I used an obscure credit card perk to pay for $127 worth of travel expenses when American Airlines canceled 2 of my flights – see how

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card comes with built-in trip insurance for when things go wrong.
  • Trip delays, trip cancellations, and baggage delays are covered under certain circumstances.
  • I was delayed by 12 hours after two American Airlines flight cancellations and could spend up to $500 on expenses.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Flight delays and cancellations can be costly. Hours and even days can be wasted that could lead to unplanned expenses through no fault of a traveler’s.

An airport departures board showing canceled flights.

I was left high and dry by American Airlines in June when flying home from Bogota, Colombia in June. Two back-to-back flight cancellations extended my trip and left me with no clear way to get home.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

Read More: I was stranded in Bogot√° airport for 10 hours and it taught me the true value of credit card perks and not taking no for an answer

At first, I was faced with an eight-hour delay that quickly turned into an overnight stay. American was going to pay for a hotel but I’d be largely on my own for meals, plus any other expenses I might incur thanks to the extended trip.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

In total, I incurred $127.39 extra expenses incurred from the delay but because of the credit card I used to book the trip, I was reimbursed for all of it. Here’s how my credit card ended up saving my bank account.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a premium travel credit card that costs $550 per year but comes with perks like a free $300 in travel credits, complimentary Lyft Pink membership for a year, and built-in travel insurance.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Read More: Chase Sapphire Reserve card review: One of the best premium travel cards, with unbeatable bonus rewards

While many credit cards offer some form of travel insurance, not all are equal and some only kick in if the cardholder dies in a plane crash. But the Sapphire Reserve offers three types: trip cancellation/interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, and travel delay reimbursement.

credit cards

As its name suggests, trip cancellation/interruption insurance covers expenses when a trip is “cut short or canceled” due to instances like sickness, severe weather, injury, loss of life, terrorist action, hijacking, and unpostponable jury duty or court subpoena. Chase will cover up to $10,000 per trip, if eligible.

Flight canceled

Baggage delay insurance covers “essential purchases” in the event luggage is lost by an airline, bus company, cruise ship operator, or train company for more than six hours.

travel airport luggage baggage

And finally, trip delay insurance covers travelers if a trip is delayed for more than six hours or requires an overnight stay. This is the insurance for which I qualified when American canceled my flight and rescheduled me for a later flight to New York.

A screenshot of an email from American Airlines.
Using credit card trip insurance.

This insurance is pretty comprehensive and will cover meals, lodging, transportation, and additional unreimbursed expenses up to $500. Coverage only applies if the flight was booked using the Sapphire Reserve and I make sure I book every trip using the card for that reason.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

The perk will also apply to mileage award tickets, even if only the taxes are paid using the card. If travelers are booking flights with a travel credit, they can also get the coverage by paying as little as $.01 using the card.

A screenshot from American Airlines' website
Booking an award ticket using a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.

I called up Chase while stranded in Colombia to confirm I could use the credit and they gave me the green light. I didn’t need to call Chase but this was my first time using the perk so I wanted to be sure I was using it correctly.

Calling Chase customer service
Calling Chase customer service.

I was ecstatic to have $500 at my disposal because that goes really far in Colombia. But I wasn’t trying to extend my vacation, I wanted out.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

My first plan was to take the 12:15 a.m. flight to New York and so I began my long wait in the airport. I took a walk and started plotting how I could spend $500.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

American, for its part, gave all the passengers on my first canceled flight a meal voucher for around $12. I decided to use that for my first meal and save Chase’s travel insurer some money.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

But beyond that, I was hesitant to spend any money because I didn’t want to get into a situation where something wasn’t covered. Again, this was my first time using the perk.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

So, I left Colombia using exactly $0 of the $500 and didn’t spend anything until landing back in the US. After my second flight to New York was canceled, I was routed to Phoenix via Dallas leaving the same night because I was starting a trip to Phoenix and American couldn’t get me home in time for my flight to get there.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

After I landed in Dallas, American had given me a hotel voucher, at my request, so I could have a shower during my four-hour layover. I took a hotel shuttle to the hotel, around five miles from the airport itself, and only planned to shower in the room, then head back to the airport.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

The shuttle, however, was hourly, and I only had 20 minutes from the time I got to the hotel to the time it was leaving again. That didn’t include checking in and getting to the room.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

So, I figured, what better time to use the $500. I took my time in the shower and then ordered a Lyft for $19.27, including tip, to get me back to the airport.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

Transportation, after all, is covered under the rules of the perk. Of course, I wouldn’t know for sure until I submitted the claim.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

I got to the airport and American, once more, had given me another $12 meal voucher. But it was too early to eat so I only used around $6 of it to buy two water bottles for the flight to Phoenix.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

I landed in Phoenix after a nightmare of a travel experience and asked American if they’d arrange a taxi for me to get to my family’s home. I thought it was a reasonable request being as I arrived a day early and my family members couldn’t pick me up.

