Middle Age Miles

Amex Introducing New Travel Protection Benefits & Making Other Benefit Changes Effective 1/1/2020

american express amex travel protection benefits trip cancellation & interruption coverage trip delay coverage extended warranty purchase protection platinum business platinum hilton aspire delta reserve marriott bonvoy brilliant
Amex personal Platinum card

We apologize for being a bit behind in covering this potentially useful new development in the world of credit card travel protection benefits while we were traveling to and returning from Seattle this week.

While we were away, Amex pre-released information to The Points Guy regarding changes to certain purchase and travel protection benefits on its cards. The changes will go into effect on 1/1/2020. Cardholders will begin to be formally notified beginning 10/1/19.

The timing on this release is quite interesting, as it comes immediately on the heels of Citi eliminating many of its purchase and travel protection benefits as of 9/22/19 (we covered the Citi changes in our 9/23/19 News & Notes article).

In short, the upcoming Amex changes are:

1. Adding Trip Cancellation & Interruption Coverage

  • Requires “round-trip” flight booking entirely with your eligible card
    • Including award tickets when fees are paid with an eligible card and Amex “Pay With Points” bookings
    • Applies to travel purchases made on or after 1/1/2020
  • Triggered if your flight is canceled for a “covered reason,” which includes inclement weather, terrorist action, jury duty, and sudden illness or injury to you or an eligible traveler
  • Covers reimbursement of non-refundable travel expenses
  • Limit is $10,000 per trip, with a maximum of $20,000 per eligible account within 12 months
  • Available with the following premium cards:
    • Amex Platinum (personal)
    • Amex Business Platinum
    • Amex Corporate Platinum
    • Amex Hilton Honors Aspire
    • Amex Delta Reserve
    • Amex Delta Reserve for Business
    • Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

2. Adding Trip Delay Coverage

  • Requires “round-trip” flight booking entirely with your eligible card
    • Including award tickets when fees are paid with an eligible card and Amex “Pay With Points” bookings
    • Applies to travel purchases made on or after 1/1/2020
  • Covers reimbursement of “unexpected expenses,” which include meals, lodging and personal-use items
  • Triggered if your trip is delayed by more than a certain number of hours due to a “covered reason” (we don’t yet know what constitutes a “covered reason,” but we’d expect that standard things like weather and mechanical delays will qualify)
  • With the following premium cards, the coverage is triggered if your trip is delayed by more than 6 hours, and the limit is $500 per trip:
    • Amex Platinum (personal)
    • Amex Business Platinum
    • Amex Corporate Platinum
    • Amex Hilton Honors Aspire
    • Amex Delta Reserve
    • Amex Delta Reserve for Business
    • Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
  • With the following mid-level cards, the coverage is triggered if your trip is delayed by more than 12 hours, and the limit is $300 per trip:
    • Amex Gold (personal)
    • Amex Business Gold
    • Amex Green (personal)
    • Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum
    • Amex Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business

We might have thought that the coverage for “mid-level” cards would also apply to annual fee cards such as the Amex Hilton Surpass and Amex Green Business cards (and legacy mid-level cards such as the Amex Business Rewards Gold and Personal Rewards Gold), but they weren’t listed in the coverage by The Points Guy. We’ll see if these cards actually receive the coverage.

3. Reduction in Time Periods for Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection

Also effective 1/1/2020, Amex is making some changes to its extended warranty and purchase protection coverages:

  • On most Amex cards, the extended warranty period will be reduced from 2 years to 1 year
  • On certain no-annual-fee Amex cards, there will be no extended warranty coverage at all:
    • Amex Blue
    • Amex EveryDay
    • Amex Cash Magnet
    • Amex Blue Cash Everyday
  • On all Amex cards that currently offer purchase protection, the benefit will be reduced from 120 days to 90 days

4. Removal of Travel Accident Insurance and Roadside Assistance

As of 1/1/2020, Amex is removing the following coverages from all cards:

  • Travel Accident Insurance
    • Currently covers expenses related to death, dismemberment and severe illness during a covered trip paid with a qualifying Amex card
  • Roadside Assistance & Premium Roadside Assistance
    • Covers roadside emergency situations like flat tires, dead batteries, towing, running out of gas, and lockouts

Our Initial Analysis

The introduction of travel coverages certainly changes the landscape and decision-making process for booking airfare, especially in connection with Citi’s elimination of travel coverage.

