Bah. I still haven’t gotten my cancellation letter from Citibank regarding the discontinued Dividend card. I don’t want to assume, but I think it’s likely just a matter of time. According to the people who have the letters, you still get 5% until October 13th, so another month and a half. Here are what I see as the top 4 3 current alternatives, in no particular order as each has it’s own pros and cons:
1) HSBC Direct Rewards Card
Pros: 5% back at groceries, gas, and drugstores with $500 annual cap. 1% back on purchases over $3,000.
Cons: Rewards only paid out annually. Only 0.5% on first $3,000 of purchases. Relatively unknown card issuer. People report having FICOs of above 700 and still being denied.
2) Citi Driver’s Edge Platinum MasterCard
Pros: 6% back at groceries, gas, and drugstores with $1,000 annual cap. 1% back on all other purchases. You also get Drive Rebates of $100 for every 10,000 miles driven, increasing potential cashback to over 7%.
Cons: Rewards redeemable in cash only towards car expenses (tires, repairs, parts, etc.) or student loans. Otherwise redeemable as gift cards or gas cards. 6% only for first 12 months, 3% after that.
3) Chase Cash Plus Rewards MasterCard
Pros: 5% back at groceries, gas, and drugstores with $300 annual cap. 1% back on all other purchases. $50 bonus after first purchase.
Cons: I thought they killed this card. Like the Citibank card, there is no mention of it on the website. This specific application link appears to work, although it is unknown if the rewards on this card will also become extinct in the near future.
I already got the Citi Driver’s Edge card before all this Dividend doom and gloom, so I’m already switched. It’s working out well since I’ve already sent in my first mileage documentation and I’m going to be driving a good deal this summer. According to my calculations, I’m getting over 7% cash back due to the mileage rebates. Instead of trying to time it to get free tires, I’ll probably just take the easy route and get gas gift cards.
A possible strategy to get to $50 cashout mark for Dividend owners is to buy some gift cards at the grocery store you usually shop at anyways. For example, I could just buy a $100 Safeway card, get the $5 back, and wait until after October 13th to use it.
By Jonathan Ping | Credit Cards | 8/31/06, 6:30pm