Trapped in Airport Terminal
Flying home from Bogota, Colombia on American Airlines.

But the airline didn’t think so and I was on my own to arrange an Uber, at peak time, for a total of $107.65 with a tip. Time to file my claim.

A screenshot from the trip insurance website.
Using credit card trip insurance.

First, I needed proof of the delay being greater than six hours. That was easy as American sent an email telling me that I was rebooked on a later flight after the first flight cancellation.

A screenshot of an email from American Airlines.
Using credit card trip insurance.

Next, I needed my expenses. All of my Uber and Lyft receipts were digital, so getting them was just a matter of taking screenshots from their mobile applications.

Uber Grocery stressfree In App
Uber Grocery app

Then, I needed a verification letter from American confirming that my flight was delayed due to a covered reason. In my case, a mechanical delay.

A screenshot of an email from American Airlines.
Using credit card trip insurance.

Even that was surprisingly easy. American has a request form just for “delay verification requests.”

A screenshot of an email from American Airlines.
Using credit card trip insurance.

That letter came three days later and I was then able to submit the claim.

A screenshot from the trip insurance website.
Using credit card trip insurance.

To my surprise, it was approved with no questions asked three days later.

A screenshot from the trip insurance website.
Using credit card trip insurance.

The check did take a while to arrive but I took it straight to the bank.

Receiving a mailed check from a travel insurance company.
Using credit card trip insurance.

And with that, my escape from Colombia was complete. I even got credit card points from the two purchases.

Depositing a check at a Chase ATM
Depositing a check at a Chase ATM.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sen. Elizabeth Warren grilled Jamie Dimon over Chase charging nearly $1.5 billion in overdraft fees during the pandemic

Jamie Dimon
  • The four major Wall Street banks collected a combined $4 billion in overdraft fees during the pandemic.
  • Sen. Warren said Chase was “the star of the overdraft show,” charging customers nearly $1.5 billion.
  • Warren asked the four banks’ CEOs if they would refund the fees. All said no.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Senator Elizabeth Warren singled out JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon during a banking committee hearing, grilling him over Chase’s decision to continue collecting nearly $1.5 billion in overdraft charges from customers during the pandemic.

Joining Dimon were the CEOs of Citibank, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, which took in a combined $4 billion in fees from checking customers who had no money in their accounts during the pandemic, against the recommendations of bank regulators.

At the start of the pandemic, Warren explained, the bank regulators told financial institutions that they would not be charged a fee if their accounts at the Federal Reserve were overdrawn. The regulators also recommended the banks extend the same automatic protection to their customers.

Senator Elizabeth Warren asked the CEOs to raise their hands if they had followed that guidance.

“I’m not seeing anyone raise a hand, and that’s because none of you gave the same help to your customers that the bank regulators extended to you – help that the regulators recommended that you give,” Warren said.

Instead, the four leading Wall Street banks, which handle tens of millions of retail checking accounts, charged customers a combined $4 billion in fees during the pandemic when their balances hit zero.

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, those customers were more likely to be African American or Hispanic, or be earning less than $50,000 per year. Figures from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau show that just 8% of account holders are responsible for three-quarters of overdraft fees.

Singling out Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan, whom she called “the star of the overdraft show,” Warren asked if waiving the nearly $1.5 billion it collected in overdraft fees would have put the bank into financial trouble.

“We waived the fees every time a customer asked because of Covid,” Dimon replied.

“Your profits would have been $27.6 billion,” Warren said. “I did the math for you.”

“Mr. Dimon, will you commit right now to refund the $1.5 billion you took from consumers during the pandemic?” she continued.

“No,” he said.

The other three executives also declined Warren’s request.

“Last year, when customers said they were struggling, we waived fees on over 1 million deposit accounts, including overdraft fees – no questions asked,” Chase spokesperson Amy Bonitatibus said in a statement to Insider.

A previous study found Chase charges more than average for overdraft fees, generating more than $35 per account, compared with Citi, which charges less than $5 per account, according to Aaron Klein, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

“Overdraft is an expensive fee they charge only on those people who run out of money that goes straight to short-term profits,” Klein told the New York Times in April.

Read the original article on Business Insider