children) on the trip. Just about any “reasonable” expense is covered, including a hotel room, meals, toiletries, a change of clothes, and other expenses. Make sure to save all itemized receipts, and to ask the travel provider for proof of the delay.

How to file a claim

The easiest way to initiate a claim is to call the number on the back of your card (1-800-436-7970). From there, the agent will transfer you to a benefits representative who can walk you through the steps. Claim processing time can vary, but claims are generally processed within six to eight weeks.

The Sapphire Reserve’s coverage becomes active at a six-hour delay, but will reimburse you for any costs before you hit the six-hour mark (make sure to save your receipts!).

You’ll get similar protections with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but that coverage kicks in later: You’ll only be covered if you’re delayed for 12 hours or longer, or overnight.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred.