Citi Rewards+ credit card review
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Citi Rewards+ Card overview
The Citi Rewards+® Card is a no-annual-fee card that offers 2x earning at gas stations and grocery stores, as well as two relatively unique features. First, it rounds the earnings on all purchases to the nearest 10 points. Second, it gives you 10% back on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½
*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
A reader recently emailed us describing why he believes the Citi ThankYou Rewards program is the most underappreciated and misunderstood program out there. One critical component of his strategy for maximizing the Citi ThankYou Rewards program is the no-annual-fee Citi Rewards+ Card, which Citi introduced in 2019.
The Citi Rewards+ Card is unique in that earnings on all purchases are rounded up to the nearest 10 points, but there are also other aspects to the card that can be useful to select cardholders. Let’s take a closer look at this card so you can decide whether it is a valuable addition to your wallet.
Related reading: The best Citi credit cards of 2020
Who is this card for?
The Citi Rewards+ Card is great if you make lots of small purchases because each purchase will be rounded up to the nearest 10 points. So even a 50-cent pack of gum will earn 10 points.
Most cardholders will get the most value from their points by redeeming them for gift cards at a rate of one cent per point. But if you have the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier® Card, the points earned by the Rewards+ can become even more valuable, since you can then move them to the ThankYou Rewards account associated with that card.
If you’re looking to move a balance from another card or need to finance a purchase, the Citi Rewards+ Card offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for the first 15 months from account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 13.49% – 23.49% based on your creditworthiness, so be sure to pay off your balance completely within the introductory APR period.
Related reading: Who should get the Citi Rewards+ Card?
The information for the 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.
The Citi Rewards+ Card offers a 15,000-point sign-up bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening. However, the sign-up bonus isn’t available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi Premier or Citi Prestige — or if you have closed any of these accounts — in the past 24 months.
You can redeem these 15,000 points for a $150 gift card. But if you also have the Citi Prestige or the Citi Premier® Card, you can move points from your Rewards+ account to your Prestige or Premier account. Doing so allows you to transfer your points to airline partners, in which case the bonus is worth $255, based on TPG’s valuations.
Main benefits and perks
Being a no-annual-fee card, the Citi Rewards+ Card doesn’t offer many benefits. However, the card is set up for contactless payment, so you can tap and go. You’ll also get access to Citi Concierge and Citi Entertainment, both of which can provide useful assistance. However, you won’t want to use the Citi Rewards+ Card when traveling abroad, since the card levies a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Related reading: The best no-annual-fee credit cards
How to earn points
Merchants must classify themselves as a supermarket or gas station for you to earn 2x points. So, online supermarkets, warehouse clubs, wholesale clubs, superstores, discount stores, department stores and convenience stores may not provide 2x earning. The card’s terms and conditions also explicitly exclude “fuel purchased for commercial purposes or used for non-automobile purposes” from 2x earning, as well as the following types of merchants:
“General merchandise/discount superstores, freezer/meat locker provisioners, dairy product stores, miscellaneous food/convenience stores, markets, drugstores, warehouse clubs, wholesale clubs, specialty vendors, bakeries, candy stores, nut stores, confectionery stores and meal kit delivery services.”
One of the Citi Rewards+ Card‘s selling points is that all earning is rounded to the nearest 10 points. For supermarket and gas station purchases that earn 2x points, they’ll first calculate the 2x points and then round up to the nearest 10 points. Obviously, this rounding could be exploited. So the card’s terms and conditions explicitly prohibit “fraud, misuse, abuse, or suspicious activity” that include “using your card account in an abusive manner for the primary purpose of acquiring ThankYou Points.”
The Citi Rewards+ Card is perfectly designed for all of your expenses that happen to be small. Indeed, all supermarket and gas station purchases of $5 and under and all other purchases of $10 and under will earn 10 points. If you want to maximize your earning while spending normally, consider what your threshold for using the Citi Rewards+ Card will be in each spending category. This will be based on the other credit cards you have. So, for example, let’s see how your earning would stack up for some sample purchases if you have the Citi Premier and the Citi Rewards+:
|Purchase||Using the Citi Premier||Using the Citi Rewards+|
|$2 coffee at a gas station||6 points (3x earning)||10 points (2x earning, rounded up)|
|$16 of gas at a gas station||48 points (3x earning)||40 points (2x earning, rounded up)|
|$2 coffee at a cafe||6 points (3x earning)||10 points (1x earning, rounded up)|
|$6 burrito at a cafe||18 points (3x earning)||10 points (1x earning, rounded up)|
|50 cent pack of gum at a grocery store||1.5 points (3x earning)||10 points (2x earning, rounded up)|
|$16 grocery store purchase||48 points (3x earning)||40 points (2x earning, rounded up)|
|$0.50 public transit ticket||0.5 points (1x earning)||10 points (1x earning, rounded up)|
|$4 public transit ticket||4 points (1x earning)||10 points (1x earning, rounded up)|
So, if you only have the Citi Premier and the Citi Rewards+, you’ll always want to use the Premier for grocery purchases. For all other purchases, you’ll want to use the Rewards+ for small purchases and the Premier for larger purchases — you just need to find the break-even point for each spending category.
Related reading: The best cash-back credit cards for each bonus category
How to redeem points
The points earned by the Citi Rewards+ Card are considered “basic” Citi ThankYou points that you can redeem at Amazon or Best Buy for purchases at a value of less than one cent each, redeem for gift cards at a value of one cent each or transfer to JetBlue at a 5:4 ratio. When you redeem your points, you’ll receive 10% points back for the first 100,000 points redeemed per calendar year. This means that if you redeem 10,000 points, you’ll receive 1,000 points back.
But if you also have the Citi Prestige Card or the Citi Premier® Card, you can move points from your Citi Rewards+ Card account to your Prestige or Premier account and then transfer them to partners such as Avianca LifeMiles and Etihad Guest. This increases the value of the points you earn with the Citi Rewards+ from one cent each to approximately 1.7 cents each.
Which cards compete with the Citi Rewards+?
No other cards round up your earnings to the nearest 10 points, so there’s no direct competitor. But, the Citi Rewards+ Card should be compared against other no-annual fee credit cards such as The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Citi® Double Cash Card.
Two competitors are the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Citi Double Cash Card. (Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy) The Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express is perhaps the most similar to the Citi Rewards+ Card because it provides 2x points on the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1x). Plus, the card rewards making at least 20 transactions in a month with a 20% point bonus, so you’ll probably be making lots of small purchases with either card.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid card that earns 1.5% cash back on purchases if you don’t have a full-fledged Chase Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. If you do have one of these Ultimate Rewards cards, you’ll earn 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points on all purchases, which drastically improves your potential return.
The Citi Double Cash Card provides 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay. However, you can’t earn ThankYou points because the Double Cash Card is solely a cash-back card. As of September 2019, cardholders can convert their cash back to ThankYou Points via a linked ThankYou account.
Related reading: Best no-annual-fee cash-back credit cards for at home and abroad
The information for the Amex EveryDay card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
The Citi Rewards+ Card can be a good choice if you make small purchases frequently or can benefit from a 10% return, especially if you have a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier that can boost the value of the ThankYou points earned by the Rewards+ Card. I wouldn’t recommend it as your sole credit card, though. After all, there are other cards with no annual fee that provide uncapped bonus earning in the supermarket and/or gas categories or better earning on everyday spending.
Apply here for the Citi Rewards+ Card with a 15,000-point sign-up bonus.
Featured image by Josh Gribben/The Points Guy.
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