Citi discontinued its no annual fee Thank You Preferred card in late 2018. But Citi recently announced that they were releasing a replacement card. Enter the Citi Rewards +, which comes out on January 10.
This card is a great no annual fee card that earns Citi Thank You (TY) points in two useful bonus categories. If you travel internationally and want a possible long-term keeper card, this is a good one.
The Citi Rewards + has a unique earning structure that I have never seen before. It earns 2x TY points at Grocery Stores and Gas Stations. The card also earns 1x points on everything else.
The uniqueness comes from the rules of rounding. Citi rounds up the amount of points earned to the nearest 10 for all purchases. This is fantastic for small purchases. For example, if you spend $1 at a convenience store, you will receive 10 points.
This card has a sign-up bonus of 15,000 TY points. The bonus can be earned after spending just $1,000 in the first 3 months.
Earning points is fantastic, but points earned are useless if you cannot redeem them for anything of value. You can redeem points for cash back, gift cards, and travel booked directly with Citi. Points are worth 1 cent per point (CPP) when redeemed all three ways.
You also receive a 10% rebate bonus when you redeem points. It doesn’t matter how you redeem them. This is like the 5% rebate bonus from the Barclaycard Arrival +.
Transfer partners are not directly available to Rewards + cardholders. You need a Premier or Prestige card to transfer your points. This is just like having either of the Chase Freedom cards without a Sapphire or Ink Business Preferred card.
Despite being a no-annual fee card, Citibank doesn’t leave cardholders empty handed. These perks rival those from some mid-tier cards.
Citi Private Pass
This perk gives you access to a multitude of presale tickets and VIP experiences. If you’re a concert or sports lover, Citi Private Pass will help you get to events faster.
Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption Insurance
If you need to cancel your trip because of an unexpected event, this benefit gives you up to $5,000 per trip for non-refundable expenses. Plane tickets, hotel rooms, and tours are included.
Car Rental Insurance
This benefit covers the entire loss, damage, or theft of your car rental. But its level (primary or secondary) will depend on your location.
Citi offers Primary coverage with this card if you’re outside of the United States. That means you don’t have to accept the car rental company’s insurance policy if you use your card. If you’re within the United States, Citi offers Secondary coverage.
Citi covers up to $75,000 per car, regardless of your location.
Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
This perk gives up to $500,000 in travel insurance in the event something tragic happens. You will receive up to the full amount depending on the severity of the accident.
Damage & Theft Protection
You can receive up to $10,000 if an item you bought is stolen or damaged. Each cardholder is eligible for up to $50,000 per calendar year.
Citibank is the best issuer for extended warranty. You will receive an extra two years of warranty on purchases with warranties of five years or less.
90 Day Return Protection
Citi will refund your money if you decide to return an item within 90 days of purchasing and the merchant doesn’t take it back.
Rules & Regulations
Citi has several rules to consider before applying for one of their cards. While these rules are annoying, they serve as a reminder to be certain before applying. However, their main purpose is to dissuade “churners” from getting sign-up bonuses.
The 1/24 Rule states that you cannot receive a sign-up bonus if you opened or closed a card within the same family in 24 months. For this card, you can’t receive a bonus if you opened a Citi TY Preferred, Premier, or Prestige within the last two years.
Also, the 6 Inquiries Rule states that those with more than 5 hard inquiries in 6 months will be automatically denied.
The 1/8 Rule states that only one card can be approved within a rolling 8-day period. Its corollary, the 2/65 Rule, states that only two cards can be approved within a rolling 65-day period.
What if the Citi Rewards+ is not for you? Here are some alternatives that might be better:
American Express’ most premium credit card earns Membership Rewards (MR) points in the same categories as the Citi Rewards +.
It earns 3x MR points per dollar at Grocery Stores, 2x at Gas Stations, and 1x on everything else. If you use your card at least 30 times per month, you will receive a 50% points bonus. You can earn 4.5x points at Grocery Stores, 3x at Gas Stations, and 1.5x on everything else with the bonus.
This card has a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year). It also has a sign-up bonus of 15,000 MR points that can be earned after spending just $1,000 in the first 3 months.
This stripped-down version of the Everyday Preferred earns MR points in Grocery Stores. However, it has no annual fee and a smaller points bonus.
It earns 2x MR points per dollar at Grocery Stores and 1x on everything else (including gas stations). If you use your card at least 20 times per month, you will receive a 20% points bonus. You can earn 2.4x points at Grocery Stores and 1.2x on everything else with the bonus.
This card has a sign-up bonus of 10,000 MR points that can be earned after spending just $1,000 in the first 3 months.
This no annual fee card from Chase earns Ultimate Rewards (UR) points at a 1.5x flat rate. It also has a sign-up bonus of 15,000 UR points which can be earned after spending just $500.
Those who have varied spending or who want a flat rate card would like this card better than the Citi Rewards +. This card can also be a complement to the Rewards + because of their different earning structures.
Those who travel domestically or like to redeem at hotels would like the Freedom Unlimited more. But international travelers would like the Rewards + better.
Citibank’s successor to the Thank You Preferred is a winner. This card is great for those who want a supplementary card to the Citi Prestige or Premier. It’s also a good option for those who want to get started in collecting TY points.
By itself, this card is limited by its lack of redemption options. But its fullest potential could be maximized with combined with the Citi Prestige or Premier. This is especially true if you like Citi’s transfer partners.