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My Chase Sapphire Reserve card refunded my vacation rental, and then it didn't

When Warren Yue cancels a vacation rental for a church retreat before the pandemic, he initially gets a refund from his Chase Sapphire Reserve card. But then it backtracks, deducting half his money. What gives?

I paid for a vacation rental in Oceanside, Calif., for our church fellowship group before the pandemic. I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which has travel insurance.

We had to cancel the trip because of COVID. The vacation rental management company offered a full refund but then changed its offer to a credit. I wanted my money back because we were unlikely to take the trip. I disputed the charge on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card and received a full refund.

Now, Chase has taken half my refund back ($1,370). Chase says it has no choice because the merchant has sued it.

I told Chase the merchant kept changing its policy. First, it said my stay was 100 percent refundable. Then it only offered a credit. And then it was 50 percent refundable after 30 days. I am the victim since I did not choose to cancel. I was complying with a government order. Chase has been making big bucks for not paying the cardholder, which I think is unethical. Can you help?

Warren Yue, Monterey Park, Calif.

Your vacation rental manager should have refunded every last penny, as promised. But there's a little more to your case.

First, you mention that Chase offers travel insurance coverage on its Sapphire Reserve card. Yes, it does. But you didn't file a claim on your benefits. Instead, you filed a credit card dispute to get your refund. And Chase sided with you -- at least initially.

Understanding the difference between a credit card dispute and an insurance claim is essential. The latter should happen any time you have to cancel a trip. The former is the last resort when the merchant refuses to deliver a promised refund.

Chase told you that the merchant sued it and then reversed its decision. That's highly unusual. A credit card company's relationship with a merchant is none of your concern. But it's even stranger to have a dispute reversed this way. This is the first time I've seen a case like this. I have more information about chargebacks in my ultimate guide to credit card disputes.

I think this might have gone differently if you'd filed a claim under your Chase Sapphire Reserve card's travel insurance benefits. It would have probably covered your cancellation as a trip interruption.

I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Chase executives on my consumer advocacy site, A brief, polite email to one of them might have yielded a more favorable outcome.

I contacted Chase on your behalf. The company refunded the $1,370 it had taken without offering an explanation.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at [email protected] or get help by contacting him at

© 2023 Christopher Elliott


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