Does Chase have the “best” flight insurance? (It’s free…)

I wrote yesterday about AirCare, a new travel insurance product from Berkshire Hathaway. As an ordinary traveler (I don’t travel for work, I’ve often got two kids in tow on my trips, and I’m not jetting off to Paris or Rio on a whim), both the premise and the promise of the plan have huge appeal to me. I like it. A lot.

However…it has been suggested in some quarters that this is not enough! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist a Clash reference here.) Seriously, a commenter on my last post emphatically stated that AirCare was a “horrible investment” because “similar coverage” was available for free from certain credit cards.

So I decided to compare. I’m starting with Chase. Here’s what I learned:

Eligibility and cost: Chase

To be eligible for reimbursement from Chase, you need to purchase your flight using a Chase card that comes with the insurance. To my knowledge, these cards include:

  • Sapphire Preferred
  • Sapphire
  • Ink Bold
  • Ink Plus
  • Ink Cash
  • Hyatt Visa
  • Marriott Rewards
  • Ritz Carlton Rewards
  • United MileagePlus

There is no cost for the Chase insurance – it is a benefit that comes with your card membership.

Both award and revenue tickets are eligible. You just need to use your eligible credit card to pay any fees associated with award tickets in order for them to be covered under the policy.

 

Eligibility and cost: AirCare

To be eligible for reimbursement from AirCare, you don’t need to use a specific credit card.

You can buy an AirCare policy up to one hour prior to departure, as long as the flight is not already cancelled or delayed because of weather.

Cost is $25 per trip. A trip is defined as round-trip, and each segment can be on a different carrier, as long as it is clearly part of the same itinerary.

Both award and revenue tickets are eligible.

 

Delays, reimbursement, and documentation: Chase

If your flight is delayed for more than 12 hours, the Chase Trip Delay policy will cover up to a maximum of $500 per purchased ticket for “reasonable expenses” such as lodging and meals. You can read this Flyertalk thread for examples of reimbursements that people have received from Chase.

Chase asks for a lot of documentation. You need to submit the following with your claim:

  • An eligible card receipt demonstrating the full travel fare charged to your eligible card.
  • A copy of your ticket.
  • A written statement from the airline indicating the reasons that the Covered Trip was delayed.
  • Copies of receipts for the claimed expenses.

 

Delays, reimbursement, and documentation: AirCare

If your flight delayed by 2 hours or more, AirCare will transfer $50 to your bank account automatically. You don’t have to provide any receipts or documentation.

.

Missed connections: Chase

You’re out of luck.

.

Missed connections: AirCare

If you miss a connection due to a flight delay, AirCare will instantly transfer $500 into your bank account.

They can also arrange same-day travel on any airline. In fact, once it appears that you’re going to miss your connection, you’ll probably get a notification from AirCare so that you can proactively use their assistance to find another flight…if you want to.

 

Baggage Delays: Chase

If your bags are delayed for more than six hours, Chase will reimburse you $100 a day for up to 5 days, for a total of up to $500. Covered items include clothing, toiletries, and up to one cell phone charger.

You need to provide receipts of your purchases in order for them to be covered. (Tip: a common misconception is that you have to use the same credit card that you used for the flight to make these purchases. This is a myth. Use whatever card you want.)

You need to submit written confirmation (from the airline) of the delay along with your claim.

 

Baggage Delays: AirCare

AirCare will transfer $500 into your bank account if the airline takes more than 12 hours to deliver your bags.

You do not need to provide receipts for purchases – you just get $500 to spend as you choose.

To start the process, you send them a picture of your airline-issued baggage claim form through the mobile app (or online), as well as written proof from the airline documenting the delay. AirCare will handle things from there.

 

Lost luggage: Chase

If the airline loses your luggage, you are eligible for up to $3,000 from Chase.

You need to provide written proof from the airline that your bag was lost, as well as an itemized list of the contents of your bag, and their individual value.

