Best Credit Card Purchase Protections

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purchase protections from credit cardsWhat is the best credit card to use for a large purchase?  Often, the answer is driven by which card offers the best rewards for your spend.  The biggest bang for your buck usually comes from using the purchase to help complete spend required to get a big new welcome bonus.  Alternatively, you can look for a card that offers to best category bonus.  Different cards are most rewarding for different types of spend.  If that’s what you’re after, see this post for details: Best Category Bonuses: Which card to use where?

Another way to approach the “what’s the best card” question is to identify the card that offers the best purchase protections.  If something goes wrong after purchase, which card has your back?  Which cards offer extended warranty, purchase protection, return protection, and price protection?  This post aims to answer that question.

What’s New

The Big Four Purchase Protections

There are four types of purchase protection that are, or used to be, commonly offered by credit cards:

Extended Warranty

When you buy an item that offers a manufacturer warranty, a credit card extended warranty will extend that coverage.  Typically, whatever was covered in the original warranty is covered in the extended warranty.

Most banks that offer this perk extend the manufacturers warranty by 12 months, but it’s always worth checking your guide to benefits for specifics.

Purchase Protection

One type of purchase protection is confusingly referred to as “purchase protection.”  Generally this means that you are covered if your new item is damaged or stolen. Some cards also cover simply losing the item.  Coverage typically lasts 90 or 120 days.  This is usually secondary insurance.  That is, if you have some type of insurance that covers the loss (home insurance, car insurance, etc.), then you must submit a claim to that insurance first. The credit card insurance will then cover up to the balance not paid by your primary insurer.

While most banks cover damage and theft, with some of their cards, American Express goes farther by including lost items as well.  Meanwhile, Chase offers protection for 120 days after purchase while other issuers typically cover your purchase for only 90 days.

Return Protection

If you buy an item, but change your mind and the seller refused to take the item back, then you can file a claim for return protection.  As you’ll see in the chart below, return protection is far less common than purchase protection or extended warranties.

I find it interesting that Chase and Amex offer return protection only on their most expensive cards while Synchrony offers return protection on their fee-free Rakuten Visa.

Price Protection

If you buy an item and the price for that item drops shortly afterwards, price protection offers a way to get back the difference.  Unfortunately, very few credit cards offer price protection.

Retail Purchase Protections

At the time of this writing, I’ve only included a few popular cards from each major issuer (Amex, Capital One, Chase, Citi) in the chart below. However, I intend to soon add more, so please check back!

*Note that the Citi Costco cards will no longer offer extended warranty protection effective 1/22/23

Very few cards still offer price protection.  The chart below is a summary of the known options.  See also this post for more details: Price Protection overview by issuer.

Benefit Guides

The information shown above summarizes purchase protections by card.  For details about exactly what is or isn’t covered, it’s best to read the benefits guide.  Here are links to the guides for many of the cards shown above…

Amex Benefit Guides

All Amex retail & travel benefit guides can be found here.

Capital One Benefit Guides

All Capital one benefit guides can be found here.

Chase Benefit Guides

Citi Benefit Guides

Synchrony Benefit Guides

Wells Fargo Benefit Guides

Conclusion

If you’re about to buy something expensive, it’s worth checking to see if you have a credit card that can help protect that purchase.  The tough part is figuring out what type of protection you value the most since different cards have different strengths.  For example:

  • If you most value extended warranties, then pay with a Citi card which offers a 24 month extended warranty (note that not all Citi cards offer this feature, but Citi Premier and Citi Prestige are two cards that do).
  • If you think that your item may get damaged or stolen, then pay with a Chase card in order to get 120 days of coverage instead of 90.
  • If you think that you’re likely to lose the item, then pay with one of the Amex cards that covers lost items.
  • If you think that you are likely to return the item and are also likely to have trouble doing so, then consider paying with the Chase Sapphire Reserve which offers up to $500 in return protection.
  • If you think there’s a good chance that the price of the item will soon drop, check the price protection chart, above, for your options.  Your best bet is to go with one of the Chase United cards (such as the United business card) which offer 90 days to file a claim of up to $500.  Note though that the popular United MileagePlus card does not offer this feature.
  • If you think all four types of purchase protection are likely to be necessary, then consider the Rakuten Visa card.  It doesn’t offer the best of any of these protections, but it’s the only card in this roundup that offers all four.  The best part is that it can be quite rewarding too.  If you can make your purchase online through the Rakuten shopping portal, you’ll earn a portal bonus plus 3% back with the Rakuten card.  And if you opt to earn Membership Rewards points rather than cash back, you can do even better.
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L.K.

