Everything you need to know about Amex purchase protection

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For many, purchase protection may not be at the top of mind as a credit card benefit, but it can be a valuable perk. In general, purchase protection is a broad term that can mean any type of additional coverage for purchases paid for with a specific credit card. And some of the top credit cards for travel offer it.

Even though this is a lesser-known benefit, purchase protection can be very valuable and a great reason to use your Amex cards for your next big purchase.

In this post, I’ll discuss the various purchase protection types — purchase protection, return protection, and extended warranty coverage. I’ll also give you my thoughts on the best American Express credit cards for purchase protection and how to use them for maximum value and protection.

The benefits offered by Amex credit cards are valuable and easy to use. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael)

Purchase protection

The first and most straight forward benefit is simply called “purchase protection.” Per the American Express website, purchase protection can help protect your purchases for up to 90 days from the date of your purchase in case your purchase is stolen or accidentally damaged.

This means that if you purchase the latest iPhone and then accidentally drop it and crack the screen within 90 days after purchasing it, you’re eligible to file a purchase protection claim to get your phone fixed. How incredible is that?! I personally used this benefit (for this exact scenario, whoops!) a few years ago and I was pleasantly surprised with how easy the process was.

Amex purchase protection has you covered if you drop your cell phone and accidentally damage it. (Image by kasarp studio/Shutterstock)

Cards that offer this coverage

Thankfully, any Amex card offers this purchase protection, with a slight variation in the maximum claim amount included based on which card you have.

With most Amex cards, purchase protection can be filed for claims up to $1,000 per occurrence and up to a maximum of $50,000 per cardmember per calendar year. But with premium Amex cards, the limit is up to $10,000 per claim with the same $50,000 annual limit. Terms apply.

Be sure to check each card’s individual restrictions if you plan on relying on this benefit. Some of the best Amex cards that offer purchase protection include:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Best business card perks
  • American Express® Gold Card: Best for restaurant and U.S. supermarket purchases
  • American Express® Business Gold Card: Best for eligible advertising and shipping purchases in the U.S. 
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

There are some purchases that are excluded for purchase protection — things like antiques, motor vehicles, live animals, or cash-like equivalents. For the full list, reference Amex’s exclusions list.

Filing a claim is relatively simple, but the process can sometimes be drawn out. The easiest way to file a claim is online at AmericanExpress.com/onlineclaim, or you can always call Amex directly to file your claim at 1-800-322-1277.

Return protection

Similar to purchase protection, return protection is another valuable offering included on certain American Express cards, mainly premium cards like the Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. Simply put, return protection allows you to return items when the store where you purchased the item won’t take it back. So long as you’re within 90 of the purchase date, Amex offers an additional layer of protection in the form of return protection.

Buy in peace knowing that you’re covered under Amex’s return protection. (Photo by filadendron/iStock)

Refunds are limited to $300 per return and a maximum of $1,000 per cardmember per calendar year. And enrollment is not required — return protection is automatically included on any purchase made with a qualifying Amex credit card.

Certain items are excluded from return protection, similar to those not covered by purchase protection. These include things like live animals, one-of-a-kind items, perishable goods, and others. For more details, view the full exclusions list here.

How to file a claim

Similar to purchase protection, the best way to file a return protection claim is online at AmericanExpress.com/onlineclaim. After verifying that the store (from which you purchased the item) will not accept your return, either visit the online website or call Amex at 1-800-297-8019.

Extended warranty coverage

The third protection offered by almost every American Express card is extended warranty coverage, and it functions in a similar fashion to purchase and return protection. When using your qualifying Amex card to make a purchase, you can receive an extended warranty on items with a manufacturer’s warranty of fewer than 5 years. The extended warranty coverage will extend your purchase warranty by one year and provide additional peace of mind.

As soon as the included warranty on your purchase lapses, the Amex coverage kicks in. The coverage is valid for the total amount charged to your qualifying card, up to a maximum of $10,000 (not to exceed $50,000 per calendar year).

It’s nice to have an extended warranty on expensive purchases, like a TV. (Photo by noreefly/Shutterstock)

A similar set of items are excluded from the extended warranty coverage benefit — such as items with physical damage, software, motor vehicles, and more. View the full list of exclusions on the FAQ site for extended warranty coverage.

Filing a claim online is easy and can be submitted at AmericanExpress.com/onlineclaim. Or if you prefer to call in, you can reach the extended warranty protection team at 1-800-225-3750.

Still, your score will be improved with things like established credit history and a proven track record of paying your bills in full and on time. Additionally, your score will benefit from keeping a low overall utilization–so try not to max out your credit limit!

How to get the most benefit from these policies

In general, I use Amex credit cards for my large, valuable purchases because of the generous policies offered above. Even when the points earning might not be optimal, these purchase protections provide a free “insurance policy” that can be incredibly helpful for protecting your most important purchases.

So the next time you’re considering what card to use for a large purchase, pay extra attention to whether you’d benefit from some additional protection. For example, if you’re buying a new refrigerator for a kitchen remodel, wouldn’t it be nice to know that your purchase could be covered under warranty for an extra year if the manufacturer’s warranty is fewer than 5 years? I’d say so!

Even if it isn’t a large purchase, it could be smart to consider using one of the premium Amex cards to buy items that are somewhat easy to lose, because purchase protection from cards like the Amex Business Platinum include loss. I know lots of friends who’ve spent a few hundred dollars on Apple AirPods only to lose one of the buds a number of weeks later. Had they used a qualifying Amex card, they would’ve been able to file a claim and have the loss covered by Amex. So again, a card’s purchase protections can be a very valuable benefit.

Bottom line

In addition to earning lots of Amex Membership Rewards points, I love using my American Express cards because of the additional peace of mind. Things like purchase protection, return protection, and extended warranty protection has come in handy for my family and me in the past few years, saving us hundreds of dollars.

Especially for folks with regular, large ticket items, Amex’s purchase protection offerings are tough to beat. Before you pull out your highest-earning points card for your next purchase, think twice about which card makes the most sense.

Jake Pearring is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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