Did you know that you could recoup your costs if your cell phone is stolen or damaged just by using a certain credit card to pay your wireless bill?
Amex has announced that it will soon start offering this cell phone protection as a new benefit for 12 credit cards.
Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know:
These 12 American Express Cards Will Add Cell Phone Protection
Beginning April 1, 2021, Amex will add the cell phone protection plan to 12 American Express cards.
Remember, you must pay your wireless bill with the named credit card each month to get this benefit.
|Amex Cards To Add Cell Phone Protection
|Centurion® Card from American Express
|Business Centurion® Card from American Express
|Platinum Card® from American Express
|Business Platinum Card®
|Delta Reserve® Credit Card
|Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card
|Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card
|Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card
|The American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab
|The Platinum Card® from American Express for Goldman Sachs
|The Platinum Card® from American Express for Morgan Stanley
|The Platinum Card® from American Express for Ameriprise Financial
As you can see, this benefit is not being added to many of Amex’s low annual fee cards — at least for now.
Some of the cards on this list, such as the variety of Platinum cards named, carry hefty annual fees.
Money expert Clark Howard is a fan of cell phone protection benefits, but he’s not a fan of high annual fee credit cards for most consumers. So keep that in mind as you’re shopping around for card benefits.
How the Amex Cell Phone Protection Plan Works
Free cell phone protection is a great credit card perk, but it doesn’t come without some strings attached.
We picked through the fine print on this benefit offer to pull out the information that you need.
But if you want even more details, you can read the full explanation of Amex’s cell phone protection guide to benefits here.
How To Become Eligible
To get this credit card benefit, you must charge your monthly wireless phone bill on your eligible Amex card.
The Amex fine print says that you’re covered the first day of the calendar month following a wireless bill payment completed with your card.
But be warned, if you switch to another card to pay your bill, you’ll lose the coverage until the month after you start using the Amex card again.
What Kind of Protection You Receive
So you’re dutifully paying your wireless bill with your Amex card each month and something goes awry with your phone. Now what?
Well, you’re going to owe a $50 deductible to make a claim.
You are limited to two claims per year, and the claims are good for up to $800 per instance to repair or replace your phone.
But you’re going to have to jump through some hoops to prove that your phone incident actually qualifies for coverage.
Here’s what you can expect:
- Your cell phone is stolen and not recovered: You can get a new or refurbished phone worth up to $800.
- Your cell phone is damaged: You’ll be eligible for it to be fixed or replaced at a cost of up to $800.
But note that there are a lot of exclusions to the coverage. Keep reading.
What Doesn’t Qualify for Coverage
Some fairly common occurrences are explicitly excluded from eligibility for coverage with this program.
Just some of the things that are NOT covered by this benefit include:
- Lost phones
- “Mysterious disappearance” of a phone
- Any accessory beyond the phone’s standard antenna and battery that was provided by the manufacturer
- Any phones that were bought for the purpose of resale (commercial purchases)
- Phones lost or damaged during delivery by a carrier, such as USPS, FedEx or UPS
Why Clark Howard Likes Cell Phone Protection as a Card Benefit
We all have our reasons for seeking out different types of credit card rewards and benefits, but Clark says this is one that can actually help a wide variety of people.
Clark views it as a way to avoid paying for cell phone insurance offered through your wireless provider or cell phone retailer.
“You should only buy insurance on what you can’t afford to replace,” Clark says. “That’s why you have it on a house, on a car or on your life. Those are things you can’t easily replace.
“Don’t buy insurance on things. If you can’t afford to replace a television or a cell phone, then you likely can’t afford to buy it in the first place.”
Instead of an add-on insurance policy, Clark believes this free supplemental coverage is an adequate way to try to recoup some of your losses should your cell phone meet its demise sooner than you anticipated.
As a general rule, getting free cell phone protection from your credit card issuer is a good idea.
So it’s great to see American Express getting serious about offering this benefit to more customers.
If you already have one of these 12 cards in your wallet, this is simply great news.
If you don’t, this news is a little more complicated. You may want to explore the benefits of the credit cards already in your wallet to see if one of those offers cell phone protection.
If none of your cards offers this benefit, then you’ll want to take a close look at whether these Amex offerings are good for your financial life beyond the cell phone benefit.
There’s a chance there may be a better option for you already offering the benefit. You can read our roundup of cards that offer it here.
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