Citi Rewards+® Card review: The rewards card for the one on-the-go
The Citi Rewards+ card is a good option for people where constantly have somewhere to be – but not the best.
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Citi Rewards+® Card Overview
The Citi Rewards+® Card is the perfect rewards credit card for errand-runners. Its 2X ThankYou points on supermarket and gas station purchases (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1X points) doesn’t sound like the most lucrative reward scheme at first, but the card’s point roundup feature (up to the nearest 10 points) on every purchase and 10 percent points back (for the first $100,000 points redeemed each year) stack up to make this one of the best cards if you’re always making small purchases.
However, the card’s low $6,000 ceiling on 2X categories, lack of benefits and inability to redeem points for a higher value via travel (on its own) means the Citi Rewards+ is best used as a companion card with other Citi cards, such as the Citi Premier® Card.
What are the pros and cons?
- $6,000 cap for 2X supermarket and gas station purchases
- Limited benefits outside the ThankYou point features
- Only earns “basic” ThankYou points that can’t be transferred to travel partners
A deeper look into the current 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, plus, for a limited time, 5X points at restaurants during the first 12 months (on up to $6,000 in purchases, then 1X points)
- Welcome offer: Earn 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
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for 15 months from the date of account opening
- Balance transfer intro APR: 0 percent for 15 months from the date of first transfer
- Regular APR: 17.24 percent to 27.24 percent (variable)
Current sign-up bonus
You’ll earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 on purchases with your card within three months of account opening. When redeeming for non-travel rewards like cash back, your point bonus will be worth $200.
Unfortunately, Citi’s no annual fee cards — including the Citi Rewards+ card — only earn “basic” points, which can’t be transferred to Citi travel partners in order to reach their full value of 1.9 cents per point. But you can finally utilize transfer partner values if you have a Citi Premier card.
Citi Rewards+ earns Citi ThankYou points, but keep in mind that the “basic” points exclude the ability to redeem with travel transfer partners. Although the rewards might be a bit niche without a Citi travel card, you have a few more opportunities to earn up to 1,600 extra ThankYou points per month based on your account activity if you also bank with Citi.
How you earn
Supermarket and gas station purchases earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar, but this bonus rate is limited to the first $6,000 spent within those two categories per year before reverting to the standard 1 point per dollar you get on all other purchases.
This means you may quickly max out your bonus category limit if you use this as your main grocery or gas credit card. If you’re looking to earn more rewards on these purchases, you might want to consider a full-time grocery card or gas card.
Luckily, the Citi Rewards+ cements its value by rounding your rewards to the nearest 10 points per dollar. This perk is most valuable with total purchases under $10 since even a $3 coffee will earn 10 points.
How to redeem
You can redeem your Citi Rewards+ card’s ThankYou points for gift cards, travel (excluding transfer partners) or charitable donations at a 1:1 value, but you get less bang for your buck when it comes to other options, like cash rewards (redeemable in $50 and $100 increments). On the bright side, you might be able to offset this difference a bit since the Rewards+ card earns back 10 percent of the first 100,000 points you redeem each year.
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. Disappointingly, Pay with Points only covers select category purchases, but it includes your grocery and gas bonus categories.
How much are the rewards worth?
Other than the low rewards spending cap, this card’s biggest drawback is the flat 1 cent per point redemption value for “basic” points.
Redeeming for gift cards and travel are your most valuable options, but points are only worth 1 cent apiece with these options. Unfortunately, cardholders were able to redeem “basic” points through the Citi Travel Center at a better rate of 1.25 cents per dollar with a premium Citi travel card, but this boost was discontinued on April 10, 2021. On the bright side, pooling your points with a Citi travel card lets you take advantage of transfer partners, which could boost your points to their full 1.9 cent value.
Cash rewards and statement credits halve your points to 0.5 cents, and options like Pay with Points, minimum payment contributions and shopping with points at online retailers reduce your points to 0.8 cents each. This means that if you were planning to redeem for anything other than travel, you might want to pursue cash back with the Citi® Double Cash Card instead.
Other Citi Rewards+ benefits
The Citi Rewards+ card is a bit light on perks outside the point roundup and year-end 10 percent points back benefits. However, like most Citi cardmembers, you’ll get access to Citi Entertainment experiences and can enjoy Mastercard benefits since the Citi Rewards+ operates on the network.
Round up feature
For every purchase, the Citi Rewards+ card rounds the number of points earned up to the nearest 10 points. For example, a $1.07 dollar store purchase would earn 10 points instead of 1.
It’s worth noting that your 2X category purchases also round up, but only after the double points are applied. Therefore, $64 of groceries would earn you 130 points instead of 140 points.
