Q: I have a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. I got it because of the good reviews I saw online, especially for their cancellation insurance benefit.
We used the card to pay for part of a snorkeling trip to Cuba. My husband tested positive for COVID two days before we were supposed to leave, and we had to cancel. The entire trip was nonrefundable at that point.
I filed a claim with Chase seven months ago. I have spent numerous hours on the phone, as well as online, communicating with its claims department. I’ve spent many hours on hold and spoken with at least a dozen people at Chase.
A Chase representative told me three months after I filed my claim that it had been approved, but that it needed to be “verified.” After more calls, Chase still needed more documentation. Can you help me get my claim for $15,194 approved?
— Judy Lambert, Sacramento, California
A: Chase should have processed your claim quickly, as promised. Instead, it took its time, dragging it on for months.
I have never been a fan of credit cards that try to hook you with all kinds of bells and whistles, but when a card like Chase Sapphire Reserve makes a promise to you, it should keep it.
In your case, you received a call from a representative months ago assuring you that a check for $15,194 was in the mail, only to discover another email from its claims processor asking for more documentation.
It isn’t unusual for a travel insurance company to dot every “i” and cross every “t” when you have a large claim. It is unusual to have the claim drag on for this long. I reviewed the paper trail between you and Chase. It appears you quickly sent everything that the company asked for.
So why the delay? All travel insurance companies experienced delays this summer because of a surge in claims related to COVID, in addition to airline delays and cancellations. It’s possible that your claim got stuck in that pile.
There’s a way to get unstuck. You can send a brief, polite email to the claims department. If that doesn’t work, you can appeal to one of the company executives. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Chase executives on my consumer advocacy site at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/chase-bank/. I also have tips on how to file an insurance claim in my free guide to travel insurance found at www.elliott.org/ultimate-consumer-guides-smart-travelers/how-find-best-travel-insurance/.
I contacted Chase on your behalf. A representative called you and said your claim had already been approved and that the check was on its way. This time, you got your money. “I was ready to give up,” you said. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your help.”
That’s what I do. I’m happy to help.
Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers resolve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Contact him at elliott.org/help or firstname.lastname@example.org.