Stranded at the airport, ayyy? One of the worst nightmare for a traveler, especially when returning from a long day of travel and jet lag is kicking in. Don’t worry though you may want to call your credit card to see if you have this little known benefit:
We recently had the pleasure of using it when we were returning from Cuba. Our flight out of Havana was delayed 4 hours due to a snow storm on the East Coast. By the time we took off to Florida we had already missed our connecting flight and had no idea if we would be able to catch another same day. Once we landed we walked up to the Southwest counter and received the bad news the next flight was 9 am tomorrow, at this point it was 7pm the night before. And because it was weather related, the airline companies will not pay for you to stay in a hotel or provide any compensation. That meant we had some calls to make and quickly.
To add to our stress and exhaustion it was spring break which meant nearly all hotels were sold out with college students and the remaining rooms taken by cruise goers. But after calling a dozen places we found a Hilton room for $400 dollars… ouch… not very affordable when that is equivalent to 25% of what you paid for your entire 10 day trip in Cuba. At this point it is the debate of sleeping on the hard ground or uncomfortable chairs in the airport lobby or the hotel for a few hours and a warm shower.
But wait… on certain credit cards Visa has what is known as Trip Delay Reimbursement, one of which is the Chase Sapphire Reserve (my favorite :D) The terms state you are eligible for reimbursement for expenses such as meals, lodging and among other things if you are delayed more than 6 hours OR require an overnight stay. And who is covered is the cardholder, cardholder’s spouse or domestic partner and dependent children under age 22 for an amount of $500 for each purchased ticket!
The coverage includes meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items due to the covered delay.
The total cost we ended up incurring was $503 due primarily to the taxis, expensive hotel room and the remaining was meals. Man, does $500 go quickly when your options are limited! After providing card benefit services the needed proof I received my check in the mail 3 weeks later.
What do you need for a claim?
*must file within 60 days following the date of the delay
-all receipts for incurred expense
-updated itinerary (i sent in a photo of the boarding passes)
-proof of purchase of the original trip on your credit card, ie credit card statement
-a note from the airline about the delay (if possible, Southwest has a template letter they filled out, wasn't actually known by a lot of staffers expect a manager walking by with perfect timing)
Check your card benefits today! Stay tuned for the next card benefit post on rental car insurance- it will save you $100s