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Many of us enter the world of rewards credit cards thinking of little more than earning the points and miles that will get us to our next destination. But, rewards cards often provide other less well-known benefits. And these can produce thousands of dollars in value over the time you hold the card.
One of the most common benefits offered is purchase protection. This protection covers the replacement, repair, or reimbursement of stolen or damaged items in the months immediately following a purchase.
Purchase protection policies vary between credit card networks and card issuers. So, it’s vital that you understand the coverage provided by your card before you need to make a significant purchase or claim.
What Is Purchase Protection and How Does It Work?
Purchase protection covers you against damage to—or theft of—items you’ve purchased using your credit card. If you make a purchase on your card and that item is stolen, broken, or in any way damaged, you can lodge a claim via your card issuer. The benefits provider will compensate for the repair, replacement, or reimbursement of the purchase price for that item.
However, you're going to need to pay attention to the terms and conditions. There may be limitations on what types of purchases are eligible for this protection. Also, there may be other issuer-specific rules or conditions.
Coverage typically lasts between three and four months from the purchase date. Claims are typically limited to $500 per incident on the low end through to $10,000 on the high end. There's usually an annual cap of up to $50,000.
Credit Cards Offering Purchase Protection Policies
Mastercard and Visa both offer purchase protection policies. However, it's up to individual card issuers to decide how the plan is implemented, and the level of coverage. Meanwhile, American Express generally offers purchase protection on most of its cards.
|Credit Provider||Cards Offering Purchase Protection||Max Claim Value||Claim Window||Example of Policy|
|Citi||We couldn't locate a universal policy for Citi purchase protection, but the same policy applied across most personal Citi terms we could lay our hands on. The example given is from the premium Citi Prestige® Card. Citi no longer provides purchase protection on the Citi® Double Cash Card.||Up to $10,000 per item, up to $50,000 per year||90 days||Citi Prestige Guide to Benefits|
|Chase||Purchase protection policies differ between cards, check your card's Guide to Benefits linked in our AwardWallet master-list||Between $500 and $10,000 per covered incident depending on the card held - all cards cover up to $50,000 in claims per year||120 days||AwardWallet Masterlist of Guides to Benefits|
|American Express||Amex provides purchase protection across 58 credit and charge cards - you can find links to each card's policy in the linked page on Amex's website||Between $1,000 and $10,000 per covered incident depending on the card held - all cards cover up to $50,000 in claims per year||90 days||American Express Purchase Protection Policies|
|Barclays||Most Barclays personal and co-brand cards provide the same purchase protection policy (marketed as Purchase Assurance) - see your guide to benefits for more details||A maximum of $1,000 per loss and a total of $50,000 per 12 month period||90 days||Arrival Plus Guide to Benefits|
|Capital One||Capital One's purchase protection is marketed as Purchase Security, and only covers Visa Signature and Visa Signature Business cards||A maximum of $500 per claim and $50,000 per cardholder||90 days||Capital One Guide to Benefits|
|U.S. Bank||Covers U.S. Bank issued Visa Signature® cards||A maximum of $500.00 per claim and $50,000 per cardholder||90 days||U.S. Bank Visa Signature Purchase Security|
|Wells Fargo||Not all Wells Fargo cards offer purchase protection policies and coverage differs between cards, check your card's Guide to Benefits linked in our AwardWallet masterlist||Between $500 and $1,000 per covered incident depending on the card held, up to $50,000 in claims per year - not all Wells Fargo credit cards provide Purchase Protection.||90 days||Master list of Guides to Benefits|
Discover cut purchase protection as a card benefit as of February 28, 2018, along with other ancillary benefits.
American Express announced changes starting on January 1, 2020. You can find our post on the update here.
What Purchases Are Excluded from Purchase Protection?
The list of exclusions differs for each provider but is relatively consistent across different cards from the same issuer. Common exclusions include:
- Animals, plants, perishables, and consumables
- Antiques and collectible items
- Boats, cars, aircraft, or any other motorized vehicles (motorbike, truck, tractor, etc.)
