You are currently viewing How to get a nice hotel and meals for FREE during every delayed flight

So many travelers unfortunately don’t know one of the most vital tips for traveling. I really don’t take this statement lightly… I share a lot of travel tips with you and still: this is one of the simplest and most essential ones. It really makes no sense not to take advantage of it, at all!

This tip is for all travelers. The only good excuse not to use it is if you don’t know it exists. And you don’t have that excuse anymore.

The fact is, a delayed flight is inevitable. If you never had your flights canceled or delayed, it’s because you’re clearly not traveling enough. We’ll help you with that this fall with some awesome guides!

So here’s an overview of how to get a nice hotel and great meals for free for every delayed flight… no matter the cause for cancelation or delay (and most importantly, without having to depend on anyone).


The basic tip to get a nice hotel for free

Flight cancelations and delays happen. They’ve always happened. And they will always happen (although you can try to avoid delayed flights with our tips).

For example, only 79% of flights arrived on time in 2019 in the US; so it has nothing to do with the pandemic.

Knowing that, take responsibility!

It’s so easy to get a nice hotel and good food for free when it happens!

So easy to not have to be one of the travelers:

  • who complains that the airline never pays for a hotel when the cause for delay is beyond their control
  • who has to wait in line to beg the airline if the cause is within their control
  • who has to argue with the airline when the cause is within their control, but they lie and say it isn’t
  • who gets stuck with a basic hotel instead of a very nice one
  • who doesn’t even earn free nights for future travel thanks to the flight cancelation

So, how?

Always pay for your flights with a credit card that includes free flight delay insurance!

That’s it! It’s that easy!

And you can get lots of free travel too, if you’re a savvy traveler!

But just because of this free insurance, at least during flight delays, you’ll have $500 (or even $1000) to reimburse your hotels and meals.

For example, the American Express Gold Card has this insurance and currently gives you ≈ $1065 in rewards for $150 net with its incredible increased welcome bonus. It’s a Flytrippers Valuation of ≈ $915, one of the best ever!!! 

American Express® Gold Rewards Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $1180*
Card fee: $250

minimum income required: $0
spend $1,000/month
for 12 months
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Amex is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.


If you can’t spend as much, the American Express Aeroplan Card has this insurance and actually  gives you ≈ $1065 in rewards for $120, currently the highest welcome bonus ever seen on a non-premium card (but with a few less benefits)! 

American Express® Aeroplan®* Card
Flytrippers Valuation
of Welcome bonus (net value)
≈ $
Rewards: ≈ $675*
Card fee: $120

minimum income required: $0
spend $3,000
in 3 months + $1,000
Terms and conditions apply. Flytrippers editorial opinion only. Amex is not responsible for maintaining the content on this site. Please click "Apply Now" to see most up-to-date information.


The 5 crazy welcome bonus deals of the moment, which give you between ≈ $780 and ≈ $1211 in net value, all have flight delay insurance.

Almost all cards worth considering give you a very nice hotel and good meals for free during delays and cancelations. And it doesn’t matter what the cause for delay is! It’s so easy! 

Just to be clear: sometimes the airline will provide you with a free hotel, but not if the delay is beyond their control (like weather, which is literally the most common cause for delays). And even if they do, it’s obviously still better to choose the hotel you want: to have the nicest hotel, to be able to earn points on the expense, and to be able to avoid the wait lines and the trouble!

Flight delay insurance doesn’t help you get there faster and it’s not a cash compensation, but at least it covers your expenses and allows you to earn extra points!

The delay has to be at least 4 hours (or 6 hours with some non-Amex cards), so even if it isn’t long enough to need a hotel, at least you’ll get really good free meals if the delay is slightly long.

I’ll explain all the details below.

But if it makes you feel any better, I’ve used this free insurance 10 times in the last ≈ 5 years and it works great! All 10 times, all of my expenses have been reimbursed, without exception and without having any problems.

I seriously love when my flights are delayed (because I follow another very basic tip).

I got over $5000 worth of hotels during my delays with this insurance, but I also earned over $1000 in hotel points for future free nights as well!

It’s super simple too. Now, many credit card insurance companies (like the one Amex uses) send an Interac transfer instead of a check like this one from long ago (before I got one of the 2 premium cards that give $1000 instead of “just” $500 like all the other ones).

