While not strictly a Credit Card Review, I have placed this article in my Credit Card Review Series so that you can compare benefits.
Just the other day I was lamenting how much of a pain it is to know which card to charge your travel to versus which one to use for purchases and everyday spend. Much of that decision comes down to where you can extract the most value out of the points earned but another big aspect is the insurances that the card provides, especially when it comes to travel.
Most cards that have travel based rewards will often have an excellent insurance package that is built into the card’s benefits. Below are some of the most common:
Types of Travel Insurance
Emergency Medical – this is an insurance you want for your travel, especially if you are travelling outside of Canada. The coverage here will reimburse you in the event that you have an emergency medical situation and you need to go to a doctor/hospital. As Canadians, we rarely think about the cost of medical procedures but trust me, it’s very, very, very expensive. If you travel to the United States and have a heart attack, CBS estimates your costs would be around $760,000! Without this insurance, you could be in for a very bad time.
Trip Interruption – helps to protect you from the costs that arise when a sickness, an injury or another unexpected covered risk causes you to disrupt your travel plans.
Trip Cancellation – same as Trip Interruption Insurance except that it covers the costs if you have to cancel your trip outright.
Car Rental Theft and Damage – this is a nice insurance to have if you rent vehicles on your vacation. Basically it covers damage or theft of your rental car which allows you to decline the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) that the rental agency will offer you.
Lost or Stolen Luggage – covers you for loss or damage to your checked-in or carry on baggage and personal effects while in transit. This can be a big benefit if the airline loses your bags and you need to replace your packed items.
Baggage Delay – this insurance is similar to that of the Lost or Stolen Luggage insurance except that it covers off the period between when you baggage is missing and when it is returned. For example, if your airline sent your bag to Siberia instead of Palm Springs, your bags would not be considered lost but if you have baggage delay insurance, you can get reimbursed for the items you need to purchase until such time that your luggage is returned to you.
Flight Delay – while Baggage Delay and Lost or Stolen Luggage Insurance cover off your belongings, this insurance covers off your meals, hotels and sundry items in the event that your flight is delayed.
Hotel/Motel Burglary – let’s face it. You’ll never (hopefully) enact this insurance but if you happen to have your hotel room burglarized, this covers off the items that are stolen.
Travel Accident – this insurance covers off the worst case scenarios in vacation travel. It acts as life insurance and insurance against accidental death and dismemberment in the case of a travel accident. Hopefully you will never face this situation but if you or a loved one was in a serious accident, you would receive a significant benefit.
Type of Purchase Insurances
Extended Warranty – exactly what you would expect. This insurance often doubles the manufacturer’s warranty (usually by an additional year).
Price Protection – a really nice to have insurance that ensures you got the best price for your purchase. If you find a lower advertised price (within a certain period), this insurance will reimburse you the difference. I personally used this insurance for my Bose QC25s.
Purchase Protection – mark this one under “I can’t believe they offer this insurance”. If you accidentally damage your item or have it stolen, this insurance reimburses you the cost of the item. Some very generous insurances will even protect against accidental loss.
Table of Knowledge
I have taken some of the most common cards that a Travel Hacker might use and provided information about each card’s coverage. I have done my best to be accurate but please double check the information before you rely on it as the gospel truth. That being said, I went through the terms and conditions of each card to and tried to distill the essence of the coverage.
Also be aware that some of these cards have caveats. For example, some cards will only provide coverage for things like baggage loss and flight delays if the full amount of travel was charged to the card. This means that reward flights are not covered.
One of the most common requirements is that you use the card for the purchase you are trying to insure against. If you purchased your travel with your debit card, don’t expect your credit card company to cover you just because you have the card. You have to put the charges through the card.
Read your terms and conditions carefully.