- Computer software
- Items purchased for resale, professional, or commercial use
- Items under the care of a postal or delivery service
- Jewelry and watches
- Medical equipment
- Real estate
- Rented or leased items
- Traveler’s checks, cash, tickets, or gift cards
- Secondhand or refurbished items
Each provider issues a list of exclusions, often differing between cards from the same provider. It’s essential to read the guide to benefits for your specific credit cards to confirm if your card offers purchase protection, and what items it covers. If you’re unfamiliar with your card benefits, we’ve compiled a handy list of guides to benefits from major credit providers.
Which Card Issuer Has the Best Purchase Protection Policy
Citi and Amex lead the way in the purchase protection category, providing coverage up to $10,000 per item/incident, up to a maximum of $50,000 per year on premium cards.
Premium coverage on cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and Chase Sapphire Reserve® offer $10K per incident. Amex covers 90 days from purchase, and, on the low-end, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provides a maximum of $500 per item, half that of Amex’s lowest coverage and just 5% of Citi’s.
The American Express® Gold Card offers top value, providing $10K coverage with an annual fee of $250 (Rates & Fees). Or, if it’s a business expense, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card covers up to $10K per item, with an annual fee of just $95.
How to File a Claim
For every policy, there are some basic housekeeping rules for making claims that match-up across providers. In all cases, you will need to keep both the credit card and shop receipts for the purchased item as proof of purchase, lodge a claim form from the provider, and present a police report if the claim is for a stolen item. To begin filing a claim, call the relevant number below or visit the listed website.
- Citi — Go to https://www.cardbenefits.citi.com or call 1-866-918-4670 for instructions on how to submit a Citi Purchase Protection claim
- Chase — Go to https://www.eclaimsline.com Call 1-888-675-1461 for information or to file a claim.
- American Express — Go to https://www.americanexpress.com/onlineclaim or call 1-800-322-1277 to file a claim
- Barclays — Visit MyCardBenefits.com or call 1-800-Mastercard to open a claim
- Capital One — Call the Benefit Administrator at 1-800-553-4820*
- U.S. Bank — Call the Benefit Administrator at 1-800-553-4820*
- Wells Fargo — Visa cardholders call the Benefit Administrator at 1-800-553-4820*, Amex cardholders call a separate Benefit Administrator at 1-866-918-4442
* Policies provided by Visa
Purchase protection is one of the least talked about benefits of holding rewards-earning credit cards. But the ability to claim up to $10,000 per item is potentially worth more than the extra points you can gain swiping a card with a less generous policy.
In all cases, you should read and understand the guide to benefits issued with your card before making any substantial purchase, to ensure you are covered for any damage or theft.
If we’ve missed a card/provider off the list that you think should be included—or if you catch a change before we do—let us know in the comments below.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
I’ve never used this type of protection because I really never knew it was there. My eyes are now opened 🙂
Thanks for the information about different purchase protection programs offered by credit card companies. However, when I read this article halfway through, I got a little confused because it starts talking about what purchased are excluded from “price” protections. As I understand it, purchase protection is different than price protection as the latter generally is applied when the price of an item has dropped after the purchase. The programs mentioned in this article don’t offer any price protection, do they?
Sorry about the confusion. This post used to focus on both price protection and purchase protection – back when many cards offered both. Unfortunately, price protection has been eliminated from practically every credit card. So, to try to avoid confusion, we cut those sections out of this post.
But yes, you’re right that those two policies are different. And yes, unfortunately, none of the cards in this post still have price protection.
I am very disappointed with Amex purchase protection plan. I broke my phone about a month ago, claim was denied. I had originally purchased phone on installments but after paying about 25% of it off I decided to pay off the rest with amex card. They denied claim based on original purchase date, it had been past 90 days…
Sounds like Amex followed the terms of their policy and you didn’t fully understand how the policy works.
Price protection is very interesting, but Has anyone used this? I’ve never seen anyone using.
I used it this month! Got a check for $50.
Nice. Is it easy request? Is the money refunded fast?
I filled out a form online, provided documentation and had a check within a month. Easy as far as I’m concerned.
Very useful information!
I’ve already heard about protection covers you against damage, but I’ve never known about protection covers you against theft of items you’ve purchased using your credit card.
Literally just got a purchase protection check today from Chase. A brand new shirt that I bought got ruined at work the first time I wore it, and because I bought it with a Chase Visa, they refunded it!
