Ritz matches best-in-class Sapphire Reserve travel protections. CNB, not so much.


Puttin’ on the Ritz

Yesterday Nick published a couple of posts that had me wondering about travel protections provided by the Ritz-Carlton credit card.  He wrote about the Ritz card’s airline fee reimbursements, and he published an airfare deal that was made significantly sweeter by using the Visa Infinite Discount Air program where you get $100 off round-trip domestic airfare for two (both the Ritz card and the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite card provide the Visa Infinite benefit).

Some of the options for getting the airline fee reimbursements that readers have reported success with involve using the Ritz card to pay for airfare in-part with the Ritz card, or to pay for airfare upgrades, or award booking fees.  The Visa Infinite Discount Air program also requires paying with the Ritz card.

The reason I started wondering about Ritz travel protections is that I almost always use my Sapphire Reserve card to pay airfare or award fees.  When I published my guide to Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance, I learned that the Sapphire Reserve had best-in-class coverage.  With the standard stuff offered by most cards (trip cancellation and interruption, trip delay, travel accident insurance, etc.), the Sapphire Reserve has you covered even if you only pay in-part with the card.  You’re even covered if you pay with airline or hotel points from one of Chase’s partners!  And, better yet, the Sapphire Reserve offers additional coverage that is less common: primary car rental (you do have to pay this one in full with your card), $100K emergency evacuation and transportation, and emergency medical & dental.

To take advantage of the Ritz card’s benefits, I realized that I may have to use the Ritz card instead of my Sapphire Reserve card to pay for award fees and airline tickets (the latter especially when using the Visa Infinite discount).  I decided that it would be a good idea then to update my Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance guide to include the Ritz card.  This turned out to be much easier than expected…

The Ritz-Carlton Card and the Sapphire Reserve card share the same travel protections.  I didn’t check the benefits guides line by line, but I checked every Sapphire Reserve entry in my Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance guide and found that the Ritz offered the same protections!  That’s awesome!

What about the United MileagePlus Club Card?

Another ultra-premium co-branded card offered by Chase is the $450 United MileagePlus Club Card.  I tried to find a current benefits guide for this card, but the online guide is from 2013.  At least at that time, the travel protection benefits were not as good as the Sapphire Reserve & Ritz cards (the United card had 12 hour trip delay coverage instead of 6 hour, for example).  But, I bet the real benefits have been updated since then. If anyone can share a link to an updated guide (or is willing to email scans to me), I’d appreciate it!

CNB Crystal Visa Infinite

Since I was digging around the Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance guide anyway, I decided to finally add the CNB Crystal Visa Infinite card to the guide.  Compared to the Sapphire Reserve & Ritz cards, the CNB card did not fare well.  One exception: For hotel stays in the US and Canada, the CNB card offers up to $1,000 in hotel theft protection as long as you paid for the stay fully with the CNB card.  I haven’t seen this type of protection on any other card.

Bottom Line

The Ritz-Carlton Card isn’t as rewarding for travel spend as the Sapphire Reserve Card, but it’s travel protections appear to be just as good.  So, now I can go ahead and take advantage of the Ritz airline fee reimbursements and the Visa Infinite Discount Air program without worrying about travel protection.  Excellent!

For full details about the travel protections offered by the Ritz card, Sapphire Reserve card, CNB card, and other ultra-premium cards, please see:

Ultra-Premium Credit Card Travel Insurance

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Kicking myself for not applying for Ritz card this past summer – I was planning on Double-dipping CSP/CSR next month but Chase has plugged that exploit. Such is life sometimes.

[…] Another Reason To Keep Your Ritz Card:  Many folks have their preferred card to purchase airline tickets or pay award flight fees because of the travel insurance coverage provided.  Many don’t know that the Ritz card offers some of the best travel insurance coverage out there, plus travel credits and airfare discounts that you can take advantage of. […]


Thanks for adding the CNB, as I had nagged you about it a couple of times 🙂

I have all these cards, so good to know which covers what and for how much all in one place.

[…] Ritz matches best-in-class Sapphire Reserve travel protections. CNB, not so much. – Frequent Miler […]


Can you also add Hilton Aspire into this comparison as well?

Nick Reyes

Truthfully, the Aspire doesn’t offer worthwhile travel insurance. It only has provisions for:

-Car rental loss / damage
-Baggage insurance
-Travel accident (death/dismemberment)
-Roadside assistance

I wouldn’t suggest booking travel with the Aspire card as it just doesn’t cover much.


Thank you Nick!

PS – I really love the posts you contribute on FrequentMiler!


To get primary car rental insurance with the Chase Sapphire Reserve do you have to pay NOT using any Ultimate Rewards points from the CSR account, or can you pay some/all of the rental charge using UR points?


Just a Note

I also had an issue with the Ritz card insurance (well, with Chase travel insurance).

Had a family member traveling with me who was not able to make the trip due to another family member who was ill and in the hospital. Sent them a ton of documentation, and they would not pay. The problem was ultimately that I could not prove that they did not take the flight. Turns out that it is a difficult thing to prove! During the process, however, I reached out to AA to see if they could help with some form of proof, and they actually responded by providing a refund!

On the same trip, I changed my flight, and Chase didn’t pay for that either because the charge was listed as an “additional fare” and not a “change fee” on the receipt, and they will only pay for the change fee – even though the fee was exactly the same, those words did it in. So be aware that it may not be a cure-all.


I just got the Ritz card. Am I the only one who feels a little pretentious handing that gold bar of a card over in stores? Makes the Sapphire Reserve feel downright flimsy!


Wasn’t the Ritz card recalled due to salmonella ?


Please beware of chase travel insurance. It will not cover costs if you are incapacitated and cannot travel back and must extend your trip. Had this happen to us and appeals did not help. Family member had an accident and was hospitalized. This was a covered event because chase insurance paid for ambulance deductible. Family member could not fly home next day as they were hospitalized. We had to pay change fee and fare dif to move our flights one day. Chase said after appeal they would pay change fee only but not fare diff. Airline waived change fee. After losing thousands in fare diff i made a point to call citi prestige benefit admin twice and they said they would have covered us. This plus very broad covered reasons for trip delay like losing passport are why i keep prestige and book flights on it despite having ritz, csr and amex plat. Thank you