Amex EveryDay vs. Citi Rewards+: Which One Should You Get?

Jul 22, 2019

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Premium rewards cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve tend to get a lot of attention thanks to great perks and points programs. However, they also charge annual fees of hundreds of dollars per year. Luckily, credit card issuers offer similar cards that don’t charge annual fees, including both American Express and Citi.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express was introduced as a no-annual-fee alternative to some of Amex’s other powerhouse products. Like Amex’s more premium cards, it earns transferable American Express Membership Rewards points and offers category and transaction bonuses. For those reasons, it continues to be popular thanks to a simple earning formula and a decent return on spending.

Citi introduced the Citi Rewards+℠ Card earlier this year as a replacement for its former Citi ThankYou Preferred card. Despite charging no annual fee, it packs a punch with earning bonuses at supermarkets and gas stations, a 10-point round-up feature and a 10% points refund on the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year. Although the points you earn with it are (for the most part) not transferable to Citi ThankYou’s airline partners, if you have a  premium Citi ThankYou card like the Citi Premier℠ Card or Citi Prestige® Card you can combine your points and transfer from there.

If you’re considering applying for one of these two cards, it’s worth looking at how they match up and which one might be best for your needs.

The information for the Amex EveryDay card, Citi Premier, Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Card Details

Here’s a brief look at both cards and how they differ.

Amex EveryDay Citi Rewards+
Annual Fee $0 $0
Welcome Bonus 15,000 points after spending $1,500 in three months 15,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,000 in three months
Intro APR 0% for first 15 months (then a variable APR of 12.99% – 23.99% applies) 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months (then a variable APR of 13.49% – 23.49% applies)
Earning 2x at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year, 1x on everything else. 20% bonus for making 20 or more purchases per billing period 2x ThankYou at supermarkets and at gas stations on up to $6,000 per year; then 1x ThankYou point, 1x on everything else, points rounded up to nearest 10
Redeeming Amex Membership Rewards transfers, 1% back on flights through AmexTravel.com 1% cash back per point, 10% refund on up to 100,000 points per year, possible to combine with premium ThankYou Rewards cards
Other Benefits Travel and purchase protections, access to Amex Offers Minimal

Annual Fee

Neither card charges you anything to carry it in your wallet year after year.

Amex EveryDay: $0

Citi Rewards+: $0

Winner: Tie

Paying with a debit card is essentially just paying with cash - you won
Keep your money in your wallet — neither card charges an annual fee. (Photo by dolgachov/Getty Images)

Current Welcome Bonus

Both cards offer a modest haul of bonus points for signing up and hitting a spending threshold.

Amex EveryDay: Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months.

Citi Rewards+: Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com.

Winner: Depends on whether you also hold a premium Citi ThankYou card. TPG’s latest valuations peg the value of Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each and the value of Amex Membership Rewards points at 2 cents each. This means the EveryDay bonus is worth $300 and the Rewards+ bonus is worth $255 if you also hold a premium Citi ThankYou card like the Citi Premier. Otherwise, the Rewards+’s welcome bonus is only worth $150.

Intro APR

In case you need to carry a balance on purchases or transfers in the first few months, the Citi card will have your back. Just make sure to pay off your balance before the end of the 0% APR period to avoid interest and fees.

Amex EveryDay: This card is offering a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, after that the variable APR will be 12.99% to 23.99% variable.

Citi Rewards+: 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% – 23.49%.

Winner: Citi Rewards+

Generic card, groceries, supermarket, cashier
The Rewards+ offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers when you open a new account. (Photo by GeorgeRudy/Getty Images)

Earning

Beyond the welcome offers, both cards present strong points-earning potential on everyday spending.

Amex EveryDay: Earn 2x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year, and 1x on everything else. Use your card 20 times or more in a billing period and earn 20% extra points on those purchases. You can also earn 2x points per dollar booking travel through AmexTravel.com.

Citi Rewards+: Earn 2x ThankYou points per dollar at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year, and then 1x point per dollar thereafter and on all other purchases. Citi will also round up your points to the nearest 10. So if you spend $16 at a café, you’d earn 20 points. And if you spent $16 at a gas station, you’d earn 40 points ($16 x 2 points per dollar rounded up to the nearest 10).

Winner: This is roughly a toss-up and will depend on your spending habits. If you max out those bonus categories, you’re already doing well. For everyday purposes, you might have a slight edge with the Citi Rewards+ thanks to the 10-point round-up feature. But overall, the Amex card’s broader bonus categories and 20% bump (if you hit it) will probably win out.

(Photo by d3sign / Getty Images)
Both cards offer bonus earning at supermarkets. (Photo by d3sign / Getty Images)

Redeeming

This is the major point of difference between the two cards, and where the Amex EveryDay really pulls ahead.

