Posted by Chuck on November 17, 2019
Credit Cards

Published on November 17th, 2019 | by Chuck

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[Update] American Express Major Overhaul on Card Benefits, Good & Bad (Begins January 2020)

[Update 11/17/19: Added directs links below for the trip insurance benefits. According to the sample terms: “The period of round-trip travel may consist of roundtrip, one-way, or combinations of roundtrip and one-way tickets with Common Carrier(s).” I think this means that you are eligible for insurance even for one-way tickets purchased, provided that you purchased both one-way tickets on the Amex card. That’s an important detail. (ht duffcalifornia)]

American Express is undergoing a major overhaul on card benefits, some good and some bad, beginning on January 1, 2020. They’ll be publicizing the changes on October 1st, today we learn about them from TPG.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

Premium Amex cards will get a trip cancellation and trip interruption benefit. (Direct Link)

  • Benefit covers up to $10,000 per trip (max $20k per 12-months) for flight cancellations which occur due to inclement weather, terrorist action, call to jury, sudden illness or injury. Round trip bookings only – you need to end up back in the place of origination for the benefit to kick in. Paying taxes/fees on award tickets or Pay With Points tickets are also covered.
  • The following cards are included: Platinum (personal, business, corporate), Hilton Aspire, Delta Reserve (personal, business), Marriott Brilliant.

Trip Delay

Premium Amex cards will get trip delay insurance. (Direct Link)

Tier One: Benefit will cover up to $500 for meals, lodgings, etc. if you trip is delayed more than six hours for a covered reason. Benefit covers round-trip flights only which are purchased fully with the card. Paying taxes/fees on award tickets or Pay With Points tickets are also covered.

  • The following cards are included in Tier One: Platinum (personal, business, corporate), Hilton Aspire, Delta Reserve (personal, business), Marriott Brilliant.

Tier Two: Benefit will cover up to $300 if your trip is delayed more than 12 hours.

  • The following cards are included in Tier Two: Gold, Business Gold, Green, Delta Platinum (personal, business).

Extended Warranty

There are two changes coming regarding the Extended Warranty benefit:

  1. Extended Warranty will be lowered from 2 years to 1 year.
  2. No-fee Amex cards will lose their Extended Warranty coverage entirely.
    • The following cards will lose their Extended Warranty coverage beginning January 1, 2020: Blue from American Express, Amex EveryDay, Cash Magnet, Blue Cash Everyday.
    • We haven’t heard that no-fee business cards, like Blue Business Plus, will lose the benefit. Hopefully that remains.
    • Presumably, purchases made until January will continue coverage into 2020 and beyond.
    • I usually like specifically using a no-fee Amex for the protections since I’m sure I’ll continue holding the card for the long term, whereas fee cards might get cancelled. Going forward, you’ll need a paid card in order to take advantage of this benefit.

Purchase Protection

Purchase Protection will go down from 120 days to 90 days.

Travel Accident Insurance

Travel Accident Insurance is being removed from all cards.

Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance Hotline will be cancelled.

Return Protection

Return Protection is being removed from most cards.

  • The following cards will retain the Return Protection benefit: Platinum (personal, business, corporate), Hilton Aspire, Delta Reserve (personal, business), Marriott Brilliant, Plum, Blue Cash Preferred, Everyday Preferred.

Return Protection is literally my favorite card benefit since it takes the deliberation element out of small purchases. This is a huge hit for someone who doesn’t have a premium Amex card or the Blue Cash Preferred or the Everyday Preferred.

It’s very odd that those specific two non-premium cards are retaining the benefit while other more-premium cards are losing it, but that’s what Dansdeals is reporting. Maybe those cards are targeting a demographic which Amex feels will value that perk.

Our Verdict

These changes really makes the personal Platinum card a terrific option for booking flights as you’ll earn 5x points, plus get peace of mind coverage for cancellation due to sickness, as well as the nifty trip delay coverage. Also nice that it works for award flights that you pay the taxes/fees with the premium card. The major limitation on the premium benefits is the fact that it only covers round trip tickets which originate and end at the same airport.

