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Paying for trip cancellation insurance is a hassle and costly. Fortunately, there are credit cards with trip cancellation insurance. Here are four of them.

credit cards with trip cancellation insurance

Frequent travelers should approach credit cards differently than the rest of us. They have to look for cards that offer travel perks and rewards. Perks like no foreign transaction fees make travel cheaper. Another important feature is credit cards with free trip cancellation insurance.

This perk could save travelers a lot of money and hassle. With this perk, you don’t have to debate whether or not to purchase additional trip cancellation insurance. So you can nix those insurance premiums out of your travel budget. Furthermore, a credit card’s trip cancellation coverage kicks in automatically whenever you book a trip using that card. It’s a no-brainer if you frequently book trips for either work or pleasure.

This means that you’ll get to enjoy the peace of mind that goes along with knowing that you have cost-free protection without meeting any special enrollment criteria or paying an annual premium. In fact, if you travel two or three times per year, you might even consider one of these cards with an annual fee. The trip cancellation insurance alone should balance out that fee within the year.

What can you expect from cards that offer trip-cancellation insurance? Some rules are pretty universal throughout the trip cancellation coverage terms offered by credit cards. For instance, most will cover the nonrefundable, prepaid arrangements you’ve booked with hotels, airlines, and tour operators to some degree.

However, not all of these programs are the same. Some cards only offer reimbursement for airfare. Others will cover every part of your trip, including pre-booked tours and activities. How much each program reimburses and what qualifies for reimbursement also vary from program to program.

Here’s a look at the four popular credit cards that offer trip-cancellation insurance with the biggest reimbursement amounts and the best terms.

4 Credit Cards with Trip Cancellation Insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card:

  • Reimburses costs when customers have purchased travel arrangements, tours, trips, or vacations using an eligible Chase card or with rewards earned with an eligible Chase card
  • Entire cost must be paid using a Chase card or benefits to qualify
  • Covers the cardholder and immediate family members, even if the cardholder isn’t traveling with them
  • Covers up to $10,000 per trip with maximum limits of $20,000 per occurrence and $40,000 in a 12-month span
  • Also covers trips that you must cancel due to severe weather, terrorist activity, jury duty, court subpoenas, financial insolvency of a travel provider, and more

Citi® Card:

  • Covers cardholder, family members, and travel companions
  • Offers reimbursement of up to $5,000 per covered traveler per trip
  • Kicks in when all or just part of the cost of a travel arrangement was made using a Citi® card or ThankYou® points
  • Covered cancellation reasons include illness, injury, loss of employment, active military service, weather, natural disasters, terrorist activity, and more

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard®:

  • Provides reimbursement of up to $1,500 if your trip is interrupted or canceled for a covered reason
  • Tickets must be purchased entirely with your Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard® to qualify
  • Covered cancellation reasons include financial insolvency of the company providing travel arrangements or the death, illness, or injury of the traveler or an immediate family member

Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card:

  • Provides reimbursement of up to $2,000 for airline costs if your trip is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason
  • Entire amount of a passenger’s fare must be charged to a Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card to qualify for reimbursement
  • Covered cancellation reasons include the financial insolvency of an airline carrier or the death, injury, or illness of the traveler or an immediate family member

In addition, you’ll find a complete list of the best travel reward credit cards here.


Travel is the one thing you can buy that makes you richer.   -Anonymous

Do you dream of sandy white beaches and daquiris in the sun? Maybe your ideal getaway is a cabin in the mountains, instead. Or perhaps you’re the type who would rather backpack through Italy, eating your weight in pasta and visiting the Roman ruins.

No matter your ideal type of travel, it’s one of those things for which everyone should try to find time. No matter the flexibility in your budget or the demands of your job, visiting new places can definitely be a possibility.

At some point, everyone needs to take a break from their regular routine. What better way than to venture away from home and see some place new? But how can you possibly afford pricey plane tickets when you’re trying to save for retirement or pay down debt?

Well, whether you stay nearby, take a car trip to Grandma’s house, or fly across the country, there are ways to travel without spending all your hard-earned savings. Yes, traveling can be expensive, but it’s almost always worthwhile (assuming you spend smart), and there are ways to make it more affordable than you might think.

