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Citi Dividend Platinum Select Names 5% Bonus Categories for Q1 2013

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Citi’s named its 5% cash back categories on the Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card and Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students – but don’t get too excited. In fact, don’t even get excited at all. They’re some pretty mediocre categories, and this, combined with the rewards cap, makes the Dividend the least attractive of the 5% cash back cards.

Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card & Citi® Dividend® Card for College Students Q1 categories

The cards will earn 5% cash back from 1/1/13-3/31/13 on:

  • Zappos.com
  • Fitness clubs
  • Drugstores

We get the message loud and clear: We need to work out more. Now, for all of us who don’t look to our credit cards to get us to the gym, here are the other 5% cash back credit cards:

  • Chase Freedom®: 5% on bonus categories up to $1,500 a quarter, unlimited 1% elsewhere; a signup bonus: Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening; a 0% for 15 Months on purchases and 0% Intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99%-22.99% (Variable)
  • Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year: 5% on bonus categories up to $1,500 a quarter, unlimited 1% elsewhere; no signup bonus; 0% on purchases for 12 months and 0% on balance transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 10.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card: 5% on two bonus categories chosen by you, 2% on gas, groceries or drugstores (you pick), 1% elsewhere; 25% rewards multiplier if you save up $100 worth of rewards; no signup bonus; 0% for 9 months on balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 23.99% Variable

The Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® Card  offers 5% rewards in the bonus categories and 1% elsewhere, up to $300 earned back every year. The card has a signup bonus: Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. And an APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99%-22.99% (Variable).

Moral superiority aside, here’s why the Citi’s the worst of the lot

Rewards are capped at $300 cash back a year. That’s $1,500 a quarter in the bonus categories, excluding the 1% you earn elsewhere. On the other hand, the Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year and Chase Freedom® limit you to $1,500 in bonus spending each quarter and don’t cap the 1% earnings, while the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has no limits at all.

The signup bonus is nothing extraordinary. The Chase Freedom® offers the following: Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. So Citi’s not the only one with a signup bonus.

First-quarter bonus categories don’t measure up. The Discover it®-New! Double Cash Back your first year hasn’t released its bonus categories for 2013 yet, and the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card list of categories to change from (it also changes quarterly) is only available to cardholders. But the Chase Freedom® gives you gas, drugstores and Starbucks – and in what could potentially be a sign of the times people tend to spend more on gas and coffee than on Zappos and gym memberships. Americans spent over twice as much on transportation as on health care in 2011 – and the category of “health care” includes a lot more than fitness center dues.

So nice try, Citibank, but we’d prefer other 5% cards.