Credit Card Trip Delay Fails to Pay Out – Reader Story to Learn From

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Reader Gordon S. shared his experience using trip delay coverage from his Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. It didn’t work out the way he expected, and it seems walking through the reason why so that you can set your expectations correctly and know how to succeed with your own claims.

  • He and his wife were flying American Airlines from Barcelona to New York JFK. They diverted to London Heathrow when all of the toilets stopped working. They “sat on the runway for two hours while they tried to fix the issue.” When that didn’t work, everyone was offloaded and re-booked. They spent the night in a hotel at London Heathrow.

  • They submitted a trip delay claim. American covered the hotel and provided EU 261 compensation of 600 euros each, but they had “food, taxi, and toiletry expenses.”

  • The claim was denied by the third party administrator of the benefit after “two months of emails, calls, radio silence, and then follow-up emails and calls” because they had already been compensated. They included in their claim that they had received 600 euros each already from American.

  • No one from the third party provider nor Chase could explain to them why the 600 euros, which wasn’t an expense reimbursement, was being counted here — nor why it took two months of paperwork to get the denial when they were up front about what they had received from the start.

I’ve had several successful credit card trip delay benefit claims. I’ve also experienced frustration getting to point where they’re successful. I once received a payout from a Citi-related claim after the claim was denied — they never told me the check was coming, or that they finally agreed with me, the money just arrived after I pushed back on their rejection.

I’ve also found trip insurance purchased separately to be equally frustrating. They don’t make money paying out claims, so it’s important to follow the rules by the letter to get paid and to follow up, whether you’re buying coverage or receiving it from a credit card.

For instance here’s the benefit guide for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the relevant line from that benefit guide: “Trip Delay Reimbursement is supplemental to, and excess of any valid and collectible avenue or recovery which is available to you, the eligible Cardholder.”

This is very broad — any money resulting from the delay applies to your expenses first before their coverage kicks in, and I don’t think distinctions about whether EU261 coverage is meant to reimburse specific expenses is going to be relevant to this. (Here’s how to claim EU261 delay compensation.)

Chase and their third party claims administrator ought to be able to point to their terms when denying a claim, and explain how they came to their position (as well as what a customer should do if they disagree).

By the way here’s a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card trip delay reimbursement success story

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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 »

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Comments

  1. What if the airline hasn’t paid?

    I was on a LH flight FRA≥JNB which was cancelled due to MX. We were given hotel accommodations, but no other compensation. Although I have the original boarding passes and the reissued boarding passes, as well as screenshots of various web pages showing “cancelled”, for some reason the agencies that handle EU261 compensation all show that this flight proceeded as normal. It didn’t; there was a 13+ hour delay.

    So what is the likelihood of Chase honoring this claim?

  2. Really want to reinforce the accuray of this article – my experience with Chase’s trip delay benefit administrator has been nightmarishly bad. The initial tactic – every 2 weeks, send an e-mail stating something from my claim was missing (it wasn’t.). After that, simple radio silence. I submitted a claim for a one night Hyatt stay and dinner in August after my flight was delayed 11 hours; the benefit administrator still has not made a decision.

  3. Same type of issues with the Chase Sapphire Reserve claim administrator on a rental car claim.

    After being drowned with paperwork for a few months for $300, I gave up.

  4. It is important to distinguish between EU261, which is compensation (you can call it a form of ‘pain and suffering’), and reimbursement of expenses. EU261 is given whether you have incurred expenses or not, so long as you meet the EU criteria to be compensated. Trip delay coverage is to reimburse you for expenses incurred as the result of a delay. The two are not related. You could claim trip compensation immediately (which I have done through Chase Visa) and also claim EU261 at a later time. I will say that the Chase process is excruciating but I was ultimately successful with my claim (I feel like they try to wear you down in hopes you will drop it but I am stubborn).

  5. Who is the actual underwriting company that provides the policy? If it’s a domestic US company, the next avenue could be a complaint filed with your state’s department of insurance.

  6. One issue where I wonder when the ball will drop is when Chase and CITI begin to enforce the “up to the amount charged, unless you used our points to purchase the flight entirely” provision – which still provides coverage limits at 1 cpp.

    Blogs (TPG in particular) tout this coverage in their credit card ad blitz but the legalese backing it is much more nuanced – will CYA usefulness disappear when you charge only taxes and fees on a churn-and-burn flight?

  7. A friend had their Avis car severely damaged by hail in South Africa. CSR sent a letter that the charge was removed (for repairs) from the card. Avis claims that they never received any funds. Each time, they call and get a different agent. Avis has sent the claim to US collection agency. I would be hiring a lawyer if this was me, but…..

  8. Ok, I see a pattern here. Chase CSR better improve its reputation or I am switching to Amex. I don’t need the headaches of learning Chases fine print or underhanded shenanigans when ready alternatives exist before I encounter a situation that creates a claim.
    I expect some pushback to prevent bogus claims, but not calculated SOP’s that cheat customers systematically as illustrated in this blog and comments.

  9. The reader who wrote it should just claim the hotel and food from american as they are required ubder eu261 to pay for those (duty of care)
    Should be a no brainer

  10. I had a ticket MEX – SNA that was allegedly insured by Chase Mileage Plus Visa. I got sick and had to change the ticket to MEX – SFO (home town) instead a week later. Chase travel insurance denied the claim for MEX – SNA fare because they argued that I used MEX – SNA fare towards the purchase of MEX – SFO fare (even though I had to pay $400 extra due to fare difference). They refused to cover MEX – SFO fare because they said it was a different trip. Chase third party travel insurance is a scam. Do not rely on it.

  11. Maybe the problems with Chase Reserve are more recent? My wife and I got stranded in Bali last winter during the Mount Agung eruption and the process to compensate 4 nights of hotel and food could not have been easier. Submitted our receipts and had the money within 2 weeks. The flights were a points redemption on UA from a Chase transfer as well.

  12. I had a very straightforward simple weather related flight cancellation and I lost a pre booked hotel reservation. I submitted the claim via my CSR card. After numerous documentation submissions and phone calls I received yet another request for the same documentation. They succeeded in wearing me down and I gave up. I’m not going to spend more hours trying to get back my $125. I would however spend much more in taking them to small claims court, and would be happy joining a class action lawsuit. Shame on Chase for promoting this worthless benefit.

  13. Hi Gary, I submitted a flight delay for my Citi Prestige 2 months ago and haven’t heard anything back. I’ve successfully received reimbursement from Citi/Virginia multiple times in the past. This is the first time I’ve submitted the documents they required and haven’t heard back from them within the 14 day timeline.

    I emailed them again a second time, with all the documents, 2 weeks ago and still haven’t heard anything. It seems similar to what happened to you 2 years ago in your linked post.

    Do you have any advice as to what I should do? Should I CC someone in my email? Should I call Citi? Thanks for your help.

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