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The best credit cards for purchase protection

Dec. 09, 2022
18 min read
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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.


So you finally splurged for an Apple Watch and broke it a week later. The warranty won’t cover the damage, and you didn’t think you’d need AppleCare. You’re out of luck, right? Not if you used the right credit card to make the purchase.

Purchase protection can save your skin and protect the items you've purchased if a recently-bought item is damaged or stolen. Several credit cards may even provide protection if you lose a recently-purchased item. However, only some credit cards offer purchase protection, and the benefits tend to vary across cards.

This guide will describe the basics of credit card purchase protection and detail the credit cards that offer the best coverage.

What is purchase protection?

The purchase protection benefit offered by select credit cards covers eligible purchases against accidental damage or theft — and for some cards, loss — in the first few months after you use an eligible card to pay for the purchase. Some issuers also refer to this benefit as purchase security.

Related: How an often-overlooked credit card benefit put $1,400 back in my wallet

Purchase protection can reimburse you for the cost of repairing or replacing the item you purchased, assuming you paid for it with a card that provides purchase protection. There are important terms to follow for this benefit, such as the length of time from the purchase date for which coverage is offered, how to submit claims and even the maximum coverage amount provided by your credit card.

Comparing the best credit cards for purchase protection

CardMaximum coverage amount per claim
Maximum coverage amount per accountCoverage duration (days)Earning rate(s)Annual fee
American Express® Gold Card$10,000 per item (or $500 per event for natural disasters).*$50,000 per card per calendar year.90.4 points per dollar at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year, then 1 per dollar); 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline or purchased through Amex Travel; and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.$250 (see rates and fees).
Ink Business Cash Credit Card$10,000 per claim.$50,000 per account.120.5% cash back at office supply stores and internet, cable and phone services (on up to $25,000 of purchases per year, then 1%); 2% back at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1%); 1% back on all other purchases.$0.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express$1,000 per item (or $500 per event for natural disasters).*$50,000 per card per calendar year.90.3% cash back on groceries at U.S. supermarkets , U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases for each category (then 1%), plus 1% cash back on other purchases.$0 (see rates and fees).
Chase Freedom Flex$500 per claim.$50,000 per account.120.5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in rotating bonus categories each quarter (requires activation) and on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% on dining and drugstores; 1% back on all other purchases.$0.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card$10,000 per claim.$50,000 per account.90.10 mile per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel; 2 miles per dollar on all other purchases.$395.

* Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

These cards, each chosen with a particular type of consumer or purchase in mind, are discussed below. Coverage can vary based on your state of residence, though, and bonus categories sometimes have caps.

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The best credit cards for purchase protection

American Express Gold Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership. TPG values this bonus at $1,200.

Earning rates: 4 points per dollar spent at restaurants and on the first $25,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each calendar year (then 1 per dollar); 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amex Travel; 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases.

Maximum coverage per purchase protection claim: $10,000 per item ($500 per event related to a natural disaster).

Maximum coverage per account for purchase protection: $50,000 per card per calendar year.

Coverage duration: 90 days.

THE POINTS GUY

Other shopping protections: Extended warranty protection offers one additional year of coverage for items with an original manufacturer’s warranty of five years or less. Coverage is limited to the amount charged to your card, up to $10,000 per item and $50,000 per card each calendar year.^

^ Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees).

The American Express Gold Card has one of the lowest annual fees of American Express cards that offer generous $10,000 purchase protection coverage per item (excluding natural disasters). This is important because many cardholders believe American Express has the least painful claim process of any issuer. Plus, this card doesn’t exclude lost or misplaced items and is great for foodies, due to its bonus-earning categories and monthly spending credits with restaurants and Uber/Uber Eats. This card might not be the right fit if you're looking for price protection or earning more than 1 point per dollar spent on most purchases that are eligible for purchase protection.

Related: Everything you need to know about Amex purchase protection


Official application link: American Express Gold Card.


Ink Business Cash Credit Card

Welcome bonus: Earn $900 cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Earning rates: 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services each account anniversary year (then 1% back); 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year (then 1% back); 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Maximum coverage per purchase protection claim: $10,000.

