Power Up Your Citi ThankYou Points Balance With the No Annual Fee Citi Rewards Card

INSIDER SECRET: If you have the Citi Rewards+℠ Card and the Citi Premier℠ Card, you’ll get the Citi Rewards+ card’s 10% rebate (on up to 100,000 points per year) even when you transfer ThankYou points to airline partners.

Right now, you can earn 15,000 Citi ThankYou points when you open the Citi Rewards Card and spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

This card also earns 2x Citi ThankYou Points at gas stations and supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1x).  Plus, on every purchase the points you earn will be rounded up to the nearest 10.  For example, if you bought a $2 candy bar, you’d earn 10 Citi ThankYou points and there is no limit to the number of points you can earn with this perk.

The card’s welcome bonus is worth at least $150 in gift cards or travel booked through the Citi travel center, but it can be worth even more if you have the Citi Premier Card. I’ll explain why and help you figure out if this is the right card for you.

You can apply for the Citi Rewards+ card here.

This Citi Rewards Card review can help you learn how to use your Citi ThankYou points to save on your next tropical getaway. (Photo by BMProductions/Shutterstock)

Citi Rewards Card Review

Apply Here:   Citi Rewards+ Card

With this card you can earn 15,000 Citi ThankYou points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening the account.

The points you earn with this card can be redeemed for gift cards or used to book travel through Citi’s travel site at a rate of 1 cent each. So it’s easy to get $150 in value from the bonus.

But there are ways to potentially make your points much more valuable. I’ll explain that in a bit.

How to Earn Points With the Citi Rewards+ Card

The Citi Rewards+ card has a couple of bonus categories that earn you 2x Citi ThankYou points per $1:

  • Supermarkets
  • Gas stations

The bonus on these purchases only applies to the first $6,000 you spend per year, after that you’ll earn 1x points per $1. All other purchases will earn 1 Citi ThankYou point per $1.

Also, the points you earn on every purchase will automatically be rounded up to the nearest increment of 10. So you’ll never make less than 10 points on a purchase.

For example, if you spent $25 at the mall, instead of only earning 25 Citi ThankYou points you would earn 30 points. This also means that a $1 purchase would earn 10 Citi ThankYou points.

This perk makes it a great card for small purchases, but I can see some people trying to abuse this benefit. Personally, I think making boatloads of 10-cent purchases on the card is a terrible idea for two reasons:

  • Time is more valuable than Citi ThankYou points (hard to believe, I know)
  • Your account could get shut down

There is a mention of misuse and abuse in reference to this perk in the terms for card holders and the consequences for those who abuse it can include forfeiting your points or having your account closed or suspended.

How to Power Up Your Citi ThankYou Points

Link:  Citi ThankYou points value

You can redeem the Citi ThankYou points you earn the following ways:

  • Gift cards (1 cent per point)
  • Travel booked through Citi’s travel center (1 cent per point)
  • Cash back as a statement credit (.5 cents per point)
  • Shop with points at Amazon or BestBuy ( ~.8 cents per point)
  • ThankYou Select & Credit (~.75 cent per point toward certain purchases)

As you can see, there is almost no reason to ever redeem your points for anything other than gift cards or to book travel (flights, hotels, cruises, rental cars). If you’re planning on making a purchase at Best Buy, it’s better to use your points for a gift card. You will need at least 2,500 points to redeem for a gift card.

With the Citi Rewards+ card you’ll also get 10% back on all your redemptions (on the first 100,000 point you redeem per year). So that increases the value of these redemptions slightly.

But your Citi ThankYou points can be worth a lot more if you have the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier℠ Card.

Depending on which Citi ThankYou Points earning card you have, you can transfer your points to Flying Blue and book awards flights with Air France. (Photo by Grand Warszawski/Shutterstock)

With both of those cards, you’ll unlock the ability to transfer your Citi ThankYou points to a bunch of different airline loyalty programs. Here’s a a step-by-step guide on how to combine Citi ThankYou points from different accounts.

Currently, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points to the following airlines if you have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige:

  • Avianca
  • Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific)
  • EVA Air
  • Etihad Guest
  • Flying Blue (Air France / KLM)
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Jet Airways
  • JetBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic

Citi ThankYou points transfer at a 1:1 ratio with all of the above partners, and all transfers must be in 1,000-point increments. You can also transfer Citi ThankYou points to Sears Shop Your Way rewards at a 1:12 ratio (1 Citi ThankYou point = 12 Sears points).