Well, I have a trip coming up soon. I’m not an experienced traveler, so I searched for ideas and tips and compiled the best I found. Here are my favorites.

Check for Discounts

My grandmother has a saying (and believe me, she lives by this): Why buy it full-price when you don’t have to? Well, believe it or not, this doesn’t just apply to groceries and blue jeans.

Whether it’s a hotel room, flights, or tickets to an attraction, there are a slew of discounts to be found.


Don’t pay the rate on the hotel’s website without thoroughly checking around. Sites like Priceline, Orbitz, and offer discounted room options almost year-round. If you book with Orbitz, you’ll also earn points which can be used on future travel plans.

Learn More: 10 Ways to Avoid Hotel Fees

Want to stay in a specific hotel but can’t find a low enough price? Give them a call and ask if they have any sort of discounts available. Assuming it’s not a weekend where they’re sold out, they might be willing to offer you a cheaper rate just to keep you from going elsewhere. You can also offer to prepay for the room, as some hotels allow this option. (You can usually still cancel within 24-48 hours if needed and get a refund — be sure to ask about their own policy!)

Lastly, depending on your (family’s) needs, renting a room in someone’s home — or the entire home! — for your trip might be ideal, instead of just a hotel room. Airbnb is the most popular site for finding home-sharing accommodations; while they likely won’t offer you a continental breakfast, the discounted rate may easily make up the difference.


Depending on how specific your travel plans may be, you can get away with cheaper flights if you look hard enough.

Fly during off-peak times to save; most of the time, taking a red-eye is cheaper than that late-morning departure. You can also utilize sites like Priceline here, and use their Name Your Own Price Tool. The caveat with this is that you enter the price you’re willing to pay (committing to the tickets if your offer is accepted), but you don’t know the actual flight times yet. You may get that super cheap price that you want, but it could also be a 5am flight or have a 3hr layover in Detroit. If you’re flexible, though, and are more concerned with the cost, this is an awesome option.

Resource: Get the Most Value From Frequent Flyer Miles

You can also look into the “no frills” airlines, like Frontier (or if you’re traveling overseas, Ryanair is the cheapest — and simplest — I’ve ever flown). No, you probably won’t be on the newest jet with complimentary snacks and headphones, but you will be saving quite a bit on airfare compared to the other commercial giants. Be careful, though, as some of these airlines charge extra for a second carry-on, even going as far as to charge more at check-in than if you’d prepaid for your bags online.

On that note, if you know that each person will be bringing one or two suitcases along and your flight prices are in the same general range, an airline like Southwest might be your best bet. The airline hands out basic refreshments on board, allows two carry-on items per passenger, and includes two free checked bags.

I often choose SWA when flying with my kids because once you factor in those hefty checked bag prices, this airline is usually the cheapest. Oh, and things like checked car seats and strollers are also free (and not counted as part of the two checked bags, either).

Concerts, Shows, and Events

Finding cheap tickets can be a little tricky, depending on the event, but definitely not impossible.

Your best bet is to try to buy tickets in advance from the venue directly. This way, you’re more likely to pay face value. If the event is sold out, you’ll have to resort to other avenues.

These can include sites like StubHub or even eBay. Just be careful; while you can sometimes find a great deal (especially if you’re willing to pay a little bit over face value in order to snag seats to an in-demand event), reselling tickets is an income source for some ticket brokers. Be sure to look around before clicking that Order button.

Related: The Latte Factor: Your Spending Reflects Your Priorities

If you’re staying at certain resorts or casinos and have some very strong willpower, there’s also another option: timeshare presentations. These are not for those who are easily persuaded or give in to high-pressure sales. However, if you know that you can resist the salesperson’s charm, these are great ways to snag free tickets to in-demand events, earn spa passes, and even get complimentary nights added onto your stay.

Special Pricing

Are you a member of any groups, clubs, etc.? You may qualify for discounts as a student, government worker, resident (if you are traveling within your own state), AAA member, or any number of other memberships.

