General

Travel Insurance Showdown: Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Citi Premier

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Updated: Nov 5, 2018: adds discussion of coverage for lost rewards points and details on partial vs. full coverage when only part of the trip is paid by your card.

A member of the MilesTalk Facebook group recently asked a question about which card they should use for an upcoming trip. Group moderator Jenny Reed gave an answer more detailed than anyone could have imagined (we love how she is so detail oriented!) and I decided it needed to be distilled into a chart for the blog, so here it is.

 Chase Sapphire PreferredCiti Premier
Trip Delay - what circumstances both clearly cover- inclement weather
- labor strikes
- hijacking and skyjacking
- inclement weather
- labor strikes
- hijacking and skyjacking
- Natural DisasterChase does not mention natural disasters at all. Most, but not all, natural disasters are covered under inclement weather by default... but it is possible that Chase might deny a natural disaster if they could claim it wasn't weather-related. Citi mentions natural disasters explicitly
- Equipment FailureChase mentions this as coveredn/a
- Delay or cancellation by the common carrier n/aCovered by Citi
- Traveler's passport, money, or other travel documents are lost or stolen n/aCovered by Citi
- Unable to board because of overbooking
--- EXCEPTION: if traveler accepts coupon, points, cash, or other offer as compensation for overbooking, then no delay reimbursement.
n/aCovered by Citi
- Coverage limit: Up to $500Up to $500
- When does it kick in?12 hours OR if overnight stay is required12 hours
What is specifically reimbursed during a covered Delay?
- Lodging / Ground Transportation Meals / Toiletries and other personal necessities YesYes
- MedicationsYesUnclear. They could reasonably be considered "personal necessities" and therefore are covered by default, though. Then again, they might not.
- Business NecessitiesNoWhile vague, this is listed.
Trip Cancellation - what circumstances both clearly cover- sickness or injury where is it not possible or not medically advisable to travel
- death of the traveler
- death of a family member
- Severe weather
- Terrorist actions/incidents/hijackings
- Call for jury duty or subpoena for the courts that cannot be postponed or waived
- Finding your home uninhabitable (unsafe/unfit to live in)
- sickness or injury where is it not possible or not medically advisable to travel
- death of the traveler
- death of a family member
- Severe weather
- Terrorist actions/incidents/hijackings
- Call for jury duty or subpoena for the courts that cannot be postponed or waived
- Finding your home uninhabitable (unsafe/unfit to live in)
- MilitaryChange in military ordersCalled into active service
- Family Illness (for family not on trip)Injury or illness of immediate family members Any family member (not traveling on the trip) has an illness or injury that requires the traveler's care (in person) (verified by physician's note) or is certified life-threatening
- QuarantineTraveler quarantined by a physician Quarantine is not mentioned at all; however, being advised not to travel by a doctor IS mentioned, and a quarantine is definitely a very strong order not to travel, so is probably covered by default.
- Natural disasterChase does not mention natural disaster at all. Chase's severe weather wording probably covers most natural disasters by default, though. Still, it is possible that Chase would not honor a natural disaster if they can deem it not weather.
Yes, natural disaster is specifically mentioned by Citi.
- Financial insolvency of the travel agency or travel provider you booked with. YesNot mentioned in documents (so, probably no).
- your home is burglarized
- medical advisory (from official health or gov orgs) regarding your destination
- traveler or traveler's family members become victims of assault within 10 days of trip departure date
- mandatory evacuation ordered by government or public safety agency at the destination
NoYes
Amount Covered in event of covered cancellationUp to $10,000, as long as any "common carrier" charges were put on the card.Up to $5,000 - but only up to a maximum of what you charged to your Citi card.
Covers lost Rewards points?YesNo

Conclusion:

Originally, Citi’s coverage looked better to me, until I unearthed the tidbits about coverage for rewards points and realized that only Chase will reimburse all expenses, not just what you paid on your Chase card.

Chase’s kick-in terms are a also bit easier/friendlier/kinder, because an overnight stay is listed as an alternative to a full 12 hours of delay.

In the end, they are different coverages and, of course, you can never predict exactly which coverage term or benefit you may need, so there is no “clear winner” and there really can’t be all things considered. But if you care about $10,000 in coverage (Chase) vs. $5,000 (Citi), if you care about rewards points that may be lost (sometimes, you can’t cancel and get your points back last minute!), and if you care about comprehensive coverage for all costs paid via any card (Chase) vs just what you charged to this card (Citi), then Chase is the clear winner for you.

If you have a higher-end version of either card, for example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Citi Prestige, terms are similar for comparison purposes, though benefits become a bit better – for example with trip delay insurance kicking in at 6 hours instead of 12.

If you need one of these credit cards for your own Trip Protection / Trip Delay coverage, current sign up bonuses and links to apply are on the Travel Rewards Credit Cards page.