It Is About Time! Amex Adding Travel Protections To Premium Cards

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Amex Travel Insurance

Amex Travel Insurance Breakdown – New Perks for Premium Cards

Finally! It is long overdue that American Express added some travel insurance to their premium cards.  They have resisted this FOR YEARS even though their annual fees were the highest in the industry and kept going higher.  That is a big part of the reason they have been losing the premium card war to Chase and are still losing market share.  Their cards will be singing a different tune soon with their new Amex travel insurance.

Amex Travel Insurance

Amex Travel Insurance Breakdown

Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance – Starts 1/1/20

  • You must book a round-trip flight entirely with your Amex card to be eligible for the perk.
    • This includes taxes and fees for award tickets.
    • The flight must begin and end at the same airport to qualify as a roundtrip flight.
  • If the flight is canceled for a listed reason you may receive reimbursement of non-refundable travel expenses.
    • Up to $10,000 per trip
    • A maximum of up to $20,000 per account for a rolling 12-month period
  • Some of the covered reasons are
    • Inclement weather
    • Terrorist action
    • Call to jury
    • Sudden illness
    • Injury
The coverage will be included on the following cards:

Amex Travel Insurance

Trip Delay Insurance

American Express is also adding in trip delay insurance and they break it into two tiers.  Which tier you qualify for depends on which card you carry. This perk also starts after January 1, 2020.  Here are the perks for each:

Plat Card

Tier 1 – Flight Delayed More Than 6 Hours
  • Amex will cover up to $500 for
    • meals
    • lodgings
    • personal use items
  • The perk covers round-trip flights only which must be purchased fully with the card.
    • This includes taxes and fees for award tickets.
The following cards fall into Tier 1

Gold Biz Card

Tier 2 – Flight Delayed More Than 12 Hours

  • Amex will cover up to $300 for
    • meals
    • lodgings
    • personal use items
  • The perk covers round-trip flights only which must be purchased fully with the card.
    • This includes taxes and fees for award tickets.
The following cards fall into Tier 2

What I Like About The New Amex Travel Insurance Additions

I have long complained that American Express is far behind the pack because of their lack of travel insurance and their horrible airline incidental credits.  They could get away with it for a long time because they were the only big kid on the block but Chase changed all that.  Even Citi was giving them pressure for a while before they blew up their insurance program.

It is good to see that they have finally come around and realized their shortfall.  A $450-$550 card aimed at travelers and traveler spend should have insurance.  It was sad that the World of Hyatt card had travel insurance and the Amex Platinum didn’t.

The Amex Platinum has offered the best return on booking flights for a while (5X MR points) but people resisted booking them with the card because of the lack of protection it offered.  Now we can finally rack up our 5X Membership Rewards with confidence! And the fact that it covers award bookings is music to my ears. I also am a fan of it being only 6 hours before the delay insurance kicks in for tier 1 cards.

I also like that they gave some trip delay protection to the middle tiered cards.  That was a nice perk but I wish the cards got some of the cancellation coverage too.

Amex Travel Insurance

What I Don’t Like About The New Amex Travel Insurance Additions

I have to admit I kind of hate that round trip flights are required. It is more punitive than Chase’s terms but at least they didn’t rule out roundtrip award flights as well.

I think requiring the full cost of the flight be paid for by the card is also a big time negative.  This won’t allow us to use gift cards for a portion of the flight etc.

I also would have liked to see them add car rental coverage even if it isn’t a bonus category for them.  It would be nice to be covered for all forms of travel under the Amex travel insurance umbrella.

Final Thoughts

American Express made some negative changes to their credit card lineup along with adding the flight insurance.  I will cover those in a separate post too.

Overall I think the Amex travel insurance is a positive.  It allows us to use our premium American Express cards with confidence for flight bookings.  The change unlocks us to a better earning rate on flights versus the Chase Sapphire Reserve etc.

But I do think they fell a little short of where they could have. Only allowing the coverage on roundtrip tickets is kind of punitive and not allowing partial payments is another “gotcha”.  At least award tickets were not thrown into that mix too!  I would have loved to see some sort of car rental coverage too.

Share your thoughts on the changes below.

Hat Tip: TPG

8 COMMENTS

  1. Meh, I think of it like insurance. I hope I never need it, but I’m glad I’ve got it available to me. I don’t really travel enough to worry about it. The only time I’ve had an issue was this past Christmas, 2018 when it looked like my connecting flight in MSP (from LAS to DTW) was going to leave without me due to a delayed arrival into LAS. The Delta boothling that took my luggage was already offering me up an extra night stay in Vegas.

    Let me ask this: Let’s say there was this travel insurance available last Christmas. If Delta was offering me a room, would I still be able to take advantage of the Delta Reserve travel insurance options and max out my $500 at a restaurant? Because…I think I’ve found one more way to make this card a loss leader for AMEX! 🙂 🙂

  2. Interesting. I’ve barely used my AMEX Ameriprise this year for travel for that reason. Really, I’ve spent the lion’s share of my spending on the CSR once I learned that MR cannot be transferred as part of divorce proceedings.

    My STBXH had our personal Platinum set to automatically charge for the optional flight/rental car coverage. I found it worth it previously but never looked into it because it was covered natively in my new CSR.

    This change might have me considering using it for some RT flights, should I choose to migrate the card to a different flavor of Platinum once my year hits. I do like the purchase protection (Chase farms this out and they are slow and stupid, likely on purpose) and other perks Centurion lounge in Seattle and also ones I can’t recall but only with AMEX in Vancouver (not Priority Pass).

    • I don’t think there is a reason to PC it to another Platinum version (not sure they would even allow it since it is tied to Ameriprise). It is essentially the same as the regular Platinum. If you haven’t had one of the other versions you could sign up for a new welcome offer though…something to consider.

    • I am not sure at this point. I think they release the terms on October 1 so we should have more details then.

    • Yeah that was a weird term to put in there in my opinion. It seems like Amex looks for breakage wherever they can these days.

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