Why the Citi Rewards+ is great for college students

Jun 1, 2021

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The Citi Rewards+® Card launched in January 2019 with some notable features. While perhaps not as luxurious as other cards, these features make it a great option for college students looking for their first credit card.

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We take a look at why the Citi Rewards+ Card may be the right card for you.

You don’t have to have a large budget to maximize rewards

The Citi Rewards+ is a great beginner card for college students. (Photo by David Butow/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Citi Rewards+ earns 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 in combined purchases each year (1x after). While the $6,000 annual cap might not work for those with high monthly budgets or large families, a typical college student isn’t going to spend more than $500 on those bonus categories each month.

On top of its bonus categories, the card offers a unique round-up feature. On every purchase, your rewards will automatically round up to the nearest 10 points. That means your $2 library vending machine raid during a study break will actually earn 10 points. This feature also works on 2x bonus category purchases. That $31 supermarket run to restock on ramen noodles and bagel bites will earn 40 points. This feature makes it easy to maximize rewards on smaller purchases, so you don’t have to spend a ton to earn points.  

It doesn’t cost you anything in annual fees

All of those benefits I just walked through? You’ll get those without having to pay an annual fee. In college, you may not have the budget for annual fees, even if you’re theoretically earning enough to offset the cost by the end of the year. The Citi Rewards+ Card is a no-annual-fee card you can keep in your wallet throughout and beyond undergrad.

If you end up keeping the  Citi Rewards+ in your wallet past your college days, you can always pair it with other Citi ThankYou cards to gain full access to the Citi ThankYou program, including Citi’s transfer partners. 

Approval for the card is easier

Students may not have multiple years of established credit or a 750+ credit score — which is why many have to settle for subpar cards to build credit before they can start earning rewards. The Citi Rewards+ Card‘s approval criteria is catered to those with minimal credit history, so you could still be approved even if you’re just getting started.

Someone checking their credit score on a smart phone
You don’t need a top-notch credit score to be approved for the Citi Rewards+ Card. (Photo by cnythzl/Getty Images)

If you’re a student who happens to have a few years of credit history and a solid credit score, you may be better off choosing a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. If you are a true beginner just starting, this is a solid option.

Bottom line

The Citi Rewards+ Card is an option for students just starting to dip their toes in the water with travel rewards. You can start to build up your credit in college without sacrificing your ability to earn solid rewards.

Of course, if you have an established credit history, there are more valuable credit cards to consider, even if you’re still a beginner.

Apply here for the Citi Rewards+ Card with an offer of 20,000 ThankYou bonus points after you spend $1,500 on purchases with your card within the first three months of account opening. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5 ThankYou points per dollar on air travel and hotels up to $6,000 in the first 12 months; then 1 point per dollar spent thereafter.

For rates and fees on the Citi Rewards+ Card, click here.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.