Your guide to Amex’s travel insurance coverage
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American Express premium credit cards offer some of the best perks in the credit card space. While lounge access and travel credit is typically the highlight of these cards, some of the lesser known benefits such as trip delay reimbursement and trip cancellation/interruption insurance are becoming hot topics as global travel concerns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and government-imposed restrictions continue to escalate.
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As a result, many TPG readers have asked questions about Amex’s travel insurance protections. As the situation both domestically and abroad changes, policies and best practices will likely change. But this guide will walk through which Amex credit cards have these benefits, what is currently covered and how you can file a successful claim.
Related reading: Best credit cards for trip cancellation and interruption insurance
Amex cards offering trip delay and trip cancellation/interruption insurance or Trip Delay Insurance
Here is an overview of the Amex cards that offer trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation/interruption insurance or both:
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$550 (see rates and fees)||5x on flights booked directly or with Amex travel, 5x on hotels booked through Amex travel. Terms apply.||Trip Cancelation, Interruption and Delay Insurance|
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||$595 (see rates and fees)||5x on flights booked directly or with Amex travel, 5x on hotels booked through Amex travel; 1x on all other purchases; 1.5x on purchases of $5,000 or more. Terms apply.||Trip Cancelation, Interruption and Delay Insurance|
|Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express||$450 (see rates and fees)||14x Hilton Honors points on eligible Hilton bookings; 7x points on flights booked directly or with Amex Travel, select car rentals and at U.S. restaurants; 3x points on all other purchases. Terms apply.||Trip Cancelation, Interruption and Delay Insurance|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card||$550 (see rates and fees)||3x SkyMiles on eligible Delta purchases; 1x on all other purchases. Terms apply.||Trip Cancelation, Interruption and Delay Insurance|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card||$550 (see rates and fees)||3x SkyMiles on eligible Delta purchases; 1x on all other purchases, but can become 1.5x after you spend $150,000 in a calendar year. Terms apply.||Trip Cancelation, Interruption and Delay Insurance|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
|$450 (see rates and fees)||6x Marriott Bonvoy points on eligible Marriott bookings; 3x Bonvoy points at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly; 2x Bonvoy points on all other eligible purchases. Terms apply.||Trip Cancelation, Interruption and Delay Insurance|
|American Express Corporate Platinum Card||$550||2x on Uber business ride; 1x on all other purchases||Trip Delay Insurance|
|American Express® Gold Card
|$250 (see rates and fees)||4x Membership Rewards at restaurants worldwide and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000/year); 3x MR on flights booked directly or with Amex Travel; 1x on all other purchases. Terms apply.||Trip Delay Insurance|
|American Express® Business Gold Card
|$295 (see rates and fees)||4x Membership Rewards on 2 categories where your business spends the most (up to $150,000/calendar year); 1x on all other purchases. Terms apply.||Trip Delay Insurance|
|American Express® Green Card||$150 (see rates and fees)||3x on all travel and at restaurants worldwide. Terms apply.||Trip Delay Insurance|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card||$250 (see rates and fees)||3x SkyMiles on eligible Delta purchases; 2x at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets. Terms apply.||Trip Delay Insurance|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card||$250 (see rates and fees)||3x SkyMiles on eligible Delta purchases; 1.5x on purchases of $5,000 or more; 1x on all other purchases. Terms apply.||Trip Delay Insurance|
The information for the Amex Green Card, Hilton Aspire Amex card, and American Express Corporate Platinum Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related reading: The best credit cards with travel insurance
What is covered by trip cancellation/interruption insurance?
You can find the full terms and conditions of what is generally covered on your specific card in your Guide to Benefits, which can be found through your online account. I’ll use the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve as an example.
