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In addition to earning points and miles, an easy way to keep travel affordable is to get the best price on your other purchases, since every dollar you save is one you can spend on your next vacation. In this post, TPG Senior Points & Miles Correspondent Nick Ewen explains how one Citi card benefit can help you do both at the same time.
I like to do my homework before I make just about any purchase, and one of my first steps in researching a product is to compare prices across different retailers. Unfortunately, there’s no way to search every single website for the best price, and even if you do snag what appears to be a good deal, there’s always the possibility that a better one is just beyond the horizon.
To help you feel a little more at ease with your next big purchase, today I’ll discuss one particular credit card benefit that can serve as insurance for when prices fall after you buy: Citi Price Rewind.
The premise of this benefit is simple: If an eligible product you purchase on an eligible Citi card drops in price within 60 days of your purchase, you can receive a refund of the price difference. According to the program’s website, cardholders were issued just under 25,000 refunds totaling almost $800,000 in the first quarter of this year alone, so this benefit is clearly saving folks money.
One of the best aspects of Price Rewind is that (in most cases) it requires little work on your part. All you need is an online account for your eligible card. It also applies to virtually every personal card issued by Citi, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Citi ThankYou Premier Card
- Citi Prestige Card
- Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard
- Citi Double Cash Card
- Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card
While several of these products carry annual fees, there are quite a few that don’t, so this benefit isn’t limited to premium cards that will cost you money year in and year out.
How to Access Price Rewind
There are a few different ways to access the Citi Price Rewind portal. The quickest is to simply visit the website and click Sign On in the upper-right corner. You’ll then enter your online account information and select your card (if you have more than one associated with that online username):
You can also access the site by logging into your account from Citi’s homepage and clicking on Card Benefits at the top. Then just scroll down and find the link to Start a Price Rewind on the right side. This will take you to the main landing page for the Price Rewind program, where you’ll go any time you want to register a purchase you’ve made.
Initiating a Price Rewind
When you want Citi to track a purchase, you should register that item as soon as it posts to your account. From the main landing page of the Price Rewind program, search for the item using the name, model number, description or UPC code. Be as specific as possible, since the site has an enormous inventory. For example, typing “iPad” into the search box gives you more than 30,000 results!
I recently purchased a Columbia fleece jacket from Amazon.com before a trip to Iceland, and wanted to see if Citi could find me a better deal. Searching for “Columbia fleece” resulted in 1,440 hits, so I knew I needed to be more specific. Fortunately, I was able to find the model number on Amazon, which brought my results down to just three.
Once I figured out which one was mine, I clicked the Track This Item icon and typed in my purchase information:
After clicking Start a Price Rewind, I was all set! The confirmation page offers a nice summary of your request status, and also provides the opportunity to upload a scanned or photographed copy of your receipt. It even graphs the price of your item since the purchase date:
From there, you can sit back and let Citi do the work. While the program explicitly notes that it can’t track all retailers and can’t guarantee that it will find the lowest advertised price, it will search various sites to find a lower price for the registered item within 60 days of your purchase. If it does find a lower price, you’ll receive an email alert to let you know. You’ll then need to log in to the Price Rewind site and follow the steps listed to request a refund (which will likely include uploading a copy of your original, itemized receipt).
If your refund is $25 or less, you’ll receive a statement credit within two to three days. For refunds of more than $25, you can choose a statement credit or you can request a check be mailed to your registered address within 10-14 business days.
While registering a product is always recommended (so that Citi can track online prices), you don’t have to do it in order to use Price Rewind. As long as you’re able to find a lower advertised price within 60 days of the purchase, you can still submit a claim for the price difference. This can be done over the phone (855-569-7366) or by mail/fax. For these claims, you’ll need to include the following:
- A copy of the itemized receipt for the item purchased
- A copy of the merchant’s advertisement with the lower price
- Effective date of sale
- Model number/year
- Authorized dealer or merchant name
While the advertised lower price must be within 60 days of your purchase, you actually have up to 180 days after the purchase to submit the claim in this fashion. Just be sure to save a screenshot or printed advertisement showing the lower price!
- The lower price must be found within 60 calendar days of the original purchase (though again, you have up to 180 days from the purchase to submit a claim manually).
- Your refund is limited to $300 per item, and you can only claim up to $1,200 per calendar year.
- You must use your Citi card for the entire purchase; items bought with gift cards or store credits are not eligible.
- There are many purchases not covered by the program, including (but not limited to) motorized vehicles or boats, consumable products (like perfume or fuel), jewelry (aside from watches, which are covered), collectibles and event tickets.
- The lower-priced item can’t be offered at no cost or as part of a free offer or rebate.
- The lower-priced item can’t be part of a special offer like a going-out-of-business sale, or be listed on an internet auction site.
When to Use Price Rewind
This is a program that can (and should) be used as frequently as possible, as there’s no limit to the number of Price Rewinds you can register (or submit). However, it’s probably not worth going through the process for a $2 nail clipper or a $10 package of tube socks. Here are some purchases that would be ideal for Citi Price Rewind:
- Electronics — Electronic equipment tends to be expensive, meaning that your Price Rewind refund has the potential to be relatively large. In addition, prices for these items tend to fluctuate often, and they’re frequently put on sale by various websites as well as local retailers. Remember, you aren’t restricted to online advertisements.
- Holiday gifts — Popular holiday gifts (like toys or clothing) are often discounted after the fact. When you buy gifts in November or December, keep your eyes peeled for holiday sales!
- Appliances — This category of purchases isn’t just attractive because of the big potential savings. If you purchase a new refrigerator or dishwasher (especially when it’s not the newest model on the market), there’s a decent chance that a website or local appliance store could offer a sale on the same model within 60 days.
Another important consideration is whether you’re sacrificing other potential benefits or savings by using your Citi card to make a large purchase. For example, if you’re buying a new computer from an office supply store, you may be better off using the Ink Plus Business Card to earn 5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent. That could equal whatever savings you might reasonably expect to get from Citi Price Rewind, especially if the price is already low.
Similarly, if you would benefit from an extended warranty or return protection, you might prefer to use a card like the American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card to take advantage of Amex purchase protections. Familiarize yourself with any similar benefits available on your cards to help you decide which one offers the best overall value.
Similar Programs from Other Card Issuers
There are other cards that will refund you the difference between your purchase price and a lower advertised price:
- Discover cards (including the Discover it Card) include a Price Protection program that refunds you up to $500 for eligible items within 90 days of purchase; unfortunately, you have to do the legwork by finding a lower price and then calling Discover to start the claim process.
- Platinum cards from Capital One (such as the Capital One Platinum Credit Card) also offer price protection for 60 days after purchase, and the T&C specifically state that you can use your card or the points you’ve accumulated on your card to pay for the item. However, you again need to do the legwork, and you’re limited to $250 per item and four claims every 12 months.
As you can see, these programs are similar in nature, but put much more of the burden on you to do the research and submit the claim. Citi Price Rewind adds an automated component to its protection scheme, making it much more convenient. You may still be able to find the best deals and score the biggest refunds on your own, but knowing that the program is scouring the web to find a better deal removes the pressure to do it yourself.
The Citi Price Rewind program may not be a deciding factor when it comes to applying for a new credit card, but it can still be a nice way to put some cash back in your wallet without a lot of legwork on your part. Just be sure you read the fine print carefully so you’ll be able to take advantage of it when the price drops on an eligible purchase.
Have you used the Price Rewind feature on one of your Citi cards?
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