American Express announced today that they are revamping some of the benefits on their cards. All tiers of cards are being affected one way or another. The changes are being implemented on January 1, 2020. Multiple sources, including Doctor of Credit (H/T), have reported on the changes today. These changes are both good and bad, depending on which card(s) you have. Your mileage may vary.

 

Additions & New Benefits

Premium and mid-tier Amex cards are receiving some new benefits starting in January 2020.

Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurances

Premium Amex cards will receive Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption insurances. Both insurances will cover up to $10,000 per trip and up to $20,000 per year. Flight cancellations that happen due to weather, terrorist action, sudden illness or injury, and jury duty are included. Plus, only round-trip bookings are included. One-way tickets are not. Taxes and fees on award tickets or Pay With Points tickets are also covered.

The following cards will receive these benefits:

These insurances are like the ones that come with the Chase Sapphire and Ink Business Preferred Cards. However, the Chase cards do not have a $20,000 per year maximum coverage. American Express is also giving this benefit to premium cards. Meanwhile, Chase extends it to their mid-tier cards.

While Chase has the better coverage overall, it’s nice to see American Express include it for their top cards. Those who have a premium Amex card often travel and they would get the most use out of these insurances.

Trip Delay Insurance

Trip Delay Insurance kicks in after being delayed for a certain number of hours. American Express will now reimburse you for the cost of your flight. But you must have a premium or mid-tier Amex card. The insurance covers round-trip flights only which are purchased fully with the card.

Those who have the Premium Amex Cards listed above will receive $500 after being delayed for at least six hours. This level of coverage is closest to that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

However, those who have any of the following mid-tier cards will receive $300 after being delayed for at least 12 hours:

Amex’s Trip Delay Insurance is not as good as Chase’s because it only covers airfare. Chase’s policy covers trains and other common carriers. Plus, the Amex mid-tier level only covers $300 instead of the $500 Chase mid-tier cardholders receive.

 

Discontinuations & Devaluations

Extended Warranty

A few changes are being made to American Express’ Extended Warranty policies. The main one is that it’s being lowered back to one year. Amex raised the time period from one year to two years in August 2018.

Furthermore, Extended Warranty is being discontinued for the following no annual fee cards:

It’s unfortunate that American Express is discontinuing this feature on popular no annual fee cards. Some savvy shoppers love this benefit regardless of which Amex card they use. Those who have one of the above cards should switch to another card for purchases that require an extra warranty. Major appliances, electronics, and online purchases are some sub-categories that could be affected.

Purchase Protection

Purchase Protection is one of the more valuable shopping benefits that come with Amex Cards. But the window for returning your products is decreasing to 90 days. Amex increased the window to 120 days in August 2018. This devaluation isn’t too bad as 90 days is ample time for most purchases.

Travel Accident Insurance

Travel Accident Insurance is being removed from all American Express cards in January 2020. This is probably because not many people were using it. Many people have AAA and their car insurance in case they are broken down even less than a mile from home. Companies like AAA and a lack of use made this benefit redundant.

Return Protection

American Express’ Return Protection is one of the better shopping perks. However, Dans Deals (H/T) has reported that a plethora of Amex cards are discontinuing it. Purchases made before January 1, 2020 on any Amex card are eligible. Thereafter, only purchases made with the following cards will be eligible:

  • Platinum (Personal, Business, Corporate, and all flavors thereof)
  • Delta Reserve (Personal and Business)
  • Hilton Aspire
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
  • Plum
  • Blue Cash Preferred
  • Everyday Preferred

Those who do not have any of the above cards will lose this benefit at the end of 2019. Furthermore, I find it strange that the Blue Cash Preferred and Everyday Preferred Cards will still have Return Protection. I think Amex has made this decision because they believe the people who will most likely use the two cards will also use this benefit.

 

Final Draw

These changes from American Express are both good and bad. Your mileage may vary, depending on which card(s) you have.

I am impressed that Amex is adding trip cancellation and interruption insurances on their premium cards. These perks can give disappointed Citi Prestige cardholders a nice alternative for booking airfare. Plus, the new trip delay insurances are welcome additions. These new insurances will help Amex compete with Chase for flight bookings.

However, I don’t like that they devalued the extended warranty and purchase protection perks. Those who have a no annual fee Amex (like myself) are affected the most by these changes.