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Update: Citi has announced most of its credit card benefits and protections will end on September 22, 2019, including some of the benefits or protections explored in this story. For more details, see this story.

It’s Murphy’s Law of Shopping: As soon as you buy something, the price is probably going to drop. I like online shopping and hunting down bargains, and one of my favorite ways to know I’m not overpaying for my family’s purchases is by using the Citi Price Rewind benefit. It comes for free with Citi-issued credit cards such as:

For the past three years, I’ve been using this feature, which helps find lower prices for 60 days from the date of your eligible purchase on a Citi card and then gives you the price difference as a statement credit. I have saved my family thousands of dollars, but the Citi Price Rewind process has become more cumbersome over time.

Having been on a recent spree of Citi Price Rewind claims as I track some recent warm-weather purchases, I can offer some tips for using Citi Price Rewind in 2019:

Citi Price Rewind Benefits are Lower

We learned last year that the Citi Price Rewind benefit was shrinking from a max of $500 per item and $2,500 per year to $200 per item and $1,000 per year. There was then a bit of a delay on the full implementation of those lower limits, but in 2019 the $200/$1,000 limits are in place. Note that these limits are per card, so just keep an eye on the $1,000 annual threshold if you are a high-volume Price Rewind user.

You Might Want to Search for Yourself

I’ve had some successful Citi Price Rewind claims in 2019, but in almost every instance I’ve had to find the lower price myself. Citi’s automatic search tool still operates (it recently found some snow boots for one cent less than my purchase), but it doesn’t seem to be finding lower prices at the same rate that a human can.

My trick? When I purchase items that I want to track for price-protection purposes, I add them back to my virtual cart at online retailers even after I check out. I then check on my carts every few days and see how the prices look. If I see a price go lower than when I made the purchase, I take a screenshot and upload it to Citi’s Price Rewind tool to make a claim.

For things that I think are likely to go on sale (such as seasonal items or items I reluctantly bought at full price), I also do a manual Google search every week or so to cross-check a number of retailers at once. There are third-party tools you can use to help you track prices outside of Price Rewind, but I have the most luck simply doing it myself. (Though please add your favorite third-party price tracking sites in the comments!)

Be Ready to Submit the Same Info a Few Times

If you or the Price Rewind tool finds a lower price, you can accept that lower price as your one-time submission for that purchase or keep searching for an even lower price for the full 60 days from the date of purchase. But, sadly, your work is probably not over. To start your Price Rewind search, you need to submit basic purchase info, but to fully submit a price-rewind claim you probably will have to hand over additional info . . . potentially a few times.

While in years past I had some price-rewind claims that were automatically paid once a lower price was identified, that hasn’t happened for me this year. In 2019 I have routinely been asked via email for a copy of my credit card statement, proof of purchase (which you’ve already provided to even start the process), itemized store receipt and proof of lower price (which again, you’ve provided when making the claim if Citi’s tool didn’t find it for you).

Not only will you probably be asked to email in some additional info, but sometimes you are asked for the same document multiple times before you can get final approval. Keep an eye out for emails from Citi Benefit (mybenefits@cardbenefitscommunications.com) as that is how they will request additional information or inform you that your claim was approved.

But . . . Price Rewind Still Works

If all of this sounds arduous, it is. There’s a 0% chance my husband, my parents or most sane people I know would ever want to mess with this sort of process on a regular basis for an average claim of $25 (according to Citi). However, it does still work. I’ve received money back as a statement credit as recently as this week thanks to Citi Price Rewind, with more claims still in various stages. In 2019, you just have to really want your money and can put up with the annoyance when the process isn’t as streamlined as you wish.

Bottom Line

With some issuers backing away from purchase-price protection completely, it is good news that Citi still offers Price Rewind, even on cards with no annual fees. However, my experience is that in 2019 not only are the limits lower on Citi’s price protections but the process itself may be more cumbersome when it comes to making real world claims.

Featured image by Lisa Weatherbee/The Points Guy

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