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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?

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

on Barclays's
secure website

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  • 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
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR currently 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • 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
  • Redeem your miles for travel statement credits - redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25 toward travel purchases made in the last 120 days
  • 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® Credit Score access for Barclaycard Arrival cardmembers
thumbsupPros
  • High rewards rate
  • 0% for 12 mos on transfers
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 0% on balance transfers for 12 months

Discover it®

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.

Discover it®
Discover it Credit Card
Apply Now

on Discover's
secure website

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  • 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%.
  • Over 5,000 cardmembers rated 4.8 out of 5 stars* and now Discover "Ranked Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Credit Card Companies in a Tie" by J.D. Power*.
  • 5% cash back for online shopping and department store purchases on up to $1,500 - Oct. through Dec. 2014 when you sign up for 5%*. 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Free FICO® Credit Score online and on monthly statements*.
  • 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*.
  • Each Discover purchase is monitored. If it's unusual, you're alerted by e-mail, phone or text-and never responsible for unauthorized Discover card purchases.
  • *+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 for online shopping and department store purchases on up to $1,500 from October through December 2014 after 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® 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.

Citi® Double Cash Card
Citibank Citi® Double Cash Card Credit Card
Apply Now

on Citibank's
secure website

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  • 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
thumbsupPros
  • High rewards rate
  • No annual fee
  • 0% if you qualify for 15 mos on transfers
thumbsdownCons
  • Needs excellent credit
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$0* The only card that earns you cash back twice on every purchase 12.99% - 22.99%* (Variable) 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months*

  • 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