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Trip delay reimbursement: Your ticket to a hotel room when your flight cancels

Advertiser disclosure: Cards and Points has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Cards and Points and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers. Compensation may affect how and where card products appear on the site. The site does not include all card companies or all available offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Terms apply to all credit card benefits.

No one wants to choose between shelling out hundreds of dollars in cash or spending the night on an airport floor when a flight is canceled overnight. But if you book your trip with a card that has a good trip delay reimbursement benefit, you never have to worry about this.

Trip delay reimbursement is a credit card benefit that can pay for your overnight accommodations, meals, and other necessary expenses when your flight is significantly delayed or canceled.

And trip delay reimbursement can cover you in cases where an airline refuses to pay, such as when a flight is delayed for weather.

Here’s what you need to know about trip delay reimbursement.

(Jump directly to cards offering good trip delay reimbursement benefits.)

What is trip delay reimbursement?

Trip delay reimbursement is meant to reimburse you for additional expenses you incur when your travel is delayed by factors outside of your control. If an airline delay causes you to stay in another city overnight, trip delay protection can pay for your hotel room, meals, toiletries, and other necessary expenses.

You must charge your airfare (or other common carrier fare) to your eligible card to be covered. Trip delay reimbursement won’t cover things like prepaid hotel bookings, cruise bookings, or tour bookings that you miss out on because of your travel delay.

How to get trip delay reimbursement coverage

If your card offers trip delay reimbursement coverage, you become eligible for the coverage when you charge your “common carrier” fare, such as airfare or train tickets, to your eligible credit card account.

American Express requires that you charge the full amount of your ticket to the card and that your trip be round-trip, starting and ending at a single city of departure. In addition, you can use points from your credit card account, plus vouchers, coupons and discounts from frequent flyer programs to pay for your ticket.

Most other coverages, including the trip delay reimbursement offered by Chase and U.S. Bank only require you to charge a portion of your ticket to your eligible card or use the rewards associated with your card account to pay for the ticket.

Understanding trip delay reimbursement coverage

Trip delay reimbursement policy terms differ by credit card. That means it’s important to understand the basics of your coverage when you are shopping for a credit card and before you book your trip. For full details, you should read your guide to benefits, but here are the essential terms to compare when shopping for trip delay protection.

When does trip delay reimbursement apply?

Trip delay reimbursement kicks in when your travel is delayed by a certain number of hours or when you must stay overnight. Here is when each issuer’s trip delay reimbursement policy applies:

  • American Express trip delay reimbursement may apply when you your trip is delayed for 6 hours or 12 hours, depending on the card. It also applies when you are delayed overnight. Trip delay reimbursement policies for each American Express card offering the benefits can be found here.
  • Capital One trip delay reimbursement kicks in when your trip is delayed for more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay.
  • Chase trip delay reimbursement applies when your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay.
  • U.S. Bank trip delay reimbursement applies when your trip is delayed for more than 6 hours or requires an overnight stay

Coverage limits

Trip delay reimbursement insurance comes with limits on coverage. No, you’re not be able to parlay your trip delay into a stay at the Fairmont and a dinner at a three Michelin star restaurant. But the coverage amounts should be sufficient to cover accommodation at a reasonable airport hotel, plus a few meals. Most policies have a $500 coverage limit.

Per-trip or per-ticket coverage limits

Sometimes coverage limits apply per ticket, meaning that each eligible person in your party can incur that amount of expenses. But sometimes coverage limits apply per trip, meaning that the total of everyone’s expenses is limited to that amount.

This may not make much difference if you are a solo traveler. But if you’re traveling with your family, those limits can become pretty meaningful quickly. If you are traveling with a family of four, having a per-ticket coverage limit means you can be reimbursed for expenses, up to $500 per person. This might be the difference between staying in the lowest-end airport hotel and a comfortable hotel or getting the kids their own room for the night.

