Amex Platinum Car Rental Benefits (Insurance & Elite Status) [2020]

The Amex Platinum is loaded with a host of benefits like lounge access, hotel elite status, and travel credits as well as a host of rental car benefits.

But what exactly are the Amex Platinum car rental benefits and how valuable are they? 

This article will explain all of the different elite status benefits you should receive with your American Express Platinum Card as well as the car rental insurance policy that the card comes with. 

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What is the Amex Platinum car rental insurance policy?

The Amex Platinum comes with rental car insurance, also known as collision damage waiver (CDW), that will cover you up to $75,000 for 30 consecutive days. The coverage offered is secondary, which means that it covers what your insurance provider does not cover.

So if you were to get into a car accident, the Amex Platinum car rental insurance would still require you to file a claim with your car insurance provider. That’s a bad deal because it means that your monthly premium could go up and it’s just never fun to have to deal with insurance companies.

Compare the Platinum’s policy to the Chase Sapphire Reserve which offers primary rental car insurance for claims up to $75,000 for periods of 31 consecutive days.

Even the Chase Sapphire Preferred, with its low $95 annual fee, offers primary rental car coverage.

So the rental car coverage offered by the Platinum Card isn’t exactly its strongest selling point. 

Who is covered by the Amex Platinum rental car insurance?

The following people will be provided with coverage:

  1. You are a Basic Card Member or Additional Card Member
  2. You were the person who signed the Rental Agreement
  3. You maintain your Permanent Residence within the 50 United States of America, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands; and
  4. You have fully activated coverage

This means that if you have a spouse or travel partner who is added as a driver who signed the rental agreement and you paid for the contract with your Platinum Card, they will be entitled to coverage just like you would be.

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How to activate coverage

Rental Vehicle is activated when:

1. You decline the full collision damage waiver (CDW) or similar option, or pay for a partial collision damage waiver, offered by the Rental Company;

2. You or the Authorized Driver is named on the Rental Agreement as the person renting and take control and possession of the Rental Vehicle; and

3. You use Your Account, American Express Membership Reward Points and/or American Express Pay with Points to hold or place a deposit at the time the rental is checked out and to pay for the entire rental from the rental company.

Coverage will not be activated if you pay for any portion of the Rental Vehicle by some other means.

So if you want the coverage offered by the Amex Platinum, make sure that you don’t split up the payment between multiple credit cards.

Amex Platinum rental car exclusions

There are certain types of vehicles not covered by the Platinum Card’s rental car policy.

Many of these exclusions are pretty standard but pay special attention to the bolded below — many people don’t realize that their rental coverage does not cover rentals in places Australia and Italy.

Vehicle exclusions

  • Cargo vans, custom vans, vans with a seating capacity over 8 passengers, cube van or box truck, or any truck that has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs or more;
  • Rental Vehicles which have been customized or modified from the manufacturer’s factory specifications except for driver’s assistance equipment for the physically challenged
  • Any Rental Vehicles used by an Authorized Driver for commercial or hire purposes;
  • Leased or mini-leased vehicles
  • “Antique cars” which means cars that are 20 years old or have not been manufactured for 10 or more years;
  • Limousines;
  • Off-road vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, recreational vehicles, golf or motorized carts, campers, trailers and any other vehicle which is not a Rental Vehicle; and
  • Rental Vehicles rented in Australia, Italy, New Zealand and any country on the OFAC sanctioned country list.

Losses that are not covered

You also need to be aware that some types of losses that will NOT be covered.

  • Intentional Damage by an Authorized Driver of the Rental Vehicle
  • Damage that occurred prior to the Rental Period
  • Manufacturing defects in the Rental Vehicle
  • Confiscation by authority
  • Wear and tear, including gradual deterioration
  • Damage which is due and confined to freezing, mechanical or electrical breakdown or failure unless such Damage results from a Theft covered by the Plan
  • Theft or Damage to Rental Vehicles that are unlocked or not Secured at the time of Theft or Damage
  • Theft of or Damage to tires (flats or blowouts), unless Damaged by fire, malicious mischief, vandalism, or stolen, unless the loss is coincident with and from the same cause as other loss covered by the Plan
  • Damage to any vehicle other than the Rental Vehicle
Make sure you’re aware of exclusions.

How to file a claim

When it comes to filing your rental car insurance claim, you need to make sure that you keep all the documentation needed to support your claim and that you file your claim within 30 days.

Report and file your claim

If your claim involves any type of criminal activity (theft, damage, vandalism, etc.) then the incident must be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency as soon as reasonably possible.

This requirement applies regardless of whether the Rental Vehicle is involved with other vehicles. Failure to notify may result in denial of benefits.