Comparison shop

As with anything you purchase, you should compare prices before you book airplane tickets or plan a vacation. In some cases you can plan a whole vacation around an inexpensive destination at the time of year you are planning.

Read guidebooks

It may feel touristy, but guidebooks will often give you great money saving tips. Some even offer per diem plans, recommend out-of-the-way hotel deals, or tell you about views or attractions you would have walked right past otherwise.

Depending on the area you’re visiting, you might also want to check into Living Social, Groupon, or other local discount sites before making plans. You can often get great deals on restaurants, attractions, museums, and events, and it might entice you to try something you wouldn’t have looked into otherwise.

Pack snacks

This tip is not just for parents! Prepping meals, packing snacks, and bringing along your own refillable water bottle is an easy way for all travelers to save.

I am a perpetual grazer, for instance, so I always bring a meal along for flights. A big sandwich, fruit, an empty stainless steel bottle (don’t try to go past TSA without drinking it all first!), and some protein bars got me through my entire cross-country venture. I didn’t want to pay $10 for a terrible in-flight meal or $5 for water in the terminal, so this saved my budget. I wasn’t tempted to buy a bunch of junk food as I walked past the newspaper stands, either.

Resource: Do You Really Need to Buy Travel Insurance?

Pack your own entertainment

Traveling with kids always means packing toys, books, and DVDs that will keep them occupied. But you can use this tip if you are childless or traveling solo as well.

I pack my own books, download movies, and make a playlist before I leave to keep myself occupied when I travel. You can even download many of your movies, shows, and songs from your online streaming services (like Netflix and Spotify) to enjoy offline.

Check the weather forecast and pack appropriately

There is nothing worse than packing too much and having to pay extra for your suitcase. While I’m the type of person who will always overpack to some extent, checking the weather ahead of time saves me a lot of wasted space.

Try to pack versatile items that can be worn or used more than once, in different ways. If you’re going on a long trip, you can use the hotel or your Airbnb’s laundry room to wash clothes and wear them again. Oh, and be sure to include some layers for cooler nights.

Related: Tipping Housekeepers: Whose Responsibility Is It to Pay Hotel Staff?

Leave room for souvenirs

Make sure you leave some room for souvenirs in your bag! You don’t want to have to pay for a second bag or for an overweight bag.

Of course, souvenirs can eat into your budget, too, so try to limit the tchotchkes that you buy. Save programs from shows, bring home seashells that you and your kids find on the beach, and take plenty of family photos. Years from now, these might be much more special to you than that plastic snow globe in the gift shop.

Walk as much as possible

Part of visiting a new place is seeing the sights, so throw on some tennis shoes and go see them!

It is much better for your health, and wallet, if you set out to see them on foot. While Uber and public transportation will save you money over a rental car, it still adds up. Try to walk wherever you can. You can also ask your hotel if they have bikes available for guests to use — depending on where you stay, it might be an easy way to snag two free wheels for the afternoon.

Stay close to home

We’ve all heard of the “staycation”: sticking close by and seeing the sights right in your own hometown or the biggest local city.

I admit that this is something my family needs to be better about. We’ve been into D.C. (since we are right down the road) to tour the monuments and such, but there’s so much more we could explore. We are also only a handful of hours from a number of big, exciting cities — like Philadelphia — which would make for an excellent weekend trip.

These types of close proximity trips are great because you can cut so many costs. You may have family in those towns that would allow you to stay in their spare bedroom. Maybe there’s a wonderful bus line that can get you there for less than the cost of gas and parking for your own vehicle. Plus, you can ask around with friends and neighbors to score plenty of insight into affordable tourist options, lesser-known restaurants, and local deals on food.

Learn More: Taking a REAL Vacation

Use points

If you, your spouse, or even a friend travels a ton for work or pleasure, you can cash in on their points for free hotel rooms.

In fact, I use this tip all the time when traveling back home to Texas to visit the family. Since my dad is always living out of a suitcase during the work week, he has a slew of airline and hotel points, and is always willing to send them my way when I need.

