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


a group of credit cards

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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