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American Express only relatively recently added trip delay insurance protection to eligible cards. Before 2020, travelers might have had to make a choice between using a credit card with trip delay protections or an AmEx card that earned more points. But now, the issuer has added trip delay insurance as a benefit to some of its cards, making it a lot easier for travelers to decide to reach for their AmEx card when booking a flight.
However, this protection isn't available on all cards, and it doesn't cover all delays or travelers. Here's what you need to know about AmEx trip delay insurance.
What does AmEx trip delay insurance cover?
AmEx trip delay insurance reimburses reasonable expenses, such as meals and lodging, incurred when a trip is delayed due to a covered reason. Depending on which AmEx card you carry, the maximum reimbursement is up to $500 per eligible trip and the delay must be at least six or 12 hours.
To qualify, you must use your eligible American Express card to pay for round-trip travel starting from your city of residence. Although AmEx requires "round-trip travel," you may book one-way flights and visit one or more destinations, so long as the trip ends at your home. However, you'll need to charge the entire trip to your eligible card and keep the trip length under 365 days.
Not all delays qualify. AmEx trip delay insurance only kicks in when you're delayed due to one of four reasons:
Terrorist action or hijacking.
Equipment failure by the common carrier (e.g. airline or train company).
Lost or stolen passports or travel documents.
AmEx trip delay insurance also doesn't cover delays that are made known before your trip starts — such as a flight schedule change communicated in advance. Also, it won't cover expenses paid before the trip or delays due to intentional acts by the traveler.
» Learn more: The guide to American Express travel insurance
Which AmEx cards include trip delay insurance?
Over 20 AmEx cards offer some form of trip delay insurance protection. The maximum reimbursement amount and minimum delay time vary depending on which AmEx card was used to book the trip.
The following premium AmEx cards offer up to $500 in reimbursement per covered trip and require at least a six-hour delay:
The Platinum Card® from American Express — including Ameriprise Financial, Schwab, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley versions.
Meanwhile, the following AmEx cards will reimburse up to $300 per covered trip for delays of 12 hours or more:
American Express® Gold Card — including the Rose Gold version.
If you have multiple AmEx cards, the applicable policy is based on which card was used to purchase the trip.
Say you book a round-trip flight with an American Express® Green Card but also have a Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. If your trip is delayed, you'll get up to $300 in reimbursements for delays over 12 hours. You won't get better coverage just because you also hold a card with a different policy. Terms apply.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Who is covered by AmEx trip delay insurance?
AmEx trip delay insurance doesn't just cover the cardmember who used an eligible card to pay for the trip. AmEx coverage is extended to the cardmember's spouse or domestic partner, qualifying children and traveling companions.
AmEx defines children as those that are unmarried, dependent and younger than 19 — or under 26 and a full-time student at an accredited college or university.
Interestingly, a "traveling companion" only needs to make advanced arrangements to travel with you (or your eligible family members) on all or part of your eligible trip. That means a travel companion that travels with you on just one flight would be covered if that flight is delayed.
AmEx trip delay coverage is capped per trip — not per eligible traveler or per delay. That means you'll receive a maximum of $500 in reimbursements no matter how many eligible travelers are in your group and no matter how many delays you have on a single trip.
» Learn more: How to choose a travel credit card
How to file a claim
When you experience a delay, the most important thing to remember is to document everything. Save all receipts, ask your carrier for a statement with the reason for the delay and keep a copy of your ticket.
Then, you'll need to go through a two-step process to file a claim for reimbursement. First, you must notify the benefit administrator of your claim within 60 days of the trip delay. You can do this by calling 844-933-0648 to begin the claims process.
Next, you'll be asked to provide proof of your loss. The benefit administrator will provide instructions on what's required when you open your claim. You may need to provide documentation like receipts, tickets and the reason for the delay. This proof must generally be filed within 180 days of your delay, although AmEx may provide an extension of up to one year.
» Learn more: How do travel insurance claims work?
Trip delay insurance from AmEx recapped
AmEx trip delay insurance was only recently added to certain American Express cards. This addition makes these cards more appealing to use when booking travel. Now, cardmembers can use AmEx cards to book travel knowing that they're covered in case there's a delay due to weather, equipment failure or if their travel documents are lost or stolen.
Just keep in mind that you'll need to use an eligible card to book all travel, not all delays are covered and the reimbursements are capped per trip — not per traveler or per delay.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card