Maximum coverage per account for purchase protection: $50,000.

Coverage duration: 120 days.

a hand holds a credit card - the Ink Business Cash from Chase
THE POINTS GUY

Other shopping protections: Extended warranty protection offers an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less.

Annual fee: None.

The Ink Business Cash Credit Card offers up to $10,000 per claim in purchase protection on a card with no annual fee. The Ink Cash Card is a great choice if you buy high-value items that are eligible for purchase protection at office supply stores — where you’ll earn 5% cash back until you hit your annual limit. The card doesn’t offer price protection or return protection, though.

Related: Your guide to the Chase Ink Business credit cards


Official application link: Ink Business Cash Credit Card.


Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

Welcome bonus: Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months of card membership.

Earning rates: 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases for each category (then 1%) and 1% cash back on other purchases.

Maximum coverage per purchase protection claim: $1,000 per item ($500 per event if related to a natural disaster).*

Maximum coverage per account for purchase protection: $50,000 per card per calendar year.*

Coverage duration: 90 days.*

* Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

THE POINTS GUY

Other shopping protections: None.

Annual fee: None.

The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is good for earning 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per calendar year, then 1%), but shopping protection benefits aren’t beneficial on most supermarket purchases. However, this card doesn’t offer extended warranty or return protection.

Related: Amex credit card showdown: Blue Cash Preferred vs. Blue Cash Everyday


Official application link: Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.


Chase Freedom Flex

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in your first three months of account opening.

Earning rates: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate and on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% cash back on dining and drugstores; 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Maximum coverage per purchase protection claim: $500.

Maximum coverage per account for purchase protection: $50,000.

Coverage duration: 120 days.

THE POINTS GUY

Other shopping protections: The extended warranty protection extends eligible manufacturers’ warranties of three years or less by one additional year. Cellphone protection is available for up to $800 per claim and up to $1,000 per year for phones listed on a monthly cellphone billed paid with the Freedom Flex card.

Annual fee: None.

The rotating bonus categories offered by the Chase Freedom Flex make it an excellent choice for purchases that fit into bonus categories. You can convert your Chase Freedom Flex earnings to Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you have an eligible card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Related: Why I switched from the Chase Freedom to the Chase Freedom Flex


Official application link: Chase Freedom Flex.


Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. TPG values this bonus at $1,388.

Earning rates: 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel; 5 miles per dollar spent on flights booked through Capital One Travel; 2 miles per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Maximum coverage per claim: $10,000.

Maximum coverage per account: $50,000.

Coverage duration: 90 days.

THE POINTS GUY

Other shopping protections: Extended warranty protection adds an additional year to eligible manufacturers’ warranties of three years or less while return protection covers returns within 90 days of purchase.

Annual fee: $395.

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is an excellent everyday spending card. Since you’ll earn at least 2 Capital One miles per dollar spent on all purchases and also get extended warranty protection and return protection, this card is an excellent choice for shopping. However, you may want to use a card with price protection or a card that extends warranties by two years instead of just one year for some purchases.

Related: Who should (and shouldn’t) get the Capital One Venture X card?


Other cards that offer strong purchase protection benefits

Although they didn’t make the top five, the following cards offer purchase protection with a limit of $10,000 per incident/claim and a limit of $50,000 per year per account (although Amex cards have a limit of $500 per event for natural disasters*). However, these cards didn’t make the list because at least one card discussed above featured similar or better purchase protection with either a lower annual fee or better earning rate on categories where you’d most likely need purchase protection.

CardCoverage duration (days)Earning rate(s)Annual fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express90.*5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or Amex Travel (up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, then 1 point per dollar); 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel; 1 point per dollar on other purchases.$695 (see rates and fees).
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card90.*3 points per dollar on eligible Delta purchases; 1 point per dollar on other purchases.$550 (see rates and fees).
Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express90.*14 points per dollar at eligible Hilton properties; 7 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through Amex Travel; 7 points per dollar on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies and at U.S. restaurants; 3 points per dollar on other purchases.$450 (see rates and fees).
Ink Business Preferred Credit Card120.3 points per dollar on travel, shipping, internet services, cable services, phone services and advertising with social media sites/search engines (on the first $150,000 in combined purchases each account anniversary year, then 1 point per dollar); 1 point per dollar on other purchases.$95.
United Explorer Card120.2 points per dollar on flights booked directly with United, dining and hotel stays when booked directly with the hotel; 1 point per dollar on other purchases.$0 introductory annual fee, then $95.
Chase Sapphire Reserve120.10 points per dollar on Chase Dining, hotels and car rentals when you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5 points per dollar on flights when you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3 points per dollar on other travel and dining; 1 point per dollar on other purchases.$550.

