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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.

  • christian kemp says:

    For the hire car insurance to apply, does this need to be paid for with the Platinum, any Amex or any card? I have read what it says on the website and find it quite confusing!

    • NFH says:

      No, there’s no requirement to pay for car hire by Amex in order to get the insurance benefit. But it’s a good idea to use your Platinum card for the security deposit (which never turns into a transaction unless you suffer a loss).

  • Russ says:

    That’s the policy summary not the policy. It’s standard practice to give people the summary before they pay and then send the actual policy out after one’s paid. Of course that’s where a lot of people fall foul when they put in a claim and find it isn’t allowed because satisfying the policy actual rather than the policy summary is what makes your claim payable.

    • NFH says:

      The link I posted above is the full policy terms and conditions, not the policy summary.

      • NFH says:

        But I was wrong that it’s still underwritten by AXA. It is the previous policy wording, now underwritten by Chubb.

      • Russ says:

        First paragraph from that link:

        (i) POLICY SUMMARY
        IMPORTANT INFORMATION
        This Policy Summary contains some important facts about
        the insurance provided with The Platinum® Card from
        American Express (the “Card”). It does not contain the full
        Policy Terms and Conditions and it is important that these
        are read to ensure full understanding of the cover provided.

      • NFH says:

        Russ, you’re looking only at the first couple of pages. Scroll down to page 9, where the “policy terms and conditions” start and continue to page 23.

  • Rob says:

    Amex has to write to you with 30 days notice before you can be switched.

  • NFH says:

    I wonder whether Amex’s switching of the underwriter from AXA to Chubb is caused by appalling customer service by AXA. I’ve had cause to make three complaints in the last 12 months regarding AXA. The third one was the most significant, for which they compensated me with £150 on top of the claim of over £1000, which they had paid in full.

    My recent claim was totally under the medical section, so there was no requirement to have paid for any of the travel with an Amex card. But does AXA enforce the requirement to have paid for travel with Amex before paying out on benefits that require this?

  • Graeme says:

    I took out plat in February. Just checked my summary document which came with the card and it states on page 3,

    The following benefits are dependent on use of the Card.
    Cancelling, Postponing and Abandoning your Trip
    Cutting Short your Trip
    Travel Inconvenience
    Personal Belongings, Money and Travel Documents
    Purchase Protection
    Refund Protection

    This must have started before March. The policy is underwritten by Chubb.

    • Grant says:

      Its the definition of ‘Card’ and “Account’ that are important here though. As discussed upthread, if the definition of ‘Card’ is the following then its the same as the ‘old policy’ wording, i.e. using any Amex is good enough.

      “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”

      • Graeme says:

        Fair point. on page 9 it states “Card” means any card or other account access device issued to a Cardmember (or a Supplementary Cardmember) for the purpose of accessing the Account.

        “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.

        So my take on that is my Pre March terms is as Rob suggests. Any Amex card.

  • Martin C says:

    Last time I had an Amex Platinum I enquired on insurance for an upcoming holiday which had already been prepaid prior to me having the card (or paid on a non amex) and was told I was covered by the policy. I assume this has stopped also?

    • Jon says:

      Indeed
      Clarity on this specific would be useful

      Rob do you have contacts in Amex?

  • Gin and Tonic Please says:

    Interesting. I just logged into my Amex account to have a look. The T&Cs on the Amex site itself (under Platinum benefits > Insurance & Protection > Worldwide Travel Insurance) are the ones that someone linked above with the old wording on card definition. However, if I click on the ‘Make a claim’ link (in the same section) to get to the Amex Insurance Centre (still hosted by AXA, weirdly), then the doc there is the new one that Rob has linked. I’m guessing letters will be coming out shortly.

    • Fred W says:

      It’s a shambles

      And very concerning for anyone ever needing to make a claim

    • GeorgeJ says:

      The reason it goes to Axa is that the travel policy continues to be underwritten by Inter Partner Assistance in Dublin which is an Axa company. Amex dont do insurance.

  • Ian says:

    Clicking through from my Platinum site to read the ins doc, it has changed to Chubb. The T&Cs have changed too. Online chat with Amex Neil who says they won’t have changed the T&Cs without notifying me. They have not done so.

    Now looking at a prices of a separate travel insurance policy as I don’t like the idea of completely untraceable changes to policies that result in me being uncovered when I believed I was. No point in arguing the toss after the event as Amex can afford a better lawyer than me.

    If nobody else has done so already, perhaps worth totting up the cost of the individual elements of the Amex Plat benefits we all use? CDW/Liability car hire stuff, medical insurance, Priority Pass….

    • Aceman says:

      Exactly what I’m doing, priority pass is the killer in that exercise, and one I use a lot at £339 for an unlimited use card with zero guests…

    • Paul says:

      A car excess policy is about £50 per year, travel insurance £110 for one I’m happy with, number of times I fly when lounge not included would be maybe 4 or 6 visits a year, mostly on connecting internal flights so I could live without that, but at the moment I’m happy to keep the Platinum as long as the offers add up. So far this year I’ve had around £500 back without varying my spending too much, so for now I’ll certainly look at a stand alone insurance policy but keep the card.

      • Shoestring says:

        neat

        like you, I also charge my wife £225 if she wishes to be my supp & get a Priority Pass – it’s only fair

        she doesn’t complain

        on the other hand, she doesn’t know

        • Alan says:

          Hahaha love it Harry – hope you’re having a good time at your place in the sun!

      • Shoestring says:

        quite a good idea to have your friend get the supp (for £225 fee to the friend!) as they get the Priority Pass & insurance benefits half price, you as well

        as long as you can trust your good friend with your £20K credit limit, all’s good

    • Bentoni says:

      I opened the Plat account about four weeks ago, but my insurance document still stating the old terms “your consumer and small business cards issued by American Express in the UK.”

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