Amex adds travel benefits to cards, cuts purchase protection, extended warranty, and more

Amex has been long behind in their travel protection benefits, which don't include trip interruption/cancellation, trip delay, and baggage insurance, the last which is standard among other credit card companies.  However, Amex just announced that starting January 1, 2020, they will be adding trip interruption/cancellation and delay coverage to their premium and mid-tier cards.

New trip interruption/cancellation benefit

Trip interruption/cancellation is valid for the following:

  • Roundtrip tickets paid for entirely with your eligible Amex card, including paying taxes/fees on an award ticket with your card or Amex Pay With Points tickets.  One-way tickets are not eligible.
  • Covered reasons include inclement weather, illness, strike, terrorist attack, hijacking, etc.
  • You can be reimbursed for up to $10,000 in non-refundable travel expenses per trip, up to $20,000 per year
This new benefit only applies to Amex's premium cards:

Amex Platinum
Amex Business Platinum
Amex Corporate Platinum
Delta Reserve
Delta Reserve for Business
Hilton Honors Aspire
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

Trip Delay Protection benefit

Amex is adding trip delay coverage to both their premium and mid-tier cards.  Like trip interruption/cancellation, trip delay only applies if the roundtrip ticket was paid for entirely with your eligible Amex card, including paying taxes/fees on an award ticket with your card or Amex Pay With Points tickets.  For the above mentioned premium cards, the trip delay benefit reimburses you for up to $500 per trip for necessary expenses, like hotels, meals, and other essentials if your delay is over 6 hours.  For the following mid-tier cards, trip delay will reimburse up to $300 for delays of over 12 hours:

Amex Gold
Amex Business Gold
Platinum Delta Skymiles
Plainum Delta Skymiles for Business
Amex Green

Cuts to extended warranty and purchase protection

Amex will be cutting back on their legendary extended warranty and purchase protection.  In my experience, Amex has had the best extended warranty and purchase protection programs of all the major credit card carriers as reimbursements are processed quickly and often times without question.  Extended warranty, which currently extends the manufacturer's existing warranty of 5 years of less to up to an additional 2 years, will now be cut to only extend for up to 1 year.  Purchase protection, which covers theft and accidental damage, is being reduced from 120 days to 90 days from the purchase date.

Elimination of travel accident insurance and roadside assistance

Starting January 1, 2020, Amex will be eliminating both travel accident insurance and roadside assistance, the latter which has been a complimentary benefit for their mid-tier and premium cards.  Roadside assistance is similar to AAA, with up to 4 free services a year including jump-starting, winching, lockout, towing for up to 10 miles, etc.  Travel accident insurance covers you and your beneficiaries for up to $500,000 in case of your death or bodily dismemberment (God forbid!) resulting from a covered trip such as your airplane going down or your cruise ship sinking.  It's definitely the one benefit you hope that you'll never to have to use.

Bottom line

This is definitely a significant shake-up for Amex's included benefits.  Depending on your spending, these changes can work in your favor or against it.  If you're an avid spender on electronics or appliances that are generally more prone to breaking down, the extended warranty and purchase protection cuts could really hurt (literally?).  But if you're an avid flyer, the new trip cancellation/interruption and trip delay benefits could really come in handy.  The Amex Platinum's 5x and Amex Gold's 3x on airfare purchased directly with the airline have always been good bonuses, but users often held out and went for Chase's cards since many of them have long included travel protection as well as baggage insurance.  But will you be more inclined to use the Amex Platinum and Amex Gold to book your next trip with these changes?


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