As an issuer, Citi has long provided cardholders with plenty of options for rewards credit cards. However, other issuers also offer similar, competing cards. With so many to choose from, how do you know if a card deserves a place in your wallet?
We are taking a look at the Citi Rewards+® Card to see if the rewards, perks and benefits make this card a worthwhile option. Whether you are considering the Citi Rewards+ or already have it, here’s how to figure out if the card makes sense for you.
What does the Citi Rewards+ Card offer?
Quick card details:
- Rewards rate: 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points) with 1X points on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards at thankyou.com
- Annual fee: $0
- Regular APR: 14.99 percent to 24.99 percent variable
How can I benefit from the Citi Rewards+ cards?
Here are some of the ways you can use the Citi Rewards+ to your advantage.
No annual fee
Since this is a no-annual-fee card, there’s no carrying cost to justify each year. This means that you don’t have to worry about spending enough on the card to cover the annual fee. Sometimes this carrying cost can cause cardholders to manufacture spending or even overspend on their credit card. Thankfully, you don’t have to do that with this card to get your money’s worth.
Earning rewards on grocery and gas station spending
When you shop at supermarkets and gas stations, your purchases will earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar, with a limit of $6,000 in combined spending on those categories per year. After that, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
You can also earn additional ThankYou points with an eligible Citi checking account that you use for direct debits and bill payments. Personal banking relationship rewards could earn you as much as 1,600 points per month.
You’ll get 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening. These points can be redeemed for $200 in gift cards at thankyou.com. There are other redemption options (discussed below), but redeeming your welcome bonus points for gift cards gives you the most value.
The Citi Rewards+ card only accrues “basic” ThankYou points. It’s not technically an award currency that Citi recognizes, but it’s how we differentiate between the two types of ThankYou points.
With basic ThankYou points, you can’t transfer them to Citi travel partners (usually a more valuable redemption option), but you can still use them to book travel through Citi at a value of 1 cent per point.
Here are other ways to redeem your basic ThankYou points:
|Gift cards||1 cent per point|
|Shop with points (on Amazon.com or PayPal)||0.8 cents per point|
|Donations||1 cent per point|
|Statement credits||0.5 cents per point|
|Cash rewards||0.5 cents per point|
|Payment toward student loans and mortgage||1 cent|
|Point transfer and sharing||1 cent|
|Online bill pay with points||1 cent|
As you can see, the redemption value varies from 0.5 cents per point to 1 cent per point.
Rounding up points
The rounding feature is helpful because it rounds up your rewards purchases to the nearest 10 points. So, if you earn, say, 73 points on a gas purchase, it will be rounded up to 80 points. Though this is ordinarily not a game-changer when it comes to earning points, it’s a neat perk that can help.
Annual redemption bonus
Every year, you’ll receive 10 percent back on the first 100,000 points you redeem (except sharing points). Maxing out this benefit would earn you 10,000 points back, which could be worth $100 in gift cards.
Is the Citi Rewards+ card worth it?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household earned $84,352 in 2020 while spending $61,334. The BLS also broke out numbers from discretionary categories like groceries, gas and entertainment. We’ll apply these spending figures to the Citi Rewards+ and see what you stand to earn in terms of rewards:
|Spending category||ThankYou Points|
|Gas and groceries over $6,000||$510.00||510|
|Apparel and services||$1,434.00||1,434|
|Personal care products and services||$646.00||646|
With these annual spending patterns, you could earn almost 20,000 ThankYou points. This could be worth almost $200 toward gift cards or travel through the Citi Travel Center. You could get cash back or a statement credit, but you will cut the redemption value in half going this route.
Remember, you’ll get 20,000 ThankYou points for the welcome bonus, so you are looking at almost 40,000 ThankYou points the first year and around 20,000 ThankYou points each year after your first year. Then, the annual redemption bonus (provided you meet the requirements) could add another 10,000 ThankYou points per year, for a total of 30,000 ThankYou points per year (beyond the first year of card ownership).
If you don’t have any aspirational travel goals and simply want to earn some rewards on your credit card use, this no-annual-fee card does the job. Earning rewards worth between $150 and $300 per year could be all some cardholders need to make a card “worth it.”
For those who may want something more, you could consider pairing this card with another Citi card, like the Citi Premier® Card. Adding this card to the mix means you can move your Rewards+ points and then transfer them to travel partners at much higher redemption rates. Plus, the Citi Premier card gives you a better rewards rate on more spending categories. Here’s a quick peek at some of the card’s details:
Citi Premier card details:
- Rewards rate: 3 points per dollar on restaurant, supermarket, gas station, hotel and air travel purchases; 1 point per dollar on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: 80,000 bonus ThankYou points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening
- Annual fee: $95
- Regular APR: 17.49 percent to 25.49 percent variable
Even with the annual fee, the likelihood of getting more value with the better rewards structure and ability to transfer your rewards to Citi transfer partners will fetch much more than $95 in value. Don’t forget, the 80,000-point welcome bonus adds significant value, too.
Finally, if you simply feel like this card doesn’t make sense to you because of the $6,000 limit on grocery and gas spending, you might consider other rewards cards that focus on grocery store purchases and gas station spending.
Who should get the Citi Rewards+ card?
- Anyone who doesn’t want to pay an annual fee, but still wants to earn rewards on grocery and gas spending.
- Those who don’t care about transferring points to airline partners for better redemption value.
- People who spend less than $6,000 per year on groceries and gas.
Who should pass on the Citi Rewards+ card?
- People who spend way more than $6,000 on groceries and gas per year.
- People who prefer high-value redemption ratios for their points.
- Travel enthusiasts looking to rack up rewards toward travel.
The bottom line
There are definitely better rewards cards out there than the Citi Rewards+ card, but it does have some value for those who want to earn some form of rewards without paying an annual fee. The welcome bonus, annual redemption bonus and round-up features just mean you can earn more ThankYou points that you can redeem for travel, statement credits and gift cards.
If you’ve already got this card, pairing it with other Citi travel cards so you can transfer ThankYou points to travel partners will help you maximize this card’s value.