The Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa® vs The Chase Freedom® Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Versus

Aug 28, 2014 | Updated Feb 03, 2017

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UPDATE 9/3/14:  The Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa card is no longer available.  It has been replaced by the Citi® Double Cash Card.

The Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Visa and Chase Freedom® credit cards are both valuable rewards cards, each of them offering a rotating set of 5% cash back categories every year and a nice introductory bonus. The APR’s, introductory rates, and fees are similar as well.

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Quick Card Facts
Chase Freedom®
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Chase Freedom®

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.24%-23.24% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Named a Best Card for Cash Back by MONEY® Magazine
  • Earn a $150 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%
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on every purchase
  • 5% Total Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like Gas stations, Restaurants and It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open

The information for Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The Rewards

These cards both offer 5% cash back on different types of purchases throughout the year, though they do so in different ways.

Citi Dividend Platinum Select

The Dividend Platinum Select card provides 5% cash back rewards based on the season, which change every 3 months. These rewards require manual activation before they can be used. 1% cash back is provided for all other purchases throughout the year. The categories are:

  • January to March: New Year, New Start
  • April to June: Celebrate Spring
  • July to September: Summer Fun
  • October to December: Holiday Shopping.

Each season, new types of purchases and individual stores are chosen for the 5% offer. The Summer Fun category, for example, includes movie theaters, theme parks, 10 different hotel brands, and car rental agencies. Participating hotels include DoubleTree, Hilton, Hampton, and Embassy Suites.

Additional savings can be found at the Citi Bonus Cash Center®, a marketplace which features hundreds of popular stores including Best Buy, Macy’s, Sears, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Cardholders will get an additional cash back discount, with an average of 5% but sometimes as high as 10%, for shopping at these stores through this marketplace.

$5 in cash back will be earned on individual balance transactions of at least $1,500.

If $500 is spent in the first 3 months, $100 in cash back will be awarded.

Up to $300 in total cash back can be earned with this card in 1 year.

Chase Freedom

The Freedom card has almost all of the same features, though they’re offered in different ways. Again, the 5% cash back categories rotate every 3 months and cardholders need to sign up for them, but they are for different types of purchases. 1% cash back is awarded for all other purchases. The 5% categories are:

  • January to March: Gas stations and local commuter transportation.
  • April to June: Grocery stores and Wholesale Clubs
  • July to September: Restaurants and Wholesale Clubs.
  • October to December: Holiday Shopping and Wholesale Clubs.

The 5% cash back offer is only good for the first $1,500 in combined purchases for that quarter of the year, but the 1% cash back offer is always applicable.

Like the previous card, Chase offers an exclusive shopping mall for cardholders, the Chase Ultimate Rewards marketplace, which provides point rewards for all purchases made. Extra points are awarded for shopping at the select retailers included in the marketplace. There is also the option to use the accumulated points to get a substantial discount on products from hundreds of different stores.

Again, $100 in cash back is earned if $500 is spent on purchases in the first 3 months. If an authorized user is added and the first purchase is made within 3 months, an additional $25 bonus is awarded.

The Verdict

These cards are almost identical in their rewards structure, but they differ in the content they provide. The Freedom card displays the entire year’s rewards, but Citi only discloses the specific stores in a particular category shortly before that period begins. Take a look at the particular rewards offered in each category.

With the Freedom card, gas stations appear twice, but other than that and movie theaters the other stores are quite specific, and if you don’t tend to shop at them you won’t be able to make much of this card. The Citi card, however, from the example of the Summer Fun category, offers a much broader variety of rewards, for hotels, amusement parks, movie theaters, and so on. If it were to come to a decision between these two cards, your spending habits should be able to tell you which is most appropriate.

Each card comes with a rewards marketplace, a great way for savvy cardholders to get even more cash back. They actually tend to include the same stores, for the most part.

The Citi card does have a cash back limit, which the Freedom card does not. The Citi card maxes out at $300 cash back per year for all rewards, which comes out to $1,500 spent per quarter. The Freedom card has the same $1,500 limit, but this only applies to the 5% cash back rewards categories; cardholders are still able to earn cash back at the 1% rate for all purchases.

The Benefits

These cards come with similar additional benefits to support shopping and traveling.

Citi Dividend Platinum Select

Additional cards can be obtained by calling the number on the back of the card and requesting them.

When shopping, Citi® Price Rewind will protect your wallet by searching for lower prices for items that you buy. After registering a purchase with Price Rewind, the service will search retailer’s websites for 30 days from the purchase date. If a lower price by at least $25 is found, you could be reimbursed for the difference.

An extended warranty is also available, which will double a manufacturer’s warranty, up to 1 year. Purchase protection will cover items against accidental breakage, fire, or theft, up to $1,000 and for 90 days from the date of purchase.

