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Amex Platinum insurance pays up again (when it didn’t need to)

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Three years ago, I wrote an article about my experience claiming on the American Express Platinum card travel insurance.

Amex made some nasty changes to the insurance on the Platinum card in January 2012.  What was comprehensive, no-worries cover became a bit of a game, with flights and hotel required to have been paid on an Amex card in order to qualify for some of the smaller benefits.  The upper age limit also dropped from 80 to 70 which meant that my Mum’s supplementary card on my account was now useless.

(It is worth noting that Amex never changed the insurance on the Business Platinum charge card.  This has an identical annual fee and very similar benefits.  If you value the travel insurance benefits of Platinum and have your own business, you may want to consider switching to Business Platinum.)

Amex Platinum

Back in 2012, when we were in Barbados, our then 1-year old son vomited badly for a day and we had him seen by the resident hotel doctor.  We did not get this pre-approved by Axa (Amex’s insurance partner), which is a pre-condition for repayment.  I had deleted all my e-ticket receipts by the time I submitted the claim, and the claim itself was a scruffy receipt torn from a standard receipt book, available in any stationers, with B$450 written on it (c £150) and rubber stamped with the doctor’s name.

Not exactly great proof – all that I sent Amex was that receipt.  Amex paid in full.

When we were in Singapore in May, something similar happened.  Our now 4-year old son developed a temperature.  At the suggestion of our hotel, we headed down to (sic) Raffles Hospital.  This was a great deal – we got seen immediately and the cost of a consultation and a selection of medicines was just £85.

When we got back to London, my wife tried to claim the money from her corporate BUPA policy but that carried a high excess.  I then submitted a claim to Amex.  The whole claims process can now be done online – it took about 10 minutes to fill in the form and I attached a photograph of our receipt taken on my iPhone.

Again, Amex would have been perfectly within their rights to deny my claim because we had not sought pre-authorisation and we had not used one of their recommended hospitals.

Instead, I got an email yesterday saying that my claim will be paid in full.  There are no excesses with Amex’s coverage so I receive the full £85.  It took 8-9 working days to receive this email from the day I submitted the claim.

My history with Amex insurance is not unique.  I can’t remember ever hearing of someone who was given a hard time by them over a claim. (EDIT: looking at some of the comments below, I may have been too hasty in saying that!) I don’t know if they behave differently if you buy stand-alone travel insurance from them, but for Platinum charge card holders it is a decent benefit.

Comments (69)

  • Oh! Matron! says:

    Rushed to hospital at 3am in NYC in 2010 in an ambulance. $1000 cost. AXA initially dragged their feet, claiming I had medical insurance with my job. I pointed out that was also with AXA. They then paid immediately.

  • Jon says:

    Sorry my experiences completely differ – both with Platinum and Centurion (who Axa provide). I have always found them exceptionally difficult in cases of trip cancellations and found them slow, rude, unhelpful and always want to wriggle out of paying. Interesting to note both of your claims were for relatively small amounts – my smallest claim was £200 for a Eurostar ticket and you would have thought I was claiming £1000s

  • Alex says:

    Hmmm – To be honest I’ve always assumed the clause about getting medical treatment pre-approved is unenforceable in all legitimate cases that matter . If it’s a medical emergency (and yes, a one year old vomiting can be an emergency) one needs to seek immediate medical attention full stop. I very much doubt AMEX or even AXA would ever drag their feet for a 100 quid bill. And I’d take them to small claims court straight away if they didn’t in the first instance.

    On my side I’ve had small medical claims approved without a problem by AXA (AMEX) and let the various insurances we have sort it out among themselves – I think they split the bill.

    I do not have a Plat card but I am finding it increasingly difficult to deal with amex (axa) insurance everytime something happens.

    • Fenny says:

      The pre-approval clause has always bothered me. Being a solo traveller, it’s not as though I have anyone to do this for me and if I’m ill or injured, I’m not likely to be in a suitable state to be working out who to call.

      • Philip White says:

        Surely there must be an allowance for this.

        • James says:

          My understanding is if you are admitted into hospital they will contact the insurance company direct if you aren’t able to do it.

