Skip to content

Amex Return Protection: Get 90 days to return an item, regardless of the retailer’s return policy

American Express Return Protection is a consumer insurance benefit offered on some Amex cards. It can provide a refund on eligible items you purchase with your card that a retailer won’t take back within 90 days.

What is return protection?

Return protection is a credit card benefit that can provide a refund if a retailer won’t take an item back.

To be eligible for return protection, you must purchase an eligible item with a credit card that provides a return protection benefit and be denied an attempt to return the item to a retailer. Amex return protection covers up to $300 per item for returns within 90 days.

Amex Return Protection at a glance

What is coveredPurchase price of items you want to return, but which the retailer will not take back.
Length of coverage90 days from the date of purchase.
Coverage limitsUp to $300 per item.
Up to $1,000 in total claims per card member account per calendar year, based on the date of purchase.
How to file a claim
Amex Return Protection at a glance.

Cards that offer American Express Return Protection

Here are the currently available Amex cards that offer a return protection benefit.

  • All variants of the Platinum Card® and Centurion® Card
    • The Platinum Card® from American Express
    • Business Platinum Card®
    • The Platinum Card® from American Express for Morgan Stanley
    • The American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab
    • The Platinum Card® from American Express for Goldman Sachs
    • Centurion® Card from American Express
    • Business Centurion® Card from American Express
  • Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express (review)
  • Morgan Stanley Blue Cash Preferred® American Express Card
  • Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Credit Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve for Business Credit Card
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
  • Amazon Business American Express Card
  • Amazon Business Prime American Express Card

What does Amex return protection cover?

American Express return protection provides you a guaranteed 90 day return option on the items you purchase. If a merchant won’t take it back, Amex may refund your purchase price up to $300 per item and up to a maximum of $1,000 per covered card, per calendar year.

Purchases must be made within the United States, plus its territories and freely-associated states. (See the complete list below.)

Exclusions and limitations

Amex limits the amount you can claim each year with return protection. Here are the most important limits.

  • $300 per item limit. Note that this limit is per item, not per claim. A claim can contain multiple items.
  • $1,000 per card member account per cardmember year. If you have multiple Amex cards with the benefit, you may submit up to $1,000 of claims per card.
  • Claim excludes shipping and handling charges. While you won’t get coverage for return shipping, a restocking fee may be covered by the benefit.
  • Item must be in original purchase condition. If your item is used, defective, or damaged in any way, it won’t be eligible for return protection. (Damaged may be eligible for Amex purchase protection coverage.)

Note that time limits are based on the date of purchase rather than the year in which the claim was filed. This will be relevant for most people with end-of-year holiday purchases. If you purchase an item during the after-Thanksgiving shopping season in 2024, but make a return protection claim in January of 2025, the per-year limits for 2024 will apply to your claim.

Your purchase must be made in the U.S., its territories, or freely-associated states.

Return protection only covers purchases made in the United States, its territories, and its freely-associated states. Here’s the list where your purchases are covered.

  • 50 United States of America
  • The District of Columbia
  • Puerto Rico
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • American Samoa
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Marshall Islands
  • Palau
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands

Any purchases made outside of these areas will not be eligible for return protection.

Types of items excluded from coverage

Amex excludes several types of items from coverage. Most of these make sense intuitively—Amex won’t provide coverage for live animals, consumables, items with significant speculative value, cash-like items, or services. Here’s the list of exclusions you’ll find in Amex’s return protection benefit terms:

  • Animals and living plants
  • One-of-a-kind items (including, but not limited to, antiques, artwork, and furs)
  • Limited edition items
  • Going-out-of-business sale items
  • Consumable or perishable items with limited life spans (including, but not limited to, food, perfume, light bulbs, and batteries)
  • Jewelry (including, but not limited to, loose gems, precious stones, metals, and pearls)
  • Watches
  • Services and additional costs (including, but not limited to, installation charges, warranties, shipping, handling or memberships)
  • Rare and precious coins
  • Purchased used and/or altered items (including, but not limited to, purchases at auction sites and second- hand stores)
  • Custom-built items
  • Compact discs, digital video discs, mini discs, audiotapes, videotapes
  • Computer software
  • Firmware (including, but not limited to, console games, etc.)
  • Maps
  • Books, magazines or periodicals of any kind
  • Health care items and /or medical equipment (including, but not limited to, blood pressure machines and diabetes equipment, items or supplies used for maternity care)
  • Personal hygiene items (including, but not limited to, all electrical or non-electrical toothbrushes, razors, or any devices (medical or non-medical) that have been personally used and could be considered a health risk to others)
  • Formal wear (including, but not limited to, bridal wear, gowns, prom dresses, and tuxedos)
  • Tickets of any kind (including, but not limited to, transportation passes or tickets and event tickets)
  • Motorized vehicles (including, but not limited to, cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and airplanes), their parts and accessories (e.g. car battery) as well as those parts and accessories intended for use with the motorized vehicles (e.g. a trailer or audio or visual components)
  • Land, buildings and fixtures (including but not limited to, central air conditioner, built-in kitchen appliance and water heater)
  • Firearms
  • Ammunition
  • Negotiable instruments (including, but not limited to, promissory notes, stamps, and travelers checks)
  • Cash and its equivalent (including, but not limited to, gift cards and gift certificates)
  • Items permanently affixed to home, office, vehicles, etc. (including, but not limited to, garage door openers and car alarms)
  • Seasonal items (including but not limited to holiday decorations and costumes)

