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 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 $25 None None
Maximum refund $250 per item, $1,000 per year $500 per claim, $2,500 per year $250 per claim, 4 claims per year
Timeframe 30 days 90 days 60 days
Other exclusions Guns and ammunition Digital downloads
BOGO 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. You don’t have to wait in line for great prices. 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, and while Citi can notify you if you’re eligible for  a price drop, you have to register your purchase on the Price Rewind site beforehand.

Price protection also excludes jewelry, cars and auto parts (including tires), so if you’re planning on stocking up on any of those items, you’re out of luck. The per-item claim limit, $250-$500, can also be a hassle for larger sales. Still, for all those caveats, it’s a great way for consumers to save money.

No annual fee credit cards with price protection

If you’re looking for a card to give you these perks, here are our top picks:

Discover it®
Discover It Credit Card
Apply Now

on Discover's
secure website

starstarstarstarstar
  • 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.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months. Then the variable purchase APR applies, currently 10.99% - 22.99%.
  • Rated 4.8 out of 5 Stars by over 4,000 cardmembers.*
  • No annual fee, no late fee for your first late payment - APR won't go up for paying late, no overlimit fee and no foreign transaction fee.*
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements.*
  • 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 after you sign up*. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 100% U.S.- based customer service—anytime, day and night.
  • *See rates, rewards, free FICO® Credit Score terms and other info by clicking "Apply."
thumbsupPros
  • Bonus cash back categories
  • No annual fee
  • 0% for 18 mos on transfers
  • No foreign transaction fee
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$0 Generous. 5% cash back at gas stations on up to $1,500 in purchases from July through September 2014 when you sign up*. And 1% cash back on all other purchases.* 10.99% - 22.99% Variable* 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers. 0% Intro APR for 6 months on purchases.

Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card — Earn 20,000 Bonus Points
Citibank ThankYou Preferred Credit Card
Apply Now

on Citibank's
secure website

starstarstarhalfstar
  • Earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $1,500 in card purchases within 3 months of account opening – redeemable for $200 in gift cards or other great rewards!
  • 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 12 months. After that, the variable APR will be 12.99%-22.99% based upon your creditworthiness*
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.*
  • 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment. 1 ThankYou Point on other purchases
  • Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points
  • Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more
  • Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
  • No annual fee*
thumbsupPros
  • No annual fee
  • 0% for 12 months*
thumbsdownCons
  • Needs excellent credit
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$0* Earn 20,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $1,500 in card purchases within 3 months of account opening - redeemable for $200 in gift cards or other great rewards. 12.99% - 22.99%* (Variable) 0%* on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months*

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
Barclays Arrival Credit Card
Apply Now

on Barclays's
secure website

starstarstarstarstar
  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit
  • Earn 2X miles on all purchases
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • Chip card for increased confidence and convenience to pay abroad as easily as you do at home
  • Book the travel you want — airfare, hotels, cruises and more and earn miles on your purchase
  • Get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits
  • No foreign transaction fees on anything you buy while in another country
  • Complimentary online FICO® Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
thumbsupPros
  • High rewards rate
thumbsdownCons
  • Has annual fee
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$89 - Waived first year Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 or more on purchases in the first 90 days from account opening. 14.99% or 18.99%* (Variable) Purchase: None
Transfer: None

 

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  • 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