Citi Rewards+ Card Review: Round Up Points With No Annual Fee

Filed Under: Citi, Credit Cards
In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. Citi is an advertising partner of OMAAT. These are the best publicly available offers (terms apply) that we have found for each product or service. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about our partners, and thanks for your support!

2x points
at gas stations
2x points
at restaurants
round-up
bonus points
Annual Fee: $0

Understandably a lot of people are at least temporarily reassessing their approach to using credit cards. Some people are looking for ways to be more efficient with their strategy and spending, and for many that involves considering no annual fee cards.

In light of that, I wanted to take an in-depth look at the Citi Rewards+℠ Card, a popular no annual fee card. This card could potentially be worthwhile whether you’re considering applying for it outright, or just want to downgrade another Citi card to this one.

Citi Rewards+ Card Review

The Citi Rewards+ Card is a no annual fee card that a lot of people could benefit from. It has some features that you won’t find on other cards, like the ability to round up points on every purchase, some bonus categories, and a rebate on points redemptions. The card also makes a great complement to the Citi Premier® Card (review) or Citi Prestige.

So, does this card deserve a spot in your wallet?

Citi Rewards+ Card 15K Point Welcome Bonus

The Citi Rewards+ Card is offering a welcome bonus of 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 within the first three months from account opening.

Do note that the bonus ThankYou points aren’t available to those who have received a new cardmember bonus for the Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred, Citi Premier, or Citi Prestige, within the past 24 months. Furthermore, it’s not open to those who have closed any of the above cards in the past 24 months.

This is in addition to the typical rules for Citi card applications, like being approved for at most one Citi card every eight days, and at most two Citi cards every 65 days.

This card is also potentially available to you as a downgrade option. If you get the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige and have them for at least a year, you should be able to later downgrade either of those to the Citi Rewards+, for example.

Citi Rewards+ Card Bonus Categories

The Citi Rewards+ has a couple of useful bonuses that make this card worthwhile, and which are potentially particularly worthwhile in the current climate. The Citi Rewards+ offers:

  • 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations, for the first $6,000 spent per calendar year (and then 1x after that)
  • Rounds up purchases to the nearest 10 ThankYou points

Round ups are especially useful since even a $1 purchase would net you 10 ThankYou points

I like when card issuers think outside the box, and in this case, Citi was clearly thinking outside the box. Getting these kinds of bonus categories for a no annual fee card is great.

You can even combine the two bonus categories. If you spend $6 at a supermarket you’d earn 20 points — 12 points for earning 2x points, and then it would be rounded up to 20 points.

Citi Rewards+ Card 10% Points Back On Redemptions

In addition to the 2x points and “rounding up” feature, the card also offers a nice perk when redeeming points.

When you have the Citi Rewards+ Card you get 10% points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem per calendar year.

In other words, assuming you redeem at least 100,000 ThankYou points per year (even if they’re earned with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige), just having this card will earn you the equivalent of 10,000 points every year.

Citi Rewards+ Card No Annual Fee

I said it above, and I want to emphasize it again — the Citi Rewards+ Card has no annual fee, so this is a card you can hold onto long term without it costing you anything. Having some cards long term can also be great for your credit score, since it helps your average age of accounts.

What Kind Of ThankYou Points Does The Rewards+ Card Earn?

While the card earns ThankYou points, independently these points can’t be transferred to the Citi ThankYou airline partners, which is my preferred use of ThankYou points.

However, if you have this card in conjunction with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, then you can pool points at thankyou.com, and can redeem points that way. You should be able to link this card with other Citi cards using your Citibank login.

Assuming you plan on having the Premier or Prestige, the card will essentially earn points that can be transferred to airlines. Of course, that’s of limited use at the moment, given what’s going on in the world.

How Much Is A Citi Reward Point Worth?

Personally I think Citi ThankYou points are worth 1.7 cents each when they can be transferred to an airline or hotel partner. That’s what I value most of the major transferrable points currencies at.

The points you earn on the Citi Rewards+ Card can be worth that if you have the card in conjunction with one of the other cards above.

However, independently points earned on the card are only worth a cent each, so that’s not quite as valuable if you have the card independently.

Is The Citi Rewards+ Card Worth It?

The Citi Rewards+ Card is a fantastic complement to the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige.

This is true even if you don’t plan on spending any money on this card, as you’ll basically receive 10,000 ThankYou points back every year just for having this card, assuming you spend at least 100,000 ThankYou points per year.

On top of that, this card can actually be worth spending money on, for the 2x points on supermarkets and gas stations, not to mention the ability to have your purchases rounded up to the nearest 10 ThankYou points, which is great for small purchases.

