Do You Know All the Hidden Benefits Your Credit Card Gives You?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Premium credit cards offer a dizzying array of benefits you probably didn’t even realize you had — or if you knew at one point, you probably forget when there’s an opportunity to use them.

Break a new electronic device, smash your rental car, run into a merchant who won’t take a return… or the price of something you recently bought drops after you already bought and started using it… there’s something that your credit card company can often do and you get started with a simple phone call.

Was your flight delayed by weather, you didn’t make your connection, and you were stuck paying for a hotel and meals out? Let your credit card company pay you back!

The funny thing is that’s precisely what makes these rich benefits possible — breakage. Since so few people use them, they aren’t that costly to offer, even though for the people who benefit there’s substantial extra real cash in their pockets.

The card whose benefits I’m most familiar with — and that’s paid off for me in the past with real cash — is Chase Sapphire Preferred.

You know it as the first premium points card you should sign up for because of:

  • Signup bonus: 50,000 bonus points after $4000 in spending within 3 months

  • Fast earning: double points on all travel and dining: not just air and not just hotels, but both and cars and taxis and tolls, plus meals on the road.

  • Valuable points: that transfer to your choice of airline (United, Korean, British Airways, Singapore, Air France KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Southwest) covering all the major alliances and more plus several hotel programs (Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, IHG Rewards Club).

    chase sapphire preferred benefits
    Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class

But it’s also a great card that covers your purchases and your travels when things go wrong.

Here are the key benefits to know:

Trip Delay and Baggage Delay Coverage

Whenever travel throws you a curve ball, it may cost you time but may not cost you money.

Charge your tickets to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and then if your travel airline travel is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay (get in late, depart early morning) they’ll cover unreimbursed expenses like hotel and meals up to $500 per ticket.

If your checked bags are delayed more than 6 hours they’ll reimburse you for things like toileteries and clothing you need to buy, up to $100 a day for 5 days (or until your bags are delivered, if less).

And if your checked or carry-on bags are damaged or lost permanently, they extend coverage up to $3,000 per passenger.

Trip Cancellation Coverage

They’ll reimburse you up to $10,000 if your travels are cut short or cancelled due to illness, severe weather or similar covered situations. That way prepaid non-refundable expenses like airline tickets, hotels, and tours can be paid back to you even if you didn’t buy separate travel insurance.

Primary Car Rental Collision

Most premium credit cards offer ‘secondary’ coverage when you rent a car. That means they’ll cover expenses your own insurance doesn’t, which is usually your insurance deductible (perhaps $500).

Chase Sapphire Preferred – like United Explorer and Diners Club – offers primary coverage. In many cases if you ding a rental car, your own insurance won’t even have to know. That means if there’s $10,000 in damage, it’s Sapphire Preferred’s coverage which is handling that — not yours.

To be covered automatically you just charge the full rental to your Sapphire Preferred Card (you can’t split the bill on another card, for instance) and don’t take the rental company’s collision coverage.

Another thing great about this benefit is that while many cards exclude coverage in several countries, Sapphire Preferred’s coverage is broad (but if you plan to rent anything that may be exotic or antique car or a large van or bigger you’re going to want to confirm coverage in advance).

Seriously, You Aren’t Going to Need This One…

You used to see boxes at the airport selling life insurance policies. Lloyds of London wrote the first policy in 1911 but quickly ran into heavy losses and got out of the business the next year. Aviation insurance came back in the late 20s and became generally available in the 40s.

The card actually offers coverage in the case of accidental death or dismemberment in conjunction with airline, bus, train and cruise travel up to $500,000.

Protecting the Stuff You Buy

If you buy something and the merchant won’t take it back and it’s within 90 days of your purchase, they can pay you back instead up to $500 (maximum $1000 per year).

If your item is damaged (or stolen) within 120 days of purchase, they’ll cover it up to $500 ($50,000 cumulative for the account).

When I dropped my Android phone on the sidewalk two months after I bought it, I smashed the glass screen — and I wound up with a check for $314.99.

chase sapphire preferred benefits

If a manufacturer’s warranty lasts a year, they’ll cover a second year. If it lasts two years, they’ll cover a third year. So if your stuff breaks don’t just throw it away, call Chase and get the ball rolling on their provider sending you a check.

