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Amex trip insurance changes are now in effect

January 1 2020
9 min read
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Nov. 19, 2019

It's the season for major changes to credit card purchase and travel protections, it seems. Back in September, Citi removed benefits from a slew of its credit cards in the same week American Express shared changes coming to its own portfolio. Now, Amex has released sample benefits guides for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance changes coming to its premium cards, which you can find on Amex's website.

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Here is a reminder of all of the changes below that took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, though Amex began notifying customers on Oct. 1.

Trip cancellation and interruption insurance

First, here are the benefits that Amex is adding — they're game-changing, in my opinion, especially when paired with the 5x points you'll earn on direct airfare purchases with The Platinum Card® from American Express (on up to $500,000 in purchases per calendar year) and on flights booked with American Express Travel with The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

Beginning on Jan. 1, if you book a round-trip flight entirely with your eligible card and the flight is canceled for a "covered reason" — including inclement weather, terrorist action, call to jury, sudden illness or injury to you or an eligible traveler — you may receive reimbursement of non-refundable travel expenses of up to $10,000 per trip, with a maximum of up to $20,000 per eligible account for each consecutive 12-month period.

Note that Amex's sample benefits guide is defining round-trip tickets as travel consisting of "roundtrip, one-way, or combinations of roundtrip or one-way tickets." This definition covers more than just the standard roundtrip ticket. For example, one itinerary bringing a covered traveler from New York to London, then back from Paris to New York would qualify as a round-trip for the purposes of Amex's insurance coverage.

This particular perk is available with the following Amex cards:

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex 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.

These are Amex's premium credit cards with significant annual fees, so it's not surprising they're getting this new perk. Though to be fair, it's a perk that other credit cards have had for a while. Travelers will also be covered if they book award tickets with miles but use one of the eligible Amex cards to pay the taxes and fees, as well as customers who purchase tickets using Pay With Points.

Trip delay insurance

Amex also added trip delay insurance, which covers round-trip flights purchased entirely with an eligible card (again, paying taxes and fees on award tickets or Pay With Points tickets are also covered). If your trip is delayed by more than six hours due to a covered reason, this perk will reimburse unexpected expenses — such as meals, lodging and personal-use items — up to $500 per trip with the following cards:

And, if your trip is delayed more than 12 hours due to a covered reason, you'll be eligible for expense reimbursement of up to $300 with these cards:

The information for the Amex Green 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.

The above protection perks cover travel purchases made on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

Extended warranty and purchase protection

Effective Jan. 1, most consumer and small business American Express cards now offer one year of coverage, down from the two years offered in 2019. Note that select no annual fee cards won't offer extended warranty coverage at all, including Blue from American Express®, the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, the American Express Cash Magnet® Card (see rates and fees) and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (see rates and fees).

Additionally, all Amex consumer and business cards that currently offer purchase protection had this benefit changed to 90 days, down from the 120 days offered previously. As of now, a number of Chase cards offer 120 days of purchase protection, so once this Amex change kicks in, you may want to consider making large purchases with one of those cards, instead.

The information for the Amex EveryDay and Amex Cash Magnet has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Other changes

Finally, American Express is removing two underutilized benefits across the board: Travel Accident Insurance, which covers expenses specifically related to death or dismemberment during a covered trip, and both Roadside Assistance and Premium Roadside Assistance. Amex reports that fewer than 1% of cardmembers have utilized these benefits, so the impact should be limited here.

Bottom line

Overall, while some benefits are being reduced, customers are gaining useful travel coverages, so the net effect is positive. It's also great that the new perks will also cover Pay With Points tickets, along with award tickets booked with miles when an eligible Amex card is used to pay the taxes and fees. So if you're considering whether one of the premium travel credit cards belongs in your purse or wallet, these new protections will be another factor to take into account.

Keep in mind that these guides to benefits are samples to read through. For specific information regarding your account and its benefits, you should log into the Amex website or app to check your benefits terms.

How to keep earning miles from home

Your routine may be changing but that doesn't mean that you have to stop earning valuable rewards. These cards help you rack up points from the comfort of your home.

American Express® Gold Card – For grocery and food deliveries from Grubhub. Use this card to earn 4x points when ordering groceries online from U.S supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x) or ordering meal deliveries via Grubhub . TPG values these points at 2 cents each, so that’s an 8% return on spending. You may even be able to score additional savings via Amex Offers. Once things get to back to normal, your stash of Membership Rewards points will go a long way toward booking a much-deserved vacation.

Chase Sapphire Reserve – For free food delivery, credits and bonus points. If you’re already tired of cooking your own meals, switch things up with a food delivery service. CSR cardholders get up to $120 worth of free delivery credits ($60 through 2020 and $60 through 2021). Plus, enjoy free DashPass membership, which includes free deliveries via DoorDash and Caviar.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express – For select U.S. streaming services, U.S. gas stations and groceries at U.S. supermarkets. Whether you’re stocking up on groceries or re-upping your Netflix subscription, this card has you covered with generous category bonuses. You’ll earn 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in purchases at U.S. supermarkets every year then 1% there after, plus 6% on select U.S. streaming services. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – For future travel insurance. You may not be traveling now, but once things go back to normal you’ll be glad to have this card in your wallet because of its generous sign-up bonus and suite of travel protections. We’ve all learned the value of travel insurance and these protections lately. The Chase Sapphire Preferred includes trip cancellation/interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, travel and emergency assistance services and more.

This story has been updated with information from Amex on coverage for Pay With Points and award tickets, along with the removal of both Roadside Assistance and Premium Roadside Assistance benefits.

Additional reporting by Madison Blancaflor

For rates and fees of the Amex Magnet card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday card, click here.

Featured photo by (Photo by The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.