Are award flights covered by my credit card insurance?

Only a select few credit cards provide insurance for trip cancellation, trip interruption, flight and baggage delay, etc. on award ticket when the taxes and fees are charged to the credit card – these include the TD and CIBC Aeroplan cards.

Meanwhile, many of the premium credit cards out there provide comprehensive emergency medical insurance for the primary cardholder simply by virtue of being a cardholder and regardless of whether the cost of travel was charged to the card.

There are really two questions being asked here. Normally, when you charge airfare to a premium travel credit card, you enjoy certain insurance benefits. Out-of-province emergency medical insurance is a big one, while other types of insurance are related to operational aspects of the trip itself, such as flight and baggage delay insurance, trip cancellation insurance, and trip interruption insurance.

Very few credit cards provide the latter type of travel insurance when you redeem miles for a flight, since they typically require the full cost of airfare to be charged to the card.

The exceptions are TD and CIBC’s Aeroplan credit cards, such as the CIBC Aerogold Visa Card for Business – since the cards are affiliated with Aeroplan, they’ll provide insurance coverage on Aeroplan award tickets when you pay for the taxes and fees using your Aeroplan co-branded credit card. It can therefore be a good idea to pay for the taxes and fees using one of these cards whenever you’re redeeming Aeroplan miles.

Meanwhile, several premium credit cards provide emergency medical insurance, and a few of these cards have terms and conditions that specifically state that you are covered under the insurance just by virtue of being a cardholder. In these cases, your trip would certainly qualify for the medical insurance regardless of whether it was purchased with points or cash, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing separate travel insurance at all.

Examples of these cards include the RBC Visa Infinite Avion and the BMO Rewards MasterCard World Elite. It’s definitely handy to keep one of these cards around to take care of all your travel medical insurance needs.

Last updated 17 November 2018. Any questions?
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