If you buy something in the US and you find a lower published price within 90 days you can get back the difference up to $500 (maximum of $2500 per year, not bad for a $95 annual fee card that’s $0 the first year).


I buy AAA membership — mostly just for the hotel discount code, even though they send out membership cards that haven’t been paid for. But here’s the details on their roadside dispatch which can help with towing, changing a tire, jump starts, out of gas, and when you’ve locked yourself out of your car.

They’ll also provide you with legal and medical referrals when you’re traveling.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. When should I use Sapphire preferred on non bonused spend because of the benefits of that card that Freedom or Freedom unlimited do not have?

  2. You wrote

    “To be covered automatically you just charge the full rental to your Sapphire Preferred Card (you can’t split the bill on another card, for instance) and don’t take the rental company’s collision coverage.”

    Does the same coverage apply if you pay for your rental using Chase Ultimate Rewards points?

  3. “more than 12 hours OR requires an overnight stay” THIS IS NOT TRUE, just got off the phone with them and THEY DO NOT COVER OVERNIGHT STAY UNLESS it is due to a delay! The way you wrote this it sounded like you meant it would cover a forced overnight! Not sure that is what you really meant. However, another good point is that the coverage would apply (for delay of I believe over 6 hours) even with separate tickets;)
    Also – benefits DO NOT APPLY to award tickets where you only pay the taxes – there is language that indicates you have to pay the “fare” and they do not consider taxes as part of the fare.
    I have the reserve card and this is what I was told by them, but I can’t believe the lower level card has better benefits than the more expensive one (you were writing about the preferred card)

  4. Forgot to check box to get f/u comments and it won’t let me add without a new comment

  5. Estelle Gregory of course a delay is required before your trip delay coverage will kick in. Gary never said that if you want to book a one night stay as part of your trip Chase’s insurance will pay for it just cuz.

    I have had Chase and Citibank pay out on trip delay claims on award tickets (split tender payments, ticket purchased with miles and taxes charged to card).

  6. We bought a new electric dryer when we moved to Washington state. The dryer broke a month after the 1 year warranty ended (thanks Samsung, not!). I used the Chase Freedom, and the additional 1 year warranty is a benefit thanks to Freedom being part of Visa Signature line. The dryer ended up with a brand new motor, easily a $300+ bill, at no cost to us.

    Gary, does the luggage delay coverage cover trip that are bought with miles, if the taxes and fees were paid with the card?

  7. Do the trip benefits only apply to round trip tickets, or do one way tickets also have the benefits. Also, my previous understanding is that award tickets where you pay taxes etc with the card that you do have the benefits- so is that incorrect?

  8. Hey Gary, great post! I’m not sure if this is something you would want to do, but if you felt enough people would benefit, It would be great to have a cheat-sheet of all the most popular cards with these benefits. Even if it’s in a box with a checkmark next to it. That would be so valuable.


  9. Nice summary.

    Sapphire Preferred & Reserve benefits are so good, I almost wonder how Chase makes money issuing these cards. Following major snowstorms (like the one that hit the Northeast earlier this week), I’m sure there are spikes in trip delay coverage claims. I wonder if Chase self-insures for these risks (benefits to cardholders) or mitigates them via insurance companies.

  10. Joel – the way it was worded – delay OR overnight it could be interpreted as I did (which of course seemed too good to be true.)
    As for all the other benefits – as I wrote if you only pay taxes on award tickets NONE of the benefits apply according to the rep I spoke to. The wording she read she said clearly taxes are not considered part of the “base fare” or something like that – I did ask more than one and she was very clear. Again if this is not correct I’d certainly like to know (assuming rules are the same for reserve as they are for preferred since my card is reserve)

  11. “To be covered automatically you just charge the full rental to your Sapphire Preferred Card … and don’t take the rental company’s collision coverage.”

    But it seems on my rentals that they only put a Hold on the card until I return the car – then they charge the card. Does this mean you can use any card you want, unless you have an accident…then you would pay with your Chase and use the benefit?

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