 

Lost luggage: AirCare

If your luggage is lost or stolen, you can send AirCare a picture of your airline-issued baggage claim form, plus a “declaration of loss” form from the airline.

No need for an itemized list.

They will start the claims process and transfer $1,000 into your account as soon as they verify that the information you sent was accurate.

 

Tarmac bonus: Chase

What?

 

Tarmac bonus: AirCare

If your plane sits on the tarmac—with you in it — for more than two hours, AirCare will automatically transfer $1,000 into your account. They track your trip in real time, so you don’t have to submit a claim to receive a payment.

 

Thoughts?

Personally, I am very attracted to the ease and convenience of AirCare, and plan on using it in the future on trips with tight connections. If I did need to file a claim, not having to create an itemized list or save receipts would make me very happy. Worth $25 for sure.  At this point, I’ve also spoken to numerous representatives from the company (in researching this post), and I can tell you that they have all been very friendly and knowledgeable. That’s worth something to me as well.

But as always, I’m curious to know how you think these two policies compare? Which would you choose for your next trip?  

 

Comments

  1. I’ll have to do some more research on Aircare, but that certainly seems worth my $25. Chase generally wants you to jump through a lot of hoops.

  2. Enjoy Fine Food says:

    I saw your original post and thought: Wow, Pixie! You’ve found another great resource. I also saw early responses to the post. I suggest: don’t get bogged down in the “my credit card can beat your credit card (or $25 service)” debate. It’s usually followed by “I get paid if you click my link.”

    I think you’ve found a winner, even if it is legalized gambling, for people flying thru SFO. Maybe a sure thing this summer??

    I’d love to cheer up a depressing missed connection or tarmac hold by watching $500 or $1000 cash being transferred into my bank account — in (almost) realtime. With (free!?!) credit card insurance, all I have to look forward to is a prolonged battle to collect when my luggage vanishes in EWR.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Enjoy Fine Food – Thank you! I agree that it would be a shame if this turned into a link-fest. I do think it’s interesting to compare the different insurance products, however, so I might look into a couple more.

      I love your description about cheering up a depressing missed connection. Totally agree. With this service, a missed connection could potentially equal a shopping spree at my destination. 😉

      • Enjoy Fine Food says:

        Shopping spree? Hmmmm. I’m certain my wife would trade a silly 2 hr tarmac hold for a $1000 shopping spree. If there was alcohol, I’d be fine,too. $500 for a missed connection? Oh, yeah. Shopping centers stay open late. $3000 for lost luggage? Sounds like the annual closet clean out. Sorry, charity. No donation this year.

  3. I find Aircare also very interesting. Will Aircare cover award travel?

  4. Argh, I’m an idiot. Just reread your article and answered my own question. Sorry.

    I think I will be tempted to buy Aircare for upcoming Star Alliance travel booked with U.S. Airways previously. Don’t want the hassles of missed connections and such.

  5. Levy Flight says:

    Is that $25 per person or per booking) which might have a family in one PNR? On Chase, I dom’t think covers award flights. I may misremember which card, but think Sapphire, and had a flight cancel. I could not recover the hotel costs at other end for missed night because the ticket was an award not a revenue ticket.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Levy Flight – AirCare is per person. Chase does (or they should!) cover award flights as long as you pay the fee portion with the eligible card.

  6. I wouldn’t get AirCare until the day before departure, and then only if there is 1) bad weather at my origin and 2) I have a tight connection.

    My question is how delayed does the flight have to be to count as a missed connection? By that, I mean if I have a 45 minute connection and my first flight arrives at the gate 44 minutes late with the connecting flight departing ontime, will they count that? How about if it’s a multi-terminal connection and DL requires me to be at the gate 15 minutes before departure? A 20 minute delay and a seat towards the rear of the plane could make that a missed connection.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Ben – Hmmm, I don’t know the exact timing allowance. I agree that it would make a difference. I’ll reach out to them to see what they say.

    • Hi Ben, very good questions! AirCare is very simple and we’ve purposely not added a lot of red tape to make sure things are easy for travelers – the last thing we want is for you to worry about what the rules are when you’re already having a bad day.

