How to snag the best price when buying holiday gifts

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

As I shop for holiday gifts this year, I’m not just looking for the perfect gift. I’m also considering how to maximize my holiday purchases. One way to do that is to turn holiday shopping into a free vacation. But another way is to get a good deal on your purchases.

It’s frustrating to see the price drop on an item you recently bought. But, you don’t have to eat the price difference if you made the purchase using a credit card that offers price protection or you bought the item from a merchant with a price guarantee.

Depending on how and where you made your purchase, you may be able to recoup the price difference if an item’s price drops soon after you make a purchase. Here’s how to save with price protection this holiday season.

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Use an eligible card or buy from select merchants

a person standing in front of a store: (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

© The Points Guy
(Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

Only a few credit cards still offer a price protection benefit. Check the benefits guide for each of your cards to determine whether you have a card with price protection. Here are some cards I confirmed still offer price protection:

The information for the UBS Visa Infinite Card, Rakuten Cash Back Visa Credit Card, Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card, HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard credit card and Navy Federal More Rewards American Express Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Other cards may also offer price protection. For example, Capital One cards that are a Visa Signature Business card, Enhanced Visa Signature Business card or a World Elite for Business Mastercard still offer price protection. It’s worth checking whether your card is eligible if you have the Capital One Spark Cash for Business, Capital One Spark Miles for Business, Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business or Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business.

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles, Capital One Spark Cash Select and Capital One Spark Miles Select has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Additionally, select merchants offer a price guarantee. Most merchants, including Best Buy, Home Depot and Walmart, will only price match when you purchase. But some merchants, such as Target, Loews and Dell, will price match for a short period after your purchase.

Whether you rely on credit card price protection benefits or a merchant’s price guarantee, make sure to save an itemized receipt.

Related: Tips to maximize rewards and avoid debt this holiday shopping season

Track prices

a person sitting at a table using a laptop: You’ll need to track prices to find a price drop. (Photo by filadendron/Getty Images)

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You’ll need to track prices to find a price drop. (Photo by filadendron/Getty Images)

To use a price protection benefit, you’ll need to find a merchant selling the exact item you purchased at a lower price within a particular time. The time you have to find a better price depends on the card or merchant’s terms and conditions.

Plus, each card or merchant has different requirements for the competitor’s advertisement. You may be able to take a picture of an in-store promotion or a screenshot of an online offer. But check the terms and conditions of the card or merchant’s price protection benefit to make sure you have what’s needed. Some issuers and merchants may only accept competing prices from select merchants.

Related: How to use points and miles to give gifts with $0 out-of-pocket cost

Submit claims

The period for filing claims varies greatly across cards and merchants. And the process by which you should file a claim tends to vary greatly. Check out our guide to the best credit cards with price protection as well as your card benefits guide or the merchant’s policy to ensure you don’t miss out.

Related: Price protection saved me hundreds — Reader success story

Other considerations for holiday shopping

a person sitting at a table with a vase of flowers: There’s a lot to consider while doing your holiday shopping. (Photo by 10’000 Hours/Getty Images)

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There’s a lot to consider while doing your holiday shopping. (Photo by 10’000 Hours/Getty Images)

Price protection isn’t the only shopping protection that can save you money. If you’re interested in making the most out of your holiday shopping, you may want to use a card with multiple shopping protections.

For example, some cards offer purchase protection. Purchase protection may reimburse you if a recent purchase is damaged, or in some cases, stolen. Some cards also offer extended warranty protection, which can add up to two years to manufacturers’ warranties. These shopping protections don’t cost anything extra, so it’s worth checking what types of protections your favorite cards offer.

You can also use online shopping portals this holiday season to maximize the points, miles or cash-back rewards you earn. I recommend using a shopping portal aggregator to ensure you find the best portal for each online purchase.

Related: Why Amex’s shopping protections are my favorite card benefit during the holidays

Bottom line

Price protection is just one aspect to consider when deciding on the best card for holiday purchases. But, if you don’t want to overpay and are purchasing gifts that you expect may decrease in price, it can be worth using a card that provides price protection or shopping at a merchant with a price guarantee.

Featured image by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

SPONSORED: With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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