The loss of Purchase Protection on most cards is terrible news. The loss of Extended Warranty from no-fee cards is also significant news, in my view. And the lowering benefits from 2 years to 1 year and from 120 days to 90 days can also affect decisions of which card to use.

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aubergine
aubergine

Wow. Citi Prestige is f’ing toast compared to this. We’ll move our flights over to Plat. The r/t requirement is a little wonky though. What about open jaws? or tix booked on multiple carriers.

Vgtest
Vgtest

Does the trip delay coverage only applies when you have booked a round trip? What happens for one-way flights?

YoniPDX

I believe the Gold (per) is Tier 1 like Plat and Aspire, Reserve etc on Insurance benefits.

Roadside is on Gold – daughter used it last week at college tire change and locked keys another time 4X per year and tows 10 miles.

120 to 90 is bummer on theft- missing item.

George
George

Wishful thinking. Zach’s article seems to be based on an inside source.

Electroman

The changes to Gold are in the future, so yes, there’s no question that Gold has Roadside until Jan. 2020.

Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown

Net negative for me. I rarely book RT & losing accident insurance is a massive deval. Read the VFTW post about the guy whose dad had a heart attack while traveling & it was like a half million bucks to get him medivacd back to the States. Amex covered it.

Parkerthon
Parkerthon

And promptly said right after “we need to stop covering this”. Half a million? Ouch.

Beth
Beth

Years and years ago my friend’s father was med- evaced by Amex from Soviet union while he was there as a visiting professor giving a talk. It was a gazillion dollars then too. Amex likely has insurance to cover this cost. Doubt it was getting used very often.

Dan - Legal Bank Robber
Dan - Legal Bank Robber

Amex Assurance covers this not American Express. It’s a built in cost based of insurance formulas and algorithms.

NKB
NKB

I believe they are removing the AD&D coverage, not the Global Assist Hotline, which handles emergency evacuation.

vk76
vk76

Emergency evacuation insurance is a separate benefit from travel accident, the evac is staying looks like

Jags
Jags

You rarely go home?

Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown

Booking one ways allows for more flexibility when plans change. Or outbound on one carrier & return on another. Or award flight availability is only found for one of the legs of a trip. Etc, etc, etc

anonymous
anonymous

Just one “not-going-home” and you’re pretty much screwed for the foreseeable future when it comes to getting home with a RT. Lol!

H Smith
H Smith

Not to worry, the benefit you are describing is not going away according to this article. Travel Accident Insurance pays you (or your estate) if you die or lose a limb while on a trip. Premium Global Assist Hotline is the benefit that was used in that article.

raj
raj

I’m not so sure this is the right interpretation. “Travel accident insurance”, afaik is the stuff about death and dismemberment, which seems relatively insignificant. The really valuable one is emergency evacuation insurance (and the one from the story you refer to), which is only on the plat and may be left intact.

Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown

Ah I think you might be right. Hopefully they don’t killthe evac insurance.

PT
PT

Medical evacuation is also on the Hilton Aspire if I’m not mistaken.

Rick
Rick

Evacuation through Premium Global Assist is also available on the $450 annual fee Aspire and Bonvoy cards.

YoniPDX

Nice to know – Picked up the FYF Aspire promo earlier this month – we cancelled Plat last month – but we have about 8 weeks of travel to some backwaters locales over next 12 months – small peace of mind knowing it’s available if needed.

debit
debit

Amex is once again king of premium cards for super elite. All the middle class losers go to chase and citi.

TheMechE
TheMechE

Uh do you even know what benefits the Sapphire Reserve provides?? I think you are a bit off on this one.

Pointz
Pointz

In case you didn’t read, your little “king” just lost travel accident insurance. Oh, yeah, I still got it on my CSR card

Trevor
Trevor

You’re so elite… surprised you’re commenting on a free website for us peasants to read. *waves hands wildly*

Alan
Alan

Although I think he’s being sarcastic, the super elite he’s talking about would never use any benefit of a cc.

Nick
Nick

Can’t imagine how could one legitimately call a card that charges a meager $550 AF ‘super elite’.

Make it $5500 with a $2MM initiation fee to discourage churning, and we’ll talk.

