There are undoubtedly a lot of credit card options out there, but in terms of high-end cards that offer a return on their investment, the options get fewer and farther between. Of all the premium credit cards available, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is undoubtedly one of the best known… and for good reason. With a list of benefits a mile long, it’s without question one of the most rewarding (and brag-worthy) cards on the market. It also happens to be one of the most expensive to maintain – with a $450 annual fee, this isn’t the kind of card you want to sign up to without doing your research first. Until recently, one of the card’s key attractions was its Price Protection Plan. Unfortunately, August 2018 saw Chase join the ranks of the many other credit card providers to drop price protection from their list of benefits. Here’s why you should be bothered….
What Was The Chase Sapphire Reserve Price Protection Plan?
In very basic terms, the Chase Price Protection Plan offered cardholders the chance to claim the difference between the actual purchase price of an item and a lower advertised price (if spotted either online or in print within 90 days of the purchase date). In essence, that was it- although of course, there were a few extra little considerations to bear in mind….
Terms And Conditions
To be eligible to claim reimbursement under the Price Protection Plan, cardholders had to abide by a few basic terms and conditions.
- They had to be a cardholder (so far, so obvious).
- The item had to be purchased with an eligible Chase card (which, fortunately, the Sapphire Reserve just so happened to be one of), or via rewards on an eligible Chase card.
- The sale date in the advertisement had to be dated within 90 days of the original purchase price.
- You (assuming you were the cardholder) would need to inform the Benefits Administrator of your claim within 21 days of the date of the advertisement.
- All documents relating to the claim would need to be submitted within 45 days of requesting a claim form.
- The advertisement had to include a description identical to the purchased item, along with the store/ dealer’s details and date(s) of the sale period.
The beauty of the Price Protection Plan was its flexibility- and its high coverage. The plan capped out at $500 per item, with a maximum reimbursement of $2,500 per year. If you were claiming reimbursement against an advertisement of cash, close-out, liquidations, and going-out-of-business sales, the cap stood at $50 per item and $150 per year.
What Wasn’t Covered
The Price Protection Plan was good, the Price Protection Plan was generous. What the Price Protection Plan wasn’t was all-inclusive. If you’d paid over the standard retail value for any of the below items, then too bad- the Price Protection Plan wouldn’t get you your money back.
- Boats, automobiles or any other motorized vehicle or their accompaniments
- Cell phone contracts
- Items purchased for commercial purposes
- Items purchased outside of the US
- Antiquities, jewelry, custom made or bespoke items, special, one-of-a-kind rarities
- Merchant rebates, shipping and delivery fees, sales tax
Why It Was Great
Why exactly was the Price Protection Plan so great, and why is it so sorely missed? Think of the last time you spent months scrimping and saving for a longed-for item, the many weeks spent hunting down the cheapest price, the joy of taking it home (even if it was a few dollars over your budget) … and then the crushing frustration 2 weeks later when you saw it again, this time at half the price. Know the feeling? That, my friends, is why the Price Protection Plan was so great- it took a common problem and effectively eliminated it (well, not so much eliminated it, but at least mitigated its effect on your wallet). “Price protection is a free benefit that some credit card issuers offer. It doesn’t cost you anything, but sometimes it can save you a substantial amount of money if you find yourself in a situation where the price drops soon after you make a purchase,” Joe Ridout, manager of consumer services at Consumer Action, summed things up.
When (And Why) Was It Removed?
The Price Protection Plan was quietly dropped from the list of Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits in August 2018. Chase still had (and has) plenty of other nice little tricks up its sleeves (including exceptional rewards on travel and dining, Extended Warranty Protection, Purchase Protection and Return Protection), but the loss of the popular Price Projection Plan from its arsenal is undoubtedly a sore point among its many loyal (and potential) customers. So why did it do it? Unquestionably, financial loss was a big factor. As Ask Sebby explains, thanks to mobile apps that automate the price protection process (by effectively linking to your credit card and seeking out cheaper deals), Chase (along with other credit card companies providing the same benefit) were losing money hand over fist by continuing to offer the service. And as we all know, there’s nothing a bank hates quite so much as losing money.
Is The Chase Sapphire Reserve Still Worth It?
The answer, in honesty, is “it depends”. The loss of the Price Projection Plan has undoubtedly detracted from the overall attractiveness of the card, but it still constitutes one of the best travel cards out there. No, it’s not cheap, and with an annual fee of $450 to consider, the loss of one of its key features makes it especially important to consider whether the card’s other (admittedly extensive) benefits are enough to justify the cost. That said, with it becoming an ever-increasing rarity to find any premium card that still offers price protection, it may just be we need to accept the situation, move on, and start to see the Reserve for what it is (an excellent, multi-purpose travel card with one of the most extensive and flexible benefits packages of all premium cards) rather than for what its missing.