Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Travel Reward Credit Card Medical Insurance Coverage

Make sure you enjoy that golf course in Palm Springs
knowing that you are properly covered by your
Credit Card travel insurance


With the emergence of Credit Card Emergency Travel Medical Insurance coverage over the past few years, I have been receiving more and more requests from some of Rewards Canada 'seasoned' readers about coverage once they hit 65 years old. I did look into this a few years back and just personally responded via email to those who asked. But somehow when 2013 hit, I have already received numerous emails asking about which credit cards provide Emergency Travel Medical Insurance coverage for people over the age of 65. So I figured it was best to summarize all the information into one post.

I have gone through all of the major Travel Rewards credit cards in Canada that provide this insurance benefit and summarized their age coverage in the chart below.

I do want to stress however that if you are picking a card primarily for the Travel Medical Insurance coverage be sure to read the policy before you get the card to see what is and what isn't covered, coverage periods and more as each card has their own 'exclusions' and such. Here are some of the things that stood out for me:
  • Most of the plans will only cover you for pre-existing conditions (known or unknown in some cases) when those conditions are/were considered stable prior to traveling. Now the difference comes in in the time period that you have to be stable, I found most cards require 90 days prior to travel but some were as high as 180 days. Now a pre-existing condition can be different than a Medical or chronic condition which is controlled but once again during that 90 or 180 day period there usually can't be any changes or other treatment for the condition. Some will not cover routine care for a chronic condition
  • If you are traveling 9 weeks prior to or after giving birth many of the cards will not cover you if any medical issues arise that are related to the pregnancy
  • If you are young (or young at heart) and go party in Cancun during Spring Break, many of the cards will not cover you for medical emergencies that happen while you are intoxicated.
  • Certain dangerous or professional sports are not covered, even Scuba Diving is an exclusion unless you hold a basic designation from a certified school or licencing body.
These are only a few of the conditions and/or exclusions. Key word here in many of the cases is Emergency, so if you are getting routine care for something prior to travel there is a possibility it may not be covered. Also many of the policies require you to contact the insurer as soon as possible and get approval for the treatment except where the emergency is life threatening: This excerpt is taken from the Scotiagold Passport Visa policy:
"No benefits will be payable for surgery or invasive procedures (such as cardiac catheterization) without prior approval by Scotia Assist, except in extreme circumstances where a request for prior approval would delay surgery needed in a life threatening medical crisis."
So please, before you choose a card based solely on the medical insurance please read the policies of those that you are considering before making your decision.

Emergency Travel Medical Insurance Coverage Periods by Age
Bolding represents the best offer for the age category
Card / Age Group 54 or under 55-59 60 - 64 65 - 75 76+
American Express AeroplanPlus Platinum Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No Coverage No Coverage
American Express Gold Rewards Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No Coverage No Coverage
The Platinum Card from American Express 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No Coverage No Coverage
BMO World Elite MasterCard 21 Days 21 Days 21 Days No Coverage No Coverage
CIBC Aerogold Visa Infinite 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 3 Days 3 Days
CIBC Aventura Visa Infinte 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No Coverage No Coverage
CIBC Aventura World MasterCard 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days No Coverage No Coverage
CUETS Platinum Class MasterCard 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days No Coverage
CUETS Gold MasterCard 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days No Coverage
Delta SkyMiles® World MasterCard® from Capital One® See Application
Desjardins Odyssey GOLD 48 Days 48 Days 23 Days 15 Days Please Contact them
Desjardins Module GOLD 3 Days 3 Days 3 Days 3 Days 3 Days
Desjardins Elegance GOLD 3 Days 3 Days 3 Days 3 Days 3 Days
HSBC Premier MasterCard 17 Days 17 Days 17 Days Unknown Unknown
National Bank of Canada Platinum MasterCard 60 Days 31 Days 31 Days 15 Days (to 74) No Coverage
Priority Club® World MasterCard® from Capital One® See Application
RBC British Airways Visa Infinite 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 7 Days 7 Days
RBC Cathay Pacific Visa Platinum 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 7 Days 7 Days
RBC Rewards Visa Preferred 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 7 Days 7 Days
RBC Visa Infinite Avion 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 3 Days 3 Days
Scotiabank American Express Card 8 Days 8 Days 8 Days 3 Days 3 Days
Scotiabank Gold American Express Card 25 Days 25 Days 25 Days 10 Days 10 Days
Scotiabank Platinum American Express Card 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days 10 Days 10 Days
Scotiagold Passport Visa 31 Days 31 Days 31 Days No Coverage No Coverage
TD First Class Visa Infinite Card 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 4 Days 4 Days
WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard 15 Days 15 Days 15 Days 3 Days 3 Days
“The interest rates, fees, rewards details, benefits and other details of the Capital One product(s) described in the article may have changed since the time of publication. Please consult the product information pages on the Capital One website for accurate product details. In the event of any conflict between the product details in this article and the Capital One website, the details on the Capital One website shall prevail.”


  1. Thank you, this is a great summary post

    Capital One Aspire (under MC benefits) offers 22 days which
    As the primary cardholder, you, your spouse and your dependent children, when travelling with either parent, are covered for trips up to 22 days, if under 65 years of age, and for trips up to 8 days, if 65 years of age or older. This benefit is subject to an exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions.

  2. BMO Mastercards appear to have the ability to ADD travel insurance coverage to their cards. I have a US$ Mastercard with them and the all inclusive travel insurance costs $99 till age 65, then $299 till age 69 (or 70, forget which) and then $399 till age 74 (or 75). The policy covers trips up to 30 days and also includes cancellation and lost baggage, etc. The usual range of pre-conditions and other disclaimers applies.

    1. Most cards offer additional insurance coverage for a fee. In fact when researching that was a common theme if you were over their highest age level or needed coverage at any age beyond the card limit you can contact them to purchase additional insurance.

    2. I have the Canadian version and pay an extra @299 and I hit 69 tomorrow so I tried to contact them to see when I need to up mine to $399 but they put you on hold for ever.

  3. Thanks for this.....it would be worthwhile to add a column for annual card fee & one for extra card

    1. You can find the annual fees and way more information on Rewards Canada's comparison charts, see here: http://www.rewardscanada.ca/cccompare-all.html

  4. It would also be interesting to know the number of medical claims made, and how many of these claims are approved or rejected.

  5. This is a very helpful summary. Since I am currently looking for travel medical insurance I did as you advised and read through the policies that relate to the medical insurance offered by the various cards. For most cards this was easy to do because a link to the policy was in plain view on the appropriate web site. Not so for the CUETS Platinum Class and CUETS Gold MasterCards where all that is given is a brief summary. Eventually I contacted them and asked if they could send me the policy. No they would not. I was told that: "The actual certificate of insurance is only sent with the welcome package sent to new cardholders". Apparently one has to buy the card before they will let you know what you are getting.

  6. Great List. Thank you.
    Do you have anything on Desjardin Platinum Card holders ?

  7. The Desjardin Platinum has the same medical coverage as the Desjardins Odyssey

  8. Thanks for sharing this awesome & useful information. It is really helpful info for the passionate golfers of LaQuinta Palm Springs Golf Clubs