The Amex personal Platinum card already has best-in-class points earning on airfare at 5x Membership Rewards (MR) points per dollar. But up to now, we’ve been hesitant to use the card for trips where we could potentially need travel protections. Now, after 1/1/2020, the Amex personal Platinum will become our “go-to” card for booking airfare. Moreover, the extension of these coverages to tickets purchased using Pay With Points means that our MR points become even more valuable.

In the meantime, from now through 12/31/19, if we need to purchase airfare where travel protections are important, we’ll simply use our Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ritz Carlton Visa card for tickets where that card’s $100 discount applies.

For benefits such as these travel coverages, sometimes the devil is in the details, and we still have a lot of questions. For instance, we wonder what exactly constitutes a “round-trip” ticket. There are also questions about how the coverages will be administered in practice. We’ll see how these issues shake out over time.

For us personally, the reductions in the extended warranty and purchase protection periods won’t impact us much. I don’t believe we’ve ever used the extended warranty coverage, and I only recall using purchase protection once, on a kid’s pair of glasses that broke (and which the Amex claims administrator handled wonderfully). We should probably be more mindful of these protections, although it seems like we don’t buy nearly as much “stuff” these days, as empty nesters. But in any event, those that are more purposeful with using these coverages need to be aware of the changes and plan their purchases accordingly.

Finally, we’ve never used the travel accident insurance or roadside protection benefits, although we’ve been aware that they existed. We’ve read a couple of anecdotal stories of Amex paying big money for medevac situations under the travel accident insurance, but most people would never use this benefit. As for roadside assistance, we’ll still have coverage through our AAA membership as well as our Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

Do you have any further insights or thoughts on the upcoming Amex coverage changes? If so, please let us know in the Comments!


At Middle Age Miles, we love to bring you travel, credit card and points-and-miles information that you can use to help make your travel dreams come true. To see all of our tips and insights, please Like and follow us on social media at:

Please share and re-tweet our posts and tell all of your friends about Middle Age Miles! Thank you!

3 thoughts on “Amex Introducing New Travel Protection Benefits & Making Other Benefit Changes Effective 1/1/2020

  1. Brett Hamilton

    Craig,
    I am actually curious on the Amex coverage on glasses. Did your glasses not have a warranty on their own? Did Amex cover replacement? Was it a whole new pair with lenses or just the frame? I am an optometrist and I have often thought that my patients glasses should be covered under credit card extended warranties. I have asked my staff to inform patients of this but have never received any DPs. I would appreciate your comments.
    Thanks,
    Brett

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Brett – I hope you’re doing well. I didn’t realize you’re an optometrist!

      The claim we made with Amex for my daughter’s glasses was a few years ago, and unfortunately, I don’t remember the details well. Here’s as much as I remember – We purchased the glasses from PearleVision. We used an Amex EveryDay card – my daugther’s AU card on an account where I’m the primary cardholder. The glasses were physically broken, not because of a defect, but by some accident. I don’t recall what happened, but it was clearly our fault. And unfortunately, I don’t remember whether a lens was broken or just the frame. I also don’t recall for sure whether Pearle Vision had any warranty – but I’m pretty sure we considered that possibility and it either expired or wouldn’t apply. I don’t remember the details of the claims process with Amex, but I do remember that it was very easy. To my surprise, I didn’t even have to send the broken glasses in to them. And I don’t remember the exact amount, but it was in the ballpark of $200-250. Amex just sent us a check for the purchase price of the broken glasses; we bought a new pair of glasses on our own.

      I’m sorry I don’t remember the finer details of the claim. But it does seem like it would be a good option for your patients.

      Have a great weekend! ~Craig

  2. Brett Hamilton

    Thanks Craig. Those details are plenty. It sounds like a benefit that my patients may be able to use. The great thing is that I would be paid in full for a new pair of glasses while my patient would also get a great benefit that they probably did not know existed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: