Credit cards are filled with all sorts of benefits, including things like car and travel insurance, along with extended warranty and price protection, but the average cardholder probably never bothers to use them.
Most are likely drawn to the card for its large sign-up bonus, or perhaps the cash back earning capabilities.
I’ll be honest, I never much cared about those other perks either until last week, when I purchased an Apple Watch for my wife.
Chase Sapphire Price Protection
I had purchased the watch at Target because I was in a rush and assumed Apple products pretty much price out the same everywhere.
There is typically no discount on Apple stuff, and even if there is, it’s usually nominal. Heck, even corporate accounts get a paltry discount, maybe 5% or so.
Anyway, by chance, I was searching the blogosphere and noticed the Apple Watch had been heavily discounted at Best Buy, which seems to be all about differentiating itself by offering the lowest price around.
They did not disappoint – the price was a full $70.99 cheaper than what I had paid for the exact same product at Target, which certainly piqued my interest.
If it were $7, or $10, or even $20, I may not have bothered. Not because I’m too good to claim such an amount, but more because I’m too lazy.
The $71 price difference also gave me incentive to finally try out a feature many credit cards offer – price protection.
I looked into my Chase Sapphire Reserve guide to benefits and saw that price protection was indeed one of the perks.
The Price Protection Claims Process
At first, it looked as if I’d have to call someone and talk about my “claim,” but then I happened upon another webpage that allowed me to file the claim online. That was an important distinction because dealing with someone on the phone sounded awful.
The website for Chase is powered by Allianz Worldwide Partners, which is a massive German insurance company.
I simply clicked on “File a Claim” and followed the on-screen instructions, filling in my credit card number and name, and then explaining what I purchased and where I found it cheaper.
In all, I uploaded my store receipt from Target, the ad from the Best Buy website, which I saved as a PDF, and a copy of my recent card activity from Chase. I don’t know if that last bit was necessary, but I wanted my claim to get approved.
The receipt is definitely necessary because they need to know the purchase price of the item in question, not just the total including tax and other purchases you may have made.
The claim was submitted in about five minutes online on May 10th. I was sent an e-mail confirmation and told it would take about five business days.
I kept checking to see if status had changed, but nothing was doing. It just said pending.
Finally, I fired up status this morning and boom, the claim was approved! In 7-10 business days, I should receive a check in the mail for the difference.
Not bad for five minutes of work. The moral of the story here is that credit cards offer all types of great features, and thanks to the Internet, it’s very easy to take advantage of them.
It’s also very easy to overlook the benefits credit cards offer because they get lost in the sea of paperwork you’re given when you first get approved for a card.
Price Protection Coverage Limits and Exclusions
Some more important things to note about purchase protection. There are generally limits on a per-item and per-year basis.
In other words, you can’t just file claims on every single item you buy and expect it all to get reimbursed.
For Chase, there is a $500 per-item limit, and a $2,500 per-year limit. It drops to $50 and $150, respectively, for cash-only advertisements.
Additionally, there are also important timeframes to file the claim from the date of purchase; for Chase, it seems to be 90 days.
And there are exclusions as to what’s covered – typically, jewelry, collectibles, boats, cars, and other motorized vehicles are excluded.
Oh, and obviously one-of-a-kind items…you may also find that refurbished or previously owned items aren’t eligible, nor are items purchased outside the country.
Which Credit Card Issuers Offer Price Protection?
|American Express||Barclaycard||Capital One||Chase||Citi||Discover|
|Nope||If it’s a MasterCard||If it’s a MasterCard||Yes||Yes||Yes|
We know Chase offers price protection, but what about the other guys.
Well, Citi does via its Citi Price Rewind, which is a slightly more automated version of price protection, though as far as I can tell, it just automates the finding a lower price portion of the process. You still have to file the claim just as you would with Chase and other card issuers.
Discover also offers price protection, though it appears it can only be done via phone call. Terms are similar to those of Chase.
All MasterCard-branded credit cards (and debit cards I believe) offer price protection, which may cover Capital One and Barclaycard and some other card issuers.
For Visa, it depends on the card in question. Check the terms of your specific card beforehand if you’re thinking about making a major purchase.
Lastly, American Express doesn’t offer price protection! Yes, you read that right. The so-called customer service leader doesn’t even offer it. So strange…
In summary, the whole experience kind of reminded me of that famous Circuit City ad where the kid finds a newspaper ad with a lower price and rides his bike through a major city to the store to get a price match.
It’s just way easier today and you can do it in your pajamas – definitely a credit card perk I’ll be using a lot more every time I make a big purchase.