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Did your phone die just days after its warranty ended? Warranties always seem to end right before you need them, leaving you out of luck unless you put the original purchase on a credit card offering extended warranty protection. I know this firsthand, as I filed successful extended warranty protection claims for a cell phone that each failed right outside its manufacturer’s warranty.

In this guide, I explain the extended warranty benefit offered by some credit cards, which cards feature the best extended benefits and how to use them.

What Is an Extended Warranty?

The extended warranty benefit effectively extends the manufacturer’s warranty on products purchased with an eligible credit card. Many, but not all, credit cards come with this benefit. Some card benefits match warranties up to a certain length, while others extend warranties by a set amount. Exclusions and maximum coverage limits also vary across cards.

How Extended Warranty Benefits Differ

Extended warranty benefits offered by credit cards differ in a few key aspects.

  • Extension period: How long is the manufacturer’s warranty extended? Are there any maximum coverage lengths?
  • Length of warranties covered: Is there a limit on what warranty lengths can be extended?
  • Coverage limits: What’s the maximum coverage provided per item and per year?
  • Exclusions: What types of items and damages are excluded?
    • Common types of items excluded: Cars, boats, software, plants, animals, antiques, and products normally hard-wired into a house
    • Common types of damage excluded: Power surges, accidental damage, catastrophes, wear and tear, and riots

How to Utilize Extended Warranty

Before making a sizable purchase, consider which of your credit cards will provide the best shopping protections. This guide focuses on the extended warranty benefit, but you’ll also want to consider the purchase protection, price protection and return protection benefits offered by the card you use for the purchase.

When you buy something that has a manufacturer’s warranty and you use a credit card that features an extended warranty benefit, be sure to save the following:

  • Original store receipt
  • Credit card statement for the month showing the charge
  • Manufacturer’s warranty booklet or document

If something you own breaks and has a manufacturer’s warranty:

  1. Check the manufacturer’s warranty. If the item is still covered, begin a claim with the manufacturer.
  2. If it’s outside the manufacturer’s warranty, check the benefits guide for the credit card that you used to make the purchase.
  3. Call a benefits administrator if you need to file a claim or have questions regarding the claim process or eligibility. Call before getting the item repaired in case you need to send it to a particular repair facility.
  4. Collect documentation — which may consist of a repair quote, photos of the damaged item, the original receipt and the credit card statement showing the charge — and submit the claim.

If approved, you’ll usually receive a check or statement credit reimbursing you for repair costs, replacement costs or the original purchase cost. In some cases, the benefits administrator may ask you to send back the item for inspection or repair.

Citi: The Best Credit Card Provider for Extended Warranty

Citi stands above the rest when it comes to the extended warranty benefit. Most — but not all — Citi cards offer the following extended warranty benefit:

  • Extension of the manufacturer’s warranty by two years, with total coverage not exceeding seven years from the purchase date
  • If an extended warranty is purchased, Citi’s coverage begins at the expiration of that warranty
  • Coverage up to $10,000

Citi credit cards are the only cards to offer a two-year extended warranty; the best extended warranty benefit offered by other credit cards will only match a manufacturer’s warranty up to two years. Citi doesn’t have a minimum manufacturer’s warranty required for coverage, so a one-month manufacturer’s warranty would be extended by two years.

Unfortunately, Citi’s extended warranty coverage doesn’t apply to the following:

  • Boats, cars, aircraft or any other motorized land, air or water vehicles and their original equipment (tires aren’t covered either)
  • Services unless covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Used, antique or pre-owned items
  • Items purchased for resale, professional or commercial use
  • Land or buildings; housing properties
  • Plants and live animals
  • Items that don’t come with a manufacturer’s warranty

Additionally, Citi’s extended warranty coverage doesn’t apply when:

  • You fail to care for or service the item appropriately as required by the manufacturer.
  • The item has a product defect, recall or experiences normal wear and tear where no failure has occurred.
  • The item is damaged because of an act of God, such as a flood, hurricane, lightning, wind or earthquake.

