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Buy Apple Products With American Express

Here’s a few tips on buying Apple gear and credit card extended warranties. The bottom line is:

  • Consider buying AppleCare with American Express to get an extended warranty that extends 12 months past AppleCare’s 3 years. That’s 4 years total! Visa and MasterCard do not extend AppleCare’s 3 years.
  • If you don’t need AppleCare, then try to buy with American Express, as you know you’ll still get an extra 12 months. Visa or MasterCard may or may not offer a warranty extension depending on your card.
  • Avoid buying AppleCare with a Visa or MasterCard if the card already has a warranty extension. You would get 24 months of basic coverage (one year original plus one year card). For the price of AppleCare, you get only an extra 12 months, although some will want the telephone question coverage of AppleCare.

Buying Tips

Buy products when they just come out, or wait until the next version comes out. It seems like Apple products don’t really go on sale, so you might as well get the newest stuff, or wait if you can. A good place to check is MacRumors Buyers Guide. That being said, if you need something, then you need it, so just buy it. If you’re not sure, then you can probably wait.


In general, you’d probably be off without extended warranties unless there’s something special about your situation that suggest one is worth it. Plus, if you buy with the right credit card, you’ll get one year extension, giving you a full years without paying a cent. Here’s an article on LifeHacker: Skip the Extended Warranty; Use a Good Credit Card Instead. I live on the beach, so everything tends to rust, so I tend to buy extended warranties for this reason.

American Express, not Mastercard, if you buy AppleCare

Both American Express and Mastercard offer warranty extensions of up to one year for using their cards. However, there’s a huge difference in their policies. American Express specifically states that they extend past supplemental warranty extensions like AppleCare. MasterCard explicitly says they do not. Visa is ambiguous. I quoted the details below. American Express will provide up to one year additional for warranties up to 5 years. MasterCard only goes to one year. Visa goes to 3 years.

Details (the fine print)

American Express

I’ve got the Costco True Earnings card. The details of the plan are here:EXTENDED WARRANTY DESCRIPTION OF COVERAGE. Kudos to the American Express for website for making it easy to find the information (unlike MasterCard).

Just to be sure, I found the spot which ensures that I get one year past when AppleCare ends:

Where a Loss has occurred during this Plan’s extended warranty time period of up to one (1) additional year, We will provide a benefit equal to the coverage of the original manufacturer’s warranty on warranties of up to five (5) years. We will pay up to the actual amount charged to Your Account for the product for which a Loss is claimed, but not to exceed $10,000. If the product also is covered by a purchased service contract, this Plan’s extended warranty time period begins at the end of the service contract and extends the original manufacturer’s warranty for a period of time equal to that warranty, up to one (1) additional year. If the combined coverage of the original manufacturer’s warranty and the purchased service contract exceed five (5) years, the product purchased is not eligible under this Plan and no coverage applies.


Your bank’s website will not have any information about any extended warranty. You have to go to MasterCard’s website: Guide to Benefits EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE. MasterCard is the stingiest. If the product has more than a one year warranty, then MasterCard does not help.

> Extended Warranty doubles the original warranty time period and duplicates the coverage of the original manufacturer’s (or U.S. store brand) warranty up to a maximum of twelve (12) months on most items you purchase. For products with multiple warranty components, each warranty time period will be duplicated up to a maximum of twelve (12) months. Should you fail to properly register the original warranty as required by manufacturer, Extended Warranty will only double the actual warranty time period that you received from the manufacturer. An example of a product with multiple warranty components includes an appliance with original manufacturer’s (or U.S. store brand) warranties that differ for parts, labor, compressor, etc.

> If you purchase a service contract or an optional extended warranty of twelve (12) months or less on your item, Extended Warranty will cover up to an additional twelve (12) months after both the original manufacturer’s (or U.S. store brand) warranty and the purchased service contract or extended warranty coverage period end. If your service contract or extended warranty exceeds twelve (12) months, this coverage does not apply.

> If you do not have an additional service contract or an optional extended warranty, this Extended Warranty benefit commences the day after your original manufacturer’s (or U.S. store brand) warranty expires.

> If either the original manufacturer’s (or U.S. store brand) warranty or the service contract covers more than twelve (12) months, Extended Warranty benefits will not apply.


Here’s the Visa benefits for one type of card: VISA PURCHASE PROTECTION. Note, each Visa card may be different. Visa is a lot better than MasterCard in that if your product has more than a 1 year warranty, Visa still gives you an extra year.

Extended Protection Yes, as long as you purchased the item entirely with your eligible U.S.- issued Visa Business card and the eligible item has a valid original manufacturer’s written U.S. repair warranty or assembler warranty of three (3) years or less.