Citi Dividend World MasterCard Benefits

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.

Verdict?

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

 
Comments
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I am Mad at Citi – Very Mad – 1) My Dividend Dollars Will Expire After One Year.
2) I Can’t Redeem Them At $41.00 Because The Minimum Check Request Is $50.00

I Am Mad
Is Anyone At Citi Products Listening
??
Mad Is Not Good Customer Service

i went to know why my dividend dollars went from 76.45 to 41.74 this mounth, what happened to the rest of my rewards i had. thank you

I had a similar experience as RobM, but my purchase amount was no where near his. Despite the amount, their customer service response was not very good and almost rude from my experience. Citi also requires a $50 increment minimum to redeem rewards, which is a joke. Other companies allow a direct statement credit. Citi’s online account system is also not as stream lined and feature-rich as other companies. I won’t be using Citi cards, banks, whatever. I’ve had way better luck with other major companies.

John,

You need to pay attention to the conditions. If the merchants code isn’t in the category listed they will not give you the bonus cashback. As for your comment on the $50 increment this is just about standard as Discover does $50 increments. AMEX and Chase are slightly lower as selling points with BlueCash in $25 increments and Chase in $20 increments. Overall each card has it’s advantages like Discovercard’s unmatched ShopDiscover cashback service although standard cashback is tiered unlike the others. Citi dividend offers bonus 1.2% cashback at different times to the best customers. It’s a hassle using 5 different cashback cards but it pays for a vacation or two every year.

I just bought a washer and dryer at Home Depot using my Citi Dividend Mastercard. I’m holding my breath to see if I get the 5% rebate for it. I don’t see a definition of ‘Home Furnishing’ mentioned anywhere. My definition would be anything that is not attached to the house.

Hey CreditCardGuru, I noticed for this quarter, one of the categories is “electronics stores.” What stores would fall under this…would Best Buy? Fry’s?

As long as the electronics store (like Best Buy or Fry’s) has a merchant code properly identifying itself as such, then yes it would qualify.

CreditCardGuru

Hi Rob, sorry to hear about your problem. Indeed when it comes to credit card reward categories (not just with Citi, but all issuers) generally speaking in order to get the higher cash back, you have to buy from a merchant in that category. For example, Home Depot or Lowes is strictly “home improvement” and categorized as such. However if you buy from a merchant who sells a wide array of items (such as a Walmart) it will be categorized as a general purchase, because their merchant code identifies the store as such. I’m not personally familiar with the online GE Store, do they sell items in other categories to?

I have 2 Citi Dividend cards (1 MC and 1 AMEX) and have been with them since 2004. I purchased just under $5000 in new kitchen appliances when we moved into our new home in May 2011. I purchased the appliances online via the GE store and Citi refused to give me the extra 4% cashback on the purchases because the way the transaction was sent to them from the GE site; in a way that it did not fall under any of the home improvement categories. I called and emailed several times, even explaining that I would submit my receipts. Even though they ‘escalated’ the request, they did nothing stating they “are limited in our ability to assist with your request.” I bought appliances and that is clearly in the home improvement categories description of the promotional incentive. What a joke. I am not using my Citi cards ever again…

To those concerned about RobM’s experience. They aren’t given on the product. They are given on the vendor. If you think about it, that’s the only way they could possibly do it, since they do not have visibility into the individual items purchased.

At any rate, this is no reason to ditch Citibank in favor of other category bonus cards like Chase Freedom, US Bank cash+, and Discover It. They all administer the program the same way, and would respond to such queries the same way.

So this particular complaint is baseless. On the other hand, I think that complaints about these programs being too opaque about which vendors qualify are valid. It’s very difficult for customers to determine which vendors qualify for the bonus. You would have to persuade the card company to disclose the list of Merchant Category Codes (MCC) covered in the program. Then you’d have to find out what MCC your vendor chose when they joined the card network (and that can vary, sometimes even between vendors in the same store chain).

There is at least one public database (link below) that I know of that can help you determine the MCC code of a particular vendor, but it isn’t well executed and it can be a struggle to find those vendors through it.

http://visa.via.infonow.net/locator/usa/supplier/ListLoadAction.do