Seeing the price of something drop right after you bought it can be maddening. If you used your credit card for the purchase, though, you may have a price protection benefit to bail you out — and save you some money.
What is price protection, and how do I use it?
If you buy an item with your credit card and find a lower price within a certain time period after the purchase, your card’s price protection feature refunds you the difference (taxes, shipping, etc. are not included). The lower-priced item must match the item you purchased exactly — same model, manufacturer and so on.
Unlike other credit card benefits, such as purchase protection and extended warranty coverage, price protection isn’t automatic. Depending on your card issuer, you may have to register the item for them to track or track the price and file the paperwork yourself to get your refund.
The Nerds have confirmed that MasterCard, Discover, Citi and select Chase cards offer price protection. Visa doesn’t say which cards offer it as a perk. To find out whether your Visa card offers price protection, call your card issuer.
Price protection, compared
|Cards covered||Eligible MasterCard cards||All Discover cards||All Citi cards||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Freedom®|
|Time frame covered after purchase||60 days||90 days||60 days||90 days|
|Maximum benefit||$250 per claim, four claims per 12-month period||$500 per claim, $2,500 per year||$300 per claim, $1,200 per year||$500 per claim, $2,500 per year; for cash only, closeout, liquidation and going-out of-business sales: $50 per claim, $150 per year
|Excluded items||See benefits guide (below)||See benefits guide (below)||See Price Rewind guide (below)||See benefits guides (below)|
|What you need to file a claim||Claim form; itemized receipt; card statement showing the purchase; printed ad or non-auction Internet ad for same item||Claim form; itemized receipt; card statement showing the purchase; copy of dated printed ad for same item, or a statement, signed by the store manager on store stationery, documenting the details of the sale||Register your purchase at Citi's Price Rewind site. Citi will track the item online and issue a refund if it finds a lower price. You can also submit your own claim by calling the number below||Claim form; itemized receipt; card statement showing the purchase; printed ad or non-auction Internet ad with sale price, store or dealer’s name, and the date the sale is in effect
|How to start the claim process||Call 800-627-8372||Call 800-347-2683||Call 855-569-7366||Call 888-320-9656
|Source||Mastercard benefits guide MasterCard benefits guide||Discover benefits guide (login required)||Citi Price Rewind guide||Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card benefits guide, Chase Freedom® benefits guide|
*MasterCard price protection benefits may differ by issuer. Call your issuer to verify terms and conditions.
Top cards that offer price protection
Citi®Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
What sets Citi Price Rewind apart from other price protection programs is that Citi is proactive about helping you save. For example, you may receive a prompt on your online statement under a large transaction saying that it may be a good candidate for price protection. You can also register an item you recently purchased, and Citi will search for a lower price online so you don’t have to.
The card also comes with a $0 annual fee and offers and introductory APR of 0% for 18 months on balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% - 23.24% Variable. Read more about the Citi®Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer in our full review.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
It doesn’t hurt that the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great travel card, either. You’ll earn 2X Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining and 1X points on all other purchases. You can redeem your points for travel at a 20% discount if you use Chase’s Ultimate Rewards travel platform. The card also comes with a killer sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Check out our full review for more details.
Discover it® - Cashback Match™
Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ is generous with its 90-day timeframe and high maximum benefit. It also helps that the card offers 5% cash back on spending categories that rotate every quarter, many of them shopping-related. Here’s what the card offered for 2015:
- January 1 – March 31: Gas and ground transportation
- April 1 – June 30: Restaurants and movies
- July 1 – September 30: Home improvement stores, department stores and Amazon.com
- October 1 – December 31: Amazon.com, department stores and clothing stores
You’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases and get 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 11.24% - 23.24% Variable APR. See our full review for more information.
Bottom line: Carrying a credit card with price protection gives you peace of mind that you can take advantage of deals, even after you’ve already made the purchase. The downside is that most programs require you to track price drops, which may make it worth it only on large purchases.
Last updated May 31, 2016.
Image via iStock.