One of the 10 payments I received with flight delay insurance (image credit: Andrew D’Amours/Flytrippers)


One of the best travel benefits

Yes, in addition to giving you literally thousands of dollars in free travel if you stop missing out on the wonderful world of travel rewards (our savvy Flytrippers readers have earned over 1 million dollars in free travel just from welcome bonuses)…

And in addition to giving incredible benefits such as access to airport lounges, free NEXUS cards to avoid all the wait lines in Canada and the US, free checked bags, and many more…

Good credit cards also offer many different types of free insurance coverage.

It’s one of the best benefits. And it’s always free if you get new cards, if you understand the basics of travel rewards, unlike those who pay card fees for nothing without getting free travel as a welcome bonus…

Flight delay insurance is the best and most convenient of the insurance coverage.

Car rental insurance saves you a lot of money (every time you rent a car). Medical travel insurance saves you even more (if something happens). You get insurance to protect your purchases and double the warranty on everything too. Plus all the many other free coverages.

That’s all very nice.

But it’s hard to beat the great feeling of:

  • being out of the airport in 30 seconds once a flight is canceled
  • getting to relax when all the other frustrated people have to wait in line to probably end up getting nothing
  • booking a nice expensive hotel and spoiling yourself in luxuries you wouldn’t have paid for with cash
  • earning points for future free nights since you’re paying with cash
  • receiving a quick reimbursement that makes it all free

You just need to pay for your flights with your credit card and you’ll get this great flight delay insurance for free!


The most striking example of this trick

Imagine how sad we feel, as travel pros, to see so many people miss out on such a nice and valuable benefit that’s so easy to get…

Here’s just one example before I give you more info on the flight delay insurance itself.

Travelers who don’t know this trick are literally sleeping on the floor on yoga mats at the Toronto airport

Savvy travelers, on the other hand, go to very luxurious 5-star hotels like the absolutely stunning St. Regis Istanbul where I spent the night during my delayed flight in Turkey just before the pandemic.

The façade of the St. Regis Istanbul (photo credit: Marriott)


It was the best hotel stay of my life (and with 66 countries visited, there have been many, many stays), at least in terms of quality (because it’s safe to say that just one night and a few hours isn’t very long). 

And it was 100% free!

An airport floor… or a hotel with a butler performing turndown service for you when you’re ready for bed.

What a difficult choice! Imagine if someone chose the airport floor knowing this tip…

Sleeping on a yoga mat on the floor! When all you had to do was get a card that gives you almost $1000 in value PLUS insurance! It’s so simple!

There are so many examples that show the stark contrast between the quality of travel experience for those who get into travel rewards and the travel experience of others… but this one is pretty hard to beat.


All the details of this tip

More specifically, here’s how to get a very nice hotel and good meals for free when your flight is canceled.

It’s a summary, so all the details will follow in the full update of this article very soon!

Before the day of the flight:

  • Get a new credit card that has flight delay insurance (and don’t close your OLD ones)
  • Get a new one even if you already have the insurance so you can get ≈ $1000 in rewards
  • Pay your flight in full with your card that has insurance
  • Check your insurance details

The day of the flight:

  • Wait until the delay exceeds the minimum of 4 hours (or 6 hours with some cards)
  • Keep absolutely all proofs of the delay (and take even more)
  • Call the insurance company to open a claim (sometimes you can do it later) 
  • Plan on how you’ll maximize your $500 (or $1000 with some cards)
  • Book an expensive hotel with Marriott to maximize your future nights (or
  • Relax at the hotel (if the logistics of your alternative flight are taken care of automatically)
  • Get a really good meal (at the Marriott hotel restaurant ideally)
  • Keep all of your hotel and meal receipts

After the day of the flight:

  • Fill out the claim form (almost always available online)
  • Attach all proofs, invoices, and other required documents
  • Send everything within the allotted time (often 30 days)
  • Receive the refund by check or Interac transfer


Want to receive the complete upcoming guide to flight delay insurance?



Missing out on hundreds of dollars in travel rewards doesn’t make much sense. Missing out on benefits such as free flight delay insurance makes no sense at all. So make sure to take advantage of these record-high offers right now! 

What would you like to know about this tip? Tell us in the comments below.


See the deals we spot: Cheap flights

Explore awesome destinations: Travel inspiration

Learn pro tricks: Travel tips

Discover free travel: Travel rewards


Featured image: Crowded airport (photo credit: unknown)

Original publication date: November 14, 2018


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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 71/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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