During the holiday shopping season, it’s more important than ever to be watching like a hawk for the best deals on things like electronics, clothes, gadgets, and household items — anything that might be on your Christmas shopping list for this year as a potential gift. Many shoppers will stake out storefronts, camping overnight through the cold whenever possible to get the best deals. Others will refresh their browsers by the minute, hoping to catch a quick deal online as it flies by.
The truth is, getting the best holiday deals doesn’t have to be stressful and take up all of your free time. With price protection (or price guarantee) on your credit card, it’s possible to get great deals on your holiday shopping without ever getting caught up in the crowds or chasing after latest deals.
What is Price Protection on Your Credit Card?
Some credit cards will come with price protection. At the most basic level, this means that the credit card company will protect you against changes in price for items that you’ve purchased with your credit card or your credit card rewards points. So if you buy an item for $15, but the price is later dropped to $10, the credit card company will make up the difference — in the end you’ll only have to pay the $10.
However, this doesn’t mean that the powers of price protection are limitless. Depending on the details of your particular arrangement, there will likely be limitations on the price protection or price guarantee services that are available to you. Some common limitations include:
- International Restrictions: Price protection will not cover purchases made in another country. Prices fluctuate internationally all the time, so credit card companies usually only cover changes in price within the United States.
- Perishable Items: Credit card companies are unlikely to cover perishable items like food under a price protection arrangement.
- Retail Purchases Only: Although it’s tempting to do some of your Christmas shopping outside of commercial channels, buying some items used or searching sites like eBay for exception deals, you won’t be able to redeem price protection for these purchases. Best to stick to major retailers if you expect the price to go down.
- Not All Sales: Credit companies know that prices are liable to dip to extreme levels at times like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or at other points in the holiday season. Typically, price protection will not cover sales advertised as “limited quantity” in order to exclude these unique deals.
These are some common restrictions on price protection. However, every credit card account is different. Read your credit card agreement or contact your credit card company for the exact details about the price protection services available to you.
How to Get the Most Out of Price Protection During the Holidays
Price protection can be a valuable service if you sometimes get stressed when thinking about holiday shopping. Here are some ways that you can get the most out of it:
- Shop early to avoid crowds. Many shoppers will start crowding into stores later in the holiday season, both to get the best deals and because they have put off their shopping until later. You can avoid these crowds and shop early. As long as you have price protection, you can be sure that you’re still getting the best deals on all of your holiday gift shopping.
- Hold on to your records. Although your credit card company is willing to work with you and make sure that you get the best deals, it’s still your responsibility to make sure that you get your money back as part of price protection. Hold on to all of your holiday shopping receipts and, if you spot a better deal, document it meticulously. Ads showing the new price are ideal for documentation.
- File your claim on time. Most price protection programs require that you submit your claim within 60-90 days of your purchase. So if you go shopping early in the season, make sure that your time limit doesn’t expire before the holiday season is over and the best deals are past.
- Use trip cancellation insurance on your credit card. Lots of us will be traveling for this holiday season, either to meet family or as a treat to ourselves. However, the weather doesn’t always cooperate and neither do our schedules. If your credit card includes trip cancellation insurance, you don’t have to worry over last-minute changes in your plans.
Don’t let stress get the better of you when it comes to holiday shopping. Shop early and keep an eye on ads. With price protection on your credit card, you’ll never miss out on the best deals this holiday season.
For more tips and guides on how to use your credit card, visit our resource and learning center.
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