So I’m happy to report Chase covers small purchase claims too. From filling out the form to receiving the check took about 2 weeks. They have great customer service now, it wasn’t always (separate company handles their claims).
Thanks for the article on this!
I realize things like this are covered, but does it affect your card if you use it too often. I was alway afraid it would, so I haven’t ever used this benefit.
Absolutely not! You should never be afraid to legitimately use your card benefits.
A nice, extra perk that can be really useful. Got some money back from holiday gifts last Christmas.
I didn’t realize purchase protection was for such a short duration. Thanks for the summarized info.
Price protection has been invaluable through my Chase cards though I hear they’re cracking down on that. Haven’t had to use purchase protection/warranty yet, luckily.
cracking down? what is there to “crack down” on?
I have had good results with price protection claims with my USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa (which gets 2.5% cash back on every purchase). Quick turnaround and once I received the check before even emailing my paperwork!
This would be a good way to take advantage of price alerts and stuff, but I wonder how much you would actually use it if you’re making a large purchase, as you usually don’t stay updated with prices after you buy something.
For a large purchase, you bet I’ll put in some effort. Check this out: https://lifehacker.com/five-best-price-tracking-tools-1692745053
A definite benefit with large $ purchases. Wish I would have when looked into this a few years back when I bought a cell phone and broke it within a week.
I once needed the help of Citibank for purchase protection. They were not at all helpful. So I stopped using their card.
Thanks for this list
I’d love to hear more about the specific situation. Based on my experience with price/purchase protection for Citi, Chase and Amex, they’ve all been helpful / easy to work with as long as you play by the rules.
specific situation was as follows. I bought a round trip ticket with a stopover in a European City.
Lets say i was flying ORD-LHR-ZRH and back on the same route, 1 ticket but 2 airlines
I was flying with my baby. Return flight was cancelled due to mechanics, when I got to London, I was told that my baby didn’t have a ticket anymore.
I was told to pay 50 GBP or my kid would not be allowed on the plane.
It was late and the other airline wasn’t available.
So I paid it
I then complained to the airlines. It went no where.
I then asked Citi to give me the $180 i paid for the lap infant, since they didnt fulfill their end of the bargain. (As I paid for them to take my kid round trip)
Citi told me that I took 3 out of 4 segments, so I could get $45 (much less than the 45 GBP I needed to pay at LHR)
I called them, and the agent couldnt understand why I was asking for more, as I got 3/4 of what I paid for. She was totally brain dead.
When I went to escalate this, they told me that the airline gave me a voucher and I used it, so the matter was closed and I couldn’t pursue any more.
This was frustrating as the voucher was for something else, and I had a letter from the airline saying the voucher was for X, and if I was able to prove the issue regarding my baby at LHR they would compensate me.
But Citi didn’t want to hear anymore
so I stopped using their card
That is a horrible experience. As for being forced to pay 50 GBP, sounds like something really got messed up with your ticket — especially if you made it over without issue.
It was a 2 airline itinerary, but when they cancelled 1 segment, I was told my child had an eticket, but the other airline had no record of it.
I would go back to whomever initially issued your ticket. Always important to start there. Sorry it didnt work out better for you.
I ended up going back to the airline and they refunded me.
But I still can’t believe the logic citi used (sir, you used 75% of your ticket so you will only get 25% back).
Seriously? An airline can just dump me after my 3rd of 4 legs, and keep 75% of my money? Aren’t they obligated to get me home?
Yeah, that is completely messed up. Did you buy the ticket originally directly through the airline or through a 3rd party / Online Travel Agency? Something like would have me seriously considering going to a government/legal entity.
It was a paper ticket issued directly from the airline.
All the other tickets were directly from the airline too.
Issue was when airline canceled flight due to mechanical issues.
They TOLD me baby had eticket, but partner airline didnt see it.
I think you did the right thing — perhaps a letter to corporate at the airline. I’m not sure what else you could have done.
I never used to consider this an issue until recently when an item I purchased went astray.
Essential and invaluable when ordering on line.
Love the Amex platinum purchase protection
THANK YOU!!!! I was literally just searching online and comparing as I have a larger purchase to make. HUGE thanks!
You’re welcome 🙂