Wow: Amex Adds Cell Phone Protection To Premium Cards

Filed Under: American Express, Credit Cards
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This is exciting — American Express has just added cell phone protection to several cards, and it even includes coverage for cracked screens (which is typically excluded from this type of coverage with other card issuers)!

How does Amex cell phone protection work?

As of April 1, 2021, American Express is adding a new cell phone protection benefit for eligible U.S. consumer and small business cards. Here are the basics of how this coverage works:

  • If a cell phone is stolen or damaged, including a cracked screen, card members can be reimbursed for the repair or replacement costs
  • The fact that this covers screen damage is noteworthy, since many other cards offering a similar benefit explicitly exclude cosmetic damage (which this is typically considered to be)
  • This coverage is valid for up to two approved claims, for a maximum of $800 per claim, and $1,600 per 12-month period
  • There’s a $50 deductible per claim
  • The cell phone line needs to be listed on a wireless bill, and the prior month’s wireless bill needs to be paid with the eligible card

More details about the benefit can be found in the guide to benefits.

Which Amex cards are offering cell phone protection?

American Express will offer the new cell phone protection benefit on the following cards:

My take on Amex’s new cell phone benefit

I’m thrilled to see American Express add cell phone protection as a benefit on some of its premium cards. This is a huge value-add, especially when you consider how expensive cell phones are nowadays.

Personally I’m trying to figure out what this means for my credit card strategy, as I try to balance maximizing points with getting the best cell phone coverage possible:

  • Currently I use the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) for my cell phone bill, as the card offers cell phone protection and earns up to 3x Ultimate Rewards points on cellular purchases; I value Ultimate Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so that’s like a 5.1% return on my cell phone spending
  • There’s an opportunity cost there in terms of points, as I also have the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card (review), which doesn’t offer cell phone protection, but earns up to 5x Ultimate Rewards points on cellular purchases; in other words, I could be earning an 8.5% return, but I guess I’m forgoing an incremental 3.4% return in order to get cell phone coverage
  • The issue with eligible Amex cards is that none of them offer bonus points for cell phone spending, though unlike the coverage I currently have, they offer coverage for cracked screens; I value Amex Membership Rewards points at 1.7 cents each, so I’d be giving up an incremental 3.4-6.8% return compared to the other cards I could use

I don’t think this new benefit will change much for my strategy, since I’ll continue to use the Ink Business Preferred for my cell phone bill, balancing cell phone coverage with maximizing points. However, I’d say there aren’t really any compelling personal cards that offer cell phone protection and bonus points on these purchases, so this could be the best option for that.

Deciding which card to use for my cell bill

Bottom line

Amex has added cell phone protection (including for cracked screens) to some of its premium cards. It’s always great to see more cards adding cell phone coverage, given how expensive phones are nowadays.

The issue is that there’s often a tradeoff between maximizing points and taking advantage of coverage like this. In my case I don’t think it’ll cause me to switch the card I use for my cell phone bill, though I’m sure this will prove valuable to others.

Kudos to American Express for continuing to innovate. This is a great permanent feature, in addition to all of the temporary perks that Amex has added to cards lately.

Do you plan on taking advantage of Amex’s new cell phone coverage on select cards?

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  1. Weird they’re not adding it to Gold and Biz Gold yet adding it to the $200 a year Delta platinum

  2. The terms don’t seem to address if FULL monthly payment is required on the card. I.e. does putting $15 on my Bonvoy Biz card for the monthly credit render me ineligible for coverage? I’m guessing that’s the case, pretty obnoxious if so.

    A. To get coverage:
    You must charge your monthly Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone bill to your Eligible Card Account. You are eligible for coverage the first day of the calendar
    month following the payment of your Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone bill using your Eligible Card Account. If you pay an Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone
    bill with your Eligible Card Account and fail to pay a subsequent bill using your Eligible Card Account in a particular month, your coverage period changes as follows:
    1. Your coverage is suspended beginning the first day of the calendar month following the month of nonpayment to your Eligible Card Account; and
    2. Your coverage resumes on the first day of the calendar month following the date of any future payment of your Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone
    bill using your Eligible Card Account.

  3. Khatl, the $200 Delta card is honestly one of their best cards (companion ticket, lounge access, decent multipliers, can spend towards status, etc). I think it is one of their most popular cards

  4. Business gold card get FU**** again. AMEX sucks. I cannot wait to close that account, Paid $295 for nothing. 4 points per dollar at restaurants for $300 per year. So I earned an extra 20,000 points to eat up the annual fee but get ZERO benefits.

  5. Doesn’t the Ink business card have a $100 deductible. You mention Amex is only $50. Does that change your thinking?

  6. Perfect! I already use my Delta Platinum to pay for my cell phone bill so I can hit the $25K MQD waiver.

  7. I wonder if users who pay for their wireless bill annually (i.e. Mint Mobile) will be able to utilize this. Amex Offers had a pretty nice offer with Mint not long ago.

