Citi Devalues Consumer-Friendly Price Rewind Program
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Price protection — a popular perk that comes with select credit cards — allows you to buy a product without worrying about whether you're getting the best price. If the item goes on sale within a specified period of time after you buy it, you're able to file a claim for the lower price. I've used this benefit many times, most recently to price match a FitBit Ionic using Citi's Price Rewind. The claim process varies based on the card used and its issuer, but Citi makes the process easier than many other banks by offering the opportunity to start a Price Rewind tracker to automatically find comparison prices and allowing claims to be filed online.
Unfortunately, Citi recently updated its website to indicate that it's making the following changes to its Price Rewind program for purchases made on or after July 29, 2018: While you'll still have 60 days from purchase to find a lower priced item, the maximum benefit per item drops from $500 to $200. And the most you can get from the perk in a calendar year drops from $2,500 to $1,000.
Citi also took the opportunity to exclude "consumables, tires, watches, firearms, ammunition or lower prices offered through a warehouse club where the merchant requires customers to pay a membership fee" purchased on or after July 29, 2018.
What This Means to Cardmembers
This devaluation drops Citi's Price Rewind program to the bottom of the price protection programs offered when it comes to maximum benefit per claim.
|Issuer||Maximum Claim Benefit||Yearly Maximum|
|Capital One||$250||Four claims per 12-month period (so $1,000 max)|
|Chase||$500 (less for close-out & liquidation)||$2,500 (less for close-out & liquidation)|
|Citi||$500 until July 28, 2018, then $200||$2,500 until July 28, 2018, then $1,000|
|Mastercard||$250||Four claims per 12-month period (so $1,000 max)|
|USAA||$250||Four claims per 12-month period (so $1,000 max)|
For some consumers, the new $200 per item and $1,000 per year maximums won't have an impact on their purchase habits and annual benefit. However, for those who purchase high-value items that might quickly drop in price, or for people who frequently use the Price Rewind feature to get more than $1,000 in price savings annually, it's time for careful analysis.
If you have multiple Citi accounts that offer Price Rewind, you can distribute your spending to get past the $1,000 maximum benefit per year per account. But if you plan to buy higher value items that may drop in price more than $200, you'll want to use a card that still offers a higher per item maximum benefit such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which still offers up to $500 per item and $2,500 per year.
It's nice that Citi offers price protection on one of our favorite cash-back cards — the no-annual-fee Citi Double Cash Card — and it's even understandable that Citi would want to reduce the price protection benefits on cards with low or no annual fees. But it's disappointing that Citi is also reducing the price protection benefits for its premium cards with $450 annual fees, namely the Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and Citi Prestige.
Even with the devaluation, you have until July 28, 2018 to purchase any items on eligible Citi credit cards and get the current price protection benefits. After that, remember to put high value items with the potential to drop in price more than $200 and any newly excluded items like watches on a credit card that offers better price protection benefits.
H/T: Doctor of Credit
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