Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Keri Stooksbury
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During the past few years, it’s safe to say that as travelers we’ve become more aware of the importance of securing travel insurance. This new awareness of the importance of travel insurance has also created questions as to which is the best travel insurance to purchase and whether we need it for any given trip.
We may be tempted to select the convenient point-of-sale option, normally offered at checkout when we’re purchasing a flight, though the option provides limited coverage.
If you’re an American Express cardholder, you’ll now have the option when purchasing a flight via American Express Travel to add coverage that protects your flight purchase if you need to cancel your flight for any reason!
American Express is not new to travel insurance. In addition to issuing credit cards and offering other important financial products, the financial institution has long been a provider of travel insurance via American Express Travel Insurance.
The addition of American Express Trip Cancel Guard coverage addresses travelers’ concerns about protecting their flight purchases while simplifying the process of securing the coverage.
Today we’re going to look at how the coverage works, how it compares to other travel insurance, and what you can expect to pay for the coverage.
Join us as we explore the American Express cancel-for-any-reason Trip Cancel Guard coverage and find out if it’s worth purchasing.
Trip Cancel Guard is a coverage you can add when purchasing flights via Amex Travel whether paying with an American Express card, with Membership Rewards points using the Pay With Points option, or a combination of both.
The coverage provides for reimbursement of up to 75% of the cost of the non-refundable prepaid flight expense, penalty and change fees caused by the cancellation, or the amount of any expired vouchers/flight credits received for the canceled flight. Coverage is applicable when your flight is canceled for any reason and is valid until 2 full calendar days prior to your trip’s originally scheduled departure date.
Since Trip Cancel Guard is not insurance, you can purchase it in addition to a travel insurance policy.
When you book a flight via Amex Travel online you’ll have the opportunity to select the Trip Cancel Guard option at checkout. The charge for the coverage is calculated at 8% of the total price of the flight. In the above example, the flight price was $952.25. The Trip Cancel Guard cost of $76.18 could be added to the flight price.
You can use Membership Rewards points to pay for the entire flight + the Trip Cancel Guard coverage, or just a portion of the cost, then use your American Express card for the remainder.
The full terms and conditions and details of the coverage will be disclosed prior to finalizing the purchase.
You can purchase Cancel for Any Reason Insurance (CFAR) for most trips as an add-on to travel insurance policies secured via a travel insurance company. The timing of purchasing Cancel for Any Reason Insurance is normally limited to 14 days (or a similar duration) after your first trip deposit, and there are limits on the amount of coverage you can purchase.
The coverage will generally be expensive as it is based on the total trip cost, which can include lodging, flights, tours, ground transportation, and more. While the trip must be insured to 100% of the total cost, reimbursement is generally limited to 50% to 75% of non-reimbursed expenses. If you are uncertain as to whether you’re going to be able to take an expensive trip, the coverage could be worth it.
By comparison, Trip Cancel Guard covers just flights — and only those booked via Amex Travel with your American Express credit card and/or Membership Rewards points. The price is 8% of the total flight cost, allowing you to purchase coverage for the flight alone, not the entire trip as you would need to with CFAR.
You may be wondering how Trip Cancel Guard coverage compares to the travel insurance that comes with your American Express credit card. First, credit cards do not offer cancel for any reason insurance, but you will find a variation of the following coverages on many American Express cards that could apply to flights:
Neither Trip Cancel Guard nor the insurance that comes with your American Express credit card offers medical insurance. If this coverage is a priority, you’ll want to purchase medical travel insurance separately.
If you want to learn more about the travel insurance coverage that comes with credit cards offered by American Express, we go into much more detail in our article on the topic.
Most airlines now have flexible cancellation policies that allow you to receive a flight credit for future travel, for the full amount of your ticket, if you need to cancel a flight for any reason.
You may not need to purchase additional coverage that provides reimbursement for just 75% of the amount paid. However, if you are purchasing a basic economy or another restrictive non-refundable fare that does not provide for a future travel credit or refund, Trip Cancel Guard might be a viable option. You may also prefer receiving 75% of your money refunded versus any travel credit issued by the airline.