10 percent points back on the first 100,000 points redeemed 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 — worth $100 in gift cards.
Depending on your credit limit, you’ll qualify for a range of benefits through Mastercard. Standard Mastercard credit cards carry basic perks like $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and identity theft protection services, but 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.
Rates and Fees
The Citi Rewards+ card is a low-cost card in most cases. There’s no annual fee and you may be eligible for a 0 percent introductory APR offer for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, plus 0 percent for 15 months from the date of your first transfer on balance transfers made in your first four months (after that, a 17.24 percent to 27.24 percent variable APR applies, with a 3 percent or $5 minimum intro balance transfer fee, whichever is greater).
If you plan to travel, keep in mind the card has a 3 percent foreign transaction fee. And if you might miss a payment due date, be aware of the up to $41 late payment and returned payment fees.
How the Citi Rewards+ Card compares to other rewards cards
While the Citi Rewards+ Card can be great for those who like to eat out or cook at home, it can be limited beyond its food-centered bonus categories. Meanwhile, there are other no-annual-fee cards that reward everyday purchases, like gas, as well as online shopping and travel. For those who want a more well-rounded rewards card, here are a couple of alternatives:
Citi Rewards+ Card vs. Citi Premier Card
If you don’t mind paying an annual fee, the Citi Premier card could offer more rewards value than the Rewards+ thanks to its wider variety of bonus categories and outsized rewards for foodies and frequent travelers. Since Citi restructured the Citi Premier card to include 3X points per dollar on supermarket and other everyday purchases, the Premier has become a much better option than the Rewards+ if you plan to redeem for travel.
For example, if you spent $300 per month at supermarkets, $150 per month at restaurants, $100 per month at gas stations and $700 per month on other purchases, as well as $1,000 per year on air travel and hotels, you’d earn a total of around 28,000 points with the Citi Rewards+ (worth about $280 redeemed for gift cards at thankyou.com). With the Premier card, however, you’d earn about 31,200 points, worth about $312 in gift cards or travel. Thanks to the Citi Rewards+ card’s boosted restaurant rewards during the first 12 months, the Citi Rewards+ comes out on top when you subtract the $95 annual fee from the Citi Premier’s point value ($217 after the fee).
However, the Citi Rewards+ card’s yearly points total drops to 20,800 (a $208 value) in the second year after its boosted restaurant rewards return to 1X points. The Citi Premier may shake out to be the more valuable card in the long run, however, budgets with smaller purchases may make it a close call if you factor in the Citi Rewards+ card’s round-up feature. For example, making 20 purchases of $5 each ($100 total) at a 1X rate would net 100 points with the Citi Premier but 200 points with the Citi Rewards+.
Citi Rewards+ vs. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express might be a great no annual fee alternative if you prefer to get cash back on your eligible U.S. supermarket and U.S. gas station purchases.
The Blue Cash Everyday card’s rewards rate is slightly higher than the Citi Rewards+ card’s, offering 3 percent cash back on your first $6,000 in annual spending at U.S. supermarkets (then 1 percent), which should beat out the Citi Rewards+ card’s 2X rewards rate. Plus, it comes with unlimited 3 percent cash back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year on eligible purchases (then 1 percent).
It also competes with the Citi Rewards+ card’s intro APR offer, offering a 0 percent intro APR on new purchases for your first 15 months (17.24 percent to 27.24 percent variable APR after that) and a 3 percent cash back rate at U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases in each category (then 1 percent).
Best cards to pair with the Citi Rewards+ Card
Pairing the Citi Rewards+ with the Citi Premier is a must if you’re a traveler and want to realize this card’s full potential. The Citi Double Cash could also be a valuable addition to the team since its unlimited up to 2 percent cash back (1 percent at purchase, then another 1 percent upon payment) can be converted for more “basic” ThankYou points to pool with the Premier. This strategy provides great rewards coverage for purchases outside the Rewards+ card’s categories or yearly spending cap.
But ultimately, the Rewards+ card carves out its own unique value for “small-fry” purchases as a partner to any card, on account of its round-up feature and annual 10 percent points back (on the first 100,000 points redeemed).
Bankrate’s Take: Is the Citi Rewards+ Card worth it?
Since other no-annual-fee cards can provide unlimited and more valuable rewards along with a wider range of categories, the Citi Rewards+ Card is a tough sell if you aren’t planning to pair it with another card – especially from Citi – like the Citi Premier.
However, the ability to round up your rewards to the nearest 10 points and earn back 10 percent of the first 100,000 points you redeem each year gives the Rewards+ card unique value. Together, these two perks make this card worth considering even if you already have a dedicated gas or grocery card.