Published on November 17th, 2019 | by Chuck120
[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.
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).
There are two changes coming regarding the Extended Warranty benefit:
- Extended Warranty will be lowered from 2 years to 1 year.
- They just increased it to 2 years in August 2018, now they are going back to 1 year beginning January 1, 2020.
- 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 will go down from 120 days to 90 days.
- They just increased it to 120 days in August 2018, now they are going back to 90 days beginning January 1, 2020.
Travel Accident Insurance
Travel Accident Insurance is being removed from all cards.
Roadside Assistance Hotline will be cancelled.
- There is a roadside assistance hotline benefit on all Amex cards where they call a tow for you, but you have to pay for it. That service is ending.
I’m thinking/hoping that the covered benefit on the Platinum and Gold cards where they actually cover your roadside assistance, that benefit will remain, maybe?Update: Dansdeals now reports, based on an Amex contact, that premium roadside assistance will be cancelled as well.
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.
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.
- Credit Card Price Protection Policies Compared: Chase, Citi, Discover, Barclaycard, U.S. Bank & MasterCard
- Credit Card Benefits: Purchase Protection Review for Theft, Damage, or Loss
- Credit Card Cell Phone Insurance Compared – Get $600 In Coverage For Free
- Credit Card Benefits: Extended Warranty Review
- Credit Card Benefits: Return Protection Review
- Handy Roadside Assistance Cards For Premium Credit Cardholders