Citi Dividend Card Implements Quarterly Bonus Rewards

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Late last week, I received a mailing that explained the Citi Dividend Card would be, like a caterpiller after curling into a chrysalis, metamorphosizing into the Citi Dividend World MasterCard. On July 1st, 2010, the benefits of the card as well as the reward program, would be changing.

The big change is the introduction of quarterly bonus cashback promotions. This is an idea first popularized by Discover More with their Get More Program, now more and more reward cards are offering this. For the 3rd quarter of 2010 (July 1 – Sept 30), the bonus cashback is offered on purchases made at restaurants, car rentals, and hotels and the bonus percentage is 5%.

Here are some of the details of the reward structure:

  • You continue to earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases.
  • You continue to request a check once you’ve earned 50 Dividend dollars, though checks are only paid in increments of $50.
  • Dividend Dollars don’t expire as long as you use your card at least once ever 12 months, dollars earned prior to July 1, 2010 will not expire.
  • The cash back bonus rate will always be at least 2% and you must opt in each quarter at or by calling 1-800-231-0891.

Also, since the card is being “upgraded” to Citi Dividend World MasterCard, it includes all the benefits of a World MasterCard such as concierge service, price protection, travel insurance, etc.

It was a little unexpected because I haven’t used my Citi Dividend Card in what seems like a year in a half. I half expected the letter to say they were closing my inactive account! I have two Citi cards, the Citi Dividend and the Citi mtvU card, the mtvU being my primary card. However, the ThankYou Network recently increased the price of Student Loan Payment Certificates in the catalog, making my mtvU card less valuable. I might start using the Citi Dividend World instead.

If you have a Citi Dividend card, did you receive the mailing too?

{ 31 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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31 Responses to “Citi Dividend Card Implements Quarterly Bonus Rewards”

  1. Alex says:

    I did receive it like a month ago or so

  2. Rob O. says:

    We received this mailing too and frankly, I’m ticked off.

    Not earning 2% on purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, etc. is going to have a sizable impact on the return for us. We use our Citi Dividends for practically everything to maximize on the program, but rarely are the purchases we make for car rentals, hotels, and the other items covered in the initial quarterly bonus program. The 5% back on restaurant charges will help defray some of this, but we don’t eat out frequently.

    And I suspect that limiting the dividend checks to even $50 increments means it’ll take longer to get rewards since you’ll invariably get stuck just a couple of bucks short of the mark.

    • poscogrubb says:

      Yep, I’m not happy either. We’ve totally relied on the 2% back on grocery stores in order to get the most cash back.

      Not only did they change the award, they made the system too difficult to use! Quarterly opt-in? Awards that change four times a year? Expiring points? Ugh!

  3. CreditShout says:

    It seems like these new rewards are going to annoy a lot of people. Most people probably signed up for this card based on earning 2% on everyday and frequent purchases. I wonder why they decided to update their “rewards.”

  4. Rob O. says:

    This quarterly rewards process seems like a way for Citi to offer something that they rarely have to make good on. (Smells like rebates!) They’re clever enough to know that most cardholders will simply forget to opt in.

    We already have a second dividends card (AmEx) that we switch to once we’ve reached the annual $300 Dividend Dollars cap on the Citi card. Looks like it may be time to switch to that card until we see what the next quarterly bonus program brings.

    I suppose that, by never carrying a balance and maxing the annual dividend payout, we’re sorta “gaming” the system, but it still feels like we’re getting penalized for being savvy credit card users.

  5. Stan says:

    I emailed Citicard customer service and got this reply:

    Subject: Re: mailing
    Date: &nbspJune 9, 2010 11:33 EST

    The upgrade to Dividend World MasterCard

    is Optional. If you do not wish to upgrade your card, please reply to this mail.

    Thank you for using our website.

    • Support Free Speech says:

      I hear that you should not accept the Citi Dividend World MasterCard upgrade because it ruins your credit score.

      Just email or call them stating that you do not want to upgrade your card.

  6. fairydust says:

    I think the quarterly opt-in is ridiculous. I realize these days, it’s easy enough to set a recurring popup on some online calendar, but it still seems ridiculous.

  7. govenar says:

    I never use this card anyway since I get 3% in most categories on another card.

  8. crashdamage1957 says:

    Chase did a similar thing with their once really good Freedom card, eliminating the 3% on the 3 highest highest spend categories and the $50 bonus for a $200 rebate. I switched over to national city PNC card which still offers 2% on grocery up to $750 a month, 4% on gas up to $250 and use the chase card to get the 1 % for other purchases.