Mix pleasure and business

I am traveling to Salt Lake City, where I’ve never been, for work in early August. I’m extending my trip by a few days so I can enjoy the sights and scenery, though, and finally hike MOAB. The flight home is paid for through work — I just bumped the return date down — and the extra couple nights added to my hotel stay were pennies compared to the cost of making this trip separately.

This is how my family had vacations when I was a child and young adult; we tagged along with my dad on his trips to places like Atlanta and even Hawaii. It’s a great way to save on airfare, and your family can bunk in your (paid) hotel room for free.

Related: Thinking About Travel Hacking? Watch Out For the 5/24 Rule

What are your favorite tips and tricks to save money while traveling? Do you recommend any sites, books or tools for travel?


Overbooking ImageAs the entire world has likely seen by now, United Airlines removed Dr. David Dao from his Sunday evening flight, by selecting him at random and then dragging him off the airline.

While the United apology tour took a good 48 hours to get started, they finally came around and said they were very sorry for overbooking the flight, and they promised to do better next time. Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey released a statement that said Airlines should abolish the practice of overbooking to avoid situations like this in the future and has asked President Trump to consider the idea.

It’s time to separate the fact from the fiction.

United Flight 3177 Was Not Overbooked

Let’s get this out of the way first. The irony of this whole situation is that the United flight from Chicago to Louisville was not actually overbooked. The flight was full; however, the number of ticketed passengers equaled the number of seats on the plane, so the outrage about overbooking isn’t quite right.

United needed four seats opened on their plane to get crew members to Kentucky for work the following day, so they’ve chosen to hide under the “overbooking” policy. What happened here was that everyone who had a ticket was boarded; there were no additional passengers to board, and United decided to forcibly remove four passengers from the plane in order to board non-paying, non-ticketed employees.

The Process of Overbooking

When handled properly, the idea of overbooking makes sense for everyone. Allowing airlines to book 220 passengers for 200 seats may seem like a bad idea, but when you consider the economic principles behind it, the consumer and the airline both come out on top.  For example…

Assume Southwest has a 200-seat passenger plane and a flight on July 1st going from New York (JFK) to Florida (FLL). The flight is available for purchase six months in advance, and Southwest decides to make 200 seats available for purchase. By April 14th, the flight is sold out and taken off the board. All 220 passengers have confirmed tickets to board the aircraft in a few months, but the airline knows that 20 of those purchase agreements will not be honored.

A funny thing then starts to happen beginning May 1st. Every once in a while, a passenger calls up Southwest to ask to cancel or change their flight because their plans have changed. So one by one, couple by couple, family by family, the 220 tickets held for the flight on July 1st begin to dwindle. You have 218 down to 215, down to 210 and so forth. Then by June 30th, the day before the flight takes off, Southwest now has only 205 confirmed passengers for this flight.

On the day of the flight, Southwest is now tracking the number of ticketed passengers who check in, assuming 100% of the passengers that check in make their flights. Attendants show up at the gate. Boarding is about 15 minutes away from getting started, and the full count is in: 202 passengers have checked in for the flight. Three more people either didn’t make it to the airport on time or decided not to take today’s flight, leaving Southwest with a bit of a problem. They’ve overbooked this imminent flight by two passengers, and they need two people to step aside and take a different flight to Ft. Lauderdale. Let the auction begin!

The normal process from this point is to have the attendant at the gate alert the crowd waiting to board that the flight is oversold. They need two volunteers to come to the table and schedule a different flight (sometimes on the same day; other times on the following day). Opening offers generally start in the $300 travel voucher range, and the attendant will continue to raise the price until two passengers come forward to volunteer their seats.

In the instance where there is no reasonable amount of money to entice the crowd to volunteer their seats, Southwest will pick passengers at random. They will offer them the maximum amount of compensation allowed, $1,350, and call it a day. You can see from the chart below how often passengers volunteer their seats, versus the ones that are forced to schedule later flights. In the 4th quarter of last year, 106,000 passengers across all US airlines volunteered their seats to others, while 9,000 had no choice.

Q4 Booking Standards for Flights

So, this begs the question… why is having 9,000 passengers forced to take flights they don’t want a good thing for the market?

