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
- 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
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.
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?