  9. Katherine says:

    I consider these quarterly “opt in” promotions to be rather fishy … I have to wonder what other fine print I’m opting into (such as getting put on a bunch of distribution/mailing lists after my personal info/habits being shared from indicating a preference for a certain spending category). I won’t use this program because I don’t trust it. I’ll just stick with the standard 1% cash back so I don’t have to worry about it.

    • d says:

      4 of my 5 banks offer this sort of program, and I’ve never noticed anything wrong except the inconvenience of signing up. I’m suspicious, too, but for the few hundred a year I get on rebates, I’ll do it.

  10. eric says:

    I use my mtvU card a lot less nowadays too. I only use it mainly for Amazon purchases.

  11. zapeta says:

    I have the same problem with the Chase Freedom card. Yeah, thanks a lot for “upgrading” my card so that I have to remember to sign up for rewards. Once they changed the program, I took the card out of my wallet.

  12. Anthony says:

    I got the same letter, but it does not mention any World Mastercard conversion offers. Just the Dividend program is changing to quarterly rotations.

    • Rob O. says:

      Yeah, I forgot to mention that – my letter also made no mention of a World MC conversion, only the changes to the dividend payout, percentages, quarterly program, etc.

  13. Nick says:

    I was uneasy about this change as well…but after a quick call to customer service I was able to cancel this “automatic upgrade.”

    Just proves that it’s up to us as consumers to be proactive in getting what we know is best for us, vs. what Citi thinks is best for us.

  14. Chuck says:

    Just talked with a CSR. She said she had no way to revoke this upgrade. What she could offer was adding in a “promotion” to the account so the rewards structure would mimic the old system…until the end of the year. At that point, I would have to buy into the new system.

    I canceled my card after a very painful and LONG (~30 minute) discussion.

  15. Amy says:

    Chase Freedom is much better. They offer 5% on air ticket, hotel, rental card & gas. On top of that, 3% on top 3 categories are still on!

    • d says:

      My Chase Freedom that I had for over 10 years was “upgraded” without my consent and I’ve never seen the chance to get back my 5% on gas since they changed it. I asked them about it. First they cut it back to 2% (or maybe 3%), I think, before it became Sapphire. Now all I get is quarterly bonuses which are okay if I remember to sign up. I stopped using it for the past year or two, but I’ll use it only for the bonus categories now.

  16. Penelope says:

    I received the letter too but I usually don’t read them because I always figure they’re sending updated privacy practices or something else I don’t really care about but then one day I found the letter in a pile of papers and decided to read it and I’m glad I did because those are some big changes for me. This was my first credit card and even after I signed up for the mtvU card and a card from chase, this was the only one I really used up until several months ago when my chase card changed to offer 2 points for every $1 spent at gas stations, drugstores, and I think also supermarkets and dinning in addition to the 3 points I already received for purchases made on amazon (even the marketplace) and 1 point for everything else. Also they have more options for what to use your rewards points for because before it could only be traded in for an Amazon gift card but now you can use it for other giftcards and even cash back like the citicard. I started using it for paying for gas but then when I didn’t have health insurance anymore I started using it at drugstores to pay for my expensive prescription so was earning a lot of points. So after reading the letter, I think I might just stick with Chase from now on because its so much easier to earn points. I’m not making many purchases currently so its not easy for me to get rewards points as it is and Chase offers more points on stuff I actually spend money on and even if citi’s rotating categories included something I would use, I would have to remember to opt in and also the dates that that offer is good-chase used to do that too before they started just giving 2 points all the time, and I never remembered to sign up or use it during those periods if I did sign up. Plus I got $30 off my purchase at Amazon when I signed up for the chase card and even though I probably only had the card for 1/2 as long as the citi card, my credit limit is almost twice as high with chase. Also they had special offers where I could earn a lot of reward points such as 500pts for signing up for paperless statements so that made it easier to reach the minimum 2500pts for the giftcards. The only reasons I have not canceled the citi card is that I have almost 30 dollars in dividend dollars and want to try to get to 50 and receive one more check also I heard its good for your credit score to keep your oldest account open. I canceled the mtvU one not long after signing up for it without ever using it but I was just looking at the rewards description today and realized I should have kept that one instead of the dividend, I definitely would have earned more rewards that way. I was also looking at the Citi Foward card, and I like that you get points for paying on time and stuff but the 5 points that they give for certain purchases are all categories that I would not usually make purchases in. There’s also a card with 2 points for gas, supermarkets, and drugstores but thats only for the 1st year and then 1 point afterwards.

