The American Express Everyday card and the Citi Rewards + are two great no annual fee cards. Both cards are fantastic for those who want to fly domestically or internationally while saving on annual fees. Beginners who want to travel the world will also benefit from either of these cards.
The Amex Everyday Card currently has a public bonus of 10,000 Membership Rewards (MR) points. Those points can be earned after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. This card also has a targeted bonus of 25,000 points for $1,000 spend.
The Citi Rewards + has a bonus of 15,000 ThankYou (TY) points. Those points can be earned by spending $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Balance Transfer Offer
The Everyday card is one of the few points and miles cards with a balance transfer offer. You will have a 0% interest rate on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. This is great if you decide to float a balance. But I always recommend paying in full.
The Rewards + does not have a balance transfer offer. Check out the Citi Simplicity or Citi Diamond cards if balance transfers are what you’re after.
The Everyday Card earns 2x MR points at Grocery Stores for the first $6,000 spent per year. Other purchases will earn you only one point per dollar with no spend limit. You will receive a 20% points bonus if you use your card at least 20 times per month. The points bonus gives you the potential to earn 2.4x at Grocery Stores and 1.2x on everything else.
The Citi Rewards + earns 2x TY points at Grocery Stores and at Gas Stations. But the beauty of this card comes through rounding. Citi rounds up the amount of points earned to the nearest 10 for all purchases. This makes the Rewards + one of the best cards for small purchases. For example, if you spend $1 at a convenience store, you will receive 10 points.
The better earner of is the Citi Rewards + by a mile! It has more bonus categories and the rounding rule to help you maximize your TY points.
Both cards earn different points “currencies”, meaning that they have different transfer partners. The winner depends on your travel itinerary and preference of travel partners.
The Everyday Card is the best for domestic travel but is also nice for international travel. Meanwhile, the Rewards + is best for international travel. Hotel dwellers should probably look elsewhere since neither card has strong hotel partners.
The Everyday Card has the distinction of being the only personal credit card that lets you transfer points directly to cardholders. This is huge because you don’t need an MR-earning card with annual fee. The Citi Rewards + requires you to have either the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige to transfer points to its partners. This is similar to how the Chase “ecosystem” works.
The Rewards + wins for those who don’t want to transfer points to partners. This is because you can redeem points for 1 cent each via their travel portal. Amex has their own website, but you will get less than 1 cent per point when using points to pay for travel.
Credit Limit and Income
American Express is one of the most lenient issuers with minimum credit limits. This is because they’re not limited by their card network. Amex revolvers have minimum limits of $500, making them easier to get for those with low income.
However, the Citi Rewards + is a (regular) MasterCard, which also has a $500 minimum limit. The Rewards + was also designed for beginners and those with at least middling credit and income.
I would call this category a tie because both cards have the same minimum credit limit. Income does not matter as much since both cards could be obtained with a high enough income.
As with everything credit and travel related, your mileage may vary. Both of these no annual fee cards are great options, but they each have strengths and weaknesses:
The Amex Everyday has a great travel partners and a balance transfer offer. Its also the only personal credit card out there that lets you directly transfer points to partners without an annual fee. However, it has a meager sign-up bonus and earning structure. It’s also the best cards for those with lower income and excellent credit.
The Citi Rewards + doesn’t have a balance transfer offer or the best set of travel partners for domestic travelers. You also need a TY-points earning card with annual fee to fully access the partners. However, it has a great earning structure and the larger sign-up bonus.
Consider your other cards, travel itinerary, and loyalty to transfer partners. Also consider which points currency you want to collect.