      To your question about how delayed does your flight have to be in order to qualify for the missed connection benefit. The answer is…..if you have less than 30 minutes to make your connecting flight, you’d qualify for the missed connection benefit. The best part is that you can call, tweet, text or email us and we can help get you going again.

      Your bring up a good point about DL requiring you to be at the gate 15 minutes prior to departure – I’ll be sure to share that with our product development team.

      Thanks for your interest in #AirCare and we hope you’ll give us a try soon!

    • Looking at the T&Cs, there is no reimbursement if it is weather related.

      • Actually, we cover you for missed connections, general delays and tarmac delays caused by weather…no problem.

        • Giddy for Points says:

          Oh wow…ok thats good to know. That would have become real handy this past weekend!

          • With the weather out east the last couple days we paid several claims for folks inconvenienced by delays and missed connections. You can count on us to be open and transparent regarding our policies. Thanks for your interest and hope to have you as a customer soon!

  7. PainCorp says:

    According to Chase CSRs, to take advantage of trip interruption your airfare needs to be booked with the cards, but for trip cancellation, all they need is the hotel on the card. I’m still going back and forth with the insurance company (as is the norm), so we’ll see if I get my money back.

  8. Michael says:

    Chase has trip interruption insurance though, which I interpret as they will pay for rebooking fees or new tickets on missed connections. Am I wrong?

    And the 12 hour delay is completely ridiculous. No flight is ever delayed for TWELVE hours. Most people just need a hotel for the morning flight. All the US credit cards do 12 hours, all the Canadian ones do 4!

  9. Do they have any conditions that missed flights should have a MCT of say 60 minutes for example.

  10. AirCare sounds great to me! The ease of it is well worth the $25.

  11. Just had to cancel a trip this week due to medical, and I think I have the one Chase card that doesn’t have this coverage (older MileagePlus select Visa). I have a Dr’s note any everything but what a PIA to take it up with United (and they want a $50 “processing” fee.)

    • Points Pixie says:

      Michelle – Hope you are okay! Frustrating to discover that you have the one card that doesn’t have coverage. And what’s up with those fees? That’s lame.

  12. Both these things are not exclusive. Pay all trip charges with the chase card and purchase aircare – then hope for a payday from both.

  13. What will be interesting is buying the insurance and then if a claim does arise, being able to double dip on both the chase claim and the aircare claim

  14. Good information.

    I booked an award ticket with a united mileage plus credit card, which was cancelled later on, to pay the fees and taxes. I have other chase credit cards such as Sapphire Preferred, Ink, Hyatt Visa. Will chase declines if I buy the AirCare policy?

    • Points Pixie says:

      JZ – Hmmm. If you canceled the card that you used to pay the fees, I am not sure that Chase would cover you. Worth a call to find out.

  15. Just thinking of the many times this would have been a lifesaver…can’t wait til they offer it for international flights!

    • Thanks for your interest in #AirCare from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. We’ll be adding international for trips originating in the United States very soon! Keep an eye on our website or follow us on Twitter @bhtp. Thanks again!

      • Thanks for stopping by to answer some of the questions posted here. I look forward to using your services!

  16. So one-way ticket is not eligible for aircare?

  17. kendall says:

    The trip insurance companies want you to forget there are laws in place that the airline must reimburse you for lost/stolen baggage:

    http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/flyrights.htm

    AND your credit cards cover trip insurance:

    http://thepointsguy.com/2013/07/does-your-credit-card-give-you-adequate-travel-insurance-coverage/

  18. Kendra, was it your blog that said this isn’t available in CA yet? A friend recently told me she has annual travel insurance through AAA. I’ve never heard of that before. Any insight??

    • Points Pixie says:

      Kathy – Correct, this is not yet available in California 🙁

      I haven’t heard of the AAA insurance. Sounds interesting.

  19. Do you know if Amex Platinum credit card travel insurance covers me if I book an awards ticket and pay the fee with them? Thanks

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