November 16, 2020 By Joseph Hostetler
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American Express credit cards have emerged as one of the top card travel insurance options. After years of neglecting this aspect of their card benefits, they’re extremely competitive among other bank cards — particularly The Platinum Card® from American Express.
The Amex Platinum receives extra insurance less premium cards simply don’t have. Yes, it’s got a massive 100,000 point bonus after spending $6,000 in the first six months of account opening (read our post on common mistakes people make with Amex points to see how valuable they can be), but that’s a short-lived aspect of the card.
Let’s take a look at the Amex Platinum travel insurance — and learn how you can leverage the card for coverage on airfare, baggage, rental cars, and more. You can read our Amex Platinum review for a more well-rounded look at the card’s benefits.
Credit card travel protection benefits
When you pay for airfare with the best travel insurance credit cards, you can get automatic travel protection benefits at no extra charge. Chase and Amex offer fantastic features (while Citibank travel insurance is nonexistent, by the way).
Depending on the card, sometimes just paying the taxes and fees on an award flight will get you coverage. But the coverage you get can vary significantly by card. Enrollment required for select benefits.
Note: Amex stipulates that you must book with a “Common Carrier” to qualify for coverage. That just means you’ve booked an airline, a cruise ship, etc. You won’t be reimbursed if you book an under-the-table commute across Lake Okeechobee on your cousin’s fan boat.
Amex cards eligible for travel insurance
The best American Express cards are eligible for travel insurance. Here’s a table breaking down the most popular cards with the best coverage.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (similar name but quite different from the regular Platinum card — read our Amex Business Platinum review)
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets.The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Here’s a list of the most popular cards with benefits a tier below the most premium cards:
- American Express® Gold Card
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- American Express® Green Card
- Business Green Rewards
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express
These cards don’t come with trip cancellation or interruption, and they have lower reimbursement caps for coverages like trip delay and baggage protection.
The Amex Platinum benefits are top of the food chain. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty.
Trip Interruption and Cancellation Insurance
With Amex Platinum Trip Cancellation Insurance, you’re are eligible for up to $10,000 per trip (with a maximum payout of $20,000 per 12-month period) for flight cancellations occurring due to a covered reason (such as inclement weather, jury duty, injury, illness, etc.). You must pay the full ticket with your card (award flight taxes and fees and Pay With Points tickets also eligible).
Trip Delay Insurance
If your trip is delayed more than six hours for a covered reason, you’ll get up to $500 for reasonable expenses (think meals, lodging, toiletries, etc.). Again, you must purchase your trip in full with your Amex Platinum — and paying taxes & fees on award flights or Pay With Points qualifies you for coverage.
Here are some examples of eligible reasons for which Amex will compensate you:
- Equipment failure (the plane wheels fall off, the engine won’t start, etc.)
- Inclement weather
- You lose your travel documents
- Your flight is hijacked
Note that this insurance is valid for round-trip flights only. However, the Amex Platinum benefits guide states:
The period of round-trip travel may consist of roundtrip, one-way, or combinations of roundtrip and one-way tickets with Common Carrier(s).
Rental Car Insurance
The Amex Platinum comes with secondary rental car insurance. That basically means that if your rental car is damaged or stolen, it’ll cover you for any expenses that remain after your personal insurance pays for everything that it covers. Or, if you purchased rental car insurance from the rental agency, Amex Platinum insurance will scoop up the remaining costs that it won’t cover.
However, you can enroll for free in the American Express Premium Car Rental Protection program, and that does offer primary rental car insurance. You’ll pay ~$25 (~$18 for California residents, ~$16 for Florida residents) per rental for up to 42 consecutive rental days (30 consecutive rental days for Washington State cardholders). If you’re renting for a few days, this is definitely worth purchasing.
Unless you’ve got any one of the best credit cards for car rentals. These come with primary rental car insurance for free.
Lost, Damaged, and Stolen Baggage Insurance
The Amex Platinum comes with various coverages in the event that your baggage is lost, stolen, or damaged by the common carrier:
- Up to $2,000 per person per trip for loss of checked baggage
- Up to $3,000 per person per trip for loss of carry-on baggage
- Up to $250 per person per trip for loss of high risk items (i.e. jewelry & electronics)
- Cap of $10,000 per trip for everyone on your itinerary.
