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Amex Is Finally Adding Trip Delay and Cancelation Insurance To Its Credit Cards

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In the battle for travel credit card supremacy, Chase has always had one major advantage of American Express: trip delay and trip cancelation coverage. But now, Amex is fighting back with protections of its own.

We’ve written about how trip delay insurance can make a stressful delay a little less disastrous, and how cancelation coverage can really save your bacon if a trip is completely interrupted for covered reasons, so this looks to be a really positive change for eligible cardholders. Best of all, Amex is rolling the benefits out to a huge variety of travel cards.

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Starting with purchases made on or after January 1, 2020, users of the following cards will be able to submit a claim for up to $500 of necessary expenses (meals, hotel rooms, toiletries, etc.) if a trip is delayed by more than six hours for a covered reason.

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Just note that you’ll have to pay for the entirety of the flight with the card (paying taxes and fees on an award ticket would count), and it’ll have to be a roundtrip flight. To be more specific, you’ll have to depart from and arrive back in the same origin city, though open jaw destinations—i.e. landing in San Antonio and flying back from Austin—are allowed.

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And if you have any of these cards with lower annual fees, you’ll be eligible to file a claim for $300 of expenses after a 12-hour delay.

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These two tiers roughly line up with the protections offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred card, respectively, though Chase’s benefits are valid on one-way flights as well, assuming all of the insurance’s other qualifications are met.

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Also starting on January 1, roundtrip flights that are purchased with any of the following cards will be eligible for reimbursement up to $10,000 in non-refundable expenses (capped at $20,000 per 12 months) if the trip is canceled for a covered reason. Eligible reasons include inclement weather, terrorist attacks, jury duty, or sudden illness or injury to you or a covered traveler.

So if you couldn’t get out of jury duty and have to cancel your vacation to Greece (imagine!), you could be eligible for reimbursement for your non-refundable flight, any prepaid travel arrangements at your destination, and any prepaid hotels. Obviously, nobody wants to have to use this kind of coverage, but it’s great to know you have it when you book an expensive trip.

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There’s no such thing as a free lunch (or free insurance coverage), so these new benefits come at the expense of some that Amex cards currently offer. Starting January 1, Amex cards will have their extended purchase protection and warranty coverage shortened from two years to one year.

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They’re also doing away with Travel Accident Insurance, which provided up to $500,000 to the cardholder or a beneficiary in the event of death or serious dismemberment while traveling. It’s...pretty morbid to think about, but losing this coverage is a bummer, even if you’re far more likely to use Trip Delay or Trip Cancelation coverage.

Amex cardholders will also lose their dedicated Roadside Assistance Hotline, which most of you probably didn’t know existed.

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Overall, we think this is a positive change, and one that eliminates a real and substantial difference between Chase and American Express’s competing offerings. Even relatively infrequent travelers will probably be able to make use of trip delay insurance from time to time, and trip cancelation insurance can be worth a lot of money, which will at least ease the sting of an interrupted vacation.

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Gizmodo Media Commerce has partnered with The Points Guy Affiliate Network for our coverage of credit products. Gizmodo Media Group and The Points Guy may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Shep McAllister

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