Credit card price protection enables you to receive a refund should you find a price drop on an item you recently purchased. It's a little-known but handy benefit that can help frequent shoppers to save big.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought something at full price, only to find it go on sale shortly afterwards.

Me too. It’s the worst.

But did you know that some credit cards will reimburse you for the price difference, even if you bought it from a different store? This unique benefit is known as price protection, and it can be a shopping game changer.

While this perk isn’t necessarily something you’ll use every day, it can still help save your hard-earned cash, especially if your purchase was quite expensive to begin with. But not all credit cards offer it. So, let’s go over the three best credit cards with price protection and break down how the reimbursement policy works.

What is credit card price protection?

Credit card price protection is a complimentary benefit that offers reimbursement (up to a certain maximum and within a limited timeframe defined by the issuer) when an item you purchase on that card is sold for a lower price point.

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You’ll need to prove that the item is the exact same product, but it doesn’t have to be sold at the same store. If your purchase meets the criteria, you can then file a price protection claim under your credit card and receive a refund to your statement credit.

It’s important to note that you’ll need to be proactive. Your credit card company won’t ring you up to tell you that you’ve overpaid for something. Instead, you’ll need to keep tabs on the items you purchase, whether that’s in-store or online. Then, you’ll need to make sure your product is indeed eligible for a refund and collect the proper receipts to prove you’re entitled to the adjustment.

Also be aware that there are exclusions you’ll want to read through before you file any claim. For example, Mastercard states that purchases from auction websites like eBay likely won’t be eligible for price protection. Items like live plants or animals won’t make the cut, either.

While the process may not be worthwhile for a small-ticket purchase, credit card price protection can potentially help you save hundreds of dollars if the difference is significant. For example, if you purchased a new laptop that goes on sale for $300 less the following week, going through the price protection process can absolutely be worth your time.

Read more: Why you should buy (almost) everything with your credit card

Best credit cards for price protection

Price protection, unlike purchase protection or extended warranty, isn’t a benefit that’s seen on a ton of credit cards across the market. Nonetheless, it’s still an important perk worth having, especially for the deal-hunter.

Here are the three best credit cards that come with price protection:

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great card for shopping, as price protection covers the price drop of up to $250 per eligible item, so long as it occurs within the first 120 days of purchase. But note that cardholders can only file up to four claims per year, and there are item exclusions such as art or jewelry. Be sure to read through your cardholder benefits guide, as it will provide clear do’s and don’ts when it comes to price protection.

Beyond price protection, the card is also just a solid rewards card that also comes with no annual fee. You’ll earn an unlimited 3% cash back on four popular bonus categories: dining, entertainment, popular streaming services, and grocery stores (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®), as well as 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

And if you travel frequently, you’ll appreciate that the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, either.

Capital One Walmart Rewards® Card

The Capital One Walmart Rewards® Card also offers up to $250 per eligible item for price drops within 120 days of purchase, with a maximum of four claims annually. And it doesn’t just apply to Walmart purchases. Items bought at other retailers are also eligible, so long as they were charged to your Capital One Walmart Rewards® Card.

Beyond price protection, the card is also just an overall good choice if you’re a frequent Walmart shopper, with up to 5% cash back on Walmart purchases, and no annual fee.

REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard®

If you frequently shop at this outdoor gear retailer, the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard® can be a decent store card to consider. There’s no annual fee and all foreign transaction fees are waived, in addition to strong rewards potential on REI purchases. And because it’s a World Elite Mastercard®, one of its included benefits is price protection.

You can receive reimbursement if your purchase drops in price within 120 days of purchase (exact price limit and conditions vary depending on your account). It covers purchases both at REI and other stores. Since outdoor gear can be quite pricey, the REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard®’s combo of rewards and price protection can come in handy.

How to use credit card price protection

If you’re ready to file your price protection claim, here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Confirm that your purchase is eligible

Did you make the purchase on your credit card that offers price protection and within the issuer-defined timeframe? Don’t forget to read up on your specific cardholder benefit guide (which you can find in your online account if you lost the paper copy) to understand if there are any coverage limitations.

2. Gather all receipts and supporting documentation

You’ll need to prove that your purchase qualifies under the price protection terms. Backtrack and gather all physical or online receipts that clearly show the date of purchase. Take screenshots of the same item, either sold at the same store or a different retailer, proving that the exact same item is being sold at a lower price-point.

3. Submit your claim

You’ll go through the claims process online or over the phone, depending on the exact details in your cardholder benefit guide. Then, the claims administrator will be in touch with you if they need further documentation. If approved, you’ll receive a refund to your statement credit.

The bottom line

Some credit card benefits are more intuitive than others, such as earning statement credits or paying zero fees. Others, like price protection, require you to put in some legwork, but can be a big money-saving benefit when needed the most.

Even if you only reserve your price protection card for specific big-ticket purchases, it’s a valuable perk to keep in your pocket. You never know when you’ll need it.

Featured image: Watchara Ritjan/Shutterstock.com

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