American Express Platinum makes a big change to its travel insurance – but hasn’t told us

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One of the key benefits of The Platinum Card from American Express is the travel insurance that comes with it.  It covers a lot of people – the cardholder, supplementary cardholders, their partners and dependent children under the age of 25, whether travelling together or alone and whether on business or leisure trips.

If you hand out your supplementary cards wisely, you can cover a lot of people.  My Mum had a supplementary card on my account for many years until she reached 70, which is the cut-off point.

You are not FULLY covered however ….

Since the last ‘refresh’ of The Platinum Card, it has been necessary to pay with an American Express card in order to receive the full insurance coverage.

If you wanted to claim for any of the following:

  • Cancelling, Postponing and Abandoning your Trip
  • Cutting Short your Trip
  • Travel Inconvenience
  • Personal Belongings, Money and Travel Documents
  • Purchase Protection
  • Refund Protection

….. then it was necessary to have paid on an American Express card as long as the hotel or airline accepted it.

For medical and other ‘big stuff’, you are covered irrespective of how you paid for your trip.  It is only claims under the categories above which require you to have used an American Express card.

Changes to American Express Platinum travel insurance

But which card did you have to pay with?

This is the key bit.

The insurance policy USED to say that you could use:

“your consumer and small business cards issued by American Express in the UK, excluding corporate cards and any American Express cards issued by bank partners”

This meant that you could use ANY qualifying American Express card.  A lot of Head for Points readers would pay on their British Airways American Express Premium Plus card because:

1.5 Avios per £1 is worth more than 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 on Platinum

the spend would count towards the £10,000 for the annual ‘2 for 1’ Avios voucher

British Airways spending charged to a BAPP card earns double points, so 3 Avios per £1

Changes to American Express Platinum travel insurance

American Express has now changed the rules

Here is the new insurance document dated March 2019 (PDF).

Turn to page 6 and look at the definition of ‘Account’.

It says that you must now pay on The Platinum Card to be fully covered by the insurance.  You will invalidate your claim if you pay with a British Airways American Express Premium Plus, or a Preferred Rewards Gold (which offers double points for airline spend and double points abroad), or a Starwood Preferred Guest American Express (which offers double points at Marriott hotels).

IMPORTANT – as you’ve not been told, it doesn’t yet apply to you

According to the rules of the insurance, American Express has to give you 30 days notice of any changes.  Whilst the new policy is in force for new cardholders, no existing cardholders have yet been notified of the change as far as I know.

Until you receive a letter, you have nothing to worry about.  There is a chance that American Express will not change the terms for existing cardholders, although I consider that unlikely.

What is NOT clear to me is what happens to existing bookings.  If you book a British Airways flight today on your Premium Plus Amex, purely because you know you will still be covered under the Platinum insurance, what happens if / when American Express gives you 30 days notice of the change?  Is your existing trip still fully covered or will Amex impose the new rules?

Has American Express made any other changes to the insurance?

I don’t know.  If / when we are officially notified of the changes to our own policies I would expect Amex to include a list of any other changes.

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  1. Aceman says:

    To those that are happy with the value proposition of the platinum as a bundled product don’t also forget that to have the insurance you’ll be paying with it, and in doing so be losing out on avios of 3/£1

  2. It’s only the Travel Inconvenience bits that are no longer covered then. My terms haven’t changed yet, but if they do, I’ll just start putting flights on the Platinum.

    Hotels? They are normally cancellable/changeable until the check-in anyway.

  3. Insurance docs on the Platinum Benefits page still say “”Account” or “Card Account” means your consumer and small business cards issued by American Express in the UK, excluding corporate cards and any American Express Cards issued by bank partners.”

  4. I think that you may have a point here.
    So far the terms of the International currency cards (euro and dollar) have not changed. They are by definition going to be secondary cards for holders in the UK and virtually everyone elsewhere (apart from Euroland customers). No doubt as a consequence, these cards have never had the requirement that spend is on the card itself, or even on an Amex card, to get the additional benefits. I have had to point this out to the claims handlers on one occasion – but this was resolved in my favour.
    I will continue with my Amex dollar platinum until such time as this changes.

  5. Sonicoid says:

    OT We are flying back from JFK next Saturday evening after a special trip for my partner who is recovering from cancer treatment. We are in ba club and our teenagers are in premium economy. I’ve just realised the t7 Alaska lounge closes at 5 and we fly at 7.30. Any ideas how we could all get into the ba club lounge or any other t7 lounge together?

  6. Sonicoid says:

    OT. We are flying back from JFK T7 next Saturday evening after a special trip with my partner who is recovering from cancer treatment. The Alaska lounge closes at 5 and we fly at 7.30pm. We are in ba club and our teenagers are in premium Economy. Does anyone have any ideas how we can gain access to the same lounge in T7 as a family?
    Have amex platinum and hopefully insurance cover.
    Thanks all.

    • Lady London says:

      Given more time you could have got your partner a supplementary card. They would then receive their own priority pass allowing them to enter with their own guest. Together with you that would make 4 into the lounge.

      However there does not seem to be enough time plus you do not seem to be at the card address to receive the supplementary card or its pp?

      I am sure the idea of paying cash to enter a lounge may be abhorrent 🙂 but at this time of year a bit of googling might well turn up a discounted price for your remaining two.

      Or, bung the teenagers some money to go where they choose 🙂

      • “Or, bung the teenagers some money to go where they choose 🙂”

        Heaven forbid! In today’s mollycoddled society?!?!

        Am surprised if they get to cross a road without taking the hand of a ‘grown-up’.

    • If you are asking for alternatives to the Alaska lounge you are out of luck. It’s the only PP lounge at T7. You could get your kids in to the BA lounge if you and your partner were both Silver – but not by flying J without status; sorry about that. This is where Virgin beats BA hands down.

  7. The travel inconvenience on the BA premium card is better than the platinum one. £750 for delayed baggage for 4 hours (vs £300 for Platinum) and a further £1000 for 48 hours delay (vs £300 for platinum)
    Never understood why the two cards were different on this area

  8. Gordon S says:

    It’s taken me weeks to get a response from AmexUK on this but today they responded with the following:

    “Hi, Some incorrect Travel Insurance Terms and Conditions were being shown online. This has now been corrected. There has been no change to the Travel Insurance Terms and Conditions for The Platinum Card, and the Head For Points page is incorrect. Thanks ^A”

    I’d welcome your response to this

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