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4 credit cards you need when travel delays strike

The information board Logan International Airport shows the majority of flights cancelled as winter storm conditions begin to enter the area during Winter Storm Stella. (Getty)

On Tuesday, winter storm Stella pummeled parts of the Northeast, forcing school closings, and causing power outages and widespread travel delays. All told, airlines canceled more than 8,000 flights on Monday and Tuesday, stranding countless travelers at airports across the US. In most cases, airlines waived change fees for customers who had to adjust their travel plans. Still, many were left footing the bill for hotel accommodations and meals while their flights were being rescheduled.

If you were stranded this week, and found yourself incurring expenses due to the delay, there might be a way to get back some of the money you spent. Several credit cards have travel delay and cancellation protections designed to reimburse cardholders for costs associated with travel interruptions after. Typically, reimbursement claims must be filed within 60 days of the delay or cancellation.

“If your flight is delayed by 12 hours or more, your credit card might help cover your expenses,” said Sean McQuay, credit and banking expert at NerdWallet. “The delay will still be painful but at least it can be less expensive.”

So before you book your next trip, do some research to see if your credit card offers travel protections and benefits — it could end off paying off in the long run. Selecting a credit card is always a personal decision, but here are a few cards with travel benefits that could help save money during your next travel snafu.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Annual fee: Free for the first year, then $95 annually

Coverage: The Chase Sapphire Preferred provides a trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 for expenses such as meals and lodging if your carrier (airline, cruise, train) is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay.

The cardholder and their immediate family will be automatically covered for up to $10,000 if they are prevented from taking a covered trip on or before the scheduled departure date. A covered trip includes a pre-paid tour or vacation. Acceptable reasons for cancellation include, but are not limited to, severe weather, a terrorist act or accidental body injury.

Restrictions: The trip must be booked using the credit card, and cardholders must file a claim within 60 days of the delay.

Full details on Chase Sapphire Preferred travel protections.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Annual fee: $450

Coverage: The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides a trip delay reimbursement of up to $500 for expenses such as meals, and lodging if your carrier (airline, cruise, train) is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay.

Similar to the Chase Preferred, the cardholder and their immediate family will be automatically covered for up to $10,000 if they are prevented from taking a covered trip on or before the scheduled departure date. A covered trip includes a pre-paid tour or vacation. Acceptable reasons for cancellation include severe weather, a terrorist act or or accidental body injury.

Restrictions: The trip must be booked using the credit card, and cardholders must file a claim within 60 days of the delay.

Full details on Chase Sapphire Reserve travel protections.

Citi Prestige

Annual fee: $450

Coverage: If a traveler is delayed for at least three hours because of severe weather, a natural disaster or unannounced strike, the Citi Prestige card may reimburse you for expenses including lodging, ground transportation, meals and expenses like toiletries. The benefit covers the cardholder as well as companions and family members.

The Citi Prestige also comes with trip cancellation and interruption protection, which provides coverage up to $5,000 per covered traveler, per trip. If your trip is canceled due to severe weather or a natural disaster, or if you miss more than half of your trip because of missed connections or delayed departures, you will be reimbursed for forfeited deposits, unused transportation tickets, fees charged by the airline, and other unused nonrefundable travel expenses.

Restrictions: Cardholders must use their Citi card or “ThankYou Points” to purchase fare on a common carrier (plane, train, cruise, etc.). Claim must be filed within 60 days of the delay.

Full details on Citi Prestige travel protections.

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

Annual fee: $0

Coverage: If your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $5,000 per trip for your pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses (like airfare), including passenger fares, tours and hotels.

If your common carrier travel (plane, cruise, train) is delayed more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay, you and your family are covered for unreimbursed expenses, such as meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket.

Restrictions: These benefits are only available when you use your card.

Full details on Marriott Rewards Premier card travel protections.

Brittany is a writer at Yahoo Finance.

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