However, it’s worth noting that you can also acquire this card by downgrading to it. So this is a card that in the future you could get by phoning up Citi and asking them to downgrade the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige.

Citi Rewards+ Vs. Citi Double Cash

My two favorite no annual fee cards are the Citi Rewards+ Card and the Citi® Double Cash Card (review). The way I view it, the Citi Double Cash is the all-around best no annual fee card:

  • The card earns 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase
  • In conjunction with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, rewards can be converted into ThankYou points (and then into airline miles) at a ratio of one point per cent, which is incredible
  • This essentially means that the Citi Double Cash can earn you two ThankYou points per dollar spent

With that in mind, I think both of these cards can make a lot of sense:

  • The Citi Double Cash is an incredibly well-rounded card for everyday spending, whether you’re looking to earn cash back or rewards points
  • The Citi Rewards+ is great for small purchases, and a fantastic complement to the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige

Personally I have the Double Cash, and I plan on picking up the Rewards+ soon.

Citi Rewards+ Card Summary

The Citi Rewards+ Card is a no annual fee card that can add value for earning and redeeming ThankYou points. You can earn 2x points per dollar spent in certain categories, and have your purchases rounded up to the nearest 10 points.

On top of that, having this card will get you up to 10,000 points back per year, thanks to the 10% points back on redemptions. Of course, this isn’t the ideal time to be earning travel rewards, but this card gives you a lot of flexibility in that regard.

With this card, I’m also happy to see Citi building more of a card economy. One of the great things about Amex and Chase is how many personal and business cards they have that earn their transferrable points currency, while Citi has a much more limited portfolio. Citi is moving more in the direction of Amex and Chase in that regard, which is exciting.

Lastly, if I could just choose one Citi no annual fee card, I’d go with the Citi Double Cash, as it’s my go-to card for everyday spending.

If you want to learn more about the Citi Rewards+ Card or apply, follow this link.

Apply Now

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Comments
  1. Great, I can just see all these idiots running every single item separately through the grocery self checkout. Thanks Citi for an easily gameable and annoying rewards structure.

  2. I love the idea of your “strategy,” Ben.

    Someone should post a parody cartoon of Lucky buying a latte at Starbucks, with his giant wallet of 20 credit cards, trying to figure out which one to use. With thought bubbles of everything going through his head: “If I get a latte, which is under $5, and I use this card I’ll get more towards x status, but if I use this one I’ll get double points for the next 24 hours, which I can use for my next R/T J ticket to Singapore, before Krisflyer devalues, etc.” 🙂

    This is written with affection BTW…I imagine you’re a more extreme version of what the rest of us are also doing!

  3. I guess it won’t take long before somebody designs a bot which automatically makes thousends of 1-cent purchases ..

  4. No different than people making multiple $1 amazon reloads to get 30 transactions on the Amex everyday preferred card

  5. @DanielT – which means, like every other good thing, this perk will be around for a very limited time

  6. This one is so subject to abuse that it cannot possibly last long. At a minimum, they will need to limit the round up to 10 points feature to in person swipes lest folks make hundreds of $1 amazon reloads or engage in other similar behaviors.

  7. Will you be able to get the bonus if you’ve open or closed a card that earns Thank You points in the past 24 months?

  8. Maybe I’m missing something painfully obvious, but isn’t this card useless for any purchase over $5?

    I mean it really is only good for very small purchases. Say you are using it for coffee purchases, if you have a card that even only gets 2x points on food, then this card is only good for sub $5 purchases (which I guess is every coffee purchase unless you buy breakfast too). If you have a card that gets 3x, or 4x, it goes down further.

    Even for nonbonused (which isn’t clarified if the round up to nearest 10 even qualifies for), once you hit $5, the Blue Biz plus wins out. Say a purchase is 16 dollars, you’re looking at 32 points for the Amex, or 20 for the Citi.

    If you’re looking to maximize literally down to the last cent, I guess it makes sense, but if you don’t spend a lot sub $5, whats the point of wasting a 5/24 slot? I guess each person would have to look at the cost benefit of having this take up a 5/24 slot just for small purchases vs having a card with significantly higher earning in a bonus category they spend a lot in?

    Not trying to trash it, but I just am trying to understand why its so exciting? I don’t buy a lot of coffee so I guess that’s why I’m having trouble with it.

  9. @ericnyc. That’s spot on. I also really appreciate, and get a kick out of, Lucky’s zeal for point maximization. But we have reached a point of diminishing returns when considering the points round up on a cup of coffee. Most people are only going to use one or two cards for daily spend.