Cheaper Flights

Imagine the scenario above where Southwest sells only 200 tickets initially instead of 220. As passengers begin to fall off the rolls, Southwest reopens the flights online. The later and later this happens, though, the less likely they are to find passengers to take these now open flights. They will be able to re-book some of the seats, but not all.

For argument’s sake, let’s say on the day of the flight, the airline gets the number of ticketed passengers back up to 190. Then on the day of the flight, the three people who missed their plane in the first scenario do so again, meaning Southwest has taken in ticket revenues for 187 passengers. That’s 15 less than scenario #1, which means lower revenues for the airlines.

Yes, the airline will have to compensate the overbooked passengers, but it rarely, if ever, comes out to more than they’ve already taken in. Even when they have to give the full $1,350 to passengers who do not volunteer, they’re still likely in the green (assuming a modest $250 ticket price in our scenario above, 15 additional ticket sales means $3,000 in revenue vs. $2,700 in compensation to involuntary bumps). And the chart above shows that for every 11 passengers who accept modest compensation, only one does not… so the added revenue per overbooked flight can be quite substantial.

Flexible Options

Another reason why overbooking is essential in the marketplace is the freedom to cancel and change flights. Some airlines offer no cancellation or change fees, while others charge a small to moderate fee. If overbooking was not allowed and airlines were forced to book only the number of seats they had available, it’s very likely the ability to change flights would be restricted, or at least much more expensive, than it is today. Airlines are now a bit more forgiving when it comes to schedule changes because they know they have “reserves” available to take your place if needed. In their eyes, it’s no biggie.

Many airlines also offer their own branded airline miles credit card, which offers perks to allow customers to change their flight plans at no cost. As is standard operating procedure with airlines, if they’re forced to spend more money or end up taking in less revenue, the first thing to disappear is usually the quality of their rewards program.

Added Revenue for the Consumer

Some travelers are flexible when it comes to getting to their destination. Perhaps they’re heading home from a vacation and wouldn’t mind spending an extra day around town. Perhaps they’re headed out for a business meeting that can easily be pushed to Tuesday instead of Monday. Why not take the opportunity to cash in a few free flights down the road for a few hours’ inconvenience? There are well-established online travel bloggers who show in detail how they do this. They’ve earned thousands of dollars in compensation, simply for the willingness to take the next flight available. Some even show how you can tackle this more than once a day and almost consider it a profession!

Of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there is one obvious negative attached to the concept of overbooking. If you are one of the nearly 9,000 passengers last quarter who did not want to leave your flight because of a commitment you could not miss, $1,350 may not be good enough.

This is the very reason why many advocates of the policy are looking to have the maximum compensation amount revised or altogether removed to allow for a true bidding process. If the airline is forced to keep adding to their offer in order to ensure 100% of passengers voluntarily give up their seats, the right flight could yield quite a large number. Even so, in the rare instance that happens, the airlines and the marketplace will still be thankful that they’ve overbooked the flight.

There is no denying that the way United staff handled the United Flight 3177 issue was the exact wrong way to do it. Add on the non-apology from their CEO Oscar Munoz, and for years, people that book their flights will remember this incident. Many of them will even look elsewhere for their travel needs.

But nothing about this PR disaster has anything to do with the concept of overbooking. When executed properly, it’s an essential practice to keep costs low for all consumers. If the day should come where maximum compensation amounts are lifted, overbooking will become an even greater asset to the airline community.


So, you’re thinking about adding some plastic to your wallet. You want to take advantage of as many bonuses and offers as possible, and you definitely want to earn cash back where you can. You may even be thinking about travel hacking, where you open a number of new accounts in order to reel in a number of introductory point, mile, and cash back offers. Where do you look first?

524 rule

Chase offers a wide variety of credit cards with different perks, including low-fee balance transfers, travel rewards, rotating cash back categories, and even 5% back at Amazon. They are one of the more prominent card issuers, and frequently issue large sign-up bonuses to encourage new customers. Chase, however, has an interesting rule that makes them stand out when it comes to travel hacking.