Here is a rundown of the “covered losses” provided by Amex’s trip cancellation/interruption insurance:
- Accidental Bodily Injury or loss of life or Sickness of either the Eligible Traveler, Traveling Companion or a Family Member of the Eligible Traveler or Traveling Companion
- Inclement weather, which prevents a reasonable and prudent person from traveling or continuing on a Covered Trip
- The Eligible Traveler or his or her spouse’s change in military orders
- Terrorist Action or hijacking
- Call to jury duty or subpoena by the courts, either of which cannot be postponed or waived
- The Eligible Traveler or Traveling Companion’s dwelling made uninhabitable
- Quarantine imposed by a Physician for health reasons
Amex also provides an extensive list of things that are not covered by trip cancellation/interruption insurance:
- Pre-existing conditions
- The Eligible Traveler’s suicide, attempted suicide or intentionally self-inflicted injury
- A declared or undeclared war
- Mental or emotional disorders, unless hospitalized
- The Eligible Traveler’s participation in a sporting activity for which he or she receives a salary or prize money
- The Eligible Traveler being intoxicated at the time of an Accident. Intoxication is defined by the laws of the jurisdiction where such Accident occurs
- The Eligible Traveler being under the influence of any narcotic or other controlled substance at the time of an Accident, unless the narcotic or other controlled substance is taken and used as prescribed by a Physician
- The Eligible Traveler’s commission or attempted commission of any illegal or criminal act, including but not limited to any felony
- The Eligible Traveler parachuting from an aircraft
- The Eligible Traveler engaging or participating in a motorized vehicular race or speed contest
- Dental treatment except as a result of Accidental Bodily Injury to sound, natural teeth
- Any non-emergency treatment or surgery, routine physical examinations
- Hearing aids, eye glasses or contact lenses
- One-way travel that does not have a return destination
- A counterfeit scheduled airline or train ticket; or a scheduled airline or train ticket which is charged to a fraudulently issued or fraudulently used Eligible Card.
- Any occurrence while the Eligible Traveler is incarcerated
- Loss due to intentional acts by the Eligible Traveler
- Financial insolvency of a travel agency, tour operator, or Travel Supplier
- Any expenses that are not authorized and reimbursable by the Eligible Traveler’s employer if the Eligible Traveler makes the purchases with a commercial Card
Related reading: Should I travel? Advice for the coronavirus outbreak
If you do find yourself canceling or cutting covered trip short, here are the basic guidelines provided by Amex on what types of expenses are covered for trip cancellation/interruption:
If a Covered Loss causes an Eligible Traveler’s Trip Interruption, we will reimburse you for the nonrefundable amount paid to a Travel Supplier with your Eligible Card for the following: 1. The forfeited, non-refundable, pre-paid land, air and sea transportation arrangements that were missed; and 2. Additional transportation expenses that the Eligible Traveler incurs less any available refunds, not to exceed the cost of an economy-class air ticket by the most direct route for the Eligible Traveler to rejoin his or her places of origin.
If a Covered Loss causes an Eligible Traveler to temporarily postpone transportation by Common Carrier for a Covered Trip and a new departure date is set, we will reimburse you for the following: 1. The additional expenses incurred to purchase tickets for the new departure (not to exceed the difference between the original fare and the economy fare for the rescheduled Covered Trip by the most direct route); and 2. The unused, non-refundable land, air, and sea arrangements paid to a Travel Supplier with your Eligible Card.
What is covered by trip delay insurance?
Trip delay provides reimbursement for reasonable additional expenses incurred when your trip is delayed due to a covered hazard for more than 12 hours.
Coverage is limited to $300 per trip and cardmembers are only eligible for two claims per 12 consecutive months.
Amex outlines what is not covered, which includes the following:
- Covered Losses that are made public or known to the Eligible Traveler prior to the departure for the Covered Trip
- An Eligible Traveler’s expenses paid prior to the Covered Trip
- Loss due to intentional acts by the Eligible Traveler
- Any expenses that are not authorized and reimbursable by the Eligible Traveler’s employer if the Eligible Traveler makes the purchases with a commercial card
Filing a claim
When you have a delay or trip cancellation/interruption that you think qualifies for coverage, you can file a claim by calling Amex at 1-844-933-0648 within 60 days of the covered loss.
Trip delay reimbursement requires the following documentation:
- Proof of Loss – You must furnish written proof of loss to Amex within 180 days after the date of your loss
- Receipts – Acceptable documentation includes the following:
- A statement from the common carrier that the covered trip was delayed
- Charge receipt
- Copies of common carrier ticket(s)
- Receipts for travel expenses
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance requires slightly different documentation.
