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 Dividend Platinum Select and Dividend Platinum Select for 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.

Also, we’re pretty sure that the Platinum cards are calling us fat.

Citi Dividend Platinum Select & Platinum Select for Students Q1 categories

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

  • 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; Get a $100 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. signup bonus; 15 months of 0% interest on purchases and transfers
  • Discover it: 5% on bonus categories up to $1,500 a quarter, unlimited 1% elsewhere; no signup bonus; 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers and 6 on purchases
  • U.S. Bank Cash+: 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% on balance transfers for 6 months

The Citi Dividend Platinum Select offers 5% rewards in the bonus categories and 1% elsewhere, up to $300 earned back every year. It has a Earn $100 cash back after $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. signup bonus and 0% APR on purchases for 12 months on the regular card and 7 on the student.

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 More 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+ has no limits at all.

The signup bonus is nothing extraordinary. The Freedom offers Get a $100 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening., so Citi’s not the only one with a signup bonus.

Shorter 0% APR periods. The Chase Freedom takes the win for longest combined purchase and transfer APR periods, with 15 months of 0% interest on both. The Discover More offers 18 months of 0% on balance transfers (only 6 on purchases) while the Cash+ scores worst of all with just 6 months of 0% interest on transfers.

First-quarter bonus categories don’t measure up. The Discover More hasn’t released its bonus categories for 2013 yet, and the U.S. Bank Cash+’s 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.

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® CardChase Freedom®
US Bank Cash+(TM) Visa Signature(R) Card Credit Card
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on US Bank's
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Chase Freedom Credit Card
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on Chase's
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Signing Promo
NoneGet a $100 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Intro APR Promo
Bal Trans:0% for 6 mos
0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Annual fee
  • Earn 5% cash back on two categories that you choose, like department stores, many more
  • Earn 2% cash back on gas, groceries or drug stores - choose one
  • Earn 1% cash back on everything else
  • Get a $25 Cash+ Bonus each time you redeem $100 or more cash back in a single redemption
  • No Annual Fee
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%
  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between 1/1/15—3/31/15 at grocery stores (not including Walmart® and Target® purchases), movie theaters, and Starbucks® stores
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like restaurants, gas stations, and It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open