Motherfucker, shit goes wrong. You’re in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and all of a sudden one of your internal organs are no longer entirely internal, or one of the bones you use for walking is in two pieces, or you are on the inside looking out at an avalanche, and you’re like, who the fuck is going to get me out of here? And when they do, who’s gonna pay for it? I’m in Fuckknowswhere, World.
Well, it turns out that there are four credit cards that will pay to have you transported by whatever means necessary to the nearest hospital and/or brought home if that’s what the doc says. They’ll even pay to bring you home as a fucking corpse, but try to avoid that, it’s kind of a downer.
You might think one of the cards that offers this is from American Express, but you would be wrong (unless it’s an Amex Platinum issued to you in Latin America, the Carribean, or Bermuda). Their Platinum card used to offer medical evacuation, but they took it away, because they think that nothing bad will happen to you in their fancy Centurion lounges, which is now the useful thing about that card. Sorry, I digress. They will still bring you home from an inadequate medical facility if it’s medically necessary, but getting to said medical facility in the first place appears to now be your problem.
Anyway, the cards that will bail your sorry ass out of whatever stupid situation you got yourself into are:
Chase United MileagePlus Club: Color me surprised, but this card appears to offer the only evacuate-at-any-cost coverage of any card available. The main reason for holding this card is, in my opinion, to get many of the elite status benefits on United without actually having to earn them by flying. However, if you’re an adventurous (or just unlucky) traveler, its unlimited medical evacuation feature might be a compelling enough reason in and of itself — your ass is covered even if you use this card for only a small portion of your plane ticket (e.g. the taxes on an otherwise free award ticket). This card is $450/year.
Chase Sapphire Reserve: This card appears to offer everything the MileagePlus Club card does in terms of medical evacuation, except that coverage is capped at $100,000. It’s $450/year, but you get $300 back for airfare or other travel expenses.
Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards: This appears to offer everything the MileagePlus Club card does in terms of medical evacuation, except that coverage is capped at $100,000. This card is $450/year, but you get $300 back for travel incidentals (but not airfare itself), and $100 back for airline bookings of 2-5 people (that’s $100 total, not per person).
Citi Prestige: This card can easily have its entire cost negated by buying one plane ticket with it, and by using its 4th-night-in-any-hotel-free perk. But it will also get you out of whatever pickle you’re in, with coverage capped at $100,000. Unlike the above cards, however, you have to put your entire plane fare on this card to get the coverage, which means that you may be shit out of luck if you’re flying on an award ticket when that polar bear gets you. This card is $450/year, but possibly $350 if you apply in branch, and you get $250 back towards airfare or travel incidentals.
City National Bank Crystal: This card does offer medical evacuation, but only up to $10,000, and it’s a very difficult card to get, so I don’t really count it in this list; it’s only here for completeness. This card is $400/year, and I don’t know what you get back because I don’t care.
(h/t MileCards.com, but ignore the outdated part about American Express Platinum)