Credit Card Review: Citi Rewards+ Card

Jan 27, 2019

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Official application link: Citi Rewards+℠ Card

On Jan. 10, Citi introduced two new no annual fee cards: the Citi Rewards+℠ Card and Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card. These cards made a quick splash since earnings on all purchases are rounded up to the nearest 10 points — which means that all purchases earn at least 10 points. For example, a 50-cent pack of gum and a $9.99 meal will each earn 10 points. So, this card is great for maximizing earning on everyday purchases.

The main drawbacks for this card are a 3% foreign-transaction fee and earning just 1 ThankYou point per dollar spent on most spending categories. The only bonus categories on the Rewards+ card are gas stations and grocery stores, each of which earn 2 points per dollar spent.

In This Post

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. And, if you already have the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier℠ Card, the points earned by the Rewards+ will be even more valuable since you can move them to your full-fledged ThankYou points account and then transfer them to partners.

If you’re looking to move a balance from another card or need to finance a purchase, the Rewards+ offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% – 24.99% based on your creditworthiness, so be sure to pay off your balance completely within the introductory APR period.

The Rewards+ has a 3% foreign-transaction fee, so you won’t want to use this card when traveling abroad.

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

Sign-Up Bonus

The Citi Rewards+ Card is offering a 15,000-point sign-up bonus after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening. 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. If you won’t be able to spend $1,000 within three months or you need an introductory card, the Citi Rewards+ Student Card offers 2,500 points after you spend $500 on purchases within three months of account opening.

The sign-up bonus isn’t available if you received a new card member bonus for Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, or if you have closed any of these cards, in the past 24 months.

Earning

Earn 2x at grocery stores and gas stations. Image by Parinda Yatha / EyeEm / Getty Images.
Earn 2x at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year. Image by Parinda Yatha / EyeEm / Getty Images.

The Rewards+ Card earns 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per calendar year and 1x points thereafter. You’ll earn 1x points on all other purchases.

Merchants must classify themselves as a supermarket or gas station in order for you to earn 2x points. So, 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 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.”

But, the card is perfectly designed for all of your natural spending that happens 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 Rewards+ 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 4 points (2x earning) 10 points (1x earning, rounded up)
$6 burrito at a cafe 12 points (2x earning) 10 points (1x earning, rounded up)
50 cent pack of gum at a grocery store 0.5 points (1x earning) 10 points (2x earning, rounded up)
$16 grocery store purchase 16 points (1x earning) 40 points (2x earning, rounded up)
$0.50 public transit ticket 1.5 points (3x earning) 10 points (1x earning, rounded up)
$4 public transit ticket 12 points (3x 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 Rewards+ for grocery purchases. But, 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.

Redeeming

The points earned by the Rewards+ are considered “basic” Citi ThankYou points that you can redeem at 1 cent each toward travel booked through the Citi portal, gift cards or statement credits. 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. You can also transfer your points directly to JetBlue at a ratio of 5:4.

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 and then transfer them to partners such as Avianca LifeMiles and Etihad Guest. This increases the value of the points you earn with the Rewards+ from 1 cent each to approximately 1.7 cents each.

Benefits

The Rewards+ Card previously offered shopping protections when you used your Rewards+ card, or in some cases ThankYou points associated with the card, for purchases. Unfortunately, the following shopping protections were discontinued for the Rewards+ Card on September 22, 2019. As a Rewards+ card holder, you’ll also have access to the Citi Concierge and Citi Private Pass.

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 Rewards+ should be compared against other no annual fee credit cards like The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Citi® Double Cash Card.

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is perhaps the most similar to the Rewards+ card because it provides 2x points on the first $6,000 you spend at US supermarkets each year. 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 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 — which drastically improves your potential return when using the card.

The Citi® Double Cash Card provides 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay. However, you can’t earn ThankYou points because the Double Cash Card is solely a cash-back card.

The information for the Amex EveryDay, 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.

Bottom Line

The Citi Rewards+ Card can be a good choice if you make small purchases frequently — 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.

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

This new card has no annual fee, 2x bonus categories capped at $6,000 per year, and a unique "rounding up" feature to boost your points earnings. So if you spend $2 on a coffee or water bottle, you'll earn 10 points for the transaction plus you'll also get 10% of your points back on the first 100,000 you redeem per year, so up to 10,000 points back per year.

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More Things to Know
  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Intro APR on Purchases
0% intro for 15 months on Purchases
Regular APR
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Balance Transfer Fee
3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
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.

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