To use this table to it’s fullest potential, hover over the check box for details on coverage and while it may not be abundantly clear, scroll to the right of the table for more cards.
|American Express Gold
||American Express Gold Business||American Express Platinum
||American Express Platinum Business||American Express Cobalt
||American Express SPG
||American Express SPG Business||WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard||Scotiabank American Express Gold||Scotiabank American Express Platinum||MBNA Alaska Airlines World Elite||Capital One Aspire
||CIBC Aerogold Infinite
||CIBC Aerogold Infinite Privilege
|Car Rental Theft and Damage|
|Lost or Stolen Baggage|
|Link to Apply||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now||Apply Now|
This post took over 6 hours to compile and make pretty. I did my best to make the table easy to read and informative but if I’ve missed any cards you would like to see in this table, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get it up for you. If I’ve made a mistake somewhere, please feel free to let me know in the comments as well.
Best Canadian site for Canadians, lots of very good information.
Thank you for simple and clear comparison and to the point. Unlike most site I find annoying when they use fancy words and or try to be funny with lots of useless distracting informations.
Please keep up the good work
Thanks for the kind remarks Paul! It’s comments like yours that keeps me going!
Have you looked at the WestJet RBC MasterCard? I’m curious what the travel coverage is on that card, and the companion fare offer and low annual fee make it look like a pretty good card. Some of the flight timings also seem to work better than Air Canada for domestic flights.
Hi JC. Thanks for your question.
At first blush, it looks like the RBC MasterCard provides the same benefits as many of the other travel credit cards out there but it depends if you get the World Elite version or the regular version. The World Elite provides more benefits but has a $99 annual fee as compared to the regular card that has a $39 annual fee.
I’ll try to do a more in depth look at it to add it to the chart but in the mean time, here is a link to the insurance coverages for the card(s).
RBC Westjet World Elite MasterCard – http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/credit-cards/documentation/pdf/WestJet-World-EliteMasterCard-booklet.pdf
RBC Westjet MasterCard – http://www.rbcroyalbank.com/credit-cards/documentation/pdf/WestJet-MasterCard-booklet.pdf
Could you show an MBNA World Elite MasterCard’s insurance benefits on the chart?
Hi Jayce! Thanks for the writeup. Very informative. I’ve got a question about the terminology on the Amex Gold. It says “per insured person” and I’m wondering if I need to add insured persons to my account or if it covers each person that I’ve bought a travel ticket for? Any idea how they view this? Cheers!
This is a superb table, thank you for taking the time.
Can you comment on if any of the insurance or flight delay coverage is present if the ticket is purchased with points, and the taxes / YQ charged to the card?
David, this is an excellent question and one I don’t have a definitive answer on. I think by the letter of the law, you aren’t supposed to be covered unless your full ticket is charged to credit card, but I have heard of people making claims and being successful when only charging the taxes and fees on the credit card. The claims are processed by a separate entity (insurance firm) so your mileage may vary.
I don’t really see the table with the list of cards and their insurances. Maybe it got deleted in the website revamp? Same thing for the table that lists the different credit card signup bonuses. Might be something to look at.
P.S – love your blog. Best Canadian blog out there. Recently took the Amex Gold Business with your referral link, so hopefully you got some points 🙂
Thanks for pointing that out. I saw that this morning as well and I was a bit disappointed, to say the least. That table took a long time to build but because it was so large, it became unwieldy.
It looks like I will have to recreate them, which will be a weekend project. Sorry for the inconvenience but I’ll try to have it figured out shortly.
And thank you very much for using my referral! It really does help keep this blog afloat. Cheers
Hi Jayce, did you ever have a change to get the table back? Thanks for your time.
It took 5 hours but the table is back up! I hope you can make use of the information. Cheers
Were you still planning on recreating this table?
It’s in my plans but sadly I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to get to it quite yet. I hope to have it done in the next few weeks. Cheers
Thanks for your patience. The table is back!!! Cheers
Hi, I am unable to see any table on this webpage.
Thanks for letting me know. The issue was with the plugin … it should be fixed now. Cheers
Hey, do you know how credit card insurance coverage applies for award flights? e.g. If I book points using Alaska Air miles, will credit card give any of the above coverage?
Most credit cards will provide coverage for emergency medical even if you don’t book with the card, however, the more relevant insurances (flight cancelation, flight delay, and luggage delay) are dependent on putting 100% of the cost of the travel on the card in question. The only exceptions that I know of are with the TD and CIBC Aeroplan branded cards. Those cards will cover these insurances if you use your associated Aeroplan points to book the travel.