When Does Credit Card Purchase Protection Kick In?

Sep 11, 2017

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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week — Mondays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

One of the great features of credit cards in general is the extra protection benefits many of them provide, such as covering the items you buy against damage, loss or theft. But TPG reader Gabrielle wanted to clarify exactly when the clock on that purchase protection period starts…

Does Amex’s 90-day purchase-protection coverage period begin on the date you place the order or does it begin when the item is charged to your credit card?

TPG Reader Gabrielle

What Gabrielle’s specifically asking here is whether purchase protection kicks in on the date you place your order, at which point your credit card is authorized for the full amount, the date the item is delivered or the date that the transaction posts, which can be several days after your order ships. The answer to this question depends on which bank and card you use to make your purchase, and it’s important to dig into the terms and conditions to find out exactly what the rules are. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

When it comes to American Express, each card has a different set of purchase protection terms and conditions (almost all of which you can find online here). As an example, for The Platinum Card from American Express — which provides up to $10,000 in coverage per claim — the terms and conditions state that

Purchase Protection provides benefits, for ninety (90) days from the date of purchase, if a Covered Incident occurs with respect to the item You purchased and charged to Your Account. [emphasis added]

Now, the words “date of purchase” might be a bit nebulous, but it seems likely Amex will look for the date you were physically in the store buying the item or placing the order online, rather than the date the item was delivered or posted to your statement. There might be some wiggle room if the two dates were far apart, but you should assume Amex will check the original receipt — which you normally have to submit when filing any claim — for the date the purchase was made.

You only have a few more days to sign-up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve with a 100,000 point sign-up bonus.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve also provides up to $10,000 for each purchase protection claim.

Chase cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Freedom Unlimited offer purchase protection from $500 to $10,000 per claim, depending on which card you have. A look at the terms and conditions for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card tells us

If you buy an eligible item in the United States using your Account or rewards points earned on your Account and experience theft, damage, or involuntary and accidental parting with property within one hundred and twenty (120) days from the date of your purchase, Purchase Protection will replace, repair, or reimburse you up to a maximum of ten thousand ($10,000.00) dollars for each claim and up to fifty thousand ($50,000.00) dollars for each year.

So Chase’s rules are essentially the same as Amex’s — you can expect to be held to the date of purchase as shown on your original receipt.

However, the verbiage for Citi ThankYou cards, such as the Citi Prestige Card which also offers up to $10,000 in coverage for each claim, is a little different…

If an item is purchased with your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points and is damaged, lost, or stolen within 120 days (90 days for New York residents) of purchase or delivery of the item, whichever is first, we may repair it or reimburse you up to the amount paid with your Citi card and/or ThankYou® Points. [emphasis added]

So in this case, you’ll be on the clock at the earlier of either the date you buy the item or the date it’s delivered. Meaning if your receipt shows a delivery date ahead of any other date, expect to be held to the earlier date, not the later one.

Finally, remember that any time you’re filing a claim for coverage under any credit card benefit, the more documentation you have demonstrating both the purchase and the loss, the better off you’ll be. Thanks for the question, Gabrielle, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image by Michael Heim/EyeEm/Getty Images.

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