American Express Return Protection

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One benefit some American Express® card members might not realize they have is American Express® Return Protection. Those who’ve ever attempted to return a purchase and had the return refused may appreciate this feature. Card members may be eligible to get reimbursed by American Express for up to $300 on returned purchases not accepted by vendors. 

American Express has specific criteria that a purchase must meet to qualify for this protection. Here’s what card members should know about American Express® Return Protection and its terms, limits and exclusions.

What Is American Express Return Protection?

American Express® Return Protection reimburses a card member when a merchant denies a return of an eligible purchase made using a qualifying American Express® card. American Express® Return Protection has certain limits and exclusions, so not all returns are eligible for a full purchase price refund.

How Does American Express Return Work?

When a card member uses their American Express card to make a qualifying purchase, American Express provides Return Protection for 90 days after the date of the purchase. During the 90 days, if the card member attempts to return the purchase and the merchant does not accept the return, the card member can file a claim with American Express to determine if that purchase is eligible for Return Protection reimbursement.

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If American Express determines the purchase is eligible, it will reimburse the card member for the purchase price, excluding any shipping and handling, as much as $300 per item.

What Purchases Are Covered by American Express Return Protection?

American Express provides Return Protection for any purchase that does not fall within one of its excluded categories and is made with a qualifying American Express card. It also must meet all other Return Protection criteria.

The Return Protection exclusion list is long. Purchases such as one-of-a-kind artwork, gift cards and motorized vehicles are excluded. Perishable items and items with a life span are also ineligible, including food items, batteries, light bulbs and perfumes.

Other Return Protection exclusion categories include:

  • Formal wear
  • Seasonal items
  • Computer software
  • Medical or dental equipment or devices
  • Negotiable instruments such as traveler’s checks
  • Animals and living plants
  • Jewelry and watches
  • Rare and precious coins
  • Permanent household items such as carpet, flooring, air conditioners and refrigerators
  • Firearms and ammunition

Card members can find a complete list of all exclusion categories on the American Express website.

Are There Limits to American Express Return Protection?

American Express has limits on its Return Protection. It will only refund up to $300 per item and does not reimburse for shipping and handling charges related to the purchase.

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Card members can receive up to $1,000 in Return Protection reimbursements during each calendar year per card member account. The calendar year is based on the date of purchase and not the year in which a card member files a return claim.

Only purchases made with a qualifying American Express card are eligible for Return Protection. Items must be in working order and original purchase conditions. Items that are damaged or used after purchase are ineligible for Return Protection.

Purchases made from merchants with an established return satisfaction or guarantee program with terms greater or equal to Return Protection terms are not eligible.

How To File an American Express Return Protection Claim

If a card member determines that a purchase does not fall within one of the exclusion categories, they can begin the Return Protection claim process. A claim can be filed online or by phone.

To File an American Express Return Protection Claim

  1. Verify the merchant won’t accept a return. 
  2. Begin a claim online or contact American Express at 800-228-6855 within 90 days of the purchase date.
  3. Provide American Express with a copy of the original store receipt, an American Express record of charge and anything else deemed necessary to process the request within 30 days of the claim’s filing date.
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American Express will review the request. If the purchase meets Return Protection criteria, American Express may ask the card member to send in the item for review before finalizing the claim. Card members have 30 days after the request to get the item to American Express, and it will reimburse the card member for the shipping.

Card members can check claim status by logging in to their American Express account.

Takeaway

While many purchases will not be eligible for American Express® Return Protection, it’s wise for card members to know whether their card provides this benefit in case they do need to use it. They can call the number on the back of their American Express card to inquire as to whether they have Return Protection.

Since a purchase receipt will be required to file a Return Purchase, card members should hold on to receipts for purchases made using their American Express card in case they need to file a claim.

Return Protection is only one of many benefits from American Express. Card members should occasionally review the perks of their American Express card and any other credit cards they might have to ensure they are taking advantage of all benefits their cards provide.

FAQ

Here are quick answers to popular American Express Return Protection and Purchase Protection questions.
  • Does my American Express credit card have Return Protection?
    • To determine if a specific American Express card has Return Protection, card members can check the terms and conditions of their card or call the number on the back of their American Express card.
  • Does American Express® Platinum Card have Return Protection?
    • Yes, the American Express® Platinum Card does provide Return Protection up to $300 per item, excluding shipping and handling, for a maximum of $1,000 per calendar year.
  • Do all American Express cards have Purchase Protection?
    • Many American Express credit cards do have Purchase Protection, but a card member should check the terms and conditions of their card or contact Member Services to determine if it is an included benefit.

Information is accurate as of July 27, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express, a GOBankingRates partner. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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About the Author

Andrea Norris has been in the web publishing business for the past 15 years both as a content contributor and a copy editor specializing in personal finance, frugal living, home and auto topics. She writes both short and long-form content and is well-practiced in SEO keyword research and writing.

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