Amex EveryDay: What is so surprising about this card is that, though it carries no annual fee, it earns fully transferable American Express Membership Rewards points. These points are the same kind you earn with cards like The Platinum Card from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card. That means you can transfer your points to the program’s 19 airline and three hotel partners even if the Amex EveryDay is your only Amex card. Specifically the transfer partners include:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Aeromexico Club Premier (1:1.6)
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Alitalia MilleMiglia
  • ANA Mileage Club
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • El Al Matmid
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Airways Guest Program
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue True Blue (1:0.8)
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Choice Privileges Rewards
  • Hilton Honors (1:2)
  • Marriott Bonvoy

Aside from maximizing transfer partners, you can also redeem your Amex points for flights and other purchases through AmexTravel.com. They’re worth one cent apiece toward flights and 0.7 cents each toward other bookings such as hotels and car rentals. Redeeming your points for statement credits is an even worse value, so avoid that if possible.

(Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy
Transfer your points to Marriott and you could redeem for a stay at the Marriott Resort Fiji Momi Bay. (Photo by JT Genter / The Points Guy)

Citi Rewards+: Points are worth 1% cash back when redeemed for travel purchased through the Citi portal, gift cards or statement credits. So, for some cash-back options, this card is a better choice. However, if you are simply looking for a cash-back Citi card, the Citi Double Cash Card offers a better 2% rate (1% when you buy, plus 1% when you pay) of return. Cash back earned with the Double Cash Card can be converted into ThankYou points, which makes that card an even better prospect.

With the City Rewards+ alone, you can transfer points at a ratio of 5:4 to JetBlue TrueBlue. However, if you also have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, you can combine your points and transfer them to the ThankYou Rewards program’s 15 airline partners. Plus, if you have the Citi Premier you can also get a value of 1.25 cents per point when redeeming for airfare booked through the Citi ThankYou travel portal.

Also keep in mind that Rewards+ cardholders get 10% of their points back on the first 100,000 ThankYou points they redeem each year. This means you can get up to 10,000 points back each year. Reports have shown that this benefit even extends to points redemptions from your other linked ThankYou accounts.

Winner: Amex EveryDay. The Citi Rewards+ has some compelling redemption options, both in simple cash back and if you have a premium card to open up additional transfer opportunities. However, the fact that points earned with the Amex EveryDay are full-fledged, transferable Membership Rewards points without needing another Amex card in your wallet make it the winner in this category.

(Photo by Ellyot via Unsplash)
Both cards earn valuable points, but the Amex EveryDay’s points will provide more value without needing to have any other cards. (Photo by Ellyot via Unsplash)

Other Benefits

Both cards charge foreign transaction fees, but their travel and shopping protections set them apart.

Amex EveryDay: Three useful shopping protections — purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty protection — are offered. Plus, the card offers basic travel protections including travel accident insurance, secondary car rental insurance (unless you purchase Amex Premium Car Rental Protection) and access to roadside assistance and the Premier Global Assist Hotline services.

Citi Rewards+: Citi recently slashed protections on its cards, so the travel and shopping protections are no longer available on the Rewards+ (discontinued on September 22, 2019).

Winner: Amex EveryDay

Cell phone insurance can save your — and your company — money in case of accident or theft. (Photo by Zach Meaney on Unsplash)
The purchase protection, return protection and extended warranty benefits can come in handy for electronics purchases. (Photo by Zach Meaney on Unsplash)

Which One Should I Get?

If you’re just getting started with points and miles, either of these cards is a decent choice that let’s you try out a major points program without committing to the expense of an annual fee.

The Amex card offers at least some travel protections, decent earning opportunities with the supermarket bonus and 20% transaction-based bonus, plus the ability to take advantage of the Membership Rewards program’s phenomenal transfer partners.

The Citi Rewards+ pairs well with a more premium Citi card, but even on its own, it provides a solid cash-back value and interesting earning opportunities like category bonuses at both supermarkets at gas stations, not to mention the 10-point round-up feature and the 10% points redemption refund.

Should I Get Both Cards?

If you’re considering getting both cards, make sure you can meet the spending requirements for both their bonuses. Also, consider the implications if you’re thinking of applying for a more premium card with Amex or Citi down the line. Specifically with Citi, you typically cannot earn another sign-up bonus with an additional card from the ThankYou family within a 24-month period. So if you get the Citi Rewards+, you’ll have to wait at least 24 months to apply for the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige.

Getting both the Amex EveryDay and the Citi Rewards+ could be a worthwhile way to get started with Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards while avoiding high annual fees and giving you some time to decide which program deserves more of your attention. They are also compelling cards to carry if you tend to spend more on everyday purchases — specifically groceries — than in the travel and dining categories that Amex and Citi’s higher-end cards emphasize. However, remember that if you don’t have a premium Citi ThankYou card, you won’t have access to the full benefits of the Citi ThankYou Rewards program.

Bottom Line

Amex and Citi both field great no-annual-fee credit cards aimed squarely at points-and-miles beginners looking for a main loyalty program. The Amex EveryDay’s points are just as useful as those earned with American Express’ flagship products. However, the Citi Rewards+ might be a better cash-back option and its sign-up bonus has been consistently higher.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.