Best Citi Cards for Extended Warranty

  • Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard
    • Earning rates: 2 miles per dollar at restaurants, gas stations and on eligible American Airlines Purchases; 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases
    • Current sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months of account opening. American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi / AAdvantage card (other than a American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp Card or CitiBusiness / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Mastercard) opened or closed in the past 24 months.
    • Key benefits: Preferred boarding on American Airlines; first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation; access to American Airlines reduced mileage awards
    • Annual fee: $99, waived the first year
  • Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
    • Earning rates: 2 miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases; 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases
    • Current sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening. American Airlines AAdvantage bonus miles are not available if you have had any Citi / AAdvantage card (other than a MileUp or CitiBusiness / AAdvantage card) opened or closed in the past 24 months.
    • Key benefits: Admirals Club membership; Priority check-in, priority airport screening and priority boarding privileges when flying on American Airlines; first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to eight companions traveling with you on the same reservation; access to American Airlines reduced mileage awards; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee statement credit once every five years
    • Annual fee: $450
  • Citi Prestige Card
    • Earning rates: 5 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on flights and restaurants; 3 points per dollar spent at hotels and cruise lines; 2 points per dollar spent on entertainment (for cardmembers prior to Sept. 1, 2018 until Aug. 31, 2019); 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases
    • Key benefits: 4th Night Free hotel benefit (capped to twice per year starting in September 2019); $250 annual travel credit; Priority Pass Select membership; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck fee statement credit once every five years
    • Annual fee: $495
  • Citi Premier Card
    • Earning rates: 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on travel (including most gas); 2 points per dollar spent on restaurants and entertainment; 1 point per dollar spent on other purchases
    • Key benefits: Points are worth 25% more toward airfare when booked through the ThankYou Travel Center
    • Annual fee: $95

For extended warranty purposes, Citi doesn’t cover wear and tear. If you’re purchasing an item where you believe covering wear and tear or other types of damage is important, you may want to consider using an American Express or Chase card.

Runners-Up: American Express and Chase

Although Citi’s two-year extended warranty extension and suite of other shopping protections is difficult to beat, there are a few reasons you might consider using an American Express or Chase credit card.

When to Use an American Express Card

American Express recently improved its extended warranty protection. Now, Amex will match manufacturer’s warranties of two years or less and extend manufacturer’s warranties of two to five years by two years. So, you may want to use an American Express card such as the American Express® Gold Card or the no annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (See Rates & Fees) on purchases where:

  • The manufacturer’s warranty lasts five years or less (although manufacturer warranties of less than two years will only be matched)
  • You want the credit card’s extended warranty to not explicitly exclude wear and tear

All American Express credit cards offer the same extended warranty and return protection benefits. However, purchase protection offered by American Express cards varies, with most cards offering up to $1,000 per incident and premium cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express offering up to $10,000 per incident. One transparency aspect I appreciate about American Express: the full benefits policies for each of their shopping protection benefits are available online without needing to log in.

When to Use a Chase Card

Many Chase credit cards provide a year of extended warranty coverage on products with manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less. So, you may want to use a Chase credit card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, United Club Card or Chase Freedom Unlimited on purchases where:

  • The manufacturer’s warranty is for three years or less
  • You want the credit card’s extended warranty to not exclude any particular types of damage

The information for the United Club 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.

Bottom Line

If an item you purchase has a manufacturer’s warranty, you can often get extended warranty protection just by putting the purchase on a credit card that offers an extended warranty shopping benefit. All Citi cards discussed above offer a generous two-year extended warranty benefit that can extend a manufacturer’s warranty to as long as seven years.

Putting larger purchases that come with manufacturer warranties on an eligible Citi credit card will likely be best. However, for particular purchases where wear and tear or other often excluded types of damage are likely, the extended warranty benefits offered by American Express and Chase credit cards may be better.

Remember to read the benefits guide for the card you plan to use before making any large purchase to ensure that your purchase and its manufacturer’s warranty aren’t excluded. Reading the benefits guide will also inform you of the card’s other shopping protection benefits. After making the purchase, save the receipt, credit card statement and warranty documents in case you ever need to file a claim.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday, please click here.  

Feature image by by Matthew Kane via Unsplash.

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