This is an oldie but goodie. It’s been around for many years but continues to be a popular choice. However the Citi Platinum Select MasterCard does come with some drawbacks, too. You should review both before making a decision about the promo.
August 14, 2013 update: Unfortunately this card has been discontinued. For a good alternative, below are some of the most popular offers on the market right now:
Everything below about the Citi card is now outdated. I’m leaving the review up for historical reference only.
Frequent (and long) 0% promotions
Obviously these things change all the time, but lately Citi has been offering a full 0% for 18 months on both balance transfers and purchases. Not only does this beat the other Citi credit cards, but it’s the best offer you will find anywhere.
Very few Platinum MasterCards include this benefit, so it’s nice to see that Citi tosses it in on their Platinum Select.
If you buy something that has a manufacturer’s U.S. warranty of 12 months or less, then you can get coverage for up to double the time for free. For example, if you made an eligible laptop purchase that came with a 12 month warranty, then through CIti with your Platinum Select MasterCard, you would get another 12 months of coverage.
Being that this applies to eligible purchases of up to $10,000, obviously there are exclusions (i.e. doesn’t apply to used items, motorized vehicles, purchases for business, and other exceptions) as well as rules. But even taking those into account, it’s still a darn good benefit considering it’s included for free.
Retail Protection Services
This is another unusual benefit to find on a no annual fee credit card. It provides coverage of up to $1,000 per incident (subject to yearly maximum) for eligible purchases if they are stolen, damaged by fire, or are accidentally broken during the first 90 days.
Like the extended warranty feature, being that this benefit is so generous it does come with rules/restrictions (so review you benefits guide) but even after reviewing them myself, I must say it’s a very attractive benefit.
Virtual Account Numbers
Are you worried about the safety of an online purchase? With the Citi Platinum Select you have the ability to generate virtual account numbers for online, catalog, and phone purchases.
While this probably isn’t needed for legit and reputable businesses like say, Amazon, if you are buying from an unknown independent business or a subscription service, then the benefit of using virtual account numbers is clear.
Travel Accident Insurance (make sure you read)
Not only will you find this benefit on the Platinum Select credit card, but most mid-tier and above cards on the market today. So it’s not exactly rare but just make sure you understand what it means.
With this benefit, you are covered if you buy an eligible plane, bus, or train ticket (a.k.a. “Common Carrier) with the card and there is an accident that happens while you are on that mode of transportation – i.e. not to be Debbie Downer, but dying in a plane crash would be an example.
So obviously this benefit is of very little use to you as long as you are alive. However the death payout would go to your family… so they would be helped by it. This benefit is automatically included on eligible travel purchase and details about coverage amounts/rules will be addressed in your benefits guide.
Free Travel Assistance Hotline
Imagine this… you’re in a foreign country with a medical emergency. You don’t have a clue where to go and English isn’t the native language, which doesn’t make things any easier.
Well if you have the Platinum Select MasterCard from Citi, you can call up a hotline for things like medical and legal referrals, translation help, arranging emergency transportation, assistance dealing with lost baggage, and much more.
This benefit is completely free, however you will have to pay for any costs associated (i.e. the recommendation to a doctor is free, but you will still have to pay the doctor yourself).
Hertz Vehicle Rental Discounts
Do ever rent cars? If so, thanks to Citi’s partnership with Hertz, you will “save on virtually every published rate in the U.S.” according to their website.
Rental Car Coverage
Now this benefit isn’t anything special since most credit cards these days include it but either way, thought I would at least mention it for you.
On eligible rentals paid for with the card, you receive secondary insurance coverage for collisions and theft when you decline the rental co’s collision loss/damage waiver insurance.
Reasonable Credit Score Requirements
In this economy getting approved for a credit card isn’t always easy if you only have average credit. As with any credit card, Citi doesn’t disclose the Platinum Select MasterCard’s credit score requirements. However many on the forum with FICO scores in the higher 600’s have reported getting approved lately.
So if you want a good 0% balance transfer offer, I always recommend this Citi offer since it seems to be more accommodating, versus some of the basic cards from Chase, AmEx, etc.
The Rewards – Because this is a card that is geared towards those who carry a balance, as you can probably guess the rewards is not exactly its strongpoint.
It doesn’t give normal cash back or points. Rather it gives Citi “Extra Cash” amounting to 10% of your purchases – i.e. If you spent $1,000 you would have $100 in this Extra Cash.
You redeem it by using the “Extra Cash” to partially offset the price of a purchase for gift cards, travel, etc. There is a cap on each item to how much of it can be paid for with Extra Cash. For example, this Macy’s card allows you to use $10 of rewards towards the purchase:
(this is a typical example)
However on the flip side, if you go with a better rewards card you will probably pay higher interest rates and get a shorter 0% promotion. So basically you are trading good rewards for good financing. If you carry a balance, you shouldn’t care about rewards anyway since the goal is to pay the least amount of interest possible.
When you consider all the benefit and the fact that there is no annual fee, the Citi Platinum Select card is definitely a good deal for those who occasionally or regularly carry a balance.