Annual limits on coverage

Chase and U.S. Bank do not have an annual limit on coverage, but rather limit you to $500 per eligible ticket purchased with the card. This makes the trip delay protection offered by these issuers by far the best option for people who travel often.

Most American Express cards limit the number of claims you can make to 2 claims per eligible card, per 12 consecutive month period. If you travel frequently, be aware of this limitation if you’re planning on purchasing your ticket with your American Express card.

Who is covered?

When you book a trip with an eligible card with trip protection, you can be protected against expenses you incur if your flight is delayed or canceled, but what about those traveling with you?

In most cases, trip delay protection coverage extends to your family members, even if they are not traveling with you. And with American Express, non-family traveling companions traveling with you can get coverage for their expenses as well.

How to file a claim

Claims against trip delay reimbursement insurance will be handled by a benefit administrator. Details about how to contact the benefit administrator can be found in your card’s Guide to Benefits or by calling your credit card customer service. In most cases, you can initiate your claim online.

If you hold a Visa Infinite card with trip delay reimbursement coverage, you usually will file your claim online at https://www.eclaimsline.com/.

American Express cardholders can initiate a claim via phone by calling 1-844-933-0648.

During the claim process, you’ll be required to provide documentation of both the travel delay and the expenses you incurred. At a minimum, you should expect to provide:

  • A statement from your carrier that your trip was delayed
  • Your receipt for your travel purchase and a copy of your credit card account statement
  • Receipts for expenses you are claiming

The benefits administrator may ask you for additional documentation during the claims process.

In most case, you must submit your claim within 30 days of the covered trip delay.

Credit cards with great trip delay reimbursement protection

Here are the credit cards that offer the best trip delay reimbursement protection.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a host of usable rewards and best-in-class travel insurance benefits for its $95 annual fee.

The card gives you three points per dollar on grocery purchases, dining, and select streaming purchases, plus two points per dollar on all travel purchases. Points are awarded as Ultimate Rewards, a transferable points currency that can be redeemed for cash back, travel, or transferred to travel partners.

The Sapphire Preferred offers best-in-class travel insurance benefits like primary rental car insurance, baggage delay insurance, and trip delay reimbursement coverage, making it an excellent choice to use for booking travel.

Trip delay protection on the Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • When trip delay protection applies: 12 hour or overnight delay.
  • Coverage limit: $500 per ticket purchased. No annual limit.
  • Who is covered: You, your spouse or domestic partner, and your legally dependent children under age 26.
Get the card_name: Welcome bonus

card_name: bonus_miles_full

Our take on the welcome bonus: Chase occasionally offers larger welcome bonuses on the Chase Sapphire Preferred®, so it might be worth waiting for one of those to come around. You might be able to get an offer for 10,000 points more by applying in-branch.

The link above is our affiliate link. We always show you the best offer, and this is the best offer we know about on this card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Card highlights:
Annual fee: $95
Rewards: 5x travel through Chase; 3x dining; 3x streaming and online grocery; 1x all other purchases

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve® card art
Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card is Chase’s flagship travel card offering increased rewards, transferable points, airport lounge access, an annual travel credit and a robust suite of travel insurance protections. The card has an annual fee of $550.

The card earns increased points on a variety of travel and other categories of spending. When you book hotels and car rentals through Chase, you’ll earn 10 points per dollar using the Sapphire Reserve. Flights booked through Chase earn five points per dollar. You’ll also earn three points per dollar on restaurants and on all other travel after the first $300 (which is automatically reimbursed thanks to the card’s annual travel credit.) Finally, the card earns one point per dollar on all other purchases.

The Sapphire Reserve is loaded with additional benefits. First, you’ll get an annual travel credit toward the first $300 of travel expenses you charge to the card. The card includes airport lounge access to Chase’s network of lounges. You’ll also get Priority Pass lounge access, including access to restaurant locations. When traveling, you’ll get one of the most comprehensive suites of travel insurance protections available on a credit card, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, primary auto rental collision damage waiver insurance, lost luggage reimbursement, and trip delay reimbursement. Finally, holding the Sapphire Reserve card makes all of your Ultimate Rewards points even more valuable. You’ll be able to redeem them for 1.5 cents each toward travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards or transfer your points to airline and hotel partners.

