The Cardmember Agreement outlines pretty much what your travel benefits are. People don’t seem to hang on to those as tight as I do I guess.
The Baggage Insurance Plan covers up to $1250 for carry on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage on all cards including the Centurion card. It only applies when the entire fare is paid for with your American Express. So if you are traveling on award travel purchased through your Membership Reward points, then you aren’t covered. This is for cash trips only.
Other travel benefits can include access to airport lounges. The Platinum card and Centurion cards are good examples of getting access to those. You are enrolled in elite programs with airlines, car rental companies, and hotels as well with some cards. That makes traveling a lot nicer.
The Travel Accident Insurance is a nice perk if you are maimed or killed while traveling. Depending on what happens, you can be insured for anywhere between $100,000 and $1,500,000. If you purchase your plane ticket with your AMEX and you crash and die, then your surviving beneficiaries are going to get paid.
There is the Car Rental Loss and Damage benefit that is really cool. You could get carjacked in a rental car and you are covered. You can waive the insurance that the rental company pushes on people and still be covered. It is a little more complicated than that, but the details are in the Cardmember Agreement and it is an outstanding benefit. I used it once when I waived coverage on a rental and was broadsided while pulling back into the parking lot to return the car. I was 60 seconds away from being home free and some knob decided to wipe the car out. Luckily, even though I was being reimbursed through my insurance for the rental, I had paid for it with my AMEX and all was well. I paid a small deductible and made two phone calls to sort the entire matter out. The entire car was replaced and I didn’t have to deal with it.
The travel benefits of the AMEX card are beyond value. No matter what your annual fee happens to be, if you use the benefits that AMEX provides you, then the fee will pay for itself over and over again. Paying no annual fee and just using my Blue from American Express saved me $25,000 on replacing a rental car that I totaled and didn’t opt for insurance on. Would cash or check have done that? I think not. When I broke a $200 phone and used my Purchase Protection that came with my Blue it reminded me why I don’t use cash. And when I hear about customers who have had computers replaced under the Extended Warranty plan with AMEX, or were given assistance out of the country with the Global Assist Plan, or were helped when they were stranded with the Roadside Assistance Plan, I mean, I could go on and on about how this card will pay for itself. It is primarily an entertainment card and a business card, so if you are just using it to pay bills and not taking advantage of everything it has to offer, well, then that is like having a Ferrari and never taking it out of first gear. You can’t complain about the performance of a Ferrari if you never take it out of first gear, and likewise you can’t complain about a card whose benefits you don’t even utilize. Sure they might cut one or two of the perks, but the things that really make it worth it are staple benefits that will be here to stay I wager.