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We all like to get a good bargain, right? But no matter how much you comparison-shop and track prices, chances are you’ve had the experience of coming across the exact same item you’ve just purchased…for less money than you just paid. It makes you feel like you’ve made a silly mistake or like you’ve been hoodwinked. And it can be downright aggravating.

While credit cards are convenient, some merchants aim to avoid the extra fee that comes with accepting plastic payments. Image courtesy of radifanil via Getty Images.
Some credit cards will send you a check if an item you purchased goes down in price. Image courtesy of radifanil via Getty Images.

Luckily, some credit cards offer a benefit called price protection. Don’t get it confused with purchase protection, which is something completely different. Whereas purchase protection usually covers you in the case of damage, loss or theft of an item, price protection is kind of like an insurance policy against a price drop on an item you buy.

To put it generally, if you use a card to purchase an item and then find that same item on sale for less, your card will reimburse you for the difference between what you paid and the better price you found.

Of course, as with all credit card benefits, there’s a lot of fine print to parse, and the benefit can vary issuer by issuer (if it’s offered at all) and also card by card. Not only that, but certain purchases might not be covered, and there are usually limits on the number of claims you can make and the value of those claims.

Among the factors you should consider when using a card with price protection are:

1. The amount of coverage per purchase: This benefit is usually offered with a maximum of $250-$500 per purchase.

2. The amount of coverage per year: Just like there are individual claim maximums, each cardholder can usually only make a certain maximum number of claims up to a specific dollar cap each year (usually $1,000-$2,500). So if you’re making a large purchase, double-check your benefit to make sure it will apply.

3. The window of time in which you can make a claim: You can’t make claims indefinitely after the fact. Otherwise we’d all be claiming credit for possessions that have merely deteriorated. Credit cards impose fairly strict time limits, usually 60-180 days after making your purchase, so be sure you submit your claim within that window.

4. Any exclusions: While many purchases are covered, policies do tend to exclude items like perishables, jewelry and services like a haircut.

5. Taxes and shipping don’t count: Just remember not to factor these into the cost difference if you submit a claim.

6. Identical items: Many of these policies limit the number of identical items you can include in a claim, usually to about three.

7. It’s not automatic: Though you might be eligible for this benefit automatically as a cardholder, no one else is going to monitor your statements or product advertisements for you and send you refund checks willy-nilly. It’s up to you to pay attention to your purchases and whether you might be eligible for price protection.

8. Purchases must usually be made in the US: Almost all cards that offer a price protection benefit restrict eligibility to purchases made by a cardholder within the US, so don’t go trying to game the system because of currency fluctuations.

With all that in mind, let’s look at the major price protection programs available, when they apply and what you need to do to maximize this underutilized credit card benefit.

Hispanic man paying bills on laptop in kitchen
Keep those receipts, because you’ll need them to submit a claim! Image courtesy of Getty Images.

Here’s a quick table summarizing the benefits of major issuers whose cards offer price protection:

Issuer Barclaycard Capital One Chase Citi Discover MasterCard USAA
Maximum Claim Benefit $250 $250 $500 (less for close-out & liquidation) $500 $500 $250 $250
Yearly Maximum $1,000 $1,000 $2,500 (less for close-out & liquidation) $2,500 $2,500 Four claims per 12-month period (so $1,000 max) Four claims per 12-month period (so $1,000 max)
Coverage Window 60-120 days 60-120 days 90 days 180 days 90 days 60-120 days 120 days

 

Here are the details you’ll want to know from the individual issuers.

Barclaycard

Barclaycard offers price protection on its various cards, but it will depend on what type of card it is, i.e., Visa or MasterCard. It can also vary depending on whether you have a World MasterCard like the Arrival or a World Elite MasterCard like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. So you will have to check the benefits of your individual card to verify the exact benefits specific to it.

However, as an example, folks who have the Arrival Plus get the following benefit:

If you buy an eligible item with your card in the US and see it advertised within 120 days for less, you can submit a claim for up to $250 maximum per claim and up to $1,000 per cardmember year. You must charge the full amount to your card and save the original receipts and card paperwork. Within 10 days of seeing lower advertisement, call the toll-free number, 1-800-553-7520 to receive a form detailing the necessary procedures.

You’ll need your itemized sales receipt, the original card receipt demonstrating the entire purchase was made on the eligible card and an original printed advertisement showing the sale date or advertisement date as well as the lower price.

Submit it all to:
Card Benefit Services
P.O. Box 2894
Great Falls, MT 59403

As with all the other issuers here, there are many ineligible purchases such as items purchased for resale, jewelry and antiques, items purchased at liquidation or closure sales, items purchased outside the US, perishables, real estate and tickets, among others.

Capital One

Like with Barclaycard, the level of protection you get with your Capital One card (if you get any at all) will depend on what kind of card it is — Mastercard, Visa, etc. — and will be covered by that organization rather than Capital One itself.

For instance, one of the issuer’s most popular cards, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, is a Visa Signature and does not offer price protection, though it does have all kinds of other benefits.

However, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a Platinum MasterCard and offers coverage of up to $250 per claim and four claims maximum per cardholder per 12-month period. It has the usual exclusions, and the lower-price window is within 60-120 days of your original purchase, depending on the card. Due to the variability across Capital One’s cards, I won’t go into all the details here. But if you have one of its cards, you can find all the benefits guides here.

Chase

sapphire-reserve-review-feat
Only certain Chase cards like the Sapphire Reserve offer price protection.

Chase touts some amazing benefits with its roster of rewards cards. Unfortunately, price protection is not a given in its impressive stable, and only a few of its cards offer it. Those that do, though, are pretty generous.

