A few weeks ago, American Express announced it’s adding cell phone protection to several premium cards. But there’s an interesting twist to keep in mind if you plan on taking advantage of the perk.
What Is Cell Phone Protection on Eligible American Express Cards?
Before we get to the heart of the matter, let’s get to Amex’s definition of “Cell Phone Protection.”
Here’s the wording from Amex’s announcement:
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.
Which Amex Cards Are Eligible for Cell Phone Protection?
These American Express cards feature the new benefit:
- 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
This is an extra nice kicker for people thinking of applying for the Delta American Express cards’ big welcome offers right now (though note the Gold cards aren’t eligible).
I did find it interesting, though, that the American Express Gold Card isn’t one of the eligible cards — despite it carrying the same annual fee as both Delta Platinum Amexes (the personal and business flavors).
So What’s the Issue?
I asked Amex’s PR company if an eligible card must pay the entire cell phone bill. For example, I’m currently paying $20 of my monthly wireless bill on my Delta Reserve Business Amex because it comes with a $20 statement credit. I’m using my Business Platinum Card from American Express to pay the balance, thanks to its 5X Membership Rewards promotion.
(I usually pay my cell phone bill with the Chase Ink Cash, which offers 5X Ultimate Rewards points on wireless service provider purchases, up to $25,000 a year in combined spending).
If heaven forbid I have to use the protection to pay for screen repair or a replacement, I’m curious if I’m covered.
A spokesperson for Amex’s PR company said, “each claim will need to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis based on the information supplied when completing a claim. To be eligible for Cell Phone Protection coverage, Card Members should use an Eligible Amex Card Account to pay their monthly wireless bill.”
I think it’s sort of implied that you need to pay your entire bill with an eligible card — but nothing in that language explicitly indicates as much. Now, if I divide the payments across two eligible Amex cards, I think I’d have a strong argument that I should be reimbursed for any damages (and, again, this is a worst-case scenario).
But just be aware that if you pay a minimal amount on your eligible Amex and the balance on an ineligible card, you might not receive the benefit. So keep that in mind when paying your bill.
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