  10. @GuruJanitor This isn’t really a card for the super-maximizers (that read this blog). It’s an interesting competitor to the Amex EverDay series, with the idea that rewards cards are most valuable to the company when people put all their spend on it. This is an easy to understand structure that encourages swipes. With no annual fee this will be understandably weaker in bonus categories.

    And please, please, please do not ever put personal spend on a business card. It isn’t just amex that might get angry. If you ever get a tax audit, it will be excruciatingly painful. I had a friend that ended up paying over $1500 in penalties to the state because he couldn’t justify which expenses were business deductions. This is far more than the value of the points.

  11. One benefit of a no fee Citi card that I don’t think bloggers focus on enough is extended warranty permanence. Citi’s Extended warranty coverage is the best (by a considerable margin) but that’s not what I’m saying. I’m noting that if you buy on a card and cancel that card in a year or two, your extended coverage for previously purchased items is then gone (at least based on my read of Terms and Conditions). So we now use the Costco Citi card for all purchases that we want extended coverage on (not limited to Costco purchases). The points return is not optimal but we’ll always have that card and can count on the extended warranties to be there through the intended warranty coverage period.

  12. How much are you going to complicate your life for 17 cents a purchase? What am I missing? missing something?

  13. Citi will ban you from Citi as a whole if you do bulk transactions abusing the system. Try doing 100 microtransactions just to get 1,000 TYP and get banned for life. Good luck

  14. If my wife applies for this card without a Prestige or Premier card – can she transfer the points to me to transfer to airlines as I do have the Prestige card?

  15. For a no fee card from Citi, there is no better card than the Citi Costco Visa to Costco members. Without Costco membership the second best no fee card in my opinion is the Barclay’s Uber Visa. There are better cards but all of those require an AF.

  16. What exactly does “Round up your purchase to the nearest 10 ThankYou points” mean?
    You said ” If you make a $1 purchase, for example, you’ll earn 10 ThankYou points” so is that a one-time thing? Or if I’m buying stuff, I can just separate into several purchases and earn 10x points or so?

  17. @Robel Mahari Habte – It means they round up your earnings to the nearest 10 Thank You points. So, if you spend $4 on a cable, you earn 10 points in instead of just 4. If you spend $23 on a book, you earn 30 points instead of just 23, etc.

  18. Is it certain that round up only means UP? If you buy something for $21, could it also be rounded to $20, instead of $30?

  19. Whats the:
    Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection
    Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
    Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance

    In comparison to Chase’s coverage (for Sapphire Preferred/CSR)?

    That may be another reason to consider this. Also foreign transaction fees?

  20. ThankYou Points can be taken from you at Citi’s whim. They took 129,000 from my account without prior notification or specific reasons.

  21. How certain are you that ty points earned on this card can be used as though they were earned on another owned typ card? I had a bunch of points from outside my Prestige card, and combined them with the Prestige card points. But Citibank still wouldn’t let me use them at 1.6 cents toward AA tickets when they allowed that, and more recently wouldn’t allow them to be transferred to Flying Blue. And nothing could extend their expiration, according to Customer Service. I ended up getting gift cards with them just before they expired last week.

  22. @ Lucky – speaking of points, I wonder your opinion about the recent WSJ piece “Rewards Credit Cards Gained a Fanatic Following—Now Banks Are Pulling Back”

  23. Even if someone games the system by making a ton of $1 purchases, Citi still makes money because they collect a cut of the swipe fee from Mastercard that the merchant pays. Thats why some smaller stores/restaurants have a minimum purchase amount to use a credit card.

  24. “Personally I think Citi ThankYou points are worth 1.7 cents each when they can be transferred to an airline or hotel partner.” What hotel partners would you be referring?

    I have been a holder of the Citi Prestige for several years. I got the Citi Premier shortly before the announced changes of the Prestige with intentions of getting rid of the Prestige because I rarely stay 4 nights in the same hotel. Now, I believe I will downgrade the Premier to this card. I don’t buy enough gas to make holding the Premier worthwhile.

  25. @ Alex — That’s correct. It’s no different than how points on some Amex and Chase cards can’t be transferred to airlines unless you have a premium card.

  26. Lucky,

    I earned a Citi Premier sign up bonus this year. My understanding is that I cannot receive the sign-up bonus for this card… But if I apply for this card and transfer my miles (about 70,000 so far) to an airline, I still get 10% back right? May be worth an application…

  27. @Alex and @Lucky – i confirm about the 10% back on airline transfers (as long as you have a premium card product and points are combined across accounts, of course, as written). The points post on the next billing cycle.