Cardholders are not held liable for fraudulent activity, but if identity theft did occur the Citi® Identity Theft Solutions service will provide expert assistance in dealing with the issue.

24/7 phone assistance and insurance is provided while traveling, in case of an emergency. Travel accident insurance is provided automatically, for you and your family, while traveling by common carrier. Auto rentals are covered through Auto Rental Insurance, for damage and theft, as long as the car rental company’s insurance is declined. If your trip is cancelled or disrupted for an eligible reason when traveling by common carrier, you can be reimbursed through Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Coverage, up to $1,500.

Chip-and-Signature technology is included in this card, making it more secure and useful with more retailers in foreign countries.

Chase Freedom

The Freedom card comes with just about the same set of benefits as the Dividend Platinum Select, though some are handled in a different way. The following features are just about identical and the details won’t be repeated:

  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Auto rental insurance

There are a few differences to note in other benefits. The Freedom card, like the Citi card, also offers a price protection service, but it requires the cardholder to search for lower prices themselves and then send in a form. There is also a return protection service, which will reimburse the price of an item you’d like to return but the merchant refuses to accept. The limit for this service is $250 per item and $1,000 per year. The item to be returned must be in like-new or good working condition.

The Freedom card offers lost luggage reimbursement, which will cover you or your immediate family’s carry-on and checked bags. If your luggage is damaged or lost, you could receive up to $3,000 per passenger.

Finally, there is the Roadside Dispatch, which is part of the travel and emergency assistance service. Roadside Dispatch will provide help if you need a jumpstart, get a flat tire, or run into another problem with your vehicle. Fees are at least $59.95 per service call.

Cardholders can request a Chip version of this card.

The Verdict

The additional benefits provided by these cards are almost the same, and the differences are not very significant. The Freedom card offers some benefits that the other does not, but it also forces cardholders to act as the price protection service themselves, while the Citi Price Rewind will take care of this automatically. The lost luggage insurance could come in very handy with the Freedom card, however.

The Costs

The fees and interest rates associated with these cards are also quite similar.

Citi Dividend Platinum Select

There is no annual fee. Purchases and balance transfers start with an APR of 0% for the first 12 months, after which they go up to 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%, depending on credit history. This introductory rate only applies to balance transfers completed in the first 4 months. The APR for cash advances is 25.24%.

Balance transfers will also be charged a fee of $5 or 3% of the transfer, whichever is greater, and cash advances cost $10 or 5% of the advance. Foreign transactions will be charged a 3% fee.

A penalty APR of up to 29.99% could be applied if a late or returned payment is made, and this could last indefinitely. Late and returned payments will also cost up to $35, depending on the account balance.

Chase Freedom

There is again no annual fee. Purchases and balance transfers will have a 0% introductory APR for 15 months for this card, after which it reverts to 13.99% to 22.99%. The cash advance and overdraft advance APR is 23.99%.

The additional fees are almost the same as the previous card, with the only difference being the cash advance fee: $5 or 3% for balance transfers, $10 or 3% for cash advances, and 3% for foreign transactions.

A penalty APR of up to 29.99% could be applied if a late or returned payment is made, or if the credit limit is exceeded; late and returned payments will also cost up to $35, but there is no additional fee for going over the credit limit.

The Verdict

When it comes to interest rates and fees, these cards are almost identical. There are only 3 differences here to be aware of:

  • The Freedom card has a longer 0% introductory period, 15 months compared to 12 months.
  • The Freedom card charges a bit less for cash advances, $10 or 3%, compared to $10 or 5% for the Citi card.
  • The Freedom card may apply the penalty APR if the credit limit is exceeded, but the Citi card does not state that it will do this.

The Bottom Line

These cards are quite comparable in almost every respect: the extra benefits, costs, and interest rates associated with the cards are nearly indistinguishable, but the types of purchases they offer their 5% rewards for will differ considerably.

Analyze your shopping habits: do you frequently make purchases at the stores listed by the Chase Freedom card? If not, it would probably be tough to justify owning the card; if you do, this card could be a gold mine. If, on the other hand, you liked the look of the Summer category of the Citi Dividend Platinum Select, you’ll probably enjoy using it to shop as well as for its additional benefits.

When it comes to being upfront and clear about their terms, both of these card issuers excel. Credit card terms can be confusing at their best, so it’s crucial that credit card websites be easy to navigate and understand. Both the Citi and Chase websites clearly display the card information, from the rewards to the costs. Here, the Citi website seems just a bit more accessible, because the details about the additional features of the Freedom card took some searching to find.

This review was not endorsed or approved by Chase, Citi, or their affiliates.

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