BeneIRA wrote:I have read some of your posts and it seems like you are the resident expert on traveler's insurance. If I may, I wanted to inquire as to your thoughts on the enhanced traveler's insurance that the Chase Sapphire Reserved provides. Do you think another traveler's insurance policy is needed with it? Is the coverage the CSR provides sufficient? Any insight you can provide would be great.
Well, I certainly have had to actually make claims on travel insurance policies (standalone, not from Chase) more often than I ever want to, but I'm not sure if that qualifies me as the resident expert. To be honest, I have not read the full terms for the CSR travel insurance policy yet. My understanding is that this coverage is the same as with the CSP, but I could be wrong. I have not actually booked travel with my CSP or CSR yet, as I got those cards recently, and am not a frequent traveler - I typically take one large vacation annual trip. And hopefully, even when I do, I won't have to make a claim on the policy, but I know the probability is high that I will, probably 50/50.
I have read about both positive and negative experiences with the trip cancellation part of the travel insurance with Chase. There is a thread on Flyertalk about this currently in the Chase forum (I chimed in at the end).http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/chase-ul ... ments.html
From I read, it seems there are issues with travel booked through Chase that is refundable. It appears that someone got their flight refunded, but then got a separate cancellation fee charged by the airline. Which is exactly the same that you would have ended up with if you had booked that flight with another card that did not offer travel insurance, and not booked it through Chase. Ie., zero coverage appears to have applied in this situation. In my experience, it is very common for flights to Asia to actually be refundable minus a cancellation fee, even though they are marketed and sold as "non refundable" flights.
Based on this one experience, one might want to book only flights/hotels through Chase that are truly completely non refundable using the CSP/CSR. I'm guessing the Chase policy would have to refund in full in that situation.
From this point of view, as far as I can tell, the Chase coverage is inferior to a standalone travel insurance policy. However, a standalone travel insurance policy on even just one large annual trip will normally cost more than the $95 annual fee of the CSP, or the $150 (net) annual fee of the CSR. So unless you have a high likelihood of cancellation (like me, based on past experience), or you are booking mainly travel that is refundable with change fees, the Chase travel insurance might be good enough for you. It may not be good enough for me, though. Based on what I'm reading, unless Chase clarifies the terms, I will likely close both my CSP before the 1 yr is up.
I'm still not quite sure about the CSR. I have to do more math to see if it makes sense. Let me take a quick shot at it. The net rewards rate with the CSR is 4.5% on travel and dining purchases if you redeem for travel booked through Chase (3 points for every 100 dollars, 1.5 cent per point). With $8000, that is $360 in rewards, less than $150 annual fee - net of $210.
Let me compare with using a cash back card. About $4000 would be domestic purchases (booked from a US travel site) and I would use my Fidelity VISA 2% and earn $80. The other $4000 would be foreign purchases, and I would use the Capitalone Quickilver MC to avoid foreign transaction fees. So, I would earn 1.5% cash back back on those $4000 or $60.So with the CSR, I have $210 in rewards less $160 annual fee which is a net $50.
And with the Fidelity VISA and Capone MC, $140 with zero annual fee which is a net $140.
If I assign as value of 0 the chase Chase trip cancellation coverage, then the combo of the other cards comes out ahead.
Ie. I would purchase a separate $200 travel insurance policy. So with CSR the net would be $50 - $200 or -$150 with the separate coverage.
And with the combo, $150 - $200 or -$50 with the separate coverage.
It's probably not fair to assign a value of $0 to the Chase travel insurance coverage. It's clearly worth more than $0. But it appears to still not be as good as a separate policy.
Also, the $8000 number is really on the low end - we often spend far more than that - $8000 on flights and hotel alone, and $4000 on meals and other things (not all of which can be charged to credit cards, though). For the longest and most expensive trips, we have probably spent $20k total. With higher travel spending, the CSR probably still makes sense vs the combo of other cards.
Either way, I will have one year to decide whether to renew the CSR or not. If my husband gets approved for his own CSR, we will probably only keep one, though.
There was an error in this part - the net apples to apples is really $210 for the CSR vs $140 for the combo of the other 2 cards. So the CSR appears to make sense as long as we travel at least once a year, regardless of how good or bad the Chase travel insurance benefit may be.
I can add one more comparison - the CSP. CSP gets 2 points per dollar on travel and dining categories.
And points are redeemed at 1.25 cents each.
$8000 in travel and dining purchases would amount to 16000 points, which would be worth $200 in rewards.
Net of the $95 annual fee that is due after the first year, that is a total of $105.
In this case, the combo of Fidelity 2% VISA and CapitalOne 1.5% MC gets much better net cashback - twice as much, at $210.
But only if the CSP travel insurance coverage is valued at $0, which is probably not fair, even though it's not as good as a standalone policy.
So for our patterns, the CSR appears to be a fairly clear winner long-term, even if we only use the card for our typical once a year foreign vacation of $8k+.