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What is credit card return protection?

Return an item even if the merchant won’t take it back.

Return protection gives you the option to return an item you purchased with your credit card, up to 90 days. This can get you coverage between $250 and $500 per item with an annual maximum of $1,000. You’ll be reimbursed by the credit card company, even if the merchant won’t accept the return. This feature is free but doesn’t come with all credit cards. Some credit cards may also offer credit card return protection but with limitations, so be sure to read the fine print.

How to use credit card return protection

To be eligible for return protection reimbursement, the item must be in like-new condition. Using the feature slightly varies between card providers, but in general, here’s how it works:

  1. Buy an eligible item with a credit card with return protection.
  2. If you change your mind, check with the merchant whether you can return the item.
  3. If not, you have 90 days to call your credit card benefit administrator and ask for a claim form.
  4. Fill out the claim form and submit it along with other required documents, including receipts of the purchase.
  5. Wait for customer support to reach out to you and provide further instructions.

Who gets to use return protection?

The main cardholder and sometimes the authorized users who have made the purchase entirely with their eligible credit card can use this feature.

Purchases not eligible for return protection

Some purchases are not eligible for return protection. They include:

  • Animals and living plants.
  • Boats, aircraft, automobiles and other motorized vehicles and their motors, equipment, or accessories.
  • Cash, bullion, traveler’s checks, tickets, credit or debit cards and other negotiable instruments.
  • Computer software.
  • Damaged and nonfunctional items.
  • Formal attire including cocktail dresses, tuxedos, gowns and formal accessories.
  • Items purchased for resale, professional or commercial use.
  • Items purchased outside of the United States.
  • Items that have been altered.
  • Jewelry, art objects, rare or precious coins or stamps, antiques and collectible items.
  • Medical equipment.
  • Perishables, consumables and limited-life items including rechargeable batteries.
  • Real estate, and items which are intended to become part of real estate including items that are hard-wired or hard-plumbed, garage doors, garage door openers and ceiling fans.
  • Seasonal items including, but not limited to, holiday decorations

Which providers offer purchase protection?

Return protection was a perk offered by most card providers. As of 2018 and 2019, card providers like Discover and Citi discontinued this perk. Now only a few card providers offer it and not on all of their credit cards.

Here are the providers that still offer purchase protection:

Return protectionCredit cards
American Expresstransparent-green-tick
    • The Platinum Card® from American Express
    • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
    • Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card
    • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
    • Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
    • Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card
    • The Plum Card® from American Express
    • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
    • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
    • Amazon Business American Express Card
    • Amazon Business Prime American Express Card
    • Centurion® Card from American Express
Bank of Americatransparent-green-tickBank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • United Club℠ Infinite Card
Capital Onecross-iconscross-icons
TD Banktransparent-green-tickTD First Class℠ Visa Signature® Credit Card
U.S. Banktransparent-green-tickU.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
Wells Fargocross-iconscross-icons

Compare credit cards with return protection

Return protection is different across cards, and not all cards offer it. Here are a few credit cards with return protection available on the market.

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months. Having 6 months to earn a welcome offer is a rare benefit as most cards give you only 3. Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other eligible purchases
See Pay Over Time APR
100,000 points after spending $6,000 in your first 6 months. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
5x points on flights and 10x points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on other travel after earning your $300 travel credit, 10x points on Lyft rides, 10x points on Chase Dining through Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on other dining and 1x points on all other purchases
16.99% to 23.99% variable
Earn a huge signup bonus worth $750 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards with Chase’s premier card.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Return protection is useful for expensive purchases with a short return policy. If you fill out the proper forms, your credit card provider can reimburse you between $250 and $500 an item.

But if you don’t think you’ll use credit protection, compare credit cards to find the right fit for your wallet.

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