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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.

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, theft or sometimes even the loss 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.

How Price Protection Benefits Differ

Of course, as with all credit card benefits, not all cards offer price protection. And, among the cards that do, the coverage tends to vary from card to card.

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

1. The amount of coverage per item: This benefit is usually offered with a maximum of $200 to $500 per item.

2. The amount of coverage per year: Just like there are individual claim maximums, each cardholder can usually only make claims up to a specific dollar cap each year (usually $1,000-$2,500). Sometimes, there’s also a cap on the number of claims you can make in a 12-month period.

3. The window of time in which you can find a lower price: 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 30-120 days after making your purchase. Sometimes you’ll need to start your claim within a particular amount of time after seeing the lower price.

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

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.

7. It’s not automatic: You generally need to track your own purchases and submit claims when a lower price is found. There are services that will track and submit claims for you — but these services are likely why many issuers have decreased or discontinued price protection on their cards.

8. Purchases must usually be made in the US: Almost all cards that offer a price protection benefit restrict eligibility to items purchased within the US.

How to Utilize Price Protection

You’ll usually need your itemized sales receipt, your credit card statement showing the charge and an original printed advertisement showing the sale date or advertisement date as well as the lower price. You may also need other documents, or there may need to be particular information on these documents, so check out your card’s guide to benefits or call the number on the back of your card for specific instructions.

Spreadsheets and calendar reminders can help you stay organized. Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images.
Gather everything you need before submitting your claim. (Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images)

Credit Cards That Offer Price Protection

The number of credit cards that offer price protection has decreased drastically within the last few years. First, Discover removed price protection from all of its cards. Then, Chase removed price protection from most of its cards, followed by Citi and USAA.

With some issuers, like Barclaycard and Capital One, the level of travel and shopping protections you get with your card (if you get any at all) depends on the card type. So, Mastercard’s decision to remove price protection as of July 1, 2019 has changed the shopping coverage advertised and offered on many cards.

Here are some categories of cards that still offer a price-protection benefit:

Select United Co-branded Cards

Four United co-branded credit cards offer price protection, even though this protection was removed from other United co-branded cards and most other Chase cards:

The information for the United TravelBank, United Club, United Club Business has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The coverage on all of these cards will reimburse the difference up to $500 when a card purchase you made is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days, and you’re capped at $2,500 per year in reimbursements.

HSBC Credit Cards

HSBC offers six credits cards in the US market, all of which offer price protection. However, you are limited to four price protection claims per 12-month period. HSBC’s three no-annual-fee cards require you to find a lower price within 60 days of making your purchase, while HSBC’s other three cards require you to find a lower price within 120 days.

To file a claim, you’ll need to call 1-800-Mastercard to request a form within 60 days of seeing the lower-priced advertisement, then submit the form and documentation within 180 days of the advertisement’s publication.

Capital One Business Cards

Capital One offers four Visa Business Signature cards that offer price protection:

When you buy an eligible item with your Capital One Visa Business Signature card (see guide to benefits) and see it available for less in another retail store’s printed advertisement within 60 days of the date of purchase, you can be refunded the difference up to $500 per item and up to $2,500 a year per eligible account. However, advertisements posted on the Internet are specifically excluded, which makes this benefit less useful than what’s offered by other cards.

If you find a lower price, you’ll need to call the benefit administrator at 1-800-553-7520 within 10 days of the printed advertisement showing your product at the lower price. Then, you’ll have 20 days to return a form with requested documents to the benefit administrator.

Other Cards

There are a few other one-off cards that advertise price protection as a benefit. These cards include:

There may also be regional banks or credit unions in your area that offer cards with price protection.

The information for the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom Line

Credit card price protection can literally save you thousands of dollars per year depending on your purchases and coverage. Although most cards limit how much you can be reimbursed annually, you can decrease the likelihood of reaching the limit by spreading your spending across multiple cards that offer price protection.

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. For some purchases, you’ll also want to make sure your card offers other shopping protections like extended warranty protection, purchase protection and return protection.

Additional reporting by Eric Rosen.

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