Citi's 'Price Rewind' Can Save You Money In Your Sleep

On Nov. 13, just in time for the holiday shopping season, Citi unveiled "Price Rewind," an important enhancement to its price protection program. From now on, you can register any eligible purchase you make solely and entirely using a Citi credit card, and the bank promises to monitor hundreds of retailer sites for the next 30 days to make sure the exact same item isn't advertised elsewhere cheaper. If it is -- and the price difference is greater than $25 for that single item -- you stand to receive a refund equal to the price difference, up to a maximum of $250 an item, and $1,000 annually. You have to make a claim, but Citi says that it will alert you automatically that you may qualify to do so.

Wow. Double wow, actually. Because this isn't some seasonal promotion. It's intended to be a permanent innovation that complements, rather than replaces, existing Citi Internet Price Protection and Price Protection coverages. And it could mean, for example, that you don't ever again have to suffer lines at the opening days of sales. If you want to purchase a particular product that's eligible, buy it the week before, and then claim back the difference when (if!) it's advertised online more cheaply within 30 days.

Credit cards that help you

We're getting used to seeing our credit cards as protectors of our consumer rights. Many already offer:
  1. Better statutory protections against fraud than any other form of payment.
  2. Extended warranties that can stretch the manufacturer's warranty on your washer, dishwasher, television or other eligible purchase by up to a year.
  3. Rental car insurance that allows you to decline expensive collision damage waivers and similar.
  4. Short-term (often 90-day) cover against the accidental damage or theft of items you bought using a card.

Price protection, when you can claim back if you've paid too much for an item, isn't universal, but it's far from uncommon. Here's some of the best of what's out there now.

Discover credit cards

With Discover's program, you're covered for 90 days, but it's up to you to research and identify cheaper prices. If you do, you can claim back up to $500 an item "bought in any store," capped at $2,500 a year, both of which are higher than Citi's limits.