Do you think you can update this to include the Capital One Venture X? It offers pretty great protections as a Visa Infinite card. Thanks for all you do!

[…] on the Citi Costco card, but I know some people love this benefit and the added piece of mind.  Frequent Miler has a great resource on extended warranty benefits and other credit card purchase pro…, so check out the post to see what the new best card will be for you.  If you have any questions […]

Frank

Are you saying that if I have a homeowners insurance policy with $1,000 deductible and the (Chase Sapphire Preferred for example) offers only secondary insurance then I will not have any coverage for a $900 purchase?

Frank

Thanks!

Mark W

Worth noting that United Explorer Business Card no longer exists. Not only is it no longer available for new applicants; everyone who had it was force converted to the United Business Card. The United Business Card does not offer price protection.

Mark W

First, a *huge* thank you for this article. It’s one of my favorite resources on this site. I refer to it all the time for large purchases that I think could be at significant risk of a price drop, damage, or theft.

On that note, shout out to Chase United Explorer Business for sending me a $500 bank deposit last year when I found my new TV much cheaper elsewhere! (At a super shady dealer that I would’ve never bought from, but shhh… don’t tell Chase Card Services that.)

Anyway, the main reason I’m commenting – I got an email from Synchrony today, and it looks like another price protection bites the dust: “Effective July 16, 2021, your Rakuten Cash Back Visa Signature Card will no longer provide Price Protection.” Sad news. Arguably a significant devaluation for that card.

[…] In short, I bought a brand new phone and smashed the screen a week later. Since I had paid with a credit card that offers purchase protection, I was able to get 100% of my money back (a full refund of the $499.99 purchase price. See that […]

[…] details and proof of purchase. Other card issuers offer purchase protection (see this post: Best credit card purchase protections for more detail), but this was the type of terrific and simple customer service experience that […]

[…] Greg’s post “Best Credit Card Purchase Protections” he actually notes this about return […]

Jan W

Great summary. I did a bit of a deep dive on my cards recently and noticed a few interesting things. My Amex cards offered one year extra on warranties up to five years or less, while Chase and BoA offer one year on warranties of three years or less (while the BoA Amtrak has a strange doubling of warranties up to 24 months and will even cover 24 months after your purchased extended warranty expires). Amex BCP and Marriott Bonvoy mention a max of $500 if loss is from a natural disaster. BoA Amtrak also offers price protection up to 120 days after purchase (up to $250/claim, 4x year, with a printed ad or non-auction internet ad). BoA Premium Rewards mentions “repair, replace or reimburse” for item stolen or damaged, but if the item is worth more than $500, you must file a police report within 48 hours (though you have 60 days to file claim). Oh, they also have a site where you can register items at time of purchase to make it easier to file a claim down the road.
Obviously, I had many sleepness nights when the quarantine started and had to do something! I now have two-page “cheat sheets” on all my credit cards, each with a subheading for Purchase Protections benefits. The project turned out to be fairly exhausting, but I learned so much and it really helped me up my game!

[…] Best Credit Card Purchase Protections […]

Alex12

Hey, good summary.

However, I see the Amex everyday preferred and blue cash preferred have return protection. The Wells Fargo Propel does as well.

Sam

Thank you for putting together this list! I didn’t realize that the AMEX Gold card dropped its Return Protection until I saw this article.

Return Protection has been so helpful during the pandemic, because its lowered the risk of buying “final sale” items that cannot be returned, because I can return it through my Hilton Aspire card if need be.

Request: Could you put the yearly limits for the Return Protection? That would be helpful just to make sure I’m not setting myself up for failure down the line haha.

dag

How do you remove this f$#%#ing cirle. Its f$#%#ing annoying.

Matthew

Greg, I listened to the podcast last night and thank you for updating this list. Don’t let Nick get you down, haha. I used to count on DoC but everything fell to pieces when card issuers were dropping benefits all over. I appreciate the time and energy you put into this. I think Chase has one of the best theoretical extended warranties since paying some by gift cards should still include coverage. Now I wish I would have put some of my MacBook Pro on my Ritz. I almost did but the gift cards I was buying were 20+% off so that tempted me the other way. Would be nice to hear of personal experience but I doubt these benefits are used that often.

Nicole

I’d be curious to know if there are DPs related to pursuing a loss as an “accidental parting.” It seems via my online research there really isn’t an agreement on this, and it all depends on a person’s claim process (aka luck). But it’s good to know that you might be covered for loss via CSR, if you can convince the third party claim folks that your loss was an accidental parting.

