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It’s Time! Sign Up for the Chase Freedom, Discover More and Citi Dividend Q4 5% Categories

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With the fourth quarter right around the corner, it’s time to sign up for your 5% cash back categories for the Discover More, Chase Freedom and Citi Dividend Platinum Select. And if you’re considering getting one of those cards, we’ll break down which ones are better in which scenarios and why. Happy Q4, nerds! Fall’s going fast.

Please note: The Discover More is no longer being offered; in its place is the 5% cash back Discover It.

Bonus categories for October through December

  • Chase Freedom: Hotels and airlines (when you book directly), Best Buy and Kohl’s
  • Discover More: Department stores and all online shopping
  • Citi Dividend Platinum Select: Macy’s, electronics stores and toy stores

There are caveats, of course. The Chase Freedom and Discover More cap their bonus rewards at $1,500 in spending per quarter; after that, you earn the base rewards rate. The Freedom’s is 1%, while the Discover More base rate is 0.25% for the first $3,000 spent annually, and 1% thereafter. The Citi Dividend Platinum Select caps its rewards at a flat $300 a year, or $1,500 in bonus spending every quarter and no non-bonus purchases.

The Chase Freedom has a pretty big asterisk as well: Hotels and airlines earn 5% only when you book directly with the airline or hotel – you can’t use Kayak or another discount website. While you can always use those sites for price comparison and then go to the airline’s website to buy your ticket, that’s a big hassle, and you might be missing out on a few discounts.

Mexican standoff: Freedom vs. More vs. Citi

If you’re looking for money back on your holiday shopping, look no further than the Discover More. Not only do you get 5% back on all online purchases (!) you can earn up to 20% back at the ShopDiscover online mall. And a Discover customer service rep told us that the More allows you to double up on bonuses: you earn 5% back on top of whatever you’d get with ShopDiscover. As of 9/19, Macy’s earns 5% back through the online mall, so you’d earn 10% back at Macy’s.com with the Discover More. Take that, Citi.

However, in terms of ongoing rewards, the More falls short. It has no signup bonus, putting it at an immediate disadvantage compared to the Freedom (Get a $100 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.) and Citi Dividend (Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.). You don’t get the full 1% base rewards rate until you’ve spent $3,000 a year – until then, you earn a paltry 0.25%. And finally, it’s a Discover card. That means you’d best get used to hearing a chorus of “Sorry, we don’t take those.” That said, the combination of 5% back on department stores and online shopping and the ShopDiscover mall make the More an ideal choice for holiday gift-givers.

As for the Citi Dividend Platinum Select vs. the Freedom, the right choice will depend on your plans this holiday season.

  • Traveling? The Freedom’s got your flights and rooms covered, as long as you book directly with the airline or hotel.
  • Young at heart? The Citi will give you 5% back on the Legos and dolls you buy from toy stores.

Everything else, well, it’s a toss-up. Best Buy is an electronics store, but you may decide that RadioShack is your shiny gadget-seller of choice. Kohl’s vs. Macy’s – that’s a showdown for more fashionable minds, but if you’re spending that much on department stores, the More might be the better choice than either the Freedom or Dividend.