American Express Rewards Program Adds Major Travel Upgrades

New travel perks begin January 1st, 2020 for top Amex credit cards. 

American Express wants to travel the world with you, so the company is adding new travel perks to many of their premium credit cards. Starting January 1st, new travel bonuses, such as trip cancellation and interruption coverage, as well as trip delay coverage, will be added to select cards.

It’s not all good news on the American Express front, though. The company is also removing some benefits. We’re taking a look at what this means for travel-loving cardholders.

Which Amex Cards Have Travel Bonuses?

Select Amex cards already grant access to more than 1,000 airport lounges in 120 countries, and offer free hotel and airline credit. American Express will now also add travel reimbursement on roundtrip flight purchases for many cards. These include::

Cardholders can receive up to $10,000 in reimbursements (up to $20,000 per year) for non-refundable travel that was canceled due to bad weather, terrorist action, illness or if you’re called to serve jury duty.

These cards will also gain trip delay coverage. This offers travelers up to $500 worth of meals, lodging and personal use items for flights delayed by more than six hours because of a covered cause.

In addition, the following Amex cards will receive up to $300 of trip delay coverage on flights delayed more than 12 hours for a covered cause:

Which American Express Card Is Right for You?

Which American Express Cards Are Losing Benefits?

Unfortunately, these additions come with some concessions. All American Express cards are losing travel accident insurance and roadside assistance. This includes premium roadside assistance on top-tier cards.

Purchase protection, which covers the cost of items you’ve bought that are stolen or accidentally damaged, is also changing. Coverage dates will decrease from 120 days to 90 days.

Furthermore, extended warranty coverage will be cut from two years to one for premium cards, and removed completely on $0 annual fee cards.

Are Amex Travel Cards Better Than Chase Sapphire?

There is no doubt that American Express is trying to lure in the travel lovers of the world. However, even with these new additions, the Chase Sapphire and Sapphire Reserve cards earn more points for everyday spending, and rewards points go further toward travel purchases. Although Amex may have more travel partners to which you can transfer reward points, Sapphire’s ability to earn 3X points on travel, and then redeem points for up to 50% more through the Chase travel portal makes it a clear winner.

Furthermore, the Sapphire’s $300 annual travel credit can be applied to a wide range of transportation and hotel stays. While the $200 airline credit that comes with some Amex cards is only for incidental costs, like baggage fees, with one airline.

Additionally, American Express travel protection is also only available on roundtrip flights. That means your cruise to the Bahamas or European train jaunt is not covered as it would be with a Chase Sapphire card.

Still, American Express is making a smart move to add on travel perks, especially as many credit card companies are dropping benefits, like price protection, to save money. And if you already have a premium Amex card or some of the other benefits have you drawn to a certain Amex offering, this is certainly a welcome change.

If you want to find out whether an American Express travel rewards card is right for your wallet, check out our credit card hub. You’ll find all the information you need to know about Amex’s best travel cards, as well as other top credit card options.

Earn With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Today


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Ashley Eneriz

Ashley Eneriz is a personal finance writer based in Southern California. She loves a good deal and is not afraid to dig through a thrift store to score amazing finds. When not writing about money, she is taking care of her three girls, homeschooling, or stuck with her nose in a book.

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