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New changes to American Express Platinum

The American Express Platinum was the card the set the bar, and in some circles still is, but over the past few years perfection has spawned some very elite imitators with perks that wooed and eroded away the consumers. Chases card offered trip delay protection and in doing so became the go to card to book flights. So the American Express Platinum card is playing catch up and adding the benefit Trip Delay and Trip Cancellation protection.

American Express terms are here but they have a separate set of terms for the Trip Cancellation and Interruption service here.

Drilling down to the legalese it covers a series of losses, including injury, sickness or loss of life of the traveling group, or a family member, inclement weather, military orders, terrorist action, jury duty or a subpoena, loss of home, or quarantine of traveler for health reasons. So snow storm? Covered. Child get sick? Covered. Get subpoenaed right before a trip? Covered. Interestingly there are explicit things that aren’t covered, getting a DWI due to drugs or alcohol, street racing, dental treatment, mental breakdown unless hospitalized, airline becoming bankrupt and the list goes on.

So what do you get with this? If cancelled, all nonrefundable purchases made to a tour, resort, cruise, or airline. If interrupted the insurance will cover all nonrefundable purchases made to a tour, resort, cruise, or airline that were missed, and any additional expenses that are needed to get the traveler back to the covered trip or return to home. They also cover if you must move the departure date, this being useful if something major happens and you need to postpone a couple of weeks. The limitations are $10,000 per trip and $20,000 in a year, which can add up rather quickly on an international trip, but is still considered average for this coverage.

Trip Delay coverage is written in a similar legalese but 4 things are covered: inclement weather, terrorist action, equipment failure of the airline, and lost or stolen travel documents. But what is covered? Meals, rooms, meds, toiletries, other personal use items. When, though is the kicker, after 6 hours. So that is a bit of a drawback, and so is the other limitations, $500 per covered trip and 2 claims per 12-month period. Traveling with 6 adults who all need their own room and meals? Hopefully it doesn’t hit $500. Get a snow delay of 5 hours and 50 mins? Meals aren’t covered. Get a snow storm that makes you stay overnight? Covered. The legalese also states reasonable expenses so there is a little bit of wiggle room and maybe you can argue to get your transportation costs to and from the hotel covered.

One thing to note, this only covers the card member and their family, and traveling companion. This doesn’t cover someone you might have booked travel with using this card that isn’t explicitly traveling with you. Which means you can't fly your mother in law by herself out to Vegas using this card and cover here with the new features. She would have to be flying with you and have made ‘advanced arrangements’, ie you buying her ticket as well as yours.

Overall the trip delay coverage is what is ideal and matches what Chase offers on their high end premium card. I see this as a welcome addition, however there is a tradeoff, American Express has removed roadside assistance from their cards and Travel Accident insurance, which was a great benefit to have and hope to never use. Chase still has those features in their cards and only time will tell if a cost cutting move at Chase will level it back down to Amex Plat level.

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