With the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier℠ cards, you can redeem your points for 1.25 cents each toward airfare booked through the Citi travel site. This perk, however, is going away for the Citi Prestige card on September 1, 2019. From that date on, Citi Prestige cardholders will be able to redeem points through the Citi travel center for 1 cent each toward travel.

With the Citi Premier, you can redeem ThankYou points (through the Citi Travel portal) for 1.25 cents each toward other travel too.

The nice thing about paying for flights with Citi ThankYou points is you’ll still earn frequent flyer miles because it’s treated like a cash ticket. And you won’t have to worry about blackout dates or trying to find an award seat on the flight you want.

Benefits of the Citi Rewards+ Card

In addition to the sign-up bonus, the Citi Rewards+ card has other benefits and it doesn’t have an annual fee. So it’s worth keeping long term.

Citi Price Rewind

Citi Price Rewind is a unique perk you’ll find on all Citi personal cards. When you pay for registered items at certain online merchants, Citi will automatically check for a lower price at other merchants.

If Citi finds the same item at a lower price within 60 days of your initial purchase date, you may receive a credit for the price difference. To be eligible for coverage, you must pay for the item at least in part with your Citi card.

Coverage is limited to the lesser of $200 or the amount charged to your card per item. And the maximum coverage is $1,000 per calendar year.

Does the Citi Rewards+ Card Have an Annual Fee?

No, so it makes sense to hold onto this card long-term to increase the age of your accounts, which can improve your credit score.

Does the Citi Rewards+ card have a foreign transaction fee?


Who Is Eligible for the Citi Rewards+ Card?

Remember, Citi will NOT let you earn the sign-up bonus from more than one personal card of the same “brand” within 24 months. The terms say:

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 accounts, in the past 24 months.

So if it’s been less than 24 months since you earned a welcome bonus with or closed a Citi Prestige, Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card, or Citi Premier Card, you aren’t eligible to earn the bonus, even if you are approved for the card.

Also, keep in mind that the Citi Premier card currently has a much larger sign-up bonus than the Citi Rewards+ card. And if you open a Rewards+ card right now, you won’t be able to earn the bonus on the Citi Premier for at least 24 months.

Credit Cards Similar to the Citi Rewards+ Card

The Citi Rewards+ card earns Citi ThankYou points which can only be transferred to travel partners if you also have either the Citi Prestige or Citi Premier card. The problem is that getting this combo could take you two years because of the application restrictions I mentioned.

So if you’re looking for a no annual fee card that earns points that can be transferred to travel partners (when combined with the right partner credit card), you’ve got some other options.

Some cards become more powerful when they are partnered with other credit cards. (Photo by @FreedomTumZ/Twenty20)

For example, if you have one of the no annual fee Chase Freedom cards (Chase Freedom® or Chase Freedom Unlimited®), you’ll earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points with them. But those points can’t be transferred to Chase’s travel partners unless they are pooled onto one of these annual fee cards:

You can read more about why it is so useful to combine Chase Ultimate Rewards points earning credit cards here. But these cards are restricted by the Chase “5/24” rule, so if you’ve opened five or more cards from any bank (not included certain business cards) you won’t be eligible for a new Chase credit card.

If you don’t qualify for Chase credit cards, you could apply for the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card. It has no annual fee and earns Amex Membership Rewards points that you can transfer to Amex’s travel partners without needing to partner it with another Amex card.

Bottom Line

Right now the Citi Rewards+ card has the highest sign-up bonus and best perks of any no annual fee card that earns Citi ThankYou points. The ThankYou points you earn with the card are worth 1 cent each toward gift cards or travel booked through the Citi ThankYou portal.

You’ll also get a 10% points rebate on redemptions for the first 100,000 point per year. And the card has a unique perk — on every purchase the Citi ThankYou points you earn will be rounded up to the nearest 10. So a $2 latte will still earn you 10 points. (Do they even sell $2 lattes anymore?)

But your points can be worth a lot more if you have the Citi Prestige or the Citi Premier Card because with these cards, you’ll have the ability to transfer your points to Citi ThankYou’s airline partners.

You can apply here for the Citi Rewards+ card.

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