Return Protection – What it is and How to Benefit from it

Do you have a gift that you want to return or a dress which is in the wrong size?

What do you do when the retailer return window has expired or the retailer won’t accept your purchase for an exchange?

Luckily, you may not have to worry. If you’ve made a purchase with a credit card that has the “return protection” perk, you might get your money back after all!

We’re going to take a look at how return protection works and few cards which offer this benefit.

What is Return Protection?

Return protection extends the period of time during which you can return (or exchange) an item after purchase. It also creates a return policy for an item that didn’t have one, to begin with – not bad for a complimentary perk!

Many credit cards offer return protection for a period of 60 days or 90 days.

How to file a claim

Every credit card network that offers this perk requires a number of documents that are to be filled to verify your claim. These can include:

  • an original receipt with the item(s) you want to return
  • a copy of your credit card statement with the item
  • a copy of the store’s return policy
  • a written documentation of the store’s refusal to accept the item

Depending on the type of item that you are returning, you may be asked to provide more information while the claim is processed.

It is important to note that return protection is secondary to any insurance claims that you may have – an insurer must reimburse you before your credit card’s return protection may kick in.

Some items that do not get covered under the return protection benefit:

  • Cars, boats and any other motorized vehicles and their attached parts. Tires are not covered.
  • Computer software or any type of video, digital, or audio discs or tapes, including video games.
  • Seasonal Items, rare and precious coins, Going-out-of-business sale items, Collectable items, Tickets (e.g., for airlines, sporting events or concerts), Firearms or ammunition, and Travel Arrangement.
  • Gift Cards, Grocery, Living Plants, Deals Offers, Magazines, Movies TV, Music, Online Services Payments, Software Mobile Apps, Tickets Events,Animals, Health Care items and /or medical equipment & Personal Hygiene items, Jewelry Watches, Pet Supplies, Land,building and Fixtures.
  • Coverage doesn’t apply when the item is customized, altered, rebuilt or second-hand. The item has product defects, is not in working order or is damaged
  • Services and additional costs such as shipping, handling or taxes, warranties or memberships. Services, such as product installation or repairs.

A Comparison of Return Protection

Just as retailers have their own unique return policies, benefits may also vary by issuer. The following table breaks down how American Express, Visa, and MasterCard handles return protection claims. These are only general guidelines – terms will vary by the credit card issuer.


 American ExpressVISAMasterCard
Participating cards?All cardsVISA InfiniteWorld Elite Mastercard
Duration of return protection after purchase?90 days90 days60 days
Coverage (per claim)Up to $300Up to $500Up to $250
Coverage (total per year)$1,000$2,500$1,000 (4 claims per 12-month period)
Gift CoverageYesYesYes
Shipping Cost Reimbursement for Returned Items?YesNoNo

Discover no longer offers price and return protection on its cards. Chase has stopped offering it on many cards but a few cards remain which have return protection. Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase United MileagePlus Club card, and J.P. Morgan Reserve Card still give you 90 days of return protection from the initial date of purchase.

American Express Hilton Honors, Amex Everyday credit card and Blue Cash Everyday are among the few No Annual fee credit cards which offer return protection and other benefits such as cash back, extended warranty and purchase protection.

Some of the other cards providing return protection are U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Infinite card, Citi ThankYou Premier Card, Citi Prestige, Citi Double Cash Card, and Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard.

If you hold a MasterCard and do not see return protection as a listed benefit then you can look for “Satisfaction Guarantee”. Satisfaction Guarantee will allow you to receive a refund within 60 days of your initial purchase if the store declines to accept your return. You receive coverage up to $250 per claim and can file up to 4 claims per 12-month period.

As you can see, having return protection can be a valuable perk for your credit card. But, keeping track of your receipts, which items are eligible for return protection, or how many days you have left before that cashmere sweater can go back to the department store can be confusing.

Luckily, Sift can handle this for you, keeping track of each item’s return protection for you. Sift lets you know before your retailer return is expiring in the first place, automatically keeps track of which items are eligible for return protection, and if you have to file a claim, Sift will send you the receipts along with all the instructions and where to file a claim. It’s so easy that you’ll never have to worry about returns again!

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