  • Michael says:

    I had a bad experience with my Amex Platinum insurance when they refused to pay out ~£150 when I had a problem with car hire which I booked and paid for hire using the card. The car broke down and I was without a vehicle for over 24hours, subsequently discovering the car was reported as faulty before I hired it. Amex honoured my claim within 24hours and then reversed their decision the following day, saying a breakdown (and faulty car) was not covered under the policy. Whilst I couldn’t find any clause in the T&C’s stating that a breakdown was covered, it made me value the insurance when they were being so difficult. Surely any car hire insurance should cover costs when your car hire breaks down? I appealed to Amex but they maintained their position – I’ve several letters from them. After that experience I never used the card for booking travel ever again!

    • Alan says:

      Sounds like a rather annoying thing to happen on holiday, Michael! Out of interest why didn’t the hire car company step in to help though when it was their vehicle at fault? My understanding of the Amex hire car policy was that it was purely way of covering any excess on accident claims to allow you to decline all the usual CDW, Super CDW, etc. that car hire companies try and upsell you.

      • Michael C says:

        Yes Alan, it was very annoying! The car hire company (Portuguese firm Guerin – AVOID!) took 24hrs to provide a new vehicle and wouldn’t compensate for a taxi back to our hotel or the loss of a day’s hire – when a company doesn’t want to help you, you really have no where to turn, especially abroad. I assumed my Platinum insurance would help but it only covers theft and damage but not break downs which I find very odd. On a point of principle It took over 6 months of emailing Guerin for them to acknowledge that they were at fault and credited me with only 50 Euro. Pretty disgusting that car hire companies can operate like this – incidentally there are lots of negative reviews about this company online (but as I booked through a broker I didn’t know who I was booking with – I won’t do this again!).

        • Alan says:

          Ah OK – that sounds like quite a saga! I’ve tended to stick with Hertz – at least when they muck up (as inevitably they do) I can bypass the local agency and complain to HQ. Had a couple of free rentals on Hertz Gold Reward points as a result 😀

  • dirtyneedlebluesky says:

    this info is really only relevant to existing holders of the account – it’s now a legacy product.

    Axa also provide the travel insurance for the Gold current account provided by Lloyds.

    I’ve found they offer a great service (i.e. it means my claims always seem to be paid).

    If you pay £10 per year then all excesses for any subsequent claims are waived.

    p.s.
    the phone insurance provided with this account has also been good (although the excess for smartphones is £50 Android / £100 iPhone) than can’t be reduced.

  • CV3V says:

    Amex Plat insurance aside, I’d be interested to know of any good experiences with insurance companies? i.e. when they have paid out and done what they promised in all their glossy marketing. I have yet to make a claim on travel insurance, but you never know when you will need it and that’s the time you want the insurance company to deliver, not spend hours arguing with them.

    • Alan says:

      IIRC at the time of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcanic ash eruptions a lot of insurers were pretty poor at paying out – I had to take mine at the time (Insureandgo) to the ombudsman! M&S insurance got a good name at that time as I recall, in part because they didn’t want to damage their underlying brand.

  • George says:

    Has anyone had any experience with AmEx’s Gold card ACE insurers? My wife is in the starting process of putting our first ever purchase protection claim through as a supplementary card holder and would love to hear any feedback. They got her name wrong over the phone (it can happen, I suppose) but I’ve now seen that there is a form online that can be filled out…

  • Martin says:

    I’ve had one hospital claim when my partner broke his rib, and one claim for emergency dental work. Both were in the US, so they were eye-wateringly high claims for simple treatment.

    AXA paid out in full eventually, but the procedure was slow and difficult, and they made a few mitsakes along the way which stalled things.

    Using Skype to contact AXA was a problem. There is some issue with their exchange — I was told — that means it works poorly with Skype. While I could use Skype to call numerous other UK phone numbers, calls to AXA (via Amex) typically had them not being able to hear me at all while I could hear them perfectly.

    Another claim for a damaged tyre on a car hire in the Seychelles went much better and was paid quickly and without fuss.

    I too was surprised that I had no cover for non-refundable hotels when British Airways cancelled our flight to the Maldives.

    • Polly says:

      Martin. Agree, how are we supposed to get refunded for pre paid unused hotels. Should we be claiming from the airline? Is that why they refuse to cover it? How did it get resolved, did you ever get those refunds from anyone? Axa definitely drag it out, in the hope that you will go away and just drop the claim. I got that feeling, as every time I called in to chase my OH claim, we start from scratch again with the claim, and send in the paperwork yet again! Unreal experience.