A number of years ago the Citi Dividend card was launched. Since then, the rewards and benefits have changed a few times. Here’s how the MasterCard Version works…
2014 Update: New applicants of this card are no longer being given a MasterCard. Instead you will receive the Visa “Platinum Select” tier and you can learn more about the new version at the bottom of this article but it’s a disappointment.
Below is a review of the World MasterCard benefits, which I will keep up for reference purposes.I’ve had this credit card since the early days, so I’ve ridden the ups and downs that have come with it. Several years ago it gave 5% on gas, groceries and drugstores… but that was when gas only cost $1.50 per gallon! After gas prices went up the rewards program became a money loser for Citibank, so they had no choice but to scale it down to 2%.
Fortunately, Citi stopped offering the 2% and instead brought back 5% recently, albeit in a new version. Today you get 5% cash back on categories which rotate each quarter. Last year (2012) the rewards calendar was:
First Quarter: 5% on utilities, health clubs, and fitness clubs
Second Quarter: 5% at The Home Depot and on home furnishing and home & garden purchases
Third Quarter: 5% on airlines, car rentals, Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic
Fourth Quarter (Oct 1st thru Dec 31st): 5% at Macy’s, Electronics store and Toy store purchases
The Dividend’s 5% cash back calendar for 2013 hasn’t entirely been announced yet.
Citi Dividend vs. the other guys?
There are a couple similar cards on the market that do rotating categories, the Discover it and Chase Freedom. However, the Citi Dividend World MasterCard offers a number of unique benefits and advantages:
- No quarterly 5% cap. The other two aforementioned credit cards cap the amount of spending that qualifies for 5%. With the Citi Dividend, the cap only applies to the total amount of Dividend Dollars you can earn per year and that’s $300 max (both 5% spending and regular 1% spending counts towards that threshold). This means the Citi Dividend is the best choice for big purchases in the 5% categories.
- World MasterCard benefits. This tier comes with some nice benefits such as Extended Warranty (extension of up to 1 additional year on eligible purchases that have an original manufacturer’s U.S. warranty of one year or less), Retail Purchase Protection (eligible purchases are protected for up to 90 days from date of purchase against accidental breakage, theft and fire for up to $1,000), Automatic Travel Accident Insurance (on eligible travel), and other perks.
- Unlimited Citi Extra Cash. You also have the ability to earn 5% cash back on average through the Citi Bonus Cash Center, which is an online shopping portal featuring over 400 popular stores.
The new Citi Dividend World MasterCard benefits are definitely worth checking out. Even if you already have one or both of the other 5% cards mentioned above, with this one there are some distinct advantages that you don’t want to miss out on.
The best current offer?
As mentioned you can no longer apply for the World Mastercard. Beginning last fall and continuing in 2014 the Dividend is being issued as a Visa Platinum Select. Fortunately the benefits are nearly identical but administered through Visa instead of MasterCard. You still get the extended warranty, retail purchase protection, trip cancellation/interruption coverage, travel accident insurance on eligible Common Carrier, and much more.
So in a nutshell, the card will say “Visa” instead of “MasterCard” but at the end of the day, what’s being offered to cardholders is for the most part the same.
Warning: Before you apply…
The Dividend Platinum Select is a decent card but would make even more sense if you are getting it to complement your Discover and Freedom. Why? Because the Dividend categories are not as useful or lucrative as those other cards. It does fill in the voids that some other cash back categories neglect, though. At the end of the day, just make sure it fits your spending patterns.
For example they have things like gym memberships… how much do any of us really spend during a given quarter for a gym membership?! It seems like most of the categories could be more useful.
So if you don’t already have them, consider getting the new Discover it or Chase Freedom first, BEFORE you get the Dividend.
This article was written or last updated April 16, 2014