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Thursday, June 13, 2024

How to ACTUALLY Claim Flight Delay Insurance from your Credit Card

I have previously written a post about how to claim compensation from the airline in the case of flight delays.

However, this might not work like a charm if you are:

  • Flying with a budget airline
  • Flying outside EU and NA regions
  • Flying with a partner airline using points

In these situations, having a credit card with travel insurance can be a lifesaver.

In this post, we’ll delve into the process of claiming insurance, using a flight delay incident from my own experience as an illustrative example.

My Flight Delay Story

In June 2022, I had an Etihad flight booked using my Aeroplan points from Seoul to Toronto, via a 3-day layover in Abu Dhabi.

Unfortunately, the flight was canceled due to unexpected aircraft issues and rescheduled for the next day.

flight was delayed from Wednesday 5:50 PM to Thursday 7:00 PM

While everyone was panicking, I knew getting angry won’t make the situation any better and the best I could do is know my passenger rights and insurance coverages.

Passengers frustrated by the flight cancelation

Luckily, Etihad provided all passengers a complimentary night near the airport at Grand Hyatt Incheon, including meals at the hotel restaurant.

So that was easily sorted out. (Super nice gesture from Etihad. You’ll be surprised how many airlines abandon passengers in these scenarios)

However, I needed to rearrange my travel plans as I lost a day out of my 3 day UAE layover.

My original plan was to arrive in Abu Dhabi, then travel to Dubai for a 2-night stay before returning to Abu Dhabi for one night and continuing to Toronto.

With the lost day, it didn’t make sense to go to Dubai anymore, as I would arrive late at night, head over to Dubai only to sleep and return the next day.

Thus, I ended up canceling the hotel in Dubai (thankfully they didn’t ask me for any cancellation fees) and booked an extra night in Abu Dhabi instead.

And this expense is the one I claimed using the flight delay insurance provided by my American Express Aeroplan Reserve card.

(Some might confuse this with trip cancellation insurance, but since the trip still took place despite the delay, it falls under the category of flight delay insurance.)

Down below are the steps to claim flight delay insurance.

Check your eligibility

The first step is to figure out whether you’re eligible for travel insurance or not.

You’ll need to visit your credit card’s cardholder agreement page and read over travel insurance part. (I know, this is tedious 🥲)

But there are general rules that apply to most cards, so click below to read over.

General Rule of Thumb (click to expand)

Before we delve in, note that each card has its own set of terms and conditions, but there is a general rule that applies to most cards.

1. You’re the primary card holder or a family member of the primary cardholder traveling together

It’s quite obvious that the primary cardholder is covered.

Some credit cards extend the coverage to spouses and children, so please review your card’s coverage carefully.

2. Your flight purchase is fully charged to the card.

Typically, your trip must be fully charged to the card you’re seeking travel insurance from.

However, some cards like TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite or Scotiabank Gold American Express Card provide coverage if you pay at least 75% of the flight cost onto your card. (This is useful when redeeming gift cards or airline travel credits).

3. Taxes & fees are charged to the card for award bookings

For credit cards with loyalty programs, you’re covered when you redeem points for bookings made through their respective loyalty program travel portals.

For example:

  • Aeroplan co-branded cards provide coverage Aeroplan points bookings as long as you pay taxes and fees with your card
  • Amex cards provide coverage for travel booked directly on Membership Rewards travel portal
  • RBC Avion Cards provide coverage for travel booked directly on Avion travel portal
  • Scotiabank Passport cards provide coverage for travel booked on Scene+ travel portal

Make a Claim

I had booked my flight using Aeroplan points and paid for the taxes and fees with my Amex Aeroplan Reserve card.

Upon checking Amex Aeroplan Reserve Card’s insurance booklet, I was eligible for coverage.

Amex made it quite straight forward to start the claim process, here are the steps:

1. Go to https://claimportal.globalexcel.com/claimant/OpenaClaim.aspx?cid=AMEX&language=en

2. Select the type of insurance you’re filing, and provide all necessary information as requested.

Credit Card Statement: This should include the purchase of the trip, as well as the expenses occurred due to the flight delay.

Receipts: Provide flight purchase receipt and itemized receipts for the expenses you’re trying to get reimbursed.

Flight Delay Report: A simple flight delay email from the airline worked fine for me.

Other Supporting Documents: This can serve as evidence to support a particular purchase. (for example, I provided a webinar schedule that I had to attend during my flight due to the flight delay, which justified my purchase of in-flight Wi-Fi)

Add item purchases incurred due to your flight delay. You can also select the currency in which the purchase was made.

Provide as detailed information as possible

Lastly, you’ll need to provide your trip information, along with description of what happened to the trip schedule. Be as specific as possible.

I used this field to elaborate why I needed to cancel my original hotel in Dubai and book a night in Abu Dhabi instead.

3. Submit and receive confirmation email

Once you’ve provided all the information, agree to all the terms and conditions and click submit.

You’ll then receive a summary of your submission in a pdf file.

PDF summary of the submitted claim

You’ll also receive an email confirmation including your Claim Number, which you can use to track the progress of your claim.

If they require additional information, you’ll be contacted through email.

If everything is good, you’ll receive a reimbursement in 4-6 weeks.

4. Receive reimbursement cheque

Five weeks after submitting my claim, I received a reimbursement cheque in the mail.

Surprisingly I hadn’t received any email updates on the status of my claim, so I had forgotten about it entirely.

I suppose the saying “no news is good news” held true in this case.

Final Thoughts

Many people tend to overlook travel insurance offered by credit cards due to its complexity and tediousness.

However, it can be incredibly useful in the case of trip interruptions.

While your plans may be disrupted, having a financial backup for unexpected expenses can provide a peace of mind.

So make sure to be prepared for such incidents by using the RIGHT credit card when purchasing your next trip!

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