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As of Sunday, Citi pulled away a laundry list of card benefits.
Across the board, save for the Costco card, they pulled:
- Car Rental Insurance
- Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
- Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
- Trip Delay Protection
- Baggage Delay Protection
- Lost Baggage Protection
- Medical Evacuation
- Price Rewind
- 90 Day Return Protection
- Missed Event Ticket Protection
- Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
- Travel & Emergency Assistance
In this article
American Express Steps Up Travel Benefits
American Express appears to have seen this as an opportunity to grab some disgruntled Citi customers. It’s interesting as, for quite some time now, I’ve recommended that people skip the 5X on airfare you get with the American Express Platinum Card in favor of 2X on a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or 3X on a Chase Sapphire Reserve to get the included and comprehensive trip delay and cancellation insurance. That’s what I do myself.
But per TPG, Amex has just added benefits to a laundry list of cards starting January 1, 2020.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is what confuses me. In a world where we are increasingly buying one-way flights (I can’t actually remember the last time I booked a round trip and this is especially so for award flights), Amex is limiting this benefit to those that book a round trip. It’s a head scratcher, but feels like they are hoping for more feature breakage this way, much like the incidental airlines credits that have become harder to use than ever with the closing of the gift card loophole. Note that an open jaw is also covered, just not a one-way flight. Pay with Points and tickets where the Amex card covers all taxes and fees are also covered.
I’ll quote Zach Honig from TPG here since I don’t have the official communication myself: If “the flight is canceled for a “covered reason” — including inclement weather, terrorist action, call to jury, sudden illness or injury to you or an eligible traveler — you may receive reimbursement of non-refundable travel expenses of up to $10,000 per trip, with a maximum of up to $20,000 per eligible account for each consecutive 12-month period.”
Cards with this benefit will apparently be:
- Business Platinum Card from American Express
- Platinum Card from American Express
- Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express
- Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express
- Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card from American Express
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
I don’t know what an eligible traveler is here. With Chase, it would be you or a family member, but not a friend you are traveling with. If you are booking a round trip flight, it’s nice to be able to get 5X on the Platinum Card from American Express and Business Platinum Card from American Express and also get this protection.
Trip Delay Insurance
The same cards mentioned above will also get trip delay insurance for up to $500 for covered expenses when a flight is delayed by 6 hours or more. This matches the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
You can also get coverage for delays over 12 hours, up to $300, for mid-tier Amex cards, which matches the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
These are, according to Zach: The American Express Gold Card, American Express Business Gold Card, American Express Green Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express, and the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express.
Again, this won’t apply until purchases made starting in 2020.
This is a super positive change for Amex cardholders, especially ones locked out of the Chase ecosystem due to its restrictive 5/24 rules. It also feels like a shot across the bow at Citi which just upped their game on the no-annual fee Double Cash after removing those benefits mentioned above.
Will this change what card you use for airfare?
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? The MilesTalk “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.