Among the cards that carry this benefit are:

Note that some cards like the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card do not offer this benefit.

You must file your claim within 90 days of making your purchase. Each claim can be for a maximum of $500 up to $2,500 per account year. Price protection is limited to $50 for each item and $150 per year for cash-only, close-out, liquidation and going-out-of-business sales. To be eligible, you must charge some portion of the item’s purchase price or use rewards points earned on your account toward the purchase. You will only be reimbursed up to the amount charged to your applicable account.

Beware, there are a lot of excluded items including animals and living plants, motorized vehicles, cell phone contracts, jewelry and antiques, perishables including batteries and event tickets.

To file a claim, you must call the benefit administrator for your card within 21 days of finding the lower advertised price (and 90 days of making your purchase). He/she will send you a claim form that you must then complete within 45 days after your request. You will need the original itemized sales receipt, the original card receipt, a printed version of the advertisement you found for the lower price and any other documentation the benefit administrator requests.

Then you need to mail everything to:
Card Benefit Services
P.O. Box 72034
Richmond, VA 23255

Citi Price Rewind

Citibank’s much-publicized Price Rewind is probably the best known of these programs. We’ve written about it in the past, and you can find details for your card on Citi’s own devoted site. It’s also among the easiest to understand and to use.

Citi Price Rewind

Most Citi-issued cards include this benefit, but it never hurts to review the cardmember benefits of your specific cards just to verify that they do indeed participate in the program. Among the Citi cards that do offer it are:

Note that, like the other issuers with this benefit, there are many exclusions such as: animals including stuffed or mounted ones, items purchased for resale, advice or services including maintenance or repair labor, items (like cell phones) that require a service contract, going-out-of-business sale items, tickets including those for travel or events, jewelry and more. So be sure to review the terms.

Cardholders can only make claims based on the amount they charged to their card (whether that’s the full purchase or not) and are limited to claims of up to $500 per item and $2,500 per calendar year. You have up to 180 days to file a claim, but you must find an advertisement for a lower price within 60 days of making your purchase, so stick with that smaller window to be sure you qualify.

Citi Rewind 2

It’s quite easy to file a Citi Price Rewind claim as well. You log into the Citi Price Rewind page using your Citi online account information. Then you type in the item you’re searching for and a list of merchants and prices will pop up. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you can also enter product codes and other information. When you find the exact item you bought, you must enter the purchase price, purchase date and where you bought it, upload your receipt, then click “Start a Price Rewind.”

Citi Rewind 3

Citi will track the price for 60 days and if it finds a lower one, you can opt for either a statement credit or a check to be mailed to you for the difference. Easy as that!

One more thing to note: Although you must find an advertised lower price within 60 days of making your purchase, you actually have up to 180 days after your purchase to file a claim, but you must have the advertisement you found in order to do so.

Discover

Though we don’t often cover Discover’s cards here, they’re among the best for price protection. The issuer recently improved this benefit to include the following terms. You can make claims up to within 90 days of your purchase, up to $500 per item and $2,500 per year.

Discover Price Protection

To file a claim, you must contact Discover at 1-800-347-2683 and submit documentation including a completed and signed claim form, your card statement with the original purchase price, the sales receipt for the item and a copy of a dated, printed lower-priced ad. If your claim is approved, you’ll be mailed a check for the difference within 15 days.

Among the eligible cards are:

  • Discover it Cash
  • Discover Cashback Match
  • Discover it Miles Travel Credit Card

Mastercard

Mastercard offers price protection on its full range of products — regular Mastercards, World Mastercards, World Elite Mastercards, Platinum Mastercards, etc. — regardless of issuer, which is a great reason to consider this family of cards. Your coverage will depend on the kind of Mastercard you have, so double-check before making purchases.

Mastercard

To give you an idea of what to expect, though, folks with a regular Mastercard and some World Mastercards must find a lower price on the exact identical item they purchased within 60 days from the date of purchase as indicated on the receipt. You must make said purchase entirely with your covered card and/or accumulated points from your covered card. You are limited to $250 per claim on up to four claims per cardholder account per 12-month period.

If you have a World Elite MasterCard (and certain World Mastercards, so double-check your benefits guide), you have some extra breathing room — 120 days from the date of purchase. However, you’re still limited to $250 per claim and up to four claims per 12-month period. The usual exclusions on types of purchases apply.

To file a claim with an eligible MasterCard, call 1-800-MASTERCARD (1-800-627-8372) or use this site.

USAA

USAA is the card issuer for members of the United States Armed Forces and their family members. They don’t offer a ton of cards, but the ones they do field have some great price protection benefits. While the benefits can vary depending on the type of card you carry, in general, it’s up to $1,000 per year.

With the USAA Visa Signature, for instance, claims can be made up to 120 days after purchase for coverage of up to $250 per item on a maximum of four claims per cardholder per 12-month period. To make a claim, call the benefits administrator at 1-866-200-9866.

If you have a USAA American Express, the terms are pretty much identical. You must find a lower price within 120 days of making your purchase and are limited to $250 per item up to four claims per 12-month period. All the usual exclusions and eligibility requirements are in force. To file a claim, call the benefits administrator at 1-888-884-6643.

Bottom Line

Though it’s not the most utilized credit card benefit, price protection can literally save you thousands of dollars per year depending on your purchases and your coverage.

Knowing the specific benefits of each of your credit cards and then leveraging them to make the most of your purchases can be a great way to save money on everyday goods and larger items alike. So review your benefits packages (just flip right to the price protection page if you’re in a hurry), find out what you’re covered for, and start saving.

What’s your favorite card to use for price protection?

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
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Annual Fee
$550
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Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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