When floundering in a Newark airport hotel, a friend texted me and told me to make sure to use the Chase Sapphire Reserve trip delay benefit, as he was aware that I had this card. Luckily, I paid for the airline ticket with this card so I would be eligible to claim the benefit.
The benefit pays $500 per ticket for hotel and meal costs for the cardholder so long as the delay is over 6 hours, my delay was several days so this was not an issue. A spouse, domestic partner, and domestic children under 22 are covered as well, so this benefit can be very lucrative. That being said, the Chase benefits guide states clearly to keep expenses reasonable, so don’t go to the Four Seasons and eat steak and lobster nightly.
The key part of this is to retain documentation: airline ticket receipts and boarding passes, hotel folios, and meal receipts. The interesting thing is I did not even have this card on me, I had left it at home because I was using a Chip and Pin Barclays credit card while in England. In England and other countries, true Chip and Pin credit cards can become very useful at unmanned payment points, because those cannot handle chip and signature cards which are prevalent in the United States. Luckily I had the number and expiration date of my Reserve memorized and used this to pay for all my hotel reservations. I actually booked 4 separate reservations for 4 nights, because my saga was a day to day affair.
The hotel folios and airline tickets were in my e-mail; I made sure to keep every ticket including the ones that never happened due to delays. One key point is that if you have a one way ticket for the return, you must attach your other ticket that took you to the destination that you are leaving to. The key is that the receipts should show the last 4 of the credit card that you used. Also, I used my credit card statement as documentation as well, as this showed the same charges. In total, my claim was for $499.84, just under the limit. This was probably the only good part about staying in a cheap hotel, that it kept me close to the limit.
I also took screenshots from FlightAware.com showing the three flights I was supposed to take that ended up being cancelled. The hardest part of documentation to acquire is the delay letter, which has to be official and from the airline. Different airlines have different methods to procure this, the best being in person at the airport, but for United you have to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I did not receive a response for two weeks, but as soon as I did I was ready to make my claim.
The claim is actually handled by a third party company called eclaimsline. To begin the claim, go to eclaimsline.com and fill in the details and attach all relevant documentation. In this case, there is no such thing as too much, as you don’t want to hear back for anything missing.
I received a response about a week after filing the claim saying that it was approved and a check would be on the way. I received the check a few days later; this was truly a sigh of relief and made the annual fee truly worth it.
Never in my life was I ever in this situation, but this shows the value of premium credit cards. There are many cards that have similar benefits, make sure to use these cards for air tickets in case you get caught in this type of situation. The benefits that you never think you will use can sometimes be the most useful.