Did you know that using your credit card for a big-ticket purchase could actually extend your warranty on the product?
Extended warranty programs are a useful credit card perk offered by many card issuers.
Money expert Clark Howard believes this a great way to get added peace of mind on a major purchase without putting more strain on your wallet.
“I love it for the strangest reason,” Clark says. “Buying this type of warranty from a retailer is garbage. It’s a waste of your money. So I find having the warranty coverage from a credit card helps prevent somebody from making a bad decision.”
Though some cards, such as the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, have recently gone away from this perk, there are still some popular credit cards that offer extended warranty programs as a part of their customer perks in 2023.
Team Clark has analyzed the rewards credit card market to spotlight some of the issuers offering this perk. We also had a discussion with Clark to develop the optimal strategy for using a credit card to get an extended warranty.
Table of Contents
- 4 Things To Know About Credit Card Extended Warranties
- Best Credit Cards for Extended Warranties
- What Type of Purchases Qualify?
- Items You’ll Need To Make a Claim
- Why Clark Howard Likes This Perk
- Final Thoughts
How Does a Credit Card Extended Warranty Work? 4 Things To Know
You may be wondering about the logistics involved with getting this kind of warranty coverage.
Here are a few things to note about the process before we get into picking a card.
1. This Is an Addition to the Product’s Existing Manufacturer Warranty
In most cases, the coverage you’ll get from your credit card simply extends the time period of the product’s manufacturer warranty.
If you buy a product that has a manufacturer warranty, the benefit from your credit card is not going to replace that. It just extends the coverage for an additional period of time.
Here’s an example of how this coverage works via Citi, which offers an additional 24 months of product warranty protection to many of its cardholders.
2. You Must Buy the Item With the Card To Get the Coverage
It’s important to know that extended warranty coverage from your credit card is available only if you use that card to make the purchase.
If you buy a new computer and want to reap the warranty benefits of the credit card in your wallet, it needs to be the card you swipe at the register.
Failing to do so will render the benefits of that card useless.
3. Coverage Can Be Limited to Certain Types of Purchases
Not everything is covered by a credit card’s extended warranty policy.
You’re not getting a manufacturer warranty on consumables like food, so don’t expect to receive credit card benefits covering spoilage. That’s not how this works!
I’ll take a deeper look at the types of purchases that customarily qualify for extended warranty coverage later in the article.
4. Extended Warranty vs. Purchase Protection: What’s the Difference?
Credit card companies sometimes offer purchase protection as a cardholder benefit.
And while that may sound similar to a warranty, these are actually two different things.
An extended warranty adds to the amount of time that your new purchase is covered for things like defects, while purchase protection gives you coverage for “user-generated issues.”
One popular type of credit card purchase protection is for stolen or damaged cell phones.
Best Credit Cards Issuers for Extended Warranties
Before we get too far into the credit cards you may consider for this perk, it’s important to understand where most of these extended warranties come from.
Many times, the benefit is offered by the credit card processors. Visa, Mastercard and American Express offer packages that card issuers can adopt to offer this type of benefit.
That means it is up to each card issuer to decide which of its cards offer this particular benefit, and they may amend that offering even if the credit card processor offers a warranty extension.
Here’s a look at how many of the major U.S. card issuers offer extended warranties and some of the cards that carry them.
|Card Issuer||Extended Warranty Length||Program Notes||Guide to Benefits|
|American Express||Most Amex cards offer up to one additional year of coverage.||Max benefit is $10,000 per claim with a $50,000 limit.||American Express|
|Capital One||Up to 24 months of extended warranty||Some Capital One cards carry Visa benefits; others have Mastercard.||Capital One|
|Chase||Up to one additional year of coverage on a warranty of three years or less||Up to $10,000 per claim, maximum $50,000 per account||Chase|
|Citi||Select Citi cards can extend warranties up to 2 years.||Max benefit of $10,000||Citi|
|USAA||Up to an additional year of warranty coverage||Register your eligible items upon purchase.||USAA|
Some credit card issuers, such as Discover, have decided to eliminate their extended warranty programs in recent years.
What Type of Purchases Qualify for Extended Warranty Coverage?
As I mentioned earlier in the article, not everything that you purchase with your credit card will qualify for an extended warranty, even if it comes with a manufacturer warranty.
Each credit card has a different set of parameters for qualification, so you should check your card’s Guide to Benefits to get the most accurate information.
You should have received a copy of the Guide to Benefits when you got your card, but you may also find the information on your card issuer’s website.
Here are some examples of common purchases that may or may not qualify for credit card-backed extended warranty coverage:
Common Qualifying Purchases
- Home appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc.)
- Cell phones
Purchases That Usually Don’t Qualify
- Motorized vehicles (cars, boats, etc.)
- Perishables and consumables
- Land or property
- Used items or antiques
- Computer software
Items You’ll Need for Your Extended Warranty Claim
Once you decide that you’d like to use your credit card to purchase a big-ticket item with the intent of extending your warranty, you’ll want to make sure to do your homework BEFORE you make the purchase.
The first thing you should do is check your Guide to Benefits to make sure the purchase is eligible for coverage based on the warranty offer terms.
From there, you’ll want to make yourself a checklist of things to note about the transaction. Collecting that information now will save you a headache later.
A complete list of things you’ll need for filing a claim with your specific card will be found in the Guide to Benefits, but here are some items you’ll likely need to keep handy:
- Store receipt (physical copy or email)
- Credit card statement that shows your purchase (physical copy or email)
- Copy of the product’s manufacturer warranty
- Copies of any repair bills you’ve paid on the product
All of these items will be helpful when verifying that you used the credit card for the purchase as well as the purchase date, purchase price and timeframe of validity for the original warranty.
Why Clark Howard Likes Credit Cards That Extend Warranties
Money expert Clark Howard is a fan of using a credit card to acquire an extended warranty on your big purchase, but his reasoning may surprise you.
It’s not so much about the benefit itself as it is about the money the extended warranty can save you.
Many businesses make money on the fringes of a major transaction by pressuring you into a “low cost” extension of your warranty. Clark says these usually are not a good deal and may not even provide the protection you’re hoping for.
That’s where having this free extended warranty coverage from your credit card comes in handy: It gives you the power and confidence to say “no.”
“If you’re somebody who knows that you’re going to let the salesperson talk you into buying their crappy warranty, then you’re the person who should make it a higher priority to carry a credit card that will give you the extension of warranty for free,” Clark says.
Though it no longer offers this perk, Clark’s Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi was a source of extended warranty benefit in his life in recent years. His family used this benefit to make purchases on laptop computers and a washer and dryer set with the extended warranty.
If you’re going to make a major purchase, and it’s something that could put a financial strain on you if the item fails to work properly, buying the item with a credit card that extends your warranty makes a lot of sense.
And, as Clark points out, having that freebie warranty extension in your back pocket will empower you to say “NO!” to extended warranty offers at the store.
Before you apply for a new credit card to get this benefit, you should check with your existing card issuers to see if you already have coverage.
Which credit card do you use for extended warranty coverage? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the Clark.com community.