Amex Adds Travel Insurance to Amex Platinum, Other Top Cards
American Express is adding trip delay and cancellation coverage to the Platinum Card from American Express and some of its other top travel rewards cards, addressing a glaring shortcoming that should encourage more users to purchase flights with their Amex cards.
These new travel insurance policies will take effect for purchases starting Jan. 1, 2020, The Points Guy reported. Top-dollar cards like the American Express Platinum, the American Express Business Platinum, the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express, and the Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express will get the richest coverage. Lesser cards like American Express Gold and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express will be eligible for reimbursement after lengthy flight delays.
These policies are more or less identical to what you get with the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offer some of the best travel protections out there. Add in the 5x points per dollar you earn on the Platinum Card from American Express when booking flights directly with the airline, and the Platinum Card will become the absolute best way to book flights come 2020.
Unfortunately, there’s a bit of bad news: Amex is cutting roadside assistance as well as travel accident insurance on these cards effective Jan. 1, 2020. But these new travel protections should more than outweigh those cuts for most travelers.
Details on Travel Coverage
Just what coverage you’ll get will depend on which American Express card you have. The most comprehensive coverage is reserved for Amex cards with large annual fees, including:
- The Platinum Card from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express
- American Express Corporate Platinum Card
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
- Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express
- Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
If you pay for your round-trip flight with one of these cards – or put the taxes and fees on an award flight on it – you will be eligible for:
- Trip Cancellation Insurance: You can get reimbursed for up to $10,000 of nonrefundable expenses – and up to $20,000 a year total – if your flight is canceled due to weather, an injury or illness, and other “covered reasons.”
- Trip Delay Insurance: If your flight is delayed by more than six hours, you are eligible for up to $500 in reimbursement for lodging, food, and other associated expenses.
Note that these flights must be round-trip. It appears that one-way flights will not qualify for travel coverage.
With some of the lesser Amex cards like the American Express Gold Card and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles co-branded card, you’ll only be eligible for up to $300 in reimbursement if your flight is delayed by 12-plus hours. These cards aren’t eligible for trip cancellation coverage.
But you’ll be eligible for coverage so long as you either pay for the round-trip flight with your card or use it to pay the taxes and fees on an award booking.
American Express is axing a massive travel accident policy as well as roadside assistance on all of its cards, arguing that these benefits were rarely used.
This is a game-changing move for American Express cardholders and a massive win for many travelers.
This will more or less end the debate over which card is better to book airfare: The Chase Sapphire Reserve vs. The American Express Platinum card. Right now, you have to weigh the unbeatable 5x bonus points you get when booking airfare with the Platinum card versus the travel coverage that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Come January, The Platinum Card from American Express will more or less match Chase’s top-tier travel protection – aside from the apparent restriction that flights must be booked round-trip to qualify for coverage. And it will still have the Chase card’s 3x return beat when booking flights.
This addition comes the day after Citi formally ended all travel insurance policies on many of its cards, including co-branded American Airlines credit cards.
The lack of travel protection policies was one of few flaws on the American Express Platinum and other top-tier Amex cards. With this change come Jan. 1, 2020, that’s no longer an issue.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.