Citi Price Rewind

Ever have a pang of regret when you notice that shiny new toy you just bought dropped in price right after you purchased it? Back in the days when Amex’s Best Value Guarantee program still lived, that wasn’t such a worry. All you needed to do was call them up, provide evidence of the price drop and get refunded the difference.

The good news is that such programs still do exist. Many credit cards will reimburse you the difference if you find the same item at a lower price, either at the same retailer or elsewhere. For instance, under Citi’s current price protection program, if you find a printed advertisement within 60 days of your purchase for the exact same item, they will refund you the price difference, up to $250 per item (and up to a maximum of $1,000 per cardmember per year) if you placed the entire purchase on your Citi credit card. The major problem is that, unlike the original BVG, internet purchases or advertisements have been excluded from such price matching, significantly diminishing their usefulness.

Enter Citi Price Rewind.

While the specifics are not being completely publicized yet, the initial details (as recalled by a FT poster) seem potentially promising:

Here’s what I remember from my reading:

1. Two methods to submit claims. A) You can “register” your purchase and their engine will search for lower prices -or- B) you can find a lower price on your own. (The automated search is clearly the innovation intended to lull you into using your Citi card rather than doing your own price comparisons.)

2. Internet purchases and ads are not excluded, but the ad must show the exact same model number and the seller must be a business (with a Tax ID number?) located in the USA. Ads can be published online, in newspapers or magazines, but “flyers” are excluded. Ads must have been published within 30 days after purchase. Typical long list of excluded categories including all services, real property, cars etc.

3. If you find a lower price you must submit: merchant receipt, credit card statement and advertisement with lower price within 90 days.

4. Minimum price difference $25. Maximum claim $250. Annual cap $1,000 per person (even if you have multiple cards enrolled in program.)

Full details will be available at when it launches next week.

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