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

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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.

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

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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Comments (243)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Ben says:

    Recently signed up for the Plat card, noticed that the medical coverage limit (£2 mil) is way lower than the limit (£10 mil) offered in the HSBC Premier policy. Is there anything I missed?

    • Roger* says:

      Even my Nationwide FlexPlus account (£7-ish per month net for me) offer £10k cover.

      Yes, Nationwide FlexAccount, the one whose importance rose fundamentally when AmEx excluded my family the last time plat cover was ‘enhanced’ – and lost a plat account in the process.

    • Anna says:

      £2 million is very low – I would always get £10 million cover for the US. A colleague contracted sepsis there and his costs were over £1 million for 2 weeks’ treatment and repatriation. If you required a lengthy hospital stay and surgery it would run to well over this.

    • Lady London says:

      IMV £2m is woefully underinsured for medical especially if you are going anywhere near North America. I didn’t know the limit was that low. For me it takes huge amount of value out of the insurance as I would have to arrange separate cover for any trip to North America.

  • Lee says:

    Now that it has been posted here you can guarantee that the changes will now be notified.

  • BlueHorizonUK says:

    Hasn’t the provider changed? Pretty sure it used to be AXA.

    Seems you have to call to make a claim and not online anymore? Seems a massive downgrade to services if so.

    • meta says:

      It was still Axa yesterday, not sure about today.

      • BlueHorizonUK says:

        AMEX shows it as being Chubb

        • Rob says:

          The new policy for new cardholders is not (as of today) what the rest of us have.

      • Symon says:

        It was Chubb in 2018 when my other half got the Plat. The change over from AXA to Chubb seems to have happened some time ago and just not been noticed.

  • Murray says:

    Is it worth upgrading to the platinum card? We’d use the lounge visits and travel insurance – I’m guessing I wouldn’t get the bonus if I upgraded from my current gold card?

  • Annih says:

    Another reason to avoid Amex don’t offer a benefit that is paid for as part of your fee and then make so Many odd rules that you can’t be sure you are covered. Insurance is complicated enough.

  • Julian says:

    So another move quite clearly aimed at blocking constant churning between different cards in the Amex stable to avoid the massive cost they were facing from those who churned between different Amex cards to earn new signup bonuses.

    But given that they have done this when are they planning to increase the membership rewards rate by 50% to match with the BAPP product and/or when are they going to start issuing BA 2 for 1 vouchers to their cardholders and/or any equivalent of the Lloyds flight class upgrade voucher? But as they aren’t the BA issued Amex card and nor do they have a deal with (who are of course in any case owned by IAG) as Lloyds did then it may not be possible for them to offer anything equivalent to those particular upgrading deals?

    • Mark2 says:

      I always find it advisable to read a comment through to ensure that it makes sense before clicking ‘submit’.

    • AndyGWP says:

      A move quite clearly aimed at churners? Keep up man – I think they already did that a couple of weeks ago 😂😂

      (I know, I know… don’t feed the troll etc)

      • Disappointed says:

        Julian is not being a troll and I find the people who regularly jump on his comments are like playground bully’s. If you don’t like what is written in a comment – move on!

        • AndyGWP says:

          “Regularly”? I’m just responding to a comment where I can’t see how it is “quite clearly aimed at churners”

          Trollish behaviour is identified by people who continually try to upset people or start arguments. (Ie. By raising issues that aren’t pertinent to the article)

        • Alan says:

          I just genuinely can’t understand what point he’s making, esp the bit I quoted above.

        • Julian says:

          The point I’m making is that that part of Rob’s current business model is based on airlines points arbitrage where he earns commission by directing us to more efficient ways of collecting points quickly using oddities or loopholes in the current rules of the various schemes.

          But by doing so he then draws the attention of airlines points issuers (directly or indirectly – Amex is indirect) to deficiencies in their current model of bonus points issuing that are being unduly exploited and causing them to lose money and so hence those loopholes to be closed down much earlier than they otherwise would have been.

          Same thing happened exactly with bonus Tesco Clubcard points and even Curve’s loss of Amex acceptance may also be due to Rob’s over promotion of their product to an audience who tried to misuse Curve (repaying spend on one credit card from another credit card for instance, which was clearly not the product’s intention but that it currently facilitates).

          I’m just pointing out that actively promoting collection loopholes rather than quietly using them tends to cause those loopholes to disappear and hence may be self defeating for those who were previously happily quitely exploiting the anomalies in the collection scheme rules………………

          • Rob says:

            This is true, but there are some things we do not cover for this reason. You need to come to the parties to learn the darkest secrets 🙂

    • Alan says:

      “But given that they have done this when are they planning to increase the membership rewards rate by 50% to match with the BAPP product” – please explain?

      • Julian says:

        I meant Amex have now cut or restricted the introductory bonuses for card churning on their various direct Amex cards that could formerly be churned. So having done so can’t they afford to also increase their member points rewards rates (by 50%) to the same number of Avios per pound spent as BA. This is because earning on spend rather than churning cards is going to be more important going forwards.

        • Alan says:

          Sure they could but I’m guessing they don’t see the need to so far. From your posting I thought you meant there was some plan you’d read where they said they were going to!

    • Julian says:

      I came to the last party, although was a little disappointed not to not find more of the regular names who post here in attendance.

      It was also reassuring to find that in person you were much more of a technical expert rather than a marketing or sales person.

      • Rob says:

        I’m a crap sales person, generally telling people their offer isn’t right for our readers so they should keep their money 🙂

        Luckily Anika is more aggressive ….

  • Kbuffett says:

    Do they really need to write to us? I think I’m regularly receiving new T&C’s via the app that I need to acknowledge before I can continue to use the app. I don’t read them, I just click to confirm I accept to continue.

    • M Corrêa says:

      So true! It’s the only company that keeps prompting me to accept their terms and conditions every 2 months or so. At first I thought was some kind of bug but it may be in purpose…

  • meta says:

    I wonder whether for existing cardholders it will be implemented with the card anniversary and the charging of the fee. After all they call it card membership fee.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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