Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
One of my daughters is already off of school for Thanksgiving Break and the other one will be arriving off of the bus at any moment, so let’s go ahead and talk about Black Friday sales. Or rather, let’s talk about why you don’t need to wait for them to start to go ahead and get what you want or need at the lowest prices of the season (while stacking up the mileage earnings, of course).
You can buy now knowing you got the best deal thanks to the price protections that are available on many of the rewards credit cards you probably already have. This isn’t necessarily new information, but it is very important information to keep at the forefront this time of the year when sales pop up everywhere, and you want to be sure and get what you need at the best price before it sells out.
My favorite price protection benefit, given how easy it is to use, is the Citi Price Rewind program available on Citi credit cards. Below is an actual present-day screenshot of my Citi Price Rewind benefits page showing how well it has worked for me on my most three recently tracked items. All I did was put in my recent purchases for tracking, and the Citi website did the rest. If it all works as it should, that will be $264.83 coming right back to my Citi card in the form of a statement credit within the next couple of weeks for very little additional work on my part.
How Price Rewind works
To use Citi Price Rewind, you enter eligible purchases you made on your Citi credit card on the Price Rewind website and upload a quick copy of your purchase receipt. The website will track those purchases for 60 days in search of a lower price.
If Price Rewind finds a lower price at one of the hundreds of online merchants it monitors in those 60 days, you get the difference – up to $500 per purchase and $2,500 per calendar year. You can get the price difference in the form of a statement credit or a check. In either case, you don’t have to prove there is a cheaper price out there – Citi Price Rewind finds that lower price for you! I am a pretty good online shopper, and Citi sometimes finds better prices than I did on relatively obscure websites that only have a handful of items in-stock.
My family has saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars this year by using Citi Price Rewind and I only expect that total to grow during the holidays. While we typically let the Price Rewind website do all the legwork, if you happen to find a price lower than the site does – such as in a Black Friday ad – you can submit proof of that lower price to Citi and file your claim.
Although Price Rewind will cover most of your early Black Friday shopping items, there are a few exceptions, such as motorized vehicles, food, jewelry (though watches are eligible), animals, collectibles, and tickets.
Citi says that from January to September 2017, the average Price Rewind payment was $30.04 and that Citi has returned over $12 million to cardholders.
Other credit cards offering price protection
While Citi currently is the only issuer with a website that tracks prices for you, many other credit cards offer price protection. A 2016 CreditCards.com survey found that more than 4 of 5 credit cards offer at least one of four purchase benefits (extended warranty, purchase security, price protection and return protection), and 47 percent of cards offer price protection.
Other rewards and cash back cards that offer price protection include Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, Discover it Miles, and Capital One QuicksilverOne. However, in most cases the burden of proof of the lower price is on the customer.
As an example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers a price protection benefit of up to $500 per item, and up to 90 days from purchase.
Sapphire Reserve cardholders open a price protection claim by submitting a copy of their original purchase receipt and documentation of the lower price from a printed ad or a nonauction internet advertisement to the card’s benefit administrator.
If your card offers price protection, you can call the number on the back of your credit card to get the process started or to learn more about the coverage specifics for your card.
While hunting for Black Friday deals can be fun, if you want or need something now, go ahead and get it if you can afford it. If your credit card includes price protection, you’ll know that you can get back the difference in the event that the price drops on Black Friday or in the next couple of months.
Similar post was originally written for my creditcards.com weekly column.
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.