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5 ways to maximize value with your Citi Rewards+ Card

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Maximizing the value you get from the Citi Rewards+® Card means you’ll have to be strategic about your spending, point redemption and pairing with other Citi cards. Though there are other Citi-issued cards with better earning and redemption options, adding this card to your mix of existing Citi travel cards could mean more valuable rewards—especially if you have a penchant for travel.

That being said, the path to maximizing this card’s value takes a little savvy and know-how on navigating the Citi Rewards+ Card rewards structure. Here’s what you should know.

What does the Citi Rewards+ Card offer?

  • 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: Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for 15 months from date of account opening
  • Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent for 15 months from date of first transfer. Intro balance transfer fee—either $5 or 3 percent of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers completed within the first four months from account opening. A balance transfer fee of 5 percent of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies if completed after four months of account opening.
  • Regular APR: 14.24 percent to 24.24 percent variable

As you can see, you earn the most rewards, in the form of ThankYou points, when you spend on gas and groceries. The round-up feature means that you can earn a few more points here and there on small purchases as well. Plus, you can earn an extra 10,000 points annually, which we’ll discuss below.

Citi Rewards+ other features

Earning rewards

Supermarket and gas station purchases 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 you get on all other purchases. If you end up spending more than $6,000 per year, you may want to check out another card that offers either higher rewards or a lower annual limit on grocery store purchases and gas station spending.

You can also earn 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.

Redeeming rewards

The Rewards+ card only accrues what we call “basic” ThankYou points. With basic ThankYou points, you can’t transfer them to travel partners (usually a more valuable redemption option), but you can still use them to book travel through Citi at a 1 cent per point value. ThankYou points can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, travel (excluding transfer partners) or charitable donations at a 1:1 value.

You can also redeem your points for online purchases at Amazon.com or Best Buy, statement credits, recent purchases using Pay with Points and other online Citi bill payments like select loans. Pay with Points only covers select category purchases, but it includes your grocery and gas bonus categories.

Rounding up points

This card is slightly different from other Citi rewards cards in that it rounds up your rewards purchases to the nearest 10 points. So, if you earn, say, 115 points on a grocery purchase, it will be rounded up to 120 points.

Annual redemption bonus

You’ll get 10 percent points back on the first 100,000 points you redeem annually. 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.

How can I maximize the use of my Citi Rewards+ card?

If you’ve got this card and want to get the most out of your rewards, here are some tips that can help.

1. Use your Citi Rewards + on groceries and gas

Since this card’s bonus categories are for grocery and gas spending, you’ll want to whip it out when it’s time for these purchases. If possible, think of creative ways to transition more spending to these cards. In some cases, you may be able to purchase gift cards, kitchen wares, drug store items or other things you’d generally get elsewhere to grocery stores or gas stations.

2. Use your Citi Rewards+ for smaller transactions

You can get more value from this card by taking advantage of the round-up feature. So if you have small transactions, you should use this card. For instance, a $3 transaction at a convenience store will be rounded up to 10 ThankYou points for a net gain of 7 extra points.

Also, you should know that your 2X category purchases round up, but only after the double points are applied. Therefore, your $32 gas purchase would earn 70 points instead of 80 points.

Either way, being mindful of spending for the round-up can be helpful. However, you don’t want to make this tactic a mainstay of your rewards strategy with this card. It could be time-consuming and not worth so much effort to seek out small transactions for the sake of extra points.

3. Redeem points for travel and gift cards

You can get the most value from your ThankYou points by redeeming your rewards strategically. Redeeming them for travel through the Citi Travel Center and gift cards will get you 1 cent per point. Other options like cash back and statement credits might bring in much less than 1 cent per point when you redeem them.

Finally, don’t forget that you’ll get up to 10,000 points when you take advantage of the annual redemption bonus, which gives you 10 percent back on the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem.

4. Combining cards

One of the biggest disadvantages of owning this card is that you can’t get a higher rewards value out of your points when transferring them to travel partners, which could give you up to 1.7 cents per point. Because this card earns “basic” ThankYou points, this redemption option is not available.

However, if you pair this card with one of Citi’s travel credit cards like the Citi Premier® Card, you can move your Rewards+ points to these cards where they can be transferred to travel partners. You can also add the Citi® Double Cash Card to the mix so you can earn at least 2X rewards (unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases) on categories beyond groceries and gas, then transfer them to your Citi travel cards for travel partner redemption.

Note, travel cards typically come with an annual fee, so make sure you’ll spend and redeem enough rewards across your cards that justify your card pairing strategy. This also means you’ll redeem your points strategically towards travel.

5. Understand and use the Mastercard perks

Depending on your credit limit, you’ll qualify for a range of benefits through Mastercard. Standard Mastercard credit cards have basic perks like $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and identity theft protection services. World Mastercard and World Elite Mastercard credit cards offer premium benefits like up to $1,000 in yearly cellphone protection (if you pay your cellphone bill with your card), complimentary subscription service deals and exclusive travel privileges.

The bottom line

The Citi Rewards+ card isn’t the most lucrative cash back credit card out there, but it does have a few valuable perks that can increase your rewards with little effort. 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 plan to pair this card with other Citi travel cards so you can transfer ThankYou points to travel partners, you will do even better with maximizing this card’s value.

Written by
Aja McClanahan
Personal Finance Writer
Aja McClanahan is an author, blogger and speaker on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Aja is the author of "How a Mother Should Talk About Money with Her Daughter."
Edited by
Senior Editor, Credit Card Product News