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Finally, holders of the popular Platinum Card® from American Express (and other premium American Express cards) can breathe a sigh of relief if their travel plans change at the last minute. For years, travel disruption protection was not a perk of many of these cards. However, as of Jan. 1, 2020, travel booked with the card (even travel booked using Membership Rewards points) will have coverage with American Express’ travel protection plans.
This gives travelers relief when it comes to hotel refunds due to disrupted travel, the cost of meals, alternate transportation, and other related fees due to changes in travel plans.
These changes were announced earlier this year, but are now finally taking effect. However, they come at the expense of many of the purchase protection and extended warranty benefits that American Express used to offer.
For many cards, the extended warranty benefit is decreasing from two years to one year. Cards with purchase protection coverage will see the time frame for eligible coverage drop from 120 days to 90 days. Many cards without any annual fee will lose the extended warranty benefit altogether.
Still, the travel protection benefits seem set to offer more value to people in times of distress, which is a huge reason people book their travel on these specific cards.
Which Cards Are Included?
American Express has a long list of premium cards that include annual fees, but those fees carry even more weight now in terms of benefits. The cards covered with this travel protection are:
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- Delta Reserve® Credit Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Other cards are included too, but they have a higher threshold for protection. These include:
- The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
- American Express® Gold Card
- American Express® Business Gold Card
Many of the cards listed above are featured in our picks for some of the best credit card reviews. Check it out if you want to learn more about these cards or maybe about some of the other cards that come with travel protections.
What Will Be Covered?
Any travel booked with a premium American Express card offers these benefits. You can pay for travel in full or in part using Amex Pay with Points. You can even pay for award tickets using airline miles where you paid the taxes and fees (sometimes as low as $5.60) using one of these cards.
In case you’re wondering, simply changing your mind at the last minute does not qualify for this benefit. But, if weather issues or illness cause travel disruption, then you would be covered. The same goes for things like mechanical problems with a flight, for example. This can be a huge perk for frequent travelers.
Cardholders can be reimbursed up to $20,000 per year (and up to $10,000 per single trip), which makes this benefit especially valuable for high-ticket purchases like a safari or lavish cruise. If plans change within the covered reasons, you would be eligible for a reason.
Consider this travel protection to be a solid form of travel insurance. In fact, most of the same limitations apply. This makes it less necessary to rely on standard travel insurance like what is sold on airlines or online travel agency websites.
For the most premium cards, if a trip paid for in whole or in part with the card is delayed (whether for mechanical or weather) by at least six hours, travelers can be reimbursed up to $500 for hotel and dining expenses. For the second batch of cards mentioned above, the threshold is higher for a travel disruption, which must last at least 12 hours before perks kick into the picture.
The coverage includes the cardholder and other travelers on the same record using the card. Surprisingly, even jury duty is covered with travel protection.
What Won’t Be Covered Anymore?
American Express is dropping its travel accident insurance and roadside protection. This means those with AAA will find an extra reason to continue with that service. Those with concern for “death or dismemberment” while traveling will still want to consider related travel insurance.
Travel insurance would also be the most comprehensive option for those with concerns over changes in work patterns or the need for on-the-spot medical evacuation assistance.
Travelers with big-budget cards like the Citi Prestige might be especially interested in this change since many Citi credit cards saw their travel protection cut. This gives a big edge back to American Express’s many premium credit cards.