High-risk items such as jewelry, electronic equipment, sports equipment, etc., are capped at $1,000 in total coverage. For things like cash, medical items, and contact lenses, you won’t be covered at all.
Delayed Baggage Insurance
Some cards will reimburse you in the event that your checked bags are delayed by more than six hours. If you arrive at your destination and your stuff doesn’t show up, you can go to the store and buy things to tide you over until your bag finally arrives (toiletries, clothes, and the like).
American Express completely ignores this fantastic feature. The Amex Platinum gives you none of this coverage. But read our post on the best credit card for baggage delay coverage to find a good one. This has saved me $500+ on a single trip in the past.
Premium Global Assist
When you are at least 100 miles from home, you can call the Amex Platinum Premium Global Assist to help solve pretty much any hardship. For example:
- You can call for help finding a lost item — including luggage. Amex will pester the airline until you are satisfied
- You can tell Amex to contact a friend or family member during your trip if you can’t reach them yourself
- If you lose your wallet, you can tell Amex to cancel all your credit cards
- If you need emergency evacuation, Amex will arrange everything
Note that Amex may be able to cover your emergency expenses and transportation if you’re in an area with sub-par treatment.
Plus, if you’re in the trenches of your trip planning, they can help you iron out the tedious details. They’ll help you understand travel etiquette in the country you’re visiting, if there are any shots that are required/recommended, and tell you if you need any special visas for your trip.
There are plenty of other things they can do, too. Their number is 1-800-345-2639.
FAQ: Things to consider with trip protection benefits
Because travel coverage is not the same across all cards, you’ll want to use the card that is best for your personal situation. Here are a few things that might factor into which card you use to pay for travel.
Will your airline elite status help if there’s a flight delay or cancellation?
Having airline elite status comes with perks that can help if you pay with a card like the Amex Platinum, which doesn’t have trip delay or cancellation insurance.
For example, some airlines offer passengers with elite status free same-day standby flights, so if your flight is delayed, you could switch to another flight without having to worry about filing a claim for a trip delay.
Similarly, if your flight is canceled, having elite status might give you a higher priority to get a seat on the next available flight. But consider if you’re traveling to a remote destination or region with unpredictable weather that it’s wise to pay with best travel insurance credit cards. If all flights are delayed or canceled, you could end up paying out of pocket for hotel rooms and necessary expenses. Having a card that gets you reimbursed is a great benefit.
Did you book an expensive cruise or tour?
Having trip interruption or cancellation insurance from a credit card can come in handy should you have to cancel an expensive trip for an eligible reason. For example, let’s say you pay for a family cruise to Alaska, but are unable to go due to a last-minute illness. If you paid with the Amex Platinum, it’s possible to get a refund for your trip up to a certain limit.
I recommend reading the terms and conditions of your card’s trip protection benefits before paying for a vacation. It’s important to know who is covered, the claims process, and the reasons you’re eligible to get a refund.
Do you have third-party travel insurance?
Many purchase travel insurance through a third-party company to cover trip delays, cancellations, and other unforeseen events. You can often bundle these coverages with a supplemental medical travel policy, which can be helpful if you’re traveling outside the U.S.
There are great resources on the web to research travel insurance policies. Keep in mind, travel insurance plans and coverage amounts can differ widely — but purchasing a third-party plan can be helpful for folks who don’t pay for a trip with a card that comes with these benefits.
When you pay for a trip with Amex Platinum, you’ll receive trip delay insurance, as well as trip cancellation and interruption. These insurances make the card even more enticing to use for your travel, as you’ll earn 5x Amex Membership Rewards points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or from Amex Travel. Read our post on the best ways to use Amex points to see why that’s such a big deal.
This isn’t even counting the other great perks that come with the card, like Amex purchase protection and a gigantic welcome bonus worth potentially thousands in travel. Line this card’s virtues against the wall and it’s easy to see why the American Express Platinum card is worth it.
Have you used any of the Amex Platinum travel insurance? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments. And subscribe to our newsletter for more credit card travel techniques.
For rates and fees of theAmex Platinum,click here.
Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)
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