You also need to file your notice of claim within thirty (30) days of the loss.

You or the Authorized Driver may contact the Company by calling toll-free stateside 1-800-338-1670 or, if from overseas, by calling collect 1-216-617-2500.

You can also write them at:

  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance Claims Unit
  • PO Box 94729, Cleveland, Ohio 44101-4729

You may have to submit further documentation to show proof of loss. Make sure you adhere to the deadlines which require you to show proof of loss within 60 days.

Provide documents (if needed)

Other documents you may have to provide include:

  • An itemized repair bill
  • A copy of charge slip for the rental of the Rental Vehicle, Rental Agreement or machine generated receipt to show rental was charged and paid for with an American Express Card
  • A police report (if applicable)
  • Photos of the Damaged Rental Vehicle, if available
  • A copy of the Card Member’s, Authorized Driver’s or employer’s auto insurance coverage, or a notarized letter stating no insurance
  • A copy of all claim documents and correspondence
  • A copy of the Rental Company’s utilization log 
  • A copy of the driver’s license of the Card Member and/or Authorized Driver, unless the driver’s license number shows on the Rental Agreement
  • A copy of the written Rental Agreement, front and back, which documents when the Rental Vehicle was checked out and checked in
  • Information pertaining to other available insurance coverage(s)

You can read more about the filing process here.

How to get primary rental car coverage

It is possible to get primary rental car coverage with the Amex Platinum.

However, you’ll have to pay extra (flat rate of $19.95 / $24.95 per rental period). It’s not terribly expensive to get primary rental car coverage and it even offers a higher coverage limit and longer coverage period (42 days), so it could be worth it.

You can read more about Amex car rental insurance and Amex travel insurance here

Amex Platinum rental car elite benefits

With the Amex Platinum, you’ll get the following elite statuses:

These will offer you perks like special discounts, upgrades, and expedited service for picking up your vehicle.

Keep in mind there are other ways to save money on rental cars with sites like AutoSlash or other travel portals like Costco Travel — always consider your alternatives.

Avis Preferred status

  • Enjoy expedited service and go straight to your car at most locations.
  • Keep rental preferences on file and track your activity and rewards.
  • Exclusive monthly email offers.
  • Receive a free weekend rental certificate when you use code AWD#A756900 and rent twice within 6 months (first half or second half of the year).

Note: Avis Preferred is open to the general public so it’s not a “true elite” status.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

To unlock your Platinum Card Car Rental Privileges, include CDP #211762 in your Hertz reservation and pay with your Platinum Card.

If you are already a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards member simply add CDP #211762 to your profile.

Bypass the Counter

When you arrive, you’ll reach your car as quickly as possible, with expedited service at over 40 of the world’s largest airports if enrolled in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards.

Bonus points

As a Platinum Card Member, you’ll get a 10% bonus on Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Points if enrolled in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards.

Special Savings

The road seems just a little smoother with special savings for Platinum Card Members on the best available rates at participating locations worldwide.

Some discounts may be up to 25% off the contract prices.

Grace period

Receive a four-hour grace period on returns in the US.

Upgrade Your Drive

Once you’re ready to get on the road, you can do so in comfort and style, with perks including complimentary one-car-class upgrade based on availability.

Have a memorable weekend

Receive special savings for Platinum Card Members on weekend rental rates at participating locations for the Hertz Prestige Collection – high-end luxury vehicles that can transform any trip into a special one.

Be sure to look into Hertz status matchesYou might be able to match your Executive status from National to a higher tier with Hertz.

National Emerald Club Executive status

The Executive status with National is the only “true” elite status offered by the Amex Platinum.

Priority Service

Get expedited services when renting in Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Guaranteed Upgrades

You’re always guaranteed a free upgrade when you reserve using the Midsize rate (in US and Canada).

Drop & Go

With convenient email receipts, just drop off your car and go (if your car has not been damaged during the rental).

Executive Area Access

Choose any car (full size and above) in the Executive Area and only pay the mid size rate (in US and Canada).

Faster Free Rental Days

Earn 1 rental credit for every qualified car rental. Free Rental Day = 6 credits.

No Second Driver Fees (excluding rentals in Europe)

Never pay extra when family members and business associates do the driving.

 Final word

The Platinum Card offers some decent rental car benefits but nothing extremely valuable.

Secondary rental car coverage doesn’t even compete with lower annual fee cards like the Sapphire Preferred. But the rental car elite status perks are pretty good, allowing you to receive things like expedited access and free upgrades.

So while these perks aren’t exactly deal breakers, I’d still do my best to take advantage of them.