Carl WV

I saw this in a few places. Involuntary and accidental parting with property means “the unintended separation from an item of personal property in which the item’s location is known but recovery is impractical to complete.”

So there does seem to be a distinction from most cases of loss (where you don’t know where the item is), You’d have to claim you know where it is, but you can’t easily retrieve it. Maybe like if you accidentally dropped it down a storm drain in the street?

Nicole

yeah I think one could argue that “location is known” could mean something like – I was at my friend’s house and now don’t have it, I “know” it’s there. That’s basically lost, but you know where you last had it and where it likely is. It’s certainly ambiguous, but the wording itself leaves a lot of room for interpretation. not something I’ve tried but really would love if people posted more DPs related to this clause.

Byron

This is an excellent article. This is another reason why Frequent Miler will out last all these other blogs. Thank you.

Yuri

Rakuten visa Price protection is $250 per item, $1000 per year.

Vincent Pascual

Thanks for the article! It’s a useful reference for making those big purchases. The Amex Amazon Business Prime card also offers return protection.

Jason

Thanks for the summary. This will be a very helpful resource. Did you consider Bank of America in your analysis? While they’re not the biggest bank in the credit card race, they do have good cards (with Platinum Honors status) like the Premium Rewards and Cash Rewards cards that I’d like to use in certain situations if all else is equal (ie. if BoA’s protections are similar to or better than the rest of the field).

Steve

Would Chase Freedom Unlimited extended warranty benefit also apply to the Chase Ink Unlimited (Business version of card)?

ssss

Excellent Article!

Tom

Does anyone have experience on how these work with store brand gift cards? I know they only cover up to what you charged to the credit card… but say I bought a set of appliances at Best Buy or Home Depot. ~$4k total, most expensive item was $1.5k. If I were to charge $2.5k to gift cards and $1.5k to the credit card, would I be covered on up to $1.5k? Or would they “apply” the gift cards first and that would take “first loss.”

BML

Yes, whether it requires entire purchase to be put on that card or just partial and how much they would cover up to would be a great addition to that chart. I know the Citi Costco (and I assume other Citi cards also) only requires partial but don’t know how much they would cover up to. Thanks!

Ryan del Mundo

Thanks for the update! Love the table.

I assume Freedom and Freedom UL have the same bennies? You only listed the UL

Buzz

It’s also important to know how easy it is to collect when it comes time to make a claim. I haven’t tried with Citi but AMEX has been excellent in this regard. I’ve made two warranty claims on items that were in the $150 range and AMEX immediately issued a statement credit for the purchase.

24 months with Citi is nice but I wonder if it would be as simple.

lochquel

Had used Citi for price protection when they still had it. There was a website and a process to follow, but it wasn’t too bad. It did take a bit of time to follow through and get payment though.

Buzz

Yes I used the Price Rewind feature successfully as well. That was awesome because it was automated.

HoKo

This is great content, I know from experience how time consuming it can be getting all of this stuff in one place. A few requests/ideas:

1. Can you add this to the Resources page so we can find it easily in the future
2. It would be useful if you could add the Citi ATT More to the chart since they offer 3x on online shopping and 24 month warranty so it can be a great option for both points-earning and extended warranty coverage (I think it has purchase protection too).
3. Will you guys be maintaining/keeping this updated as things change in the future?

toomanybooks

Thanks for this info.

The following is possibly too niche for this article, but might be worth a mention: The Costco Visa gives extra warranty protection for items purchased at Costco. And it’s a fee-free card. From what I can tell it’s equivalent to the best CC warranty extension out there if you can use it.

Executive members also get 4% cashback (2 from card, 2 from membership).

BML

I also use Costco Visa for everything that needs extended warranty, even though I have all the Amex and chase cards mentioned (but don’t have Citi premium cards). I thought extended warranty of 24 months should apply to any purchase, not just purchases at Costco.

toomanybooks

That is a good question. I never thought about using the Costco CC elsewhere. The Chase Costco Visa website hides this info pretty well, as far as I can tell, not detailing whether the warranty extension applies to purchases anywhere other than Costco. I tend to doubt they would do that with a free card, but not sure.

Points For Four

I’m also curious about the how the Costco Visa compares. It double the warranty of my Costco TV and when our TV broke after owning for 3 years 11 months, they sent out two repairmen and replace the motherboard for free, but that was back when it was the Costco AMEX.

Cov

Thanks for the article. The tabular format is very handy. I think the UBS visa infinite cards also offer all four purchase protections.

FMPost

Thanks for adding new cards, though UBS Visa Infinite is still missing.