American Express Return Protection: Coverage, Claims, and Tips

Estimated read time 6 min read

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  • Have you ever wanted to return something after the return window? Your rewards credit card can help.
  • Some cards have return protection as an included benefit, especially American Express cards.
  • Consider using a card like The Platinum Card® from American Express. 

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Introduction to American Express Return Protection

Overview of Return Protection

Beyond glamorous perks like airport lounge access and annual statement credits, American Express cards offer several valuable benefits that can protect your purchases. For example,  The Platinum Card® from American Express and other cards offer purchase protection, which can reimburse you if a covered item is stolen or damaged within a specified window of time after you bought it.

Another coverage benefit that can provide peace of mind is Amex return protection. If you try to return an item within 90 days of purchase and the merchant won’t accept it, American Express will take it back instead – and reimburse you up to $300 per claim and $1,000 per card per year (based on the year of purchase).

Benefits for Cardholders

Return protection is a super valuable benefit, and luckily it’s available on virtually all American Express cards. It takes just a few minutes to file a claim, and most claims can be handled entirely online without having to pick up the phone. This is one of those credit card benefits that can easily make up for an annual fee, even if you only use it once or twice a year.

Eligibility and Coverage

Eligible Cards

Return protection is available on virtually every Amex card, from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to the Amex Platinum Card to the American Express® Green Card

Covered Purchases

To be eligible for return protection, an item must have been purchased entirely with an Amex card. You need to try to return the item to the original retailer within 90 days of the purchase date, and you need to contact Amex within 90 days of the purchase date to initiate the claim.

Coverage Limitations and Exclusions

There is a list of exclusions, which mostly consists of things you wouldn’t expect a store to take back — like perishables, consumables, media (books, CDs, software), healthcare items, seasonal goods, and gift cards. Jewelry and watches are also excluded. However, most other purchases made in the United States qualify for return protection.

How to Use Return Protection

Sound too good to be true? It isn’t — and even better, the process is very simple. To get started, you’ll just need your receipt from the merchant and your American Express card statement.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to submitting a claim for return protection through Amex.

1. Log in to the American Express Claims Center at

2. Click “Enter Claims Center Now”

3. Log in with your American Express username and password

4. Select your American Express card

5. Look for Return Protection and click “Start a Refund Request”



6. Enter the date you tried to return the item to the merchant in the “Date of Loss” field, then click “Start Your Claim”



7. Enter your contact information (Amex may auto-fill these fields for you)

8. Enter details about the item you tried to return

Select categories from the drop-down menus and then fill in the merchant, manufacturer, purchase date, and price. Just like if you were returning the item to the store you bought it from, Amex will reimburse you for taxes but not shipping.



9. On the “Incident Information” screen, select the reason for the return (either “restocking fee” or “returned product not accepted at retailer”), add a short explanation, and enter the date you tried to return the item.

The explanation field can be something as simple as “Merchant does not accept returns after 30 days” or “Merchant does not accept returns on sale items.”

10. Review the information you submitted, read the required anti-fraud disclosures and check the “agree” box, then click Submit and wait for Amex to contact you.



Within a few days, you should get an email from American Express asking for any documentation it requires — typically just a copy of your itemized store receipt for the items.



You’ll receive a link where you can upload copies of those documents, as well as a fax number and snail mail address if you’re old school like that.

Once you’ve submitted those documents, you’ll get another email from Amex letting you know that your documents have been received. At that point, sit back and relax. In most cases, you won’t need to do anything else — they’ll let you know if they need more information, otherwise, you’ll just get a follow-up message letting you know that the amount will be posted as a credit to the American Express card you used to purchase the item.

In some cases, Amex will require you to ship the item to them before it refunds you for the purchase — if that happens, Amex will cover the cost of shipping. (If Amex doesn’t ask for the item back, you can donate or discard it.)


Return protection is a benefit offered by American Express that allows cardholders to be reimbursed for purchases when a merchant refuses a return within 90 days of purchase, subject to terms and coverage limits.

Most new, unused items purchased entirely with an eligible American Express card are covered, but there are exclusions like computer software, perishables, and final sale items.

Coverage typically includes up to a certain amount per item and a maximum annual amount per card account, but these limits can vary by card product.

To file a claim, contact American Express customer service or file online through your account, providing the required documentation, such as purchase receipts and a merchant denial of return.

Yes, online purchases are covered as long as they meet the eligibility criteria and are purchased entirely with an eligible American Express card.

Caroline Lupini

Freelance reporter