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Price Protection: Which Credit Cards Will Refund a Price Drop?

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We’ve all experienced the sucker-punch feeling that comes when a newly purchased item drops in price the very next day. But thankfully, your credit card might have a solution. MasterCard, Discover and Citibank all offer price protection: If you buy an item with your card and its price falls during a certain timeframe, they’ll refund the difference. However, exclusions apply (of course). Read on for the details of each program.

Overview

All three programs have some basic exclusions, including pre-owned items, motorized vehicles and their parts, jewelry, living things, consumables and perishables, closeout or liquidation sales, travel/tickets, and prices found at auctions (including eBay and the like). However, they have slightly different terms:

Citi Price Rewind Discover MasterCard Price Protection
Minimum price drop None None None
Maximum refund $300 per item, $1,200 per year $500 per claim, $2,500 per year $250 per claim, 4 claims per year
Timeframe 60 days 90 days 60 days
Other exclusions Guns and ammunition Digital downloads. Buy One, Get One and similar offers Layaway
Source Citi Price Rewind Discover MasterCard

Typically, you have to submit the original receipt, your credit card statement showing the purchase, and a dated ad or a note from the manager on store stationery to prove the lower price. Also note that with Citi, you have to register your purchase on the Price Rewind website.

What does this mean for consumers?

Price matching is actually a pretty good deal. It means you can buy an appliance, laptop or other big-ticket item in early November, and then get a price match on Black Friday deals — no waiting in line at the crack of dawn.  Now, that said, it’s not perfect. MasterCard and Discover put the onus on you, the consumer, to notice the price match and submit a claim. This means you’ll need to take careful inventory of items you’ve recently purchased and keep track of their sale prices as they pop up. And while Citi will notify you if you’re eligible for a price drop, you have to register your purchase on the Price Rewind site beforehand.

Also remember that price protection excludes certain costly items, like jewelry, cars and auto parts (including tires), so don’t rely on price protection to get you the best deal with these purchases. Some folks also think the per-item claim limit, $250-$500, is a hassle for larger sales. Still, for all those caveats, it’s a great way for consumers to save money.

Our favorite credit cards that come with price protection

If you’re looking for a great card that also comes with price protection, here are the Nerds’ top picks:

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is one of our favorite travel credit cards. With it, you’ll earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend — each mile is worth $.01, so that’s a 2% rewards rate. But since you get 10% of your miles back for when you redeem them for travel, you’re really getting an effective rewards rate of 2.2%.

One of the greatest things about this card is that you can redeem for nearly any type of travel, booked with any airline, hotel chain, discount travel site, etc. Simply book with your card, then redeem your miles and get paid back in the form of a statement credit. This stellar rewards rate and flexibility comes at at an annual fee of just $89 - Waived first year. So really, what’s not to love?

Discover it®-Double cash back your first year

The Discover it®-Double cash back your first year is one of the best cards on the market for people who love to shop. In terms of rewards, you’ll get 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter. Plus, you’ll get 1% cash back on all other purchases. In addition to price protection, you’ll get access to other cool shopping benefits, like Discover Deals. Since it charges an annual fee of $0, it’s a great card to keep for the long haul.

Discover it Credit Card

Discover it®-Double cash back your first year

Apply Now on Discover's secure website

Pros

  • Bonus cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • 0% on purchases for 6 months and 0% on balance transfers for 18 months
  • No foreign transaction fee

Sign-up Bonus

5% cash back in categories that change each quarter up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases for 6 months and 0% on balance transfers for 18 months

APR

  • APR: 10.99% - 22.99% Variable*
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99%, Variable

Card Details

  • Double all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year automatically - only for new cardmembers*
  • 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more -up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up.* 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months—then a variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99%– 22.99%. A 3% fee applies to each transferred balance.
  • New Freeze it℠ on/off switch lets you prevent new purchases, cash advances & balance transfers on misplaced cards in seconds by mobile app & online.*
  • Free FICO® Credit Score on statements, online & by mobile app.* And 100% U.S.-based service any time.
  • No annual fee. No overlimit fee. No foreign transaction fee. No late fee on first late payment & paying late won't raise your APR.*
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text and never responsible for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms & other info by clicking “Apply.”

Citi®Double Cash Card

If you’re looking for a card that offers a simple yet high-value rewards program, the Citi®Double Cash Card fits the bill nicely. With it, you’ll earn 1% cash back when you make your purchases and an additional 1% cash back when you pay them off. Plus, there’s no limit to the cash back you can earn. Also, like all Citi consumer cards, it comes chip-enabled. Besides Price Rewind, it also provides access to other great perks, like Citi Private Pass. These great benefits come at an annual fee of $0, so its certainly a card to keep in mind.

Citibank Citi® Double Cash Card Credit Card

Citi®Double Cash Card

Apply Now on Citibank's secure website

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No annual fee
  • 0% if you qualify for 15 mos on transfers

Cons

  • Needs excellent credit

Sign-up Bonus

The only card that earns you cash back twice on every purchase

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months*

APR

  • Min APR: 12.99%, Variable
  • Max APR: 22.99%, Variable
  • Penalty APR: Up to 29.99%, Variable
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • The only card that earns you cash back twice on every purchase with:
  • 1% cash back when you buy
  • Plus 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases, whether you pay in full or over time*
  • No Category Restrictions, No Caps, No Enrollments in Rotating Categories
  • No Annual Fee

  • sactownhero

    “Price matching is actually a pretty good deal. It means you can buy an appliance, laptop or other big-ticket item in early November, and then get a price match on Black Friday deals….”

    Um, two of the three programs have $250 limit (Discover’s is $500). Which “appliance” are you talking about? A toaster? smh

    • Spectrality

      The $250-500 limit is for the REFUND, not the price of the item. Most appliances aren’t going to drop by $250 or $500, though maybe a couple will on Black Friday. Maybe.

      • sactownhero

        Thanks for the clarification. I have a Mastercard and read over the price Protection program terms and discovered the program does NOT cover “Items advertised in or as a result of “limited quantity,” “going out-of-business sales,” “closeouts,” or as “discontinued.” That’s going to wipe out MANY Black Friday specials!

  • anthony

    Items advertised in or as a result of “limited quantity,”“going out-of-business sales,” “closeouts,”or as “discontinued

  • YachtsAndBottles

    will this work for purchasing gas?