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- Last week, thousands of flights were cancelled or delayed due to a winter storm — and another storm is on the way.
- When a delay is caused by weather, airlines aren’t responsible for reimbursing your expenses like food, clothing, toiletries, or hotel rooms.
- However, if you pay for your ticket with the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, you’ll be covered thanks to the cards’ trip delay protections.
Less than a week after a harsh winter storm hit the Mid-Atlantic region and Northeast, leaving two million people without power and grounding more than 2,300 flights, another storm is forecast to crash through the same region.
Up to 6-12″ of snow is expected between late Tuesday night and early Thursday morning in areas including New York City, Philadelphia, and New Haven, with other major metropolitan areas from Boston to Washington, DC to see snow, rain, and heavy winds.
If you have any plans to travel this week, you may be able to change your flight if you’re flying into or out of an affected area. Delta and Southwest Airlines have already issued travel waivers for a number of cities, and other airlines are likely to follow suit.
However, if your plans don’t allow you to take advantage of travel waivers, or if your trip isn’t flying out of a specifically listed airport, you may face cancellations and heavy delays this week. This is especially possible because weather-related delays in one region can affect air travel across the country as aircraft pick up delays on various routes.
If you end up stranded or delayed, you can be reaccommodated on a later flight, but airlines generally aren’t responsible for any expenses you incur because of weather-related service disruptions. That means you’ll be on the hook for food, toiletries, changes of clothes, and a hotel room if you end up in that situation.
If you paid for at least part of your airfare with the right credit card, though, you may be in luck. Cards that include trip delay coverage offer up to $500 of coverage for incidental expenses because of a delayed or canceled flight. While several cards include the benefit, two of the most popular are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and its sibling, the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Both cards offer the same benefit of up to $500 per person whose ticket was purchased with the card. The coverage kicks in when a delay forces an overnight stay, or when the delay lasts a certain amount of time — 12 hours in the case of the Preferred, six hours in the case of the Reserve.
I almost always use my Chase card to book travel, especially when it’s an itinerary with a lot of moving parts, so that I’ll be covered if there are any delays. In addition, you can earn 2x points on all travel and dining with the Sapphire Preferred, and 3x points with the Sapphire Reserve.
If you were traveling last week and faced delays due to the nor’easter, you can make a claim as long as you purchased your ticket with one of those cards. Likewise, if you end up dealing with delays during this coming storm, make sure to save all your receipts so that you can file a claim later.