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Like most of you, I use rewards credit cards primarily for the rewards they give me on things I buy in everyday life. However, that is not the only reason I am strategic about paying for various purchases with credit cards. There are several other reasons, often related to consumer protections, that my family prefers using credit cards to cash, checks, or debit cards. One such protection that I have often thought of, but never personally used until recently, is the extended warranty protection afforded to some purchases on select credit cards.
Specifically when looking at the Ink Plus and Ink Bold cards, there is a built-on extended warranty of one additional year of US manufacturer’s warranties, on eligible warranties of three years or less. This benefit is not unique to the Ink Bold or Ink Plus, but since that was the card I used for this purchase, I will focus primarily on this version of the benefit. The extended warranties that come with some credit cards don’t cover anything and everything, for example this one does not cover motorized purchases, software, or animal purchases. However, it does cover an expensive to buy, but easily breakable, indispensable gadget that many of us use day in and day out, the smart phone.
Using the Credit Card Extended Warranty Benefit:
My husband got an iPhone 5 in May of 2013. Last week his phone stopped charging above 30% for no obvious reason. I swear these phones just know when the new latest and greatest model is out and then self-destruct! We took it to the Apple Store they said let the battery drain totally then it will work normally when fully recharged. It didn’t. We went back to the Apple Store a second time and they ultimately could not fix it, and it was now well outside the one year warranty period provided by Apple. It wasn’t time to upgrade yet, and we weren’t at all interested in spending close to $1,000 out of pocket for a new iPhone 6 before our contract renews. Yes, we are still old school with unlimited data plans and two year contracts.
I remembered we had purchased the phone from AT&T with our Ink Bold mostly in order to earn 5x points on the telecommunications charge, but doing so also gave us an extra year on the one-year manufacturer’s warranty. I called up Chase via the number on the back of the card to explain the situation, and then was transferred to Chase Card Benefit services who can be reached at 1-800-874-7702.
The lady I spoke to at the Chase Card Benefits Services took the information about the purchase including date, amount, type of device, the current problem, and they opened up a claim that was promptly emailed to me. In the meantime, we got a detailed receipt from the Apple Store about the problem, being outside their one-year warranty period, and the solution of getting a different device at the “flat rate repair” price of $269.
The Chase Benefit Services verbally said that if the claim was approved that we would be reimbursed the cost of the repair, and that if it could not be repaired we could get reimbursed up to the original purchase price we paid of $299. I was super relieved as that would essentially off-set the unexpected $269 we just spent to get a “new” iPhone 5 since it could not be repaired.
Documents Required for Credit Card Extended Warranty Benefit:
Of course, to take advantage of the extended warranty benefit we have to send in some documents, including:
- A copy of our itemized sales receipt
- A copy of the credit card receipt and/or monthly statement reflecting the original purchase of the item
- A copy of the manufacturer’s written US warranty
- A copy of the repair estimate, or a copy of of the repair invoice if the repairs have already been completed
I’m not anywhere near organized enough to still have some of these things easily accessible, but they were all pretty easy to recover either online or via a phone call. I fully expect this document part of the process to be a little bit of a PITA, but as long as it all works out okay and doesn’t involve too much time invested, it will be worth it to recoup the money spent on the new phone.
Know the Purchase Protection Benefits that Your Credit Cards Offer:
CreditCards.com has a pretty good list of some extended warranty benefits that your specific credit card might come with. To give you an idea of what is available, the Chase Ink Plus provides not only the extra one year on the warranty already mentioned, but also protection against damage of theft for the first 120 days up to $10,000 per claim, and “return protection” for items the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase, up to $500 per item.
To give a different example, the Amex EveryDay Preferred Card has been getting used for lots of purchases in my household recently, and its extended warranty benefit provides an additional one year of coverage on the manufacturer’s US warranty of five years or less, up to $10,000. It also offers purchase protection for 90 days against theft or damage, whether accidental or due to vandalism, up to $1,000. If you used a more premium Amex product, like the Platinum card, for the purchase then it would be covered up to $10,000 for the purchase protection.
In other words, for larger purchases that have manufacturer’s warranties, it pays to strategize about which card to use not just based on the rewards you earn in the short term, but the protections you are afforded in the longer term. Purchases such as computers, cell phones, vacuums, tvs, and more should be put on cards that will protect you if something goes wrong, in addition to providing you miles and points.
I’ll keep you posted if there are any unexpected issues with this claim, but hopefully after a little bit of back and forth with paperwork, our credit card that gave us 5x for the phone purchase in the first place will also pay for the new phone we had to get as a replacement 17 months later.
Have you used an extended warranty or other purchase protections provided by one of your credit cards?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.