On Tuesday I had a post about using just about any VISA card to pay for your rental car to give you additional protection over and above from your normal insurance (please read that post to get some background). Today I will review choosing an AMEX card over a VISA card. In a final post this weekend, I will look at the last few options like an AMEX upgrade or a card that offers primary coverage; but for today’s post, this is just a standard AMEX card we are talking about.
Like VISA, almost ANY AMEX will give you protection. Having said that, just about each AMEX has different T&C as to what the exact benefits are for that card so you have to check. For example, depending on the card, coverage covers only cars with a mfg. suggested retail price of $50,000 for the Delta GOLD or PLATINUM or the RESERVE up to $75,000. VISA has no such firm numbers, but still it shows the importance of checking to see if a car is in fact covered (when the link is working as I was doing final checks and got the below):
For us, who are most likely to have Delta AMEX cards, here are some facts. Also, like with VISA, what are the “got ya’s” we need to know about?
#1) Not covered: expensive cars, which means cars with an original manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $50,000 or more when new.
Can you think of how many cars cost more than $50k MSRP? Big got ya!
#2) In no event shall coverage be provided when the Card member rents a Rental Auto beyond 30 consecutive days from the same Rental Company, regardless of whether the original agreement is extended, or a new written agreement is entered into, or a new vehicle is rented. Additionally, no coverage will be provided when the Primary Renter rents a Rental Auto for more than 30 consecutive days out of a 45 day period within the same geographic market/location (75 mile radius).
The PRO over VISA is you get 30 days NOT just 15 of coverage, but you can not just switch companies after the time is up. You could go Visa then AMEX then VISA I would think.
#3) NOT COVERED: Full sized sport utility vehicles, including but not limited to, Chevrolet/GMC Suburban, Tahoe and Yukon, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, Toyota Land Cruiser, Lexus LX450, Range Rover or full-sized Ford Bronco. [also trucks]
YIKES! Many of these are covered with VISA. My last rental in Salt Lake, had I paid with my Delta Reserve card, would NOT have been covered!
#4) No coverage for Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand.
Again, you have to check, that is one of the most frustrating things as depending on your card, these terms may or may not be there.
#5) Membership Rewards redemption certificate, in which case, the participating Car Rental Companies mean Hertz, National and Budget, only.
With American Express Membership Reward points, you can see you are limited to only a few car rental companies. There is a clear advantage with Chase Ultimate Rewards, as you can use them with many more rental car companies.
I could really go on and on with the “got ya’s” like the fact that if your statement is past due you will not be covered but there are exceptions in some states to that. Also, you have to pay for the rental in full so don’t use say 1/2 Ultimate Rewards points and 1/2 AMEX to pay. The bottom line on these is you must read with the card you have just what your perks are and are not. This is one of the hardest parts about this post as there is no way to cover all the points as they are different over infinite circumstances. The same thing goes for Mastercard. You have to check with each card. Some have NO coverage some have similar to VISA or AMEX. So, you just have to check.
To be fair, there are some big things that are perks over VISA like personal property in a car up to $1000 and up $2000 with others in the car. There is life insurance up to $200,000 plus $20,000 per passenger. If you check you will find some others. But for me, the “legalese” and differing conditions for differing cards, even inside the Delta family of cards, really bothers me. To me, the perks of this program do not outweigh the drawbacks. To me, VISA is simple and straight forward across all the VISA products.
Some final personal thoughts. What are you trying to get? Do you want your deductible covered if you have an accident? That is what I am looking for. I am not looking for extra coverage in case of damage to my stuff. I have life insurance so I don’t pay with my AMEX to protect my family if I were to die in a wreck (would they even know to check for this?)! I have never rented a car for more than two weeks, but others I know do. I love so much of what AMEX offers with Delta, but when it comes to this perk, I will NOT have “peace of mind” if I were to choose AMEX to pay for the rental.
So what do you think. Are you surprised by this information? Let me know and check back on Saturday for the final post on this topic! – René
See the FINAL post in this series HERE!
.Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
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