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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.

  • TM says:

    I rang up fishing for a retention bonus and was offered double points for the next three months. In case anyone else was thinking about cancelling.

    • GP says:

      31% of males? I’m clearly in the 69% bracket and have never heard of them. What am I missing? (don’t say high blood pressure ha!)

      But seriously, 31% of ALL males?? Surely not. Maybe attributable to a specific age group like the over 60’s or similar?

      • Shoestring says:

        yep don’t believe that 31% statistic, clearly completely wrong

      • Alan says:

        Stats may be from USA where prevalence even higher than UK…

        Among adults age 20 and older in the United States, the following have high blood pressure:
        – For non-Hispanic whites, 33.4 percent of men and 30.7 percent of women.
        – For non-Hispanic blacks, 42.6 percent of men and 47.0 percent of women.
        – For Mexican Americans, 30.1 percent of men and 28.8 percent of women.

        (AHA https://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_319587.pdf)

      • Shoestring says:

        Then I can see where OP got the 31% stat from [High blood pressure affects more than 1 in 4 adults in England, around 12.5 million people in 2015. The prevalence of high blood pressure for adults in England in 2015 was 31% among men and 26% among women, with little change over the last few years.] – but I still don’t believe it. They said 31% of males are *on meds* for high blood pressure.

        Whereas I bet the majority of the 31% (the younger males, say, 18-35) aren’t on meds for high blood pressure but just go on eating high salt diets with no exercise & don’t take any meds for it at all.

      • Shoestring says:

        I don’t think I even went to see a doctor between the ages of 20 and 45 apart from company medicals & a couple of broken bones 🙂

    • Qwerty Bertie says:

      Please could you advise on the best way to achieve this? I have a rough idea on how I’d try it, but I’d be particularly interested in how you began the dialogue and what sort of tone/manner you deployed.

  • Dale says:

    Don’t really see what the problem is, probably the first time 99% of card holders have read these terms and they still cover the main things. Bit of smoke without fire

    • Barry says:

      The problem is uncertainty around the of scope of insurance cover, surely something no-one finds acceptable.

  • 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

  • S says:

    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.

  • S says:

    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.”

    https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/benefits/the-platinum-card/?inav=uk_wt_plat_menu_service_card_benefits

  • GeorgeJ says:

    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.

  • 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?

  • 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 🙂

      • 2019 says:

        “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’.

    • Leo says:

      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.

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