The 5/24 Rule

You may have heard about their 5/24 Rule, especially if you’ve spent any time researching card hacking.

Simply put, if you’ve opened up 5 new accounts in the last 24 months, you’ll be denied for most Chase credit cards. This rule is all but inflexible, even with calls to customer service to beg them to reconsider. This is unfortunate, as it could lead to you missing out on some of the largest sign-up bonuses seen on credit cards to-date.

One important note: there are numerous reports that being pre-approved in a Chase branch for these cards leads to approval for the card. Anecdotally, I traveled to New York City last November and was approved in-branch for the Chase Sapphire Reserve at 12/24 accounts. So, this work-around could be a possibility if you live near a Chase branch.

Check Out Its Brother Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred

If you’re considering taking on the travel hacking game (beware: it requires strong organization skills and a lot of attention to detail!), Chase should be high up on the list of issuers to pursue. You’ll be applying for credit cards regularly, so you’ll quickly exceed the limitations for the 5/24 rule. For example, in the last 24 months, I’ve applied and been approved for 15 cards. In the world of travel hackers, that’s not even on the high side of new accounts.

Cards Not Under 5/24

The following cards are reportedly not under Chase’s 5/24 rule:

  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa (I was approved last month at 13/24)
  • British Airways
  • Fairmont
  • Hyatt
  • IHG
  • Ritz-Carlton
  • Disney (both Rewards and Premier)
  • AARP
  • Marriott Business (note: there are conflicting reports on this but I was approved last October at 11/24)

Note that these credit cards will still result in a hard pull and the opening of a new account. So, if you’re interested in them, you should prioritize them after you’ve put yourself past the 5/24 threshold.

Which Card First?

First of all, a disclaimer: if you’re getting into travel hacking, here’s the criteria you need to meet:

  • Have an excellent credit score (I would put this at 720+, if not 740+)
  • Pay off your credit card statement balances in full each month
  • Be disciplined and organized with your money
  • Be able to meet the minimum spend on a new credit card without being financially irresponsible
  • Be unafraid of spending time doing research — there are no shortcuts here!

I would prioritize Chase cards as follows:

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
  2. Chase Sapphire Reserve
  3. Chase Ink Preferred
  4. Chase United MileagePlus Explorer
  5. Chase Marriott Rewards
  6. Chase Freedom
  7. Chase Freedom Unlimited
  8. Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier

Note that there are more than 5 on this list, so you’ll have to do some research as to which card is right for you. The Chase Sapphire and Ink lines earn Ultimate Rewards points. These offer flexible and valuable redemptions across a number of airlines and other travel partners. The Chase Freedom line offers cash back perks as statement credits. The other branded cards like United and Marriott offer brand-specific points and miles.

I’ve prioritized the United and Marriott cards ahead of the Freedom cards for a few reasons. First, it’s possible to change your credit card to the no-fee Freedom cards after some time. So, if you’re a Sapphire Preferred cardholder and you’d like to discontinue paying the fee, it’s possible to change that card over to a Freedom.

Second, the bonuses for those two branded cards are relatively valuable at the moment. The United offer at 50,000 miles is higher than it was in 2016. The Marriott points are now eligible to transfer to Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express at a good rate (3:1).

If I were just getting into travel hacking, I would be going straight down this list. You may be put off by the Ink Preferred being a business card, but applying for a business card isn’t as daunting as it might seem. Many people run small self-owned business through eBay selling or Etsy shops, and it’s perfectly reasonable to have a business line of credit for those expenses. The process is nearly exactly the same as a personal application; you’ll just need to provide some information about the type of business you operate.

To 5/24-ers and Beyond

My advice to the unfortunate folks who are past 5/24: don’t worry about it. While some of these bonuses are stellar (the previous Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus at 100,000 points was great while it lasted), the sheer number of other card issuers and bonuses means that there’s no shortage of great perks to be had.

Lately I’ve been focusing my efforts on airlines like Delta and American, as well as Membership Rewards points through American Express. New cards are constantly being rotated in and out. So, it’s more important to be able to jump on the higher bonuses when available, than to worry about getting back under 5/24.

Best of luck out there, and happy travels!


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