Are Credit Card Perks of Yesterday Becoming a Past time?

For the third time this year, yet another major credit card company has decided to reduce or trade in some of the best perks of its Membership Reward Programs, which previously lured thousands of current credit card holders to its reigns who boasted time and time again about their year-end savings. Now it appears that the New Year has ushered in changes via formal letters through snail mail following concerns of escalating costs incurred by these once appealing programs.

Following an earlier announcement by American Express to remove the double rewards feature of its Membership Rewards Program beginning this month, which allowed customers to earn double savings on every day purchases such as groceries and drug store purchases, which we previously reported, now it looks like Citibank has followed suit by reducing cash back incentives for holders of its Citi Dividend Card on a similar feature. Citi's lavish reward program, which offered cardholders a whopping 5% cash back on everyday purchases, with eligible purchases similar to that of Amex, has been restructure to take that down three percentage points to 2% as early as next month for some.

Chase also restructured some of its perks earlier this year.

Nevertheless, despite these changes, consumers must not fret. There are still savings and significant rewards to be had. It's just that in some cases, consumers must get smarter and savvier along with these companies. Whose up for a challenge? We all know that changes are inevitable as for profit companies struggle to retain the happiness and loyalty of its best customers while also trying to increase the bottom line for its shareholders which is by no means an easy task.

So how bad is it for current cardholders of the Citi Dividend Cards?

Overall, it's not so bad.

A closer look at Citigroup's decision to make modifications to its program reveals the following pleasantries. It will still continue to offer 2% cash back on eligible purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations, and 1% on all other purchases to cardholders with open and current (no past due payments) accounts. Additionally, eligible purchases continue to include cash advances and balance transfers, which also earn cash back. For its cardholder's convenience though the 5% has been reduced, the Citi Dividend Merchant Network has been expanded so that your purchases at more merchants qualify for unlimited cash back including purchases made at convenience stores and utilities companies. One other feature that still remains is that customers are still capped at the $300 Limit for Dividend Dollars on purchases made outside of the Citi Dividend Merchant Network in any one given calendar year. Purchases made at convenience stores and utilities, including cable operators, will be eligible for 2% cash-back rewards when the card is used.

One not so pleasant but noteworthy feature worth mentioning, which by the way has not been changed, includes that Citigroup reserves the right to make any changes to the current program so long as customers are provided with at least 30 days written notice.

So while three companies have set the stage with modifications to its rewards programs, it is still too soon to say that a trend is being set. Only time will tell.

There are still many benefits to staying on with major credit card companies such as Citigroup and American Express who offer excellent Membership Reward Programs. The savings are still among the best out there and for the die-hard penny pencher that lies within most, the search for an even better deal, well it becomes more challenging which makes the treasure hunt even better.