American Express cards offer valuable travel insurance benefits, with premium cards providing higher levels of protection.
COVID-19 disrupted the travel industry and kiboshed many travel plans around the globe. Having to cancel a vacation or postpone an important trip indefinitely isn’t only frustrating – it can be expensive, too. Can travel insurance benefits offered with your credit card cover the costs?
Most American Express cardholders enjoy some kind of travel insurance benefit, though it varies by card. Read on to learn more about which travel insurance benefits are available with each Amex card and how they can help you cover unexpected costs during your trip.
Types of Amex travel insurance vary by card
On Jan. 1, 2020, American Express dropped travel accident insurance and roadside assistance from its cards’ travel insurance benefits. Fortunately, the issuer replaced them with arguably more valuable protections: trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance. Each benefit is offered on select cards.
What American Express trip delay insurance covers
Trip delay insurance covers expenses caused by delays resulting from the following:
- Weather conditions that prevent you from continuing the trip – for example, if your flight was rescheduled due to severe weather
- Terrorist action or hijacking
- A carrier’s equipment failure, as documented by the airline
- Stolen or lost passports or other travel documents
This type of travel insurance covers expenses such as meals, hotel stays, medication and personal-use items.
Amex cards that include trip delay insurance
|Cardholders can be reimbursed up to $500 for qualifying purchases on delays of 6 hours or longer.|
|Cardholders can be reimbursed up to $300 for qualifying purchases on delays of 12 hours or longer.|
What American Express trip cancellation and interruption insurance covers
If a trip that you booked using a qualifying Amex card gets interrupted or canceled, American Express can reimburse you for nonrefundable round-trip tickets. These can include everything from airfare to train tickets, plus tickets you booked through a tour operator – and more.
Note that in order to be covered, your trip must be canceled or interrupted due to one of the following reasons:
- Accidental injury, illness or death
- Severe weather
- Military orders
- Terrorist action or hijacking
- Jury duty or subpoena by the courts that can’t be postponed or waived
- Traveler’s home has been made uninhabitable
- Quarantine imposed by a doctor for health reasons
Tip: Note that if you’re canceling your trip because you’re still worried about COVID-19, you might not be eligible for this coverage. According to a Coronavirus FAQ published on the company’s website, “American Express travel insurance covers only specified covered reasons. Fear of contracting the coronavirus is not a covered reason under the American Express travel insurance certificate of insurance/policy.”
The maximum reimbursement amount is $10,000 per trip and $20,000 per year. This coverage is secondary, meaning it kicks in only after any other applicable policy you have offers reimbursement.
Here’s the list of American Express cards that offer this travel insurance benefit:
- The Platinum Card from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card from American Express
- Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
What American Express baggage insurance covers
Another valuable travel insurance benefit available to some Amex cardholders is baggage insurance. It’s also secondary coverage, meaning you can receive compensation after being reimbursed by the carrier.
The level of protection varies by card, with premium cards offering more coverage.
|Card||Carry-on baggage||Checked baggage||High-risk items||Combined maximum (carry-on + checked)|
|The Platinum Card from American Express||$3,000||$2,000||$1,000||$3,000|
|The Business Platinum Card from American Express||$3,000||$2,000||$1,000||$3,000|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card||$3,000||$2,000||$1,000||$3,000|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card*||$3,000||$2,000||$1,000||$3,000|
|American Express® Gold Card||$1,250||$500||$250||Not to exceed replacement costs|
|American Express Business Gold Card||$1,250||$500||$250||Not to exceed replacement costs|
|American Express Green Card*||$1,250||$500||$250||Not to exceed replacement costs|
|Business Green Rewards Card from American Express*||$1,250||$500||$250||Not to exceed replacement costs|
|Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card||$1,250||$500||$250||Not to exceed replacement costs|
|Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card||$1,250||$500||$250||Not to exceed replacement costs|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card||$1,250||$500||$250||Not to exceed replacement costs|
What American Express car rental loss and damage insurance covers
If you rent a car during your trip and charge it on your eligible Amex card, you can be reimbursed if the vehicle is damaged or stolen. Premium cards, such as the Platinum and Business Platinum cards, offer up to $75,000 in coverage. The rest of the American Express cards that provide this benefit can cover up to $50,000.
To calculate the amount needed to cover repairs, Amex compares the actual cost of repairs, the car’s wholesale book value and purchase invoice price. The most cost-effective option becomes the reimbursement amount.
Note that the policy only covers rentals for up to 30 consecutive days, and not all cars are included. For example, the policy excludes commercial vehicles, certain types of vans and trucks, cars that are at least 20 years old, limousines and some other types of vehicles. Additionally, this travel benefit doesn’t work for car rentals in Australia, Italy, New Zealand or any country that’s subject to U.S. sanctions.
It’s essential to read your benefits guide carefully since there are many other instances in which damage to your car rental won’t be covered. And keep in mind that like other travel insurance benefits American Express offers, its car rental insurance policy is secondary to any other coverage you may have.
What American Express Global Assist offers
Last but not least, American Express cards offer Global Assist, a hotline that can help cardholders with valuable information and advice during their travels. This can include translation services, help with missing luggage, medical referrals and more.
You can call the hotline toll-free at 1-800-333-AMEX (2639).
If you have a premium Amex card, such as the Platinum or Business Platinum, you get access to the Premium Global Assist hotline. It offers the same assistance as the basic version does but can fully cover some of the services. For instance, it can provide reimbursement for medical transportation.
The following co-branded Amex cards also offer Premium Global Assist:
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
You can call the Premium Global Assist Hotline at 1-800-345-AMEX (2639).
How to make a travel insurance claim with American Express
Before filing a claim using your Amex travel insurance benefits, you need to use your primary policy or file with the common carrier first. Remember that the coverage provided by your American Express card is secondary, meaning you won’t be reimbursed until you’ve exhausted your other policies first.
After that, file a claim with Amex as soon as possible. Check your benefits guide to find out how long you have to make a claim and read about the terms of your policy.
You can start your claim using the following numbers and websites:
- For baggage insurance claims: 1-800-645-9700 or online
- For car rental insurance claims: 1-800-338-1670 or online
- For trip delay, cancellation and interruption insurance claims: 1-844-933-0648
Next, American Express will provide you with claim forms and instructions for filing proof of loss. You can find examples of which documentation may be required in your benefits guide.
Which is the best card for American Express travel insurance benefits?
Premium cards like the Platinum card offer the most comprehensive travel insurance benefits of all American Express cards. If you travel a lot and want to have the highest level of protections available, this kind of coverage may justify high annual fees. On the other hand, if you only travel occasionally, it might make more sense for you to find a travel credit card with a lower or no annual fee and invest more in your primary travel insurance.
Note that some Amex cards don’t offer all of these benefits, so make sure you examine a card’s terms before you apply.
If you’re an Amex cardholder, you’ll find the card issuer can assist you in many situations when you travel. With an abundance of travel insurance benefits across its suite of cards, American Express is a great addition to your wallet wherever you go. Make sure to put all major travel purchases on your qualifying card, and always read the terms and conditions in full to be aware of the benefits it offers. That way, you can rely on those benefits in case of unexpected events.
*All information about the American Express Green Card, Business Green Rewards Card from American Express and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.