P
P

So they’ll reimburse you taxes on award tickets and round trip only?
Can’t wait for more details on October 1.

Peter
Peter

Reimburse you for reasonable expenses such as hotel/food/toiletries etc. up to $500 per person

Daniel
Daniel

Round trip requirement is very odd. I wonder if you book two one-ways (outbound on one airline, return on a different) but pay both with card if that counts.

Matthew
Matthew

I am having the same question. I always buy 2 one way tickets because they are cheaper and just in case my plan changes

christine stewart
christine stewart

Isn’t the CSR round trip too?

Docfan
Docfan

Don’t believe so

Froide
Froide

Nope. CSR has no round trip caveat.

Soulespada
Soulespada

Agreed doc. This makes booking your trips more worthwhile with amex with all these assurances. Makes it a much better contender overall against Chase now. Hopefully Chase can step up their game because Amex has everything they have except that Amex “incidental” credits still suck and some of their terms for the coverages are wonky

Andrew
Andrew

That round trip thing is kinda confusing… what if I book two one ways but the originate and end in the same city? There are times where Alaska has the best outbound flight but Delta has the best return flight… I’m curious if this needs to be BOOKED as a one way, or just show that you’re doing a round trip compared to point to point travel…

Celia
Celia

The following cards will lose their Extended Warranty coverage beginning January 1, 2022: Blue from American Express, Amex EveryDay, Cash Magnet, Blue Cash Everyday.

Is that supposed to be 2020 or is it really 2022?

Not listing any no-fee biz cards. Is that a good thing?

momo
momo

So I was considering the Blue Business Plus from Amex and it looks like they actually do not offer Extended Warranty or Purchase Protection. Something to keep in mind.

It looks like the Blue Biz Cash does.

CongestionCharge
CongestionCharge

Business cards generally do not have the same protections as personal cards

Jeff
Jeff

I have Blue Business Plus and it offers extended warranty. Looking at the page now it offers to double the warranty by up to two years. Don’t know if that is changing next year but I suspect it will.

miz
miz

Not only Amex does not cover one-way tickets, it does not even cover all types of round trips. For example if I depart SFO and return to SJC, I am not covered, because I am not returning to the original city of departure!!! Their T&C for their coverage doesn’t make sense. In my book I won’t consider that Amex has added these benefits until after (if ever) they cover one-way trips. If they ever do that, almost all possibilities that are currently ridiculously excluded from the coverage will be sensibly covered.

Trevor
Trevor

I’ve found that even BofA business debit has extended warranty…

tripcovg
tripcovg

you know, I really have a beef with these constant add/delete of benefits across all card issuers. I get the financial rationale for it, but it all seems so knee-jerk as opposed to part of a long term strategic plan to build a card portfolio.

Oh Citi dropped XYZ, well hell, let’s ADD XYZ. That’ll get us some customers!

Oh Chase dropped ABC, well hell, we can get away with that too –let’s drop ABC.

It’s all reactionary and it doesn’t really wow a customer. It just looks like corporate cubicle drones doing their thing.

Dan - Legal Bank Robber
Dan - Legal Bank Robber

It is what it is. That’s just how competition works. I am happy with the changes as I have many premium Amex cards. Adapt and outsmart them and these little “negative” changes amount to farts in the wind.

K-Man

The purchase protection covers if the price went down?

CongestionCharge
CongestionCharge

No, that’s price protection, which almost no cards have anymore.

Jay
Jay

“if your trip is delayed more than six hours for a covered reason”

It would be interesting (and extremely important) to see how Amex’s T&C’s define ‘trip’, specifically on whether that would include or exclude coverage for delays exceeding 6 hours after a missed connection, for which the original delayed flight was delayed for fewer than 6 hours. The Prestige’s T&C’s for its now dead delay protection explicitly excluded that scenario whereas the CSR did not, so for that reason I had been using the CSR over the Prestige for itineraries with connections.

Blah blah
Blah blah

Also for us who rely on Amtrak for domestic transportation, 6+ hour delays are normal.

Jab
Jab

I’ve had several delays with connecting flights you describe where I got benefit from chase, but wouldn’t get it from citi. Chase still remains the best given amex round trip exclusion

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