Amex Platinum UK just got a lot less shiny

As you may have worked out by now I travel – a lot. Each trip demands a separate packing list, but one thing that I can’t travel without is travel insurance. And it has to be the very best.

I pay a lot of money each year for a Platinum American Express Charge card which I use for all of my business expenses.  A key benefit of this card is the travel insurance product that comes with it.

I think the product is (or was…) one of the best available and covered all the normal stuff but also things like baggage delay (£300 if no bags after a few hours, another £300 if no bags after a few more), flight delay (£150 for a nice meal if a delay of 4+ hours) etc.

Today is the first day of the new terms of the insurance product:

  • Cover ends at 70 (I still have more than a few years to go before this concerns me)
  • There is an excess of £50 for some types of claim (well…OK – I don’t claim for little things anyway)
  • Maximum trip length is reducing to 90 days (I miss home too much to be away for that long anyway)
  • To benefit from some features of our travel cover, you now need to pay for travel and accommodation using your American Express card (what?)

I am a contractor.  I work for myself and often I pay for flights, hotels etc. and claim them back from my clients.  Often but not always.  Sometimes clients pay.  Sometimes my clients’, clients pay.

Over the next few weeks I am travelling to several continents for a specific project.  The travel cost for this is well over £25k and has been paid for by my client direct.

So where does that leave me?  Angry and disappointed.  It looks like I will now need to find a travel policy that covers me regardless of the method of payment used.  To obtain the level of cover I had before this change will cost a considerable sum which simply means I will not renew my American Express card – the value of the product has been slashed if not almost entirely demolished.

This change is a real blow to the product which Amex touts as being Premium.  It seems to me that they have completely misunderstood who their Platinum Customers are.  I wholeheartedly believe that for the vast majority of my fellow cardholders, it is simply impossible to pay for all of their travel expenditure using an American Express card all of the time.  A modest increase to the annual fee would have been much more palatable.

To borrow a line from a fellow frequent traveller on Flyertalk: “It genuinely saddens me that brands p*ss away the extraordinary and often emotive investment embedded in their name”.

So very true.

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