Price Protection: Which Credit Cards Will Refund a Price Drop?
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.
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?
The Discover it® 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.
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.