- Proof of Loss – You must furnish written proof of loss to Amex within 180 days after the date of your loss. Acceptable documentation includes…
- Court subpoenas, orders to report for active duty, physician orders, etc.
- Receipts – Acceptable documentation includes the following:
- Copies of your common carrier tickets and travel supplier receipt
- Your eligible card billing statement showing the charges for the covered trip
- Copy of travel suppliers cancelation policy
After Amex receives notice of your claim, instructions will be sent on how to send the proof. Typically, you have up to 180 days to file a claim after a delay or cancellation.
Proof of flight delay or cancellation
One of the documents required to file for trip delay reimbursement is a verification form that outlines the reason for the delay or cancellation by the carrier. You can typically get this at the airport when the delay or cancellation is announced, but keep in mind that it may require a supervisor. Each U.S. major airline also has a process for requesting this information after the fact.
Here is an overview of the process different U.S. airlines require in order for you to receive a delay or cancellation verification form:
|Airline:||Verification Form Process:|
|American Airlines||Fill out a contact form on the American Airlines website. In the Topic/Subject drop downs, select “Trip Insurance Verification” and “Verify Flight Cancel/Delay.” You’ll need your flight date and personal information so that the system can look up the records.|
|Delta||Delta has a Delay/Cancellation Verification form. If you use the search bar on the Delta homepage and type in “verification,” it should be the first option that pops up. You’ll need your ticket number, flight dates and personal information such as your frequent flyer number.|
|United||Send an email to email@example.com with your request. Be sure to include the names of everyone in your party, flight confirmation number, flight numbers, travel dates and your contact information.|
|JetBlue||You can request a receipt for any flight taken in the past 13 months on the JetBlue website. Keep in mind that if you did not book your reservation through JetBlue, you’ll have to go through the third-party travel booking agency for a receipt.|
|Southwest||For proof of delay or cancellation, submit an online request through their contact page or call customer relations at 1-855-234-4654.|
|Alaskan Airlines||Reach out to Alaskan Airlines customer care at 1-800-654-5669.|
Amex cards that offer car rental insurance
No American Express credit cards offer primary car rental coverage, although most offer secondary coverage. You can see the entire list of cards that offer secondary car rental protection on the American Express website. However, all American Express credit cards offer an optional Premium Car Rental Protection policy that can be added to rentals made using the card for a small fee. See When to Use American Express’ Premium Car Rental Protection for more details on this protection option.
You can add Premium Car Rental Protection to any American Express card. TPG has a guide of the best American Express cards, but here are some of the best cards in terms of the return you could receive when renting a car. Note, the estimated return rate for these cards is based on TPG’s latest valuations.
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: $450 annual fee (see rates and fees); 4.2% return on car rentals booked directly from car rental companies, and no foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: $0 annual fee (see rates and fees); 4% return on general spending on the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year and 1x points thereafter, and 2.7% foreign transaction fee (see rates and fees)
- The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express: $95 annual fee; 3% return on general spending in billing cycles where you make 30+ purchases, and 2.7% foreign transaction fee
The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Amex cards that offer baggage insurance
If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve likely inevitably run into this situation at some point — it’s the worst. Over the years, airlines have been working on improving the baggage system with the introduction live bag tracking. Regardless, it’s still a smart idea to have some protections in place, like baggage insurance.
Related reading: Everything you need to know about Amex’s baggage insurance plan
This is why you need to pay attention to the benefits each of your travel rewards cards offers. Nearly all of Amex’s premium rewards cards offer baggage insurance. You can check out the full list of cards and details on American Express’s website.
The types of losses it covers: You’re covered for losses resulting from damaged, stolen or lost baggage, including both carry-on and checked bags.
When you’re covered: To be eligible for coverage, you have to travel on a common carrier, which Amex defines as any air, land or water vehicle (other than a personal or rental vehicle) that is licensed to carry passengers for hire and available to the public. Your rental car, as well as taxis and ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft, would be excluded.
