Credit cards Insurance

COVID-19: credit card trip cancellation and interruption insurance

To the point You had a trip coming up, and you paid for it with your credit card? Here is the main information to help you following the COVID-19 situation.

Relevant credit cards

Most credit cards offer trip cancellation and/or interruption insurance:

  • Mastercard World Elite
  • Visa Infinite / Infinite Privilege
  • some American Express cards

I recommend that you refer to the insurance booklet provided upon receipt of your credit card . If you no longer have it, most bank websites offer a PDF version.

Here are links to the most common credit cards(information provided for information purposes only):

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Terms and conditions

Several parameters will come into play so that your credit card ‘s trip cancellation and interruption insurance can be applied.

The terms and conditions of your credit card

Each credit card has different terms and conditions for your Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance to take effect.

Just because you have a “World Elite” does not mean that the rule is equivalent for all “World Elite” cards offered by Desjardins, National Bank or BMO.

The conditions therefore vary from one issuer to another depending on whether you have paid:

  • all or part of the amount of your trip with your card (the most generous option)
  • 75% of the amount of your trip with your card
  • the full amount of your trip with your card (the most restrictive option)

Similarly, for those who have used travel points, you are generally covered when you have used PROGRAM travel points offered by your credit card:

On the other hand, if you have used a credit card from one program and points from another program, it will often be difficult to trigger insurance:

  • For example, if you use your AIR MILES bonus miles and pay taxes with an Aeroplan credit card

However, there too, you may benefit from flexibility from your credit card issuer, so do not hesitate to make a claim.

Government of Canada Announcement

Until very recently, only destinations that the Government of Canada had formally advised travellers not to visit (China, Italy, etc.) allowed credit cards trip cancellation or interruption insurance to be used.

However, since March 13, 2020, the Government of Canada has formally discouraged all foreign travel.

Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. To limit the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented travel or entry/exit restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines. The airlines have cancelled flights. New restrictions may be imposed with little notice. Your travel plans can be severely disrupted and you may be forced to stay abroad longer than you had planned.

Gouvernement du Canada - Conseils aux voyageurs
Canada Travellers Warning March 13, 2020

Insurance companies adjust their policies to allow you to be compensated for any trip booked BEFORE that date.

However, if you decide to book a new trip, trip cancellation and interruption insurance may not be activated for this reason! Indeed, now you are aware of the risks!

It will be interesting to see how policies will adjust once this crisis is behind us!

Are you currently travelling?

If you are currently travelling, check to see if your credit card has “trip interruption” insurance. This can be triggered under certain conditions:

  • during your trip
  • and until the scheduled return date
assurance vol retard bankrupt recours faillite

If you are currently travelling, check to see if your credit card has “trip interruption” insurance. This can be triggered under certain conditions:

  • during your trip
  • and until the scheduled return date

The COVID-19 situation, particularly since the Government of Canada’s call to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada and to ask travellers to return home, is part of the conditions of this insurance.

IMG 8837

With trip interruption insurance, you could get:

  • A refund of the non-refundable AND unused portion of your travel expenses (up to a certain limit),
  • Coverage of the costs incurred by your early return (plane ticket, hotels, transportation costs such as taxi, food…).

Compensation will vary depending on the credit cards:

  • $500 to $2,500 per insured person
  • with a maximum amount for the whole family

In this article specific to credit cards trip cancellation and interruption insurance, you will find the credit cards we recommend.

Contact your travel provider first

It is ESSENTIAL to first contact the travel provider BEFORE contacting your credit card insurance company.

In fact, your credit card’s Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance will cover – up to the limit of your contract – all NON-REFUNDABLE travel expenses.

Since airlines, hotel groups and many other service providers have considerably relaxed their cancellation conditions – some of them allowing full reimbursement of the costs incurred – the insurance will first refer you to these providers BEFORE processing your file.

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Useful credit card insurance numbers

Only once you are aware of the actions taken by your travel provider will you be able to contact your credit card insurance.

Here is a list of the main telephone numbers. You can also get this information by calling the number on the back of your credit card.

Bank Number
American Express 1 800 243-0198
BMO 1 800 263-2263
NBC 1 888 235-2645
514 286-8345
CIBC 1 866 363-3338
905 403-3338
Desjardins 1 800-465-7822
or online
RBC 1 800 533-2278
905 816-2581
Scotia 1 877-391-7507
416 572-3636
TD 1 866-374-1129

A reminder of common sense

If your trip is scheduled to take place in more than a month, be patient before calling your airline or insurance company. We are in a situation never seen before: the call centers are overwhelmed!

So make room for other people whose trips are planned in the very near future (less than 15 days) and who need more help!

Don’t worry, cancellation policies won’t change overnight!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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