Trip delay protection on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • When trip delay protection applies: 6 hour or overnight delay.
  • Coverage limit: $500 per ticket purchased. No annual limit.
  • Who is covered: You, your spouse or domestic partner, and your legally dependent children under age 26.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening — that’s $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Our take on the welcome bonus: Chase occasionally offers larger welcome bonuses on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, so it might be worth waiting for one of those to come around. You might be able to get an offer for 10,000 points more by applying in-branch.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

Chase Sapphire Reserve® card art

Card highlights:
Annual fee: $550
Rewards: 10x hotels and car rentals through Chase; 3x dining and other travel; 1x all other purchases
Perks: $300 annual travel credit, Priority Pass + Chase lounge access, Redeem points at 1.5c/point for travel.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card card art
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers access to airport lounges at an affordable price. And with its $395 annual fee, it is one of the most affordable cards offering lounge access.

The card’s rewards structure is simple. It offers two points per dollar on all spending, plus bonuses for booking travel through Capital One Travel. Cardmembers get 10x miles on hotels and car rentals and 5x miles on flights when you book through Capital One Travel. On each cardmember anniversary you’ll also get 10,000 bonus miles.

For the frequent traveler, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers a $300 annual travel credit, good toward bookings with Capital One Travel, plus essential travel protections like trip delay reimbursement, primary auto rental collision damage waiver insurance, and lost luggage reimbursement.

Trip delay protection on the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • When trip delay protection applies: 6 hour or overnight delay.
  • Coverage limit: $500 per ticket purchased. No annual limit.
  • Who is covered: You, your spouse or domestic partner, and your dependent children under age 22.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Our take on the welcome bonus: While this bonus isn’t as good as the card’s launch bonus of 100,000 points, Capital One hasn’t historically offered limited-time increased bonuses on this card. You can get $750 of statement credits toward your travel purchases from this bonus, so you’re coming out well ahead of the first year annual fee, even before considering the card’s other benefits.

The link above is a referral link from a reader. One of our readers may earn points if you apply and are approved to the link above. We always show you the best offer, even if it means we make less money.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card card art

Card highlights:
Annual fee
: $395
Rewards: 10x miles on hotels and rental cards booked through Capital One Travel; 5x on flights booked through Capital One Travel; 2x on all other purchases.
Perks: $300 Capital One Travel annual credit; 10,000 anniversary point bonus; airport lounge access.

Other cards that offer trip delay reimbursement protection

American Express Cards

Many premium American Express cards offer trip delay reimbursement protection. While coverage often kicks in after a six hour delay, Amex limits you to two claims per card, per 12 month period. Additionally, coverage is limited per covered trip. If you’re traveling with a family or friends, you’re going to get one $500 reimbursement for all of your hotel rooms. Here are the Amex cards that offer trip delay protection.

  • Centurion® Card from American Express
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
  • The American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express for Goldman Sachs
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express for Morgan Stanley
  • American Express® Gold Card
  • American Express® Green Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Credit Card
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
  • Business Centurion® Card from American Express
  • Business Platinum Card®
  • American Express® Business Gold Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve for Business Credit Card
  • Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card

Frequently asked questions

Can I book a ticket for someone else and have them covered by trip delay reimbursement?

In most cases, tickets you book a for a spouse or dependent child will be covered by trip delay reimbursement. Some Amex cards also provide coverage for non-family traveling companions traveling with you.

Do I have to book a ticket with my eligible credit card to get coverage?

Yes. Trip delay reimbursement insurance applies only when you book your ticket with your eligible credit card and, in many cases, the points you have accumulated with that card.

Advertiser disclosure: Cards and Points has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Cards and Points and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers. Compensation may affect how and where card products appear on the site. The site does not include all card companies or all available offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Terms apply to all credit card benefits.