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When you buy something, how do you know if you’re getting the best price?

You never do, because no matter how hard you shop around, the price can always fall after you make your purchase. Thankfully, many credit cards come with some kind of price guarantee policy that can offer cardholders the lowest price, even if the price drops later.

How Credit Card Price Guarantees Work

First cardholders must understand if their credit card offers a price protection program, which can go by several different names. For example, Discover cards and some Capital One Platinum Mastercards call it Price Protection, while Citi offers a Price Rewind service.

Next, cardholders must make a qualifying purchase with an eligible credit card, not another means of payment. Among the items that are not covered by these price guarantees are jewelry, tickets, live animals, used goods and digital products. Covered cardholders can then look for a lower price advertised with a specified time period. The Discover and Capital One policies cover purchases for 90 days, while the Citi program is valid for 60 days after the purchase.

If a lower price is found, the next step is to file a claim with the benefits administrator for the program, since the card issuers contract this benefit out to a third-party providers. Instructions for filing a claim can be found in your credit card’s guide to benefits, or posted on the card issuer’s website. Claims are usually accepted over the phone, but may also be submitted online or by mail.

With Citi’s Price Rewind service, filing a claim may not be necessary as it will automatically refund the price of registered purchases when it finds a lower price advertised. Cardholders must simply register their purchases online in advance to be eligible for this service, although they can still file a claim manually if necessary. Typically, these policies require a claim to be made based on an identical item for sale at a retail store, not an auction or wholesale distributor.

Other factors to consider are the limits of these policies, which will have a maximum payout per claim and per year. For example, Citi’s Price Rewind has limits of $300 per item, and $1,200 per year, while the Discover card has a limit of $500 per item and $2,500 per year.

Despite the payout limit, this perk can be especially beneficial for big-ticket items like home appliances when a small discount can mean big savings. (Just keep in mind that maxing out a credit card can have a negative credit score impact. You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see how your credit card spending is impacting your score.)

How to Make Price Guarantees Work for You

While some people enjoy the process of shopping around for the lowest price, others find it to be too time consuming. Yet both types of shoppers can utilize these price guarantee policies. For example, a shopper might even be aware of a lower price at one store, but choose to shop somewhere else for the purpose of convenience, service or other retailer benefits.

But the most important way to benefit from these services is simply to be aware of them. Most credit card users fail to go through their benefit guides to understand which additional services they are offered and how they work. And while most of the included purchase protection and travel insurance policies provide indirect benefits, or can only be used in unusual circumstances, these price guarantee programs offer cash payouts for regular occurrences.

When cardholders take the time to understand this often overlooked benefit, they might realize that these price guarantees are one of the most valuable services offered by their credit card.

At publishing time, the Capital One Platinum Classic Mastercard is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com may be compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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