Travel on Business or Pleasure

Finance | Prager Metis | Sep 10, 2015

Travel With a Peace of Mind

Going on vacation or a business trip is something we all look forward to: the planning the packing the mental checklist of:

  1. passport
  2. ticket
  3. did you stop the mail
  4. etc.

You hope that all of that will eventually lead to the relaxing, carefree trip you were hoping for. But how prepared are you? Have you thought about what could go wrong on this trip? What if you get sick – what happens next? Maybe your health insurance will cover you – but what if it won’t? It just so happens that your credit card might just save your life.

Several Platinum level cards provide Medevac Services. First, what is Medevac? Otherwise known as “Medical Evacuation,” it covers the expense of getting you to either the nearest medical facility where you can receive the care you need or of bringing to a hospital back home, depending on your medical situation.

A friend of one of the Prager Metis staff went through her own experience with Medevac. She was horseback riding in St. Martin, where she ended up falling off the horse and rupturing her spleen. She was rushed to the hospital, but the staff only spoke French and she couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying. Using her Platinum services she was able to be transferred to Puerto Rico where she stayed for a month. After being released from the hospital, she stayed in a hotel for a week or so before she was able to make her way home.

Although we tend to not consider the “what ifs” during trips, it is important to have the peace of mind to know that if anything were to go wrong you would be safe and well taken care of. Every card is different, but the majority of platinum cards offer the basics:

  • Transportation to the nearest hospital, or home deemed by your physician
  • Air Ambulance if deemed necessary

The two common Platinum cards with Medevac services are American Express and Citibank. There are other cards, but these two cover the majority of the services. With American Express, a spouse and children up to the age of 26 (older if a full-time student) is covered. Also not any part of your trip has to be paid with the American Express credit card. Now with Citibank, a spouse and children up to 18 (older if a full-time student) is covered, but one aspect of your trip must be paid for with the Citibank card.

When traveling within the U.S., your health insurance will usually cover your medical expenses and will always be able to accept your credit cards. But when you are overseas or even in Mexico or the Caribbean they will not always accept your credit cards, you would need cash. And not until you get home would you be able to file the claim with your insurance provider. Now with that being said, if something were to happen when you’re traveling and you need to be medically evacuated the costs can be $30,000-$50,000 domestically and $80,000-$150,000 internationally. If you don’t have the Medevac services with your Platinum card, who’s going to pay for it?

A client of Prager Metis was incredibly thankful to have the American Express Platinum benefits. After traveling nine hours from New York to Brazil for a wedding, getting off the plane he felt numb in his right leg and completely keeled over.  Fast forward twelve hours and he had a blood clot removed from his brain. After being sedated for twelve days, he slowly regained physical activity and eye contact. Once he was awake the family yearned to get him back home to New York for medical care. The hospital bills had to be taken care of with credit cards, while the doctor’s bills had to be paid for with a wire transfer. After discovering that they had the Platinum card they sought out the Medevac services. The total cost for the Medevac services was over $100,000 and it was handled by the American Express service. Thankfully, he is now back home getting the treatment he needs.

Platinum credit cards always come with perks and rewards for points, but the promise to protect you seems like an incredible benefit.


NOTE: Prager Metis CPAs, LLC has no relations with American Express or Citibank cards. We just feel that our clients and friends need to know what we discovered after research.