Trending now: the overhaul of credit card travel and shopping benefits. First, Citi eliminated 10 major benefits on its Prestige and Premiere cards in late September 2019. Next, Barclay Card instituted several changes—mostly negative, but some positive—to a number of Barclay Card Mastercard products, including its premium products within the Luxury Card Mastercard portfolio, beginning November 1, 2019. And now, American Express has become the latest credit card company to announce big changes, which will take effect on January 1, 2020.
Yet, unlike the other recent announcements that dealt pretty devastating blows to cardholders, American Express’ changes to travel and shopping benefits offer as much good news as bad news. While the actual new guide to benefits won’t be available until later this year, here’s what we know—and what you should know—as a present or future cardholder of The Platinum Card from American Express or the American Express Gold Card.
American Express is adding trip cancellation and interruption coverage to some premium cards
Currently, American Express does not offer trip cancellation and interruption coverage on any of its cards. But come January 1, 2020, several premium cards including The Platinum Card from American Express (but NOT including American Express Gold Card) will offer this travel protection. When charging round-trip airline tickets entirely to The Platinum Card from American Express or using the card to pay for taxes for frequent flyer award tickets or using Pay with Points, implicit trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance policies will compensate loss caused by reasons such as inclement weather, jury duty, and illness. Coverage will be provided up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per year.
American Express is adding trip delay protection to some premium cards
American Express will also add trip delay protection to its suite of travel benefits. Starting January 1, 2020, when charging round-trip airline tickets entirely to select American Express cards or using the card to pay for taxes for frequent flyer award tickets or using Pay with Points, you will be automatically covered for trip delay reimbursement. For The Platinum Card from American Express, the delay must be at least six hours and cardholders can be reimbursed up to $500 per trip for expenses like hotels and meals. For American Express Gold Card, the delay must be at least 12 hours and cardholders can be reimbursed up to $300 per trip for expenses like hotels and meals.
American Express is eliminating travel accident insurance entirely
Generally speaking, travel accident insurance compensates for loss of life, limb, sight, speech, and/or hearing due to an accident while traveling on a common carrier. A common carrier is typically a plane, train, ship, or bus that is publicly available and licensed to carry passengers. Hence, this insurance is also often referred to as common carrier insurance. In layman’s terms, you or your estate can be compensated for certain bodily harm in the event of a tragedy such as a plane crash or sunken ship. The insurance is intended to provide you and your family with financial security.
Currently, when you charge your trip’s entire common carrier fare to The Platinum Card from American Express or American Express Gold Card or use membership rewards to book your trip, you are automatically covered for the card’s travel accident insurance. Maximum coverage provided is up to $500,000 for Platinum Card holders, and up to $250,000 for Gold Card holders. This benefit will end on December 31, 2019.
American Express is reducing its extended warranty protection
Just last year, American Express doubled its extended warranty time from one year to two years. And until December 31, 2019, when you charge your purchase entirely to The Platinum Card from American Express or the American Express Gold Card or use membership rewards points and/or Pay with Points, you are automatically covered under extended warranty protection for two years on eligible manufacturer’s warranties of five years or less. These cards also provide an extra two years on customer-purchased extended warranties. Sadly, come January 1, 2020, American Express will scale back its warranty protection up to one additional year for its Platinum and Gold cards and one additional year on customer-purchased extended warranties.
American Express is changing its purchase protection for the worse
Purchase protection is an insurance that covers specific purchased items if they are lost, stolen, or accidentally damaged within a specified period after the date of purchase. In the event of such loss, your credit card company may cover the repair of the item, replacement of the item, or reimbursement for the item.
When you charge your purchase entirely to your American Express card, you are currently automatically entitled to purchase protection and will continue to be come January 1, 2020. However, the coverage time will drop from 120 days from the date of purchase to 90. Amount allowed per claim and per year are expected to remain at $10,000 per occurrence and $50,000 maximum payout in claims per year.