The Citi Rewards + is a great no annual fee option for aspiring international travelers. It earns Citi Thank You (TY) points in two useful bonus categories and it can be a possible long-term keeper card. It’s also one of the best Citi cards for those with light to moderate spend and those who make lots of small purchases.
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 one point per dollar on everything else.
The uniqueness in the Rewards +’s earning structure 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 worth 15,000 TY points. The bonus can be earned after spending just $1,000 in the first 3 months. This bonus is like that of the American Express Everyday cards and the Chase Freedom cards, but you’re earning TY points.
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 no matter how you redeem them.
A major caveat with this card is that transfer partners are not directly available with the exception of Jet Blue. You can transfer points to Jet Blue at a 5:4 ratio. You will 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.
Even though Citi discontinued a plethora of benefits on September 22, 2019., the Rewards + card still has a few remaining that could make life a little easier. However, none of them are significant travel benefits.
Citi Private Pass
This perk gives you access to a multitude of pre-sale tickets and VIP experiences. If you’re a concert or sports lover, Citi Private Pass will help you get to events faster.
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.
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.
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 Everyday Preferred Card
The American Express Everyday Preferred 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 worth 15,000 MR points that can be earned after spending just $1,000 in the first 3 months. That bonus is the same bonus as that from the Citi Rewards +, but you’re earning MR points.
American Express Everyday Card
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.
The American Express Everyday Card 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.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
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. That’s half the minimum spend of the Citi Rewards + for the same amount of points.
Those who have varied spending or who want a flat rate card would like the Chase Freedom Unlimited 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.
Apply Today: Citi Rewards +