Amex adds cell phone protection to most ultra-premium cards

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Beginning April 1 2021, select Amex cards gain cell phone protection.  Eligible cards include Centurion cards (consumer and business), Platinum cards (including the business Platinum and co-branded consumer variants), Delta Platinum (consumer and business), and Delta Reserve (consumer and business).  Strangely missing from the list, in my opinion, are the $450 Bonvoy Brilliant and Hilton Aspire cards.  I’m also a bit surprised not to see the Gold Card or Business Gold Card on the list.

Coverage Details

  • Coverage includes phones that are stolen or damaged.
  • We have been told that cracked screens are covered.
  • Max $800 per claim or $1,600 per 12 month period.
  • A $50 deductible applies to each claim.
  • “You must charge your monthly Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone bill to your Eligible Card Account.”  (interestingly, the terms do not say that you must pay in full each month, but maybe that’s implied?)
  • Policy details can be found here.

My Take

Cell phone protection is already available from many other credit cards (see: Credit card cell phone insurance compared), but it’s great to see Amex join the party.  Keep in mind that this is different from purchase protection (which Amex provides as well).  Amex’s purchase protection covers damage, loss, or theft for 90 days from purchase.  Nick had great luck using their purchase protection with a phone that smashed shortly after he bought it.  Cell phone protection, meanwhile, is continuously available as long as you pay your wireless bill with your eligible card.  With purchase protection there’s no deductible, but with cell phone coverage they impose a $50 deductible per claim.  If Amex handles cell phone protection claims themselves the way they do with purchase protections, that’s fantastic news: According to many accounts, Amex is generally much better to work with than 3rd party insurers.

If you have multiple eligible cards, here are my thoughts about which are best to use to pay your cell phone bill in the short term:

More Info

For reference, here’s the information sent to us by Amex’s PR firm:

Knowing how important these devices are, American Express is supporting Card Members by adding Cell Phone Protection as a new benefit for eligible U.S. Consumer and Small Business Cards, inclusive of protection against screen damage, which is typically excluded from damage coverage. Effective April 1, 2021, if a Card Members’ cell phone is stolen or damaged, including a cracked screen, they can be reimbursed for the repair or replacement costs for up to two approved claims, for a maximum of $800 per claim or $1,600 per 12-month period, when their cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month’s wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account. A $50 deductible applies to each approved claim.

Cell Phone Protection will be included for no additional cost for the following American Express Card Members:

  • Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Business Platinum Card®
  • Centurion® Card from American Express
  • Business Centurion Card®
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
  • The Platinum Card® Exclusively for Charles Schwab
  • The Platinum Card® Exclusively for Morgan Stanley
  • The Platinum Card® Exclusively for Goldman Sachs
  • The Centurion® Card Exclusively for Goldman Sachs

For more information about the coverage, please see the Guide to Benefits at americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/features-benefits/policies/cell-phone-protection.html.

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27 Comments
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Joseph N.

Ha! Right after I switched my Sprint bill to my IHG card because of the cell phone protection. Nice timing Amex. 🙂

Tony

Greg, the insurance start April 1. The policy states, “ You are eligible for coverage the first day of the calendar month following the payment of your Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone bill…” Do you know if that means a payment in March will trigger coverage starting April 1 or will it actually be an April payment that starts coverage May 1?

H XU

What is NOT covered:

Replacement Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone(s)purchased from anyone other than a cellular service provider’s retail or internet storethat has the ability to initiate activation with the cellular service provider;

means only phone purchased directly from carrier are covered??

. How to file a claim

Copy of the original Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephonepurchase receipt

means only phone on installment plan is not covered??
(there is no receipt for phone on installment plan, you got a receipt of tax first, the monthly installment in mixed with the monthly service bill)

Paul

What about people that have a pre-paid plan like a “pay as-go-go” plans (no annual contract) through AT&T and other carriers? There is no monthly bill to print since it does not generate a bill, however some info is available online from the prepaid account.

Lela, aka Frugal Nellie

See above with my example of Mint Mobile.

NK3

Under the section about what is not covered, it says “Cosmetic damage…that does not impact the Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone’s ability to make or receive phone calls.” With the cracked screens that I have had, I was still able to send & receive calls. Are we sure they are covered?

Benjamin

Hopefully Amex will clarify this a little better by April 1. Otherwise, it appears that some people will be stuck telling the insurance carrier that the P.R. team said that cracked screens are covered. The terms really do make it seems like a cracked screen (or any other damage) will only be covered if it affects the “ability to make or receive phone calls.”

Lela, aka Frugal Nellie

Both Amex and MasterCard are underwritten by New Hampshire insurance Company. The MasterCard reps get really firm that the ONLY things covered are things that effect your ability to make phone calls. No web access? Your problem. Broken camera? Your problem. In this way, the Chase coverage (CIP) is far superior, as they say it covers all damage, incl screen, camera. They have a $600 limit and $100 deductible. But far more user friendly. In the end it depends a bit on the actual claims administrator you get. I would hope that Amex provides a better benefit than MasterCard. Hopefully it is not the same program.

John

How does this compare to coverage from Chase Freedom? Looks similar except Chase Freedom limits to $1,000/year and AmEx more?

Eric Lipkind

Must the entire bill be paid on one of these cards, or will paying any amount on one of these cards get you coverage?

John

From above:

“and the prior month’s wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account.”

Sounds to me like the entire bill needs to be paid with the eligible card.

Anthony

Would you use the Amex platinum or the chase ink (I’m grandfathered into the old $95AF product) for cell phone insurance?

Sarah

This should apply even if you are overseas, correct?

Jags

How does credit card insurance work if you have Mint Mobile and pay once a year?

Lela, aka Frugal Nellie

I have Mint mobile as well. I’ve made a claim under the MasterCard cell benefits for this, and it took a long time, but worked. I have called 4 cards that have cell coverage through MasterCard, and also Chase’s card benefit services, asking about this, (creating my own spreadsheet), and I get similar answers: 1. You have to load your wallet monthly, as benefits are predicated on paying your bill with the card providing the coverage. 2. You have to provide proof of the charge on the cc and something from your carrier showing the charge/payment. 3. Your phone must have been purchased separately from your Pre-paid plan. You may need to provide the receipt from the purchase of your phone. 4. It is at the discretion of the claims administrator (for MasterCard). 5. For MasterCard, my claims administrator required me to provide a receipt proving replacement of my stolen iPhone. The police report was not enough. (Apple allows returns, fyi. I bought a new phone just for this receipt, then returned it. No guilt, my phone was legitimately stolen, and what phone I chose to use after that did not change the value of the stolen item, imo.)

I intend to call Amex about their policy on monthly payments to a pre-paid plan, but have not yet.

I’d love to sort out a way to mail Mint a check, through Plastiq, and automate this, but that is in the future too. For now I have to remember to do it each month.

Mint can use your accrued “wallet balance” to pay your annual plan charge (or 3 month, 6 month). So you are just pre-paying.

Lela, aka Frugal Nellie

Oh, my claim was under the REI World MasterCard.

Lela, aka Frugal Nellie

Forgot to explain, the Amex coverage and MC (some if not all) coverage, are both underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Co. So I suspect they may have similar rules. We’ll see.