How to be covered by Amex return protection

Amex return protection covers you if you charge an eligible item to your American Express card that carries the return protection benefit. To be eligible for return protection, you must charge the entire item to your card.

How to file a claim

To file a return protection claim, you must first attempt to return the item to the merchant. Once you’ve attempted to return your item, you can file a claim either online or by phone. The easiest way to file a claim is through the Amex online claim center.

Here are the ways you can file a claim:

When using the online claim center link above, log into your Amex account online before clicking the link to be taken the online claim center. (If you are not logged in, you’ll be taken to your account overview after logging in.)

American Express online claims center for return protection and extended warranty claims.
Screenshot of the American Express online claims center

Once you’re in the online claim center, click on “File a Claim” to start your claim. You’ll be walked through the process of submitting your claim, including selecting your eligible card and entering information about your items. Before submitting your claim, it can be helpful to have the following items available:

  • The itemized receipt from your purchase. You’ll be asked for the name of the item, information about what kind of item it is, model number, and merchant. This information is usually on your receipt or purchase confirmation email.
  • The item you want to return. If your item has a model number or serial number, you’ll be asked to provide these during the claim submission. These usually aren’t provided on your receipt. You will be required to provide the manufacturer of your item. This is usually listed on the item packaging.

The entire claim submission process takes 5-10 minutes if you are submitting a claim for one item and slightly longer if you are submitting a claim for multiple items.

What happens after you submit a claim?

Some claims will be approved automatically and you’ll get an email a notification within a day or two that you’ll receive payment on your claim without having to provide any additional information.

Most claims will require additional information. In our experience, here’s what you’ll commonly be asked to provide:

  • A filled out claim form. Amex will email you a claim form to complete.
  • A copy of the original purchase receipt. The purchase receipt must be the itemized receipt showing the item purchased and amount you paid.
  • A copy of the merchant’s return policy. You can usually print this off from the merchant’s website. This can sometimes be found printed on your receipt.
  • Photos of them items. Amex may require you to take photos of the items you’re claiming from various angles to verify the condition of the items.

You’ll be able to either upload these documents to Amex’s online claim website or your can submit them by mail with the claim form.

American Express may also require you to send the item back to them before providing payment. If that is the case, Amex will provide you with instructions for shipping them item back. If you are required to send an item to Amex, Amex will reimburse you for shipping costs.

Once Amex has substantiated your claim, you’ll receive notification of the outcome of your claim. In our experience, payment by statement credit happens a few days after the notification is received.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use return protection if I got a rebate?

Yes, but the value of any rebates claimed will be deducted from your return protection claim.

Is Amex return protection better than Chase?

Other issuers offer a return protection benefit. In our view, Amex return protection is better because its claims process is often faster and it will pay for shipping if it requires you to send the item back.

Can I get Amex return protection on purchases I make on vacation?

Yes, provided your vacation is within the U.S., its territories, and freely-associated states. Purchases made outside of these ares are not eligible for return protection. Note that you are required to attempt to return the item to a merchant—this might not be possible if the merchant was a local shop.

Does Amex return protection apply to clearance and final sale items?

Yes. Amex makes no exclusions for highly-discounted items, unless the item is discounted as part of a going-out-of-business sale.

About the author

  • Aaron Hurd

    Aaron Hurd is a credit card, travel rewards, and loyalty program expert. Over the past 15 years, he has authored over a thousand expert contributions published by leading outlets including WSJ, TIME, Newsweek, Forbes, NerdWallet, The Points Guy, Bankrate, CNET, and many others. He has also served in consulting roles for many of these same outlets, designing content strategy, hiring teams of teams of editors and contributors, developing thought-leadership pieces, and ghost-editing for senior editors. Aaron is well-known in the miles and points community and regularly presents about travel rewards at conferences like the Chicago Seminars and Minnebar. Aaron has enjoyed the game of optimizing credit card rewards since getting his first credit card shortly after he turned 18. He started learning about credit cards and travel rewards from the (now defunct) FatWallet Finance forums and FlyerTalk. He holds more than 40 open credit cards and has first-hand experience with almost every major credit card product.

    View all posts