Trip Cancel Guard could also make sense if you’re purchasing a flight that comes with heavy change fees. If you need to cancel the flight, you may have to pay a fee to rebook using the airline credit. Having coverage would allow you to submit a reimbursement for 75% of the total price of the flight once the credit expires which could be a better option than paying the change fee at rebooking.
If an airline does issue you a travel voucher or flight credit when you cancel your flight, you will not be able to submit a request for reimbursement with Trip Cancel Guard until those credits expire or are forfeited.
Submit a claim after canceling your flight by completing a claim application online or by calling 800-228-6855. You must submit the claim within 30 days of canceling your flight or “as soon as reasonably possible.”
The benefits administrator will ask for documentation supporting the cancellation including a statement regarding the amount of any voucher or reimbursement you may have received from the airline plus any fees you were charged for the cancellation.
If you have received a voucher/credit from the airline, your claim will not be valid until said voucher/credit has expired or forfeited.
Trip Cancel Guard must be purchased at the time of booking and cannot be added on later. The coverage remains active from the time of purchase until you cancel it, submit a claim, or until you reach the 2-day limit prior to your flight departure.
Coverage is secondary to any reimbursement or travel vouchers/flight credits received from the airline when you cancel your flight. If you receive a travel voucher from the airline, Trip Cancel Guard may apply once the voucher has expired.
If you purchase Trip Cancel Guard and change your mind, you will have 14 days from the date of purchase to request a refund, provided you have not canceled your flight or submitted a claim for reimbursement. The request for a refund must also be made before coverage expires at the 2-day window prior to departure.
If you change your flight, you must notify the benefits administrator to determine new flight eligibility and re-apply coverage to the new flight.
Trip Cancel Guard is a coverage that can provide peace of mind if you’re worried about losing the money you spent on a flight due to a voluntary cancellation. Perhaps you take just 1 major trip each year and don’t want to receive a flight credit should you need to cancel. Receiving 75% of the cost of your flight back in cash may be more desirable to you in this situation.
For those with health issues, Trip Cancel Guard may provide comfort in knowing you can book a flight and cancel with not having to worry about losing your entire investment or having to accept an airline credit you may not be able to use.
Also, there are some airlines that still charge change fees if you need to cancel voluntarily. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I recently had to cancel a Scandinavian Airlines highly-discounted flight to Europe that cost around $600 but came with a $300 change fee. The cost to purchase Trip Cancel Guard would have been $48. At cancellation, I received a voucher for future travel for $600 but would have to pay the $300 change fee to rebook. With Trip Cancel Guard, I could have waited until the voucher expired and submitted a claim to receive 75% of my flight cost ($450) reimbursed, a net loss of just $198 ($150 + $48) vs. $300.
Kudos to American Express for giving cardmembers an additional choice for protecting the value of flight investments. While the option may be useful in limited situations, it’s always good to have choices.
It can be in certain circumstances. If you do not have any use for a travel credit issued by the airline when you cancel a flight and prefer to receive up to 75% of the flight price reimbursed, it can be worth it.
If you want to protect your investment in a flight with a restrictive fare that has high change fees or does not provide for a travel credit or refund, the coverage could be worth considering.
Additionally, if your health is not stable and you want the flexibility of canceling your flight for any reason, the coverage could provide peace of mind knowing you’ll receive a portion of the cost returned versus an airline credit you may not use.
At checkout, when purchasing a flight via Amex Travel, you can purchase Trip Cancel Guard coverage for your flight. The coverage provides for reimbursement of up to 75% of non-refundable flight costs should you need to cancel the flight for any reason.
The coverage can be added to eligible flights for a cost of 8% of the total flight price. The flight and coverage can be paid for with your American Express card, Membership Rewards points, or a combination of both.
You can cancel Trip Cancel Guard coverage up to 14 days from the date of purchase and receive a refund provided you have not canceled the flight, submitted a claim for reimbursement, or have not reached the end of the coverage period of 2 days prior to the flight departure date.
Yes. Trip Travel Guard covers canceling a flight for any reason, including having COVID-19 or the fear of getting COVID-19.
Trip Cancel Guard covers just flights purchased via Amex Travel with an American Express card, Membership Rewards points, or both. It does not cover entire trips, just flights.
You can purchase the coverage for your eligible flight at checkout.
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