The best credit cards for price protection in 2019

Dec 25, 2019

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Nov. 14, 2019.

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 paid.

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 an insurance policy against a price drop on an item you buy.

To put it generally, if you use an eligible 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.

Best credit cards with price protection in 2019

How price protection benefits differ

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, 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 some items including 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 U.S. Almost all cards that offer a price protection benefit restrict eligibility to items purchased within the U.S.

How to use 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 particular supporting information, 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)

Comparing the best United credit cards for price protection

Card Maximum coverage amount per item Maximum coverage amount per year Coverage duration (days after purchase) Earning rates Annual fee
United TravelBank Card $500 $2,500 90 2% on tickets purchased from United, 1.5% other $0
United Club Card $500 $2,500 90 2x on United purchases, 1.5x other $450
United Club Business Card $500 $2,500 90 2x on United purchases, 1.5x other $450

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

You may remember that price protection was removed from other United co-branded cards and most other Chase cards in 2018, but these four cards still offer this protection. The coverage on all of these cards will reimburse the difference — up to $500 — when a card purchase you made in the U.S. is advertised for less in print or online within 90 days. You’re capped at $2,500 per year in reimbursements.

Comparing the best Capital One business cards for price protection

Card Maximum coverage amount per item Maximum coverage amount per year Coverage duration (days after purchase) Earning rate Annual fee
Capital One Spark Cash for Business $500 $2,500 60 2% $95 (waived first year)
Capital One Spark Miles for Business $500 $2,500 60 2x $95 (waived first year)
Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business $500 $2,500 60 1.5% $0
Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business $500 $2,500 60 1.5x $0

These four Capital One Spark business cards offer price protection to cardholders with a Visa Business Signature card (see guide to benefits). These benefits are also available for World Elite Mastercard for Business Spark Pro (see guide to benefits). Other types of Spark business cards usually don’t offer price protection.

If you have an eligible Spark card, when you purchase an eligible item with your card 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. However, advertisements posted on the Internet are specifically excluded.

State of credit card price protection

The number of credit cards that offer price protection has decreased drastically in 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, USAA, select Barclays cards and cobranded IHG cards. And, Mastercard removed price protection as of July 1, 2019.

As you can tell, there aren’t many cards left that still offer price protection. However, in addition to the cards described so far in this guide, there are a few other one-off cards that advertise price protection as a benefit. These cards include:

  • Wells Fargo Visa Signature® card
  • U.S. Bank® Cash 365™ American Express® Card
  • HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard® credit card
  • Navy Federal More Rewards American Express® Credit Card

Some other cards may offer price protection, but don’t publicly advertise the benefit. 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, the U.S. Bank Cash 365 American Express Card, the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard credit card and the Navy Federal More Rewards American Express® Credit Card have 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.

Featured photo by mixetto/Getty Images.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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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