  28. This card seems to be only worthwhile for the 15,0000 point sign up bonus and then just hold long term as no fee to improve your FICO score.

    Best idea for small purchases is to buy a Visa GC with a card that give 4 or 5 points at grocery store. Then the gift card will always be better for any purchase over $2.00 or $2.50

    Purchases under that threshold, use the Everyday Pfd to help make the 30 charge target each month.

  29. As @GuruJanitor mentioned, the rounding up is not as lucrative as it seems to be. Citi Prestige gives 5x on dining (which is one of the cards you “should” have to make Rewards+ worthwhile) so even for a coffee, at $2, the prestige is already giving 10 points and beyond $2 there’s no value in using the Rewards+ card. So its essentially sub $2 purchases which only abusers would go to the length of doing it. I think the best value is the 10% back on TY redemption. THAT is very smart of Citi. With the reduction in benefits of Prestige, i was contemplating getting out my TY points collection but then i had about 200K of them to use. I ended up converting my double cash to Rewards+ and that made the Rewards+Prestige a pretty compelling combo.

  30. For ongoing spending, though, I do think the Freedom Unlimited is a better “companion card” than this card or even the Everyday Preferred. I have been exploring Citi vs Chase recently, and I think I am still coming down on the side of Chase, especially given Chase is a better compliment to Amex than Citi is…

  31. I product switched to this card from the Preferred no fee card when the Rewards+ was introduced. I have it combined with the Premier and am very happy. I earn 2 points on groceries.
    One thing that has been great has been that twice Citi has offered a targeted special bonus of 5 points per dollar on internet purchases for a period of two months! Quickly switching my Amazon Prime preferred payment during this bonus period has earned me lots of points.

  32. Unfortunately another card meant only for US residents and for purchases in the US…not for traveling the world, at least not without losing 3% on every foreign purchase. Darn it!

  33. The card has it’s uses in a very limited situation. But if you already have 15 credit cards adding one more probably won’t matter.

    @DanielT

    It will not work.
    Something similar was tried (for entirely different purpose) and the fraud department shut it down from multiple consecutive charges in a short time period.
    What will work is an actual card swipe. But where can you find a 0.01 charge to swipe that will be worth hours swiping.
    Also, at 0.01 the merchant is losing money every transaction, so they will shut you down too.

  34. The benefit I can see for this card is to improve FICO score by holding long term and 10,000 TY points refunded annually. ($170 value)

    I would not be trying game system – however I do have an Apple iCloud charge of 99 cents each month – maybe?? hahaha

    The 15,000 sign up is an added bonus

    I recently product changed Premier to Double Cash. Does this count as ‘cancelling’ the Premier card so not eligible for the sign up bonus??

  35. Is “you should be able to later downgrade either of those to the Citi Premier+,” a typo? Really “you should be able to later downgrade either of those to the Citi Rewards+”?

  36. After having this card for almost a year, a few observations:

    While the round up feature sounds interesting, I have not really earned many points that way. At most I have used it 5 times a month, so in a year that will net me a few hundred points. The 10% point rebate is really the key. That can earn you 10K points a year, which makes it worth holding on to.

    Keep in mind the 10% back actually is added to your account like it was earned on the credit card. So the “taxable” Thankyou points that you get from banking, goodwill points, etc., when redeemed, come back to you as regular TYP when your statement closes. To put it another way–when you redeem 10K points that you got from banking (which you cannot transfer to airlines), you get back 1000 points that you can transfer to airlines.

    The 15K SUB is not worth it. Citi is quite generous with product conversions, not requiring you to stick to one family of cards. I signed up for an AA Platinum card (with first year annual fee waived), then product changed that to a Rewards+. Signing up for a Premier card and downgrading would also be a great option.

  37. @david
    “improve FICO score by holding long term and 10,000 TY points refunded annually.”

    It depends, if your score is 750+ holding a low credit line card doesn’t help much. If you’re active on getting cards and the average age will still get affect more that a card can help.
    But overall, it doesn’t really hurt you until someone decides to change the whole system and put a limit on how many cards you can hold.

    10,000 refund is also not for everybody. That means you will earn 100k points a year, that isn’t what average people can charge on a card annually. The Prestige used to have lots of airfare spend on them, now it goes to other cards.
    Redeeming 100k points is also little tricky. Needing to meet several status spend requirements mean I actually burn less than earn (which really is not good). For many, getting business reimbursements from redemptions is almost impossible too.

    So calculate your spending and redemptions too.

    “I recently product changed Premier to Double Cash. Does this count as ‘cancelling’ the Premier card so not eligible for the sign up bonus??”
    Yes, you have to wait 24 months from the day you change.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *