Citi Rewards+ credit card: Boost earning rates on all your Citi ThankYou points-earning cards
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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, on up to $6,000 per year (and 1x thereafter), as well as two relatively unique features. First, it rounds the earnings on all purchases up 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: The best Citi credit cards of 2021
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. 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 1 cent per point. But if you have the Citi Prestige® Card (not available to new applicants) or Citi Premier® Card, the points earned by the Rewards+ can become potentially even more valuable. That’s because you can combine the ThankYou Rewards points earned on your Citi Rewards+ account with those from the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige and then transfer them to the ThankYou Rewards program’s 16 airline partners (plus American Airlines AAdvantage through Nov. 13, 2021).
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.
If you’re looking to move a balance from another card or need to finance a purchase, the Citi Rewards+ Card offers a 0% introductory annual percentage rate 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. The card has a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of the transfer, whichever is greater and transfers must be completed in the first four months of account opening.
The Citi Rewards+ Card is offering a limited-time 20,000-point bonus after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within the first three months of account opening. However, the sign-up bonus isn’t available if you’ve received a new cardmember bonus for any of the following cards — or if you’ve closed any of these accounts — in the past 24 months:
- Citi Rewards+.
- Citi ThankYou Preferred (not available to new applicants).
- Citi Premier Card.
- Citi Prestige Card (not available to new applicants).
You can redeem these 20,000 points for $200 in gift cards. But if you also have the Citi Prestige or the Citi Premier, 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 $340, based on TPG’s valuations.
Main benefits and perks
Being a no-annual-fee card, the Citi Rewards+ Card doesn’t offer many benefits. Its bread and butter is in its points accrual (which we’ll cover in just a second).
However, the card is set up for contactless payment so that 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: The best no-annual-fee credit cards
How to earn points
The Citi Rewards+ Card earns 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations on the first $6,000 per year and 1x points thereafter. You’ll also earn 1x ThankYou points on all other eligible purchases.
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 instance, you could purchase a $3 coffee at a restaurant and earn 10 points. If you use your card at a supermarket and make $42 in purchases, your earning would be 84 points (since it’s a 2x category) then rounded up to the nearest 10, which is 90 points total.
Obviously, this rounding could be exploited. So the card’s terms and conditions explicitly prohibit “fraud, misuse, abuse, or suspicious activity” that includes “Using your Card Accounts or Citibank Checking Account in an abusive manner for the primary purpose of acquiring 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 your threshold for using the Citi Rewards+ Card 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)|
|50-cent 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 and most restaurant purchases. For all other categories, 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.
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 1 cent each or redeem for gift cards at a value of 1 cent each. 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 in a year, you’ll receive 1,000 of those points back.
But if you also have the Citi Prestige or the Citi Premier, you can move points from your Citi Rewards+ account to your Prestige or Premier account and 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 1 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 or give you a blanket rebate on the points you redeem, 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.
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 Amex EveryDay Credit Card from American Express is perhaps the most similar to the Citi Rewards+ Card because it accrues 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% points 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 most 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 have one of these Ultimate Rewards cards, using the card is like earning 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points on most eligible purchases since you can combine your points with those from your other card. It also features several bonus categories, including 5%/5x on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards and 3%/3x on dining and drugstore purchases, drastically improving your potential return.
The Citi Double Cash Card provides 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay off your statement. Cardholders can convert cash back to ThankYou points via a linked ThankYou account, as well. If you can maximize your bonus category spending and the 10-point round-up with the Citi Rewards+, though, it might still be a better card for your needs.
The Citi Rewards+ Card can be a good choice if you make small purchases frequently or benefit from a 10% return on redeemed points, 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 20,000-point sign-up bonus.
Additional reporting by Joseph Hostetler.
Featured photo by Josh Gribben/The Points Guy.
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