Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
In a long-overdue move, American Express has sprinkled travel protections into their card benefits. As you’d expect, cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express receive extra insurance over the less expensive cards.
This is uncharted water for American Express cards For years and years, they’ve been noticeably lacking in this area. Many didn’t mind giving up travel protection for the myriad other benefits that come with the cards — but you’ll now get nearly the same benefits as other top travel cards. Let’s take a look at the new Amex Platinum travel insurance.
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. 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.
Amex has finally decided to competitively place their cards in the travel insurance arena. With the Amex Platinum, they’ve added:
Trip cancellation and interruption: Bookings 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: Bookings may receive up to $500 in reasonable expenses (such as lodging, meals and toiletries) when you trip is delayed more than six hours for an eligible reason (award flight taxes and fees and Pay With Points tickets also eligible).
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).
However, when Amex opens one door, it closes another. Amex cards are losing their travel accident insurance coverage, as well as their roadside assistance hotline.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the Amex Platinum trip insurance you receive, alongside the competing benefits of the most popular premium travel card.
|Coverage||AMEX Platinum||Chase Sapphire Reserve|
|Primary rental car insurance||- Enroll for free in the American Express Premium Car Rental Protection program.|
- Note that 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)
|- Cardholders covered when you rent a car with your card and decline the car rental agency’s collision damage waiver|
|Delayed baggage||None||- If your baggage is delayed for more than six hours, you could be reimbursed for purchases of essential items (i.e. clothing, toiletries, cell phone charging cables, and more) up to $100 per day for a maximum of five days|
|Lost luggage||- Up to $2,000 per person per trip for loss of checked bag|
- 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)
|- Covers the cost to repair or replace lost luggage and personal items inside, up to $3,000 per person each trip (limit of $500 for jewelry and electronics)
|Trip delay protection||- If your trip is delayed more than six hours for a covered reason, receive up to $500 for reasonable expenses like meals, lodging, toiletries, etc. if you trip is delayed more than six hours for a covered reason. Valid for round-trip flights only when purchased in full with the card (including taxes & fees on award flights and Pay With Points).||- If your trip is delayed for more than 6 hours, you could be reimbursed for up to $500 per ticket for reasonable expenses (meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items)|
|Trip cancellation & interruption insurance||- Up to $10,000 per trip (maximum of $20,000 per 12-month period) for covered flight cancellations. Only valid for Round trip bookings paid for with the card (including taxes & fees on award flights and Pay With Points).||- Up to $10,000 per person per covered trip (maximum $20,000 per occurrence), with up to $40,000 per 12 month period|
|Travel accident insurance||None||- Up to $1,000,000 per person|
|Our review||American Express Platinum review||Chase Sapphire Reserve review|
As you can see, the Amex Platinum card is still not the best card for folks looking to get automatic travel insurance, even with its $550 annual fee (see rates and fees). The tradeoff is that you can rapidly earn Amex points paying for travel with the Amex Platinum. It earns 5 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines or from Amex travel. This is a big deal because of the immense Amex points value you’ll receive when you redeem your points with Amex transfer partners like Air Canada or Singapore Airlines.
3 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.
1. 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 cancelled, 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 cancelled, 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.
2. 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 now 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.
3. 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. I recommend InsureMyTrip to compare prices and benefits. 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 now receive trip delay insurance, as well as trip cancellation and interruption. Those were sorely lacking, especially considering the Amex Platinum is one of the top premium travel cards available.
These new 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.
Also note that having airline elite status or a third-party travel insurance policy might help if you pay for a trip with a card that doesn’t have coverage for travel mishaps. But if you’re booking an expensive vacation, I’d recommend using a card that has automatic coverage.
Have you used any travel protection benefits on a credit card? 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 the Amex Platinum, click here.