To receive coverage, you also need to pay for the entire fare with an eligible American Express card or by using Membership Rewards points to book tickets through Amex Travel. Trips booked with miles from other sources — even the cobranded Delta SkyMiles cards from Amex — are excluded. Your trip also isn’t covered if you used a combination of miles and dollars, unless the miles came from a Membership Rewards transfer. This is a welcome change. A few years ago a TPG staffer found out the hard way that Amex’s policy didn’t cover frequent flyer mile awards.
Who is covered: This policy covers both primary and additional cardholders, as well as cardmembers’ spouses or domestic partners and any dependent children under 23 years old. In addition, travelers must be permanent residents of one of the 50 states or Washington, D.C. — although there are separate policies for residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How much it covers: Most American Express credit cards will cover replacement costs for checked bags and their contents up to $500 per person, although so-called “high-risk items” are only covered for a maximum of $250. These items include jewelry, sporting equipment, photographic or electronic equipment, computers and audio/visual equipment. Carry-on bags are covered for up to $1,250, which is good to know, since things can be stolen from the overhead bins.
You’ll enjoy additional coverage if you use The Platinum Card from American Express, The Business Platinum Card from American Express, the Platinum Card from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz and Morgan Stanley-branded Platinum Card (but not the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card).
Amex cards that offer medical assistance
One of the lesser known benefits of some of Amex’s most premium cards is its Premium Global Assistance and Travel Accident Insurance. This benefit can quite literally be a lifesaver if you or an immediate family member run into any unexpected issues or accident on your trip.
All Amex cards have access to Amex’s Global Assist Hotline and basic travel accident insurance, but the Premium Global Assist Hotline and higher level of coverage are reserved exclusively for the Amex’s premium cards:
- The Platinum Card from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- American Express Centurion Card
- American Express Business Centurion Card
When you pay for the entirety with one of the above card, you become eligible for up to $500,000 of travel accident insurance in case of death, loss of two limbs, loss of eyesight in both eyes and $250,000 for loss of sight in one eye or loss of one limb while on a plane, train, ship or bus licensed to carry passengers and available to the public.
Excluded from Amex’s Travel Accident Insurance is the following:
- Suicide or self-destruction or any attempt thereat, intentionally self-inflicted Injury, suicide or any attempt thereat
- War or acts of war (whether declared or undeclared); participation in a felony, riot, civil disturbance, protest or insurrections; service in the armed forces or units auxiliary to it;
- Injury to which a contributory cause was the commission of or attempt to commit an illegal act by or on behalf of the Covered Person or his/her beneficiaries
- Injury received while serving as an operator or crew member of any Common Carrier
- Injury received while driving, riding as a passenger in, boarding or exiting from a rental or personal vehicle
- Injury received during or as a result of Commuting
- Sickness, physical or mental infirmity, pregnancy, or any medical or surgical treatment for such conditions, unless treatment of the condition is required as the direct result of an Injury
- Stroke or cerebrovascular accident or event; cardiovascular accident or event
Notice that one of the exclusions is “sickness unless a result of an injury,” which means that if you contract COVID-19 while traveling it will not considered a covered loss by Amex’s terms. Read through the full terms and conditions to familiarize yourself with the policy details and exclusions.
The information for the Amex Centurion and Amex Business Centurion cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Having a card with trip insurance can save you hundreds of dollars when unexpected hiccups happen in your travel plans, but it can be confusing to know what exactly is covered and the right documentation you need to file a claim.
Nothing is worse than getting through an entire claims process only to be denied or have to start over because you don’t have the required documentation for the insurance provider. Before you start filing a claim, make sure you have the documents listed above. Keep in mind that a provider may ask for additional documentation related to the incident, so you may have to collect receipts and other forms to help your case.
In times like these, the decision of whether or not to travel is a personal one. If you are planning on booking travel in the near future, it’s a good idea to consider booking refundable travel. Many airlines and hotels have established short-term policies that waive cancelation fees and/or change fees, which can make last-minute adjustments in the case of emergencies or new information regarding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor.
Featured photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Blue Business Plus card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Business card, please click here.
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