  17. Leeann says:

    I called Citi card to get some answers as to why the chaanges and precieved new “benefits” that I was getting. All they could tell me was “it’s a business decision” I am reluctant, especially in this economy, to trust a credit card company. You know that they are feeling the pinch and I’m sure any “updated rewards” were in their favor and not the consumers. I told them I was happy with my Platinum select and did not wish to change. It was a very fuzzy and scripted conversation, but the lady on the phone said she would stop that change and mail me a confirmation letter. I am sure this will all come out later. Credit card companies really are sharks in suits!

  18. MBAcapitalist says:

    This is a case where you need to game the system. I haven’t used this card in nearly 2 years since they changed to the 1% and 2% everyday format. This yields very little cash in my opinion since your waiting for the money to accumulate and have a physical check mailed to you. Its actually inefficient and I do not understand why Citi doesn’t just do a statement credit for the reward since it costs money to mail the rebate check??? Anyways, on to the real issue at hand. Since they’ve instituted the new 5% quarterly bonus which you need to sign up for and make sure you confirm this by email etc. Just use the card for the bonus category only (restaraunts, hotel, etc). Make sure you use it everywhere for these categories, even a $3 taco bell purchase. For all your other purchases, I recommend getting a better card. There are other cards out there that pay a higher % back for your regular purchase, I have a card thats 2% back, uncapped and deposited into my brokerage acct every month, after which I move the funds to my checking account. There’s plenty of offers, you’ve just gotta find the right one! Don’t let Citi play you on this one, turn the tables on them and maximize your benefit for this card!

  19. David M. Taylor says:

    I for one am loving the new changes to the Citi Dividends/World Card thus far. I just went on a 7-day, $4000 vacation last month, so getting 5% back on the hotels and restaurants really added up big time. Sure, you need to remember to sign up for each quarter, but as long as you do that, you can rape the credit card companies as bad as they wish they could rape you.

    Speaking of that, I also own not one, but two of these cards. That way, when I hit the $300 reward limit on the first card during the first half of the year, I simply switch over to the second card and make an additional $300 in rewards. As my spending increases in future, I might need to get a third card as well.

    This to me is hardly any different from the program Discover Platinum has given me for several years already. I don’t use that one as much, though, because the most you can make per period is like $15 or something like that (it varies). But I can easily make over $50 in a month with the Citi version.

  20. I was also told that the card includes free travel insurance if you book your trip using the card.

  21. Anonymous says:

    What does “opt in every quarter” mean? Do I really have to call Citi to get 2% instead of

  22. Drod says:

    I’m just using it for the first year until they wanna start to charge me interest. I think they’re promotions are actually fairly lame.
    although I only charge when I have money to pay. still it feels good to get a little bit back.

  23. Bloomdideaux says:

    I mostly stopped using the dividend card when they decreased the rewards to the 1%/2% level.

    The quarterly promotions are gimmicky: they decide whether a given charge “fits” the featured promotion. In addition, I’m suspicious of the sign-ups that provide no confirming email. Last year I tried signing up for a number of the promotions and directing charges to the card. Some large expenses were not counted in the featured category, and another time I found that I somehow wasn’t signed up when the rewards satement came even though I was sure I had done so.

    So now when I do sign up online, I keep snapshots of the pages they show “Congratulations you are now enrolled … ” and sure enough on the most recent statement I did not get credited any rewards in a category I signed up for. They are looking into it.

    I don’t want to suggest there is any malice, I think these marketing techniques work by overloading the consumers with details and conditions they can not keep trasck of. But the same applies to their charge processing system, it needs to be constantly updated. I am sure that the ball gets dropped there once in a while.

    In general I hate all this hyper couponing and offers that no one can keep track of. It relies on consumers not being able to keep track of what’s going on. It’s true but it’s also insulting.

  24. Rosalie says:

    I have a citi card acct. I don’t know how or what to use this DIVIDEND DOLLARS AMOUNT THAT is showing on my monthly statement of more than fifty dollars now,how can I redeem or to get it in cash? If so where will I request or can call Citi- Card & ask to send this cash dividend to me?

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