Amazing Return Protection with American Express!

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I’ve written about this benefit in the past, but I realized it has been awhile and it is always good to revisit some awesome benefits of simply having a credit card! I also have realized that the average person is not aware of the return protection you get when making a purchase using an American Express credit card.

So let’s take this scenario: You purchase a final sale item online, it arrives in the mail, and you absolutely hate it! The pants do not fit they way you hoped and you are SOL. You could always resell them on eBay as there is no way in hell you are fitting into them! eBay can be a pain and ultimately you just wish you could return them. But no, FINAL SALE! While a nice discounted price, a waste of money if it doesn’t work out. That is where American Express comes into place! If you used your American Express credit card to make the purchase, you are protected and can get your money back!

So what exactly is this American Express return protection benefit? If within 90 days from the date of purchase a merchant will not take back an item, you can get a refund for the purchase price from American Express. This is valid for primary cardholders as well as any additional cardmembers on the account.

So what are the caveats? Like any benefit, there are some things to know:

  • The item must have been purchased entirely with an American Express card. Using a store gift card for 99% of the purchase price and only putting $1 on your Amex card, for example, will not give you this protection. Although, you can still submit a claim for that $1 (or whatever the price was you paid with your Amex card and it will still most likely get approved)
  • This is only valid for items purchased at merchants in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • You will only be reimbursed up to $300 per eligible item (excluding shipping and handing).
  • This benefit is only up to $1,000 annually per card account (which means you can get up to $1,000 per Amex card you have)
  • If your card account is past due for more then one billing cycle, or if your card is cancelled, you will not be eligible for a refund.

Are any items excluded? Yes, there are a few items where you will not receive a refund under this benefit. They include: animals and living plans; one-of-a-kind items (antiques, artwork, furs); limited edition items; going-out-of-business sale items; consumable or perishable items with limited life spans (such as perfume, light bulbs, non-rechargeable batteries); jewelry (including, but not limited to, loose gems, precious stones, metals, and pearls); watches, services and additional costs (such as installation charges, warranties, shipping, or memberships); rare and precious coins; used, altered, rebuilt and refurbished items; custom-built items, cellular phones; pagers; compact discs; digital video discs; mini discs; audiotapes; videotapes; computer software; firmware (such as console games, Nintendo, etc.); maps; books of any kind; health care items (such as blood pressure machines and diabetes equipment); formal wear; tickets of any kind; motorized vehicles (such as cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, or airplanes) and their parts; land and buildings; firearms; ammunition; negotiable instruments (such as promissory notes, stamps and travelers checks); cash and its equivalent; and items permanently affixed to home, office, vehicles, etc., (such as garage door openers, car alarms).

How do I file a claim? You can call 1.800.297.8019 or file a claim online. Remember, it must be within 90 days of the purchase date. Within 30 days of filing your claim, you will need to send in the original store receipt and the American Express card record of the charge. Although, Amex does not always ask for the merchants receipts. If they do not ask for the receipt and you used a gift card for part of the purchase, you should be able to get the amount put on the credit card refunded. If they do not ask for the receipt, this will also help for those returns you want to make where you misplaced the receipt.

What do I do with the item? Technically, you are to send the item to American Express within 30 days of filing the claim. You are also responsible for paying shipping costs. The item must be in “like new” condition.

My personal experience: I have used this return protection benefit MANY times. I’ve used it for myself on clothing purchased at J.Crew Outlet online that is final sale, RueLaLa when I’ve missed the 30-day return window, and clothing purchased for my daughter on Zulily which is always final sale. Submitting a claim is super easy and literally takes less than 5 minutes. Typically within 2-3 days I receive an email that my claim was approved and the amount is credited to my card. In my experience, I’ve never been asked to submit a receipt or send back the items. The claims I’ve submitted also aren’t for a lot of money (max $70), so if you submit a more expensive claim your experience might differ.

Has anyone ever used this benefit? What was your experience like?

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. I’ve used it twice this year – for a $160 monitor and for a $295 projector. Both refunded in full, no need to ship the products to AMEX as they let you keep them (most of the time I believe).

    The process was super easy, all I had to do was to fax the receipt. The approval took about 10 days and I received a phone call for each claim confirming the reason for the claim – you just say you’re not happy with the product and the shop won’t take it back.

  2. This is something many people overlook when selecting a credit card. Too often people just focus on the cash rewards or points a card offers. While a Visa or Mastercard at times may offer slightly better credit card rewards at times, Amex is superior when using these kinds of benefits.

    As an additional note, I’ve also recently used Visa’s warranty protection. Although I submitted the claim online for a $30 iPhone case, I had to follow up with phone calls to make sure they received my documentation. Good thing I followed up with them, because even when I uploaded a document to the claims site when they sent an email requesting further documentation, they somehow did not get my document. So I had to email it to their claims email directly instead where they finally received it. It seems like the claims website and email are not quite aligned. Then when they approved my claim, I had to submit an additional receipt of the replacement item. I’d imagine if I’d done this through Amex, I’d just have to submit my claims online, then several days later, they’d just give me a statement credit.

  3. So this return protection is valid on any Amex card. Any insurance benefits specific to the Amex Platinum, other than the FHR, airline credit, priority pass, etc?

  4. Are you sure this is for any Amex, including ones like Citibank Amex that aren’t issued directly by Amex?

    • It isn’t quite the same for a Citibank Amex. The Citibank Amex only uses the Amex network for payments, but the return protection benefit is handled by a third party insurance company which is likely to have a different experience.

      An Amex card issued by Amex themselves is different because Amex directly handles return protection.

  5. nice! so if I have four amex cards I can get $4000 worth of free merchandise a year? basically I can buy iPads, get them reimbursed by anex, then resell for fun and profit?

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