Citi Rewards+ Card Rounds Up Points With No Annual Fee

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Citi has just recently started accepting applications for their newest card, the Citi Rewards+℠ Card. It’s a card I’m pretty excited about, because it has an especially unique feature.

Citi Rewards+ Card benefits & bonus categories

Applications are now live for the Citi Rewards+ Card. This card has no annual fee, and has a very interesting rewards structure that we’ve never seen before on a card. The card:

  • Rounds up purchases to the nearest 10 ThankYou points
  • Offers 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations, for the first $6,000 spent per year
  • Gives you 10% of your points back for the first 100,000 points you redeem per year

The card also comes with the following benefits:

  • Access to presale tickets and VIP experiences for thousands of events each year through Citi Private Pass
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection
  • Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
  • Damage & Theft Protection
  • Extended Warranty
  • 90 Day Return Protection

Citi Rewards+ Card welcome bonus

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

Do note the following terms when it comes to eligibility for this card:

Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these cards, in the past 24 months.

Reports already suggest that it’s possible to product change the Citi Preferred, Premier, or Prestige to this card, should you want to do that, rather than outright applying for the card.

My take on the new Citi Rewards+ Card

To me, that first benefit is by far the most interesting. If you make a $1 purchase on the Citi Rewards+ Card, for example, you’ll earn 10 ThankYou points, so that’s a pretty incredible return for small purchases.

While there are lots of great credit card bonus categories nowadays, a lot of them overlap quite a bit. That’s why I’m not that excited about the bonus on supermarkets and gas stations, though I guess for a no annual fee card those are pretty good bonus categories.

Citi has introduced something really unique here, which we haven’t yet seen on any other card, and I really like that.

What kind of ThankYou points does the Rewards+ Card offer?

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℠ Card or Citi Prestige® Card, 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.

Given that I always plan on having the Premier or Prestige, the card will essentially earn points that can be transferred to airlines.

The one thing to keep in mind is that if you want to transfer the points earned on this card to the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier using the points sharing feature, that wouldn’t qualify for the 10% refund on redeemed points. So personally that’s a benefit I don’t put that much value on.

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. Personally that’s what I value all the major transferrable points currencies at.

So 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.

Bottom line

I’m really excited about the new Citi Rewards+ Card, and it’s a card I plan on picking up.

I obviously have a complicated credit card strategy to maximize rewards, and this card will complicate it even further, as I’ll always be thinking about whether I should use this card for a purchase based on the round-up feature.

I’m also happy to see Citi building more of a card ecosystem. 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.

What do you make of the new Citi Rewards+ Card?

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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.

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