  8. Amex Biz Plat is now offering 4x points in addition to the usual 1x points for wireless phone purchases (total of 5x points) through to 30Jun2021. The only reason I kept my Biz Ink card was because of their generous cell phone benefit and points earning. I will be shifting that spend over to my Amex Biz Plat now, unfortunately this bonus earning will only be for a few more months.

  9. @anthony It may be popular but earning 1 skypeso per $ is terrible value plus it’s in a non-convertible currency. Also delta plat doesn’t get you lounge access. Biz gold and gold get a bad deal with this.

  10. Hmmm.

    1) I recently had an iPhone with a cracked front and back screen – I think that would cost $929 to fix out of Apple’s warranty. I had AppleCare though, so I paid a $99 deductible to get it fixed. Seems like in this case, it would be basically a wash to fix with this coverage.

    2) An advantage seems to be that you can pay your phone bill to get this coverage, and don’t necessarily have to buy the phone itself – I buy iPhones with my Apple Card now, so the is an advantage

    3) Outright theft of the phone (happened to me before) is fully covered under AppleCare + Theft but you would be out of pocket by a decent amount if you buy an expensive phone

    Net net this seems interesting, but unlikely to reduce the need for AppleCare, at least for me… I guess could you use it to pay deductibles for Apple care?

  11. Ryan / Khatl
    – Companion pass by itself pays for the Delta Platinum fee
    – Delta Platinum I believe earns multipliers for dining and grocery these days (though I don’t use mine for this purpose)
    – I think Delta Platinum gets you SkyClub access on a per visit basis. Gold used to as well, but they got rid of it
    – I historically earn a lot of SkyPesos via flying/spending for status and use a lot of SkyPesos. Debating whether I should spend Delta miles this year on a bunch of domestic travel or wait until the European DeltaOne flash sales

    I have both a Delta Reserve and Delta Platinum, I have considered downgrading the Reserve and cancelling the existing Platinum. But this year, MQM earning on Reserve is a bit too good.

  12. Same as other cell phone protection plans, this is postpaid phone plan only, good luck with prepaid.

  13. @Anthony Isn’t the advantage here that you don’t need to pay for a standalone product like AppleCare? Save your $10 per month and get comparable coverage through Amex?

  14. MattR – IMO AppleCare gives slightly more comprehensive coverage than what Apple is offering (especially for theft), but it depends on your risk tolerance

  15. This doesn’t get around the nasty policy Verizon has of slapping on a $10 charge when you pay with credit card. (Or “removing the debit/ ACH autopay discount”, if you prefer).

  16. Unfortunately, we Google Fi users are left out in the cold with this, since Amex does not consistently recognize it as a cellphone service provider.

  17. @ Ben — This is a smart trick to try to get you to keep cards upon 2021 renewal, but it may not be enough for me.

  18. Where do you see that it covers cracked screens? The policy document specifically excludes cosmetic damage…

  19. Have the same question as @Greg. 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?

  20. Like @magicgumdrop said, this is completely worthless on Verizon, unless you are still on a fixed data plan.

    It should be worth about $35/month if we could actually use it, as the cheapest coverage Verizon has is $6.85/mo/line (5 lines).

  21. Citi Prestige also provides similar coverage, what about making a post comparing the three Chase Ink, Citi Prestige and AMEX coverages

  22. @T Reed

    I agree, the Hilton Aspire card is the premium Hilton card. It seems odd that the insurance isn’t included with this product.

  23. @NK3

    Well, cosmetic damages aren’t cover, but if you mess up the phone screen enough that you can’t even call (e.g. can’t see the numbers, or touch screen is no longer responsive), then it’s covered.

  24. Astounding – this has been on the Australian version of the AMEX Platinum for years! You are allowed to claim up to $500 twice a year.

  25. Gosh darn I’ve had a regular gold MX card for 30 or 40 years and they haven’t give me a damn thing worthwhile just the stupid points which aren’t really worth anything because if you book on their site the airline prices are 10 or $25 higher per segment has anyone actually seen that like me?

  26. I’m not sure how “wow” this is – Amex premium cards are a sinking ship and they were cheapskates when times were good. This is just bailing water out to remain marginally competitive.

    I have only a Green card at this point, and am not compelled to renew. Following point transfers (to whoever economically survives this pandemic) I’ll be out entirely.

  27. So, does cell phone coverage start April 1 (making you eligible to file a claim at that point) if you paid your March bill with an eligible Amex card? Or, does it start May 1 after you pay your April monthly bill with an eligible card? I can’t tell from the documents.

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