Seeing the price of something drop right after you buy it can be frustrating. But in some cases, if you used a credit card with a price protection benefit, you could get a refund of the difference.
It’s a perk that’s gotten harder to find over the past few years. Some issuers, such as Discover, have eliminated the feature entirely, Mastercard announced it was ending the perk as of July 2019 and Citibank’s Citi Price Rewind feature ends on September 22, 2019. But other cards are holding steady with the benefit.
Here’s what to know about this feature.
What is price protection, and how do I use it?
If you buy an item with a credit card that has price protection and you later find it advertised for a lower price within a certain time period, you can file a claim asking to be refunded the difference in price. (Things like taxes and shipping are not included.) The lower-priced item must match the item you purchased exactly — same model, manufacturer and year.
Unlike purchase protection or extended warranty coverage, price protection isn’t typically automatic. Depending on the terms and conditions of your specific card, you may have to register the item for tracking, or monitor the price and file the paperwork yourself to get your refund. Some apps can help you with this.
Which cards offer price protection?
Card issuers change benefits and terms frequently. Even if your issuer once offered price protection, it may have dropped or changed the policy. As of June 2019, some consumer cards with the benefit include:
Chase has done away with the price protection perk on many of its cards, but eligible United co-branded products still offer it, including both the United℠ TravelBank Card and the United MileagePlus® Club Card. With either card, if a purchase you make in the U.S. is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days, you can be reimbursed the difference up to $500 per item ($2,500 per year).
Eligible Citi consumer cards come with a Price Rewind feature. If you find an item you purchased with your eligible Citi card available for less within 60 calendar days of your purchase, you may receive the difference, up to $200 per item, $1,000 per year.
It should be noted that Citi Price Rewind will be eliminated as a benefit as of Sept. 22, 2019.
Both the HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card and the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card advertise a price protection benefit, “if you see an item advertised for less within 60 days of purchase.” (Both cards run on the Mastercard payment network, so it’s unclear whether this benefit will remain in place.)
- The USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card and the USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card both offer price protection. If you find an eligible item you purchased with your USAA Visa Signature card available for less within 120 calendar days of your purchase, you file a claim within 60 days from the date discovering lower price to call and request a claim form. If your claim is approved, you may receive the difference, up to $250 per claim, four claims per year.
- The USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card also offers the benefit. If you find an eligible item you purchased with your Visa Platinum card available for less within 60 calendar days of your purchase, you may receive the difference, up to $250 per claim, four claims per year.
- With the USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card or the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card, if you find an eligible item you purchased with your card available for less within 120 calendar days of your purchase, you may receive the difference, up to $250 per claim, four claims per year.
Note that the list above includes only consumer credit cards; cards designed for small-business owners may feature price protection, as well.
For the most up-to-date information on your specific card, it’s always best to check directly with your issuer via secure message through its website or app, or by calling the number on the back of your card. You can also check the terms and conditions booklet that came with your card.
Keep in mind that just because one of your cards may have this feature, it doesn’t mean that your other cards — even if they’re from the same bank — will also have it.
What to ask your issuer
If your card does offer price protection, here are some follow-up questions to ask:
How do I file for a refund?
Each card comes with its own rules for filing a claim. There is usually a time frame — typically anywhere from 30 to 120 days, depending on the card — in which the item’s price has to have dropped or been found for sale at a lower price than what you paid. When you file a claim, you usually have to show proof of both what you paid and where the item is listed for a lower price, like a copy of a printed advertisement or a screenshot if you found it online.
What items are not eligible?
The price protection terms and conditions usually include a detailed list of items excluded from this perk. For example, something bought from an auction or a going-out-of-business sale may not be eligible for price protection. Most services, like an oil change or a haircut, also won’t qualify.
Is there a limit to how much I can get back?
Reimbursement caps also vary by specific card. For example, Citibank cards that offer Price Rewind top out at $200 per claim, with a maximum benefit of $1,000 per calendar year.
How long do I have to file?
You may only have a specific time frame in which to make your claim before you’re no longer eligible for a refund of the price difference. Delaying the paperwork on your end could mean you miss out on savings.