The information for the Hilton Aspire Amex card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

* Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

There are credit cards offering purchase protection that aren't included in this list. Hence, it’s worth referencing the guide to benefits for each card in your wallet to determine whether they have that coverage — as well as other valuable shopping and travel protections.

You can see the benefits for all American Express cards on Amex’s website and can consult our guide to shopping protections on American Express cards, but you may need to call or log into your account to see the guide to benefits for cards issued by other banks. Call the number on the back of your card for help if you can’t find the guide to benefits.

Related: Battle of the premium travel rewards cards — which is best for you?

How purchase protection benefits differ

Not all purchase protection benefits are created equal. Purchase protection benefits offered by credit cards often differ in three main aspects:

  • Amount of coverage: Usually ranges from $500 to $10,000 per claim or incident, often with a cap of $50,000 per year per account and sometimes with a lower cap for certain events.
  • Duration of coverage: Usually ranges from 90 to 120 days, although the exact date coverage begins varies across cards. The duration of coverage can depend on the state in which you reside.
  • Exclusions: Purchases can be excluded due to their type or method of loss/damage.
  • Types of purchases often excluded: Motorized vehicles and their parts, animals, living plants, perishable or consumable items, tickets, gift cards, antiques, jewelry and medical equipment.
  • Types of loss/damage often excluded: Natural disasters, hostilities, abuse, fraud, riots, illegal behavior, normal wear and tear, failure to adequately secure the item, items stolen from personal vehicles and damage from inherent product defects.

Related: Purchase protection saved us $1,700 — a reader success story

How to use purchase protection

Before making a significant purchase, know the benefits of each card you could use for the purchase. Although this guide focuses on purchase protection, you should also consider benefits like return protection, price protection and extended warranty.

Filing a purchase protection claim can take a while, as can the process of submitting the claim. JACOBLUND/GETTY IMAGES

Purchase protection doesn’t require any registration in advance. If a recently purchased item is damaged, stolen or lost, your first step should be to determine whether the card used to purchase the item has purchase protection. Your next step should be to check the card’s benefits guide to determine if your item and its form of damage or loss are eligible. Call the number on the back of your card if you have any questions regarding eligibility, the documentation needed or the process required to file a claim.

You may need to submit a police report for stolen items and a repair estimate or photos for damaged items during the claim process. It’s a good idea to keep damaged items until the claim is complete. Claims usually require original receipts and the credit card statement related to the purchase. Note that card coverage is sometimes secondary to any homeowners insurance and auto insurance policies, so you may need to prove that you’ve already submitted claims with other insurance providers.

If your claim is successful, the credit card company will choose to replace, repair or reimburse you for the lost or damaged item.

Related: These are the cards TPG staff reach for in case of emergency

Which Amex cards cover lost items?

Finally, some American Express cards offer purchase protection even when you lose a recently-purchased item. So, forgetful consumers may want to put their purchases on one of American Express’ premium cards that include lost items under the Amex purchase protection benefit.* These cards include:

Related: The 5 Amex cards we’re keeping in our wallets — and why

* Eligibility and benefit levels vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Bottom line

In-built purchase protection is a valuable benefit that comes with some credit cards. The ideal credit card to aim for is one that will both maximize your earning on the purchase and give you protection against theft and damage.

Credit cards vary in the amount and duration of coverage provided, so make sure to read the terms and conditions. And be aware of excluded purchases, too.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon, Carissa Rawson, Christina Ly and Ryan Smith.

For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve, please click here.

Featured image by PEOPLEIMAGES/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees