2020 Review: Citi Rewards+® Card — Best No Annual Fee Rewards Card?
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The Citi Rewards+ Card earns 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations. Uniquely, each purchase rounds up to the next 10 points, making the card a solid choice for small transactions. Points can be redeemed for statement credits, travel, and more, and can be transferred to the Citi Premier or Prestige cards for added flexibility.
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Citi seems to think that the Citi Rewards+® Card has one main selling point: The card automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase.
And, sure, that’s pretty cool. But there’s a lot to consider beyond this nifty perk in order to determine whether the Rewards+ is a card that meets your needs.
It earns 2X ThankYou points per dollar on up to $6,000 in purchases per year at supermarkets and gas stations, appealing to the everyday cardholder. You get 1X point on everything else.
The card also offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then 13.49% - 23.49% (Variable), as well as a reasonably compelling introductory bonus. Earn 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,500 in the first 3 months.
All in all, it’s a decent offer. Hang tight to find out what we like about it, plus what we don’t.
Our Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars
We’re giving the Citi Rewards+ 3 out of 5 stars. There’s no annual fee, and it’s easy to get value from the card’s supermarket and gas station categories. Your rewards automatically round up to the next 10 points, boosting the earning potential of every purchase. Still, the Rewards+ isn’t really up to par with our favorite no annual fee credit cards.
Why We Like It
- Supermarket and gas station spending categories are quite useful, and lower spenders may never reach the $6,000 annual limit
- Rewards are rounded up to the nearest 10 points
- Several redemption options, including statement credits, transfers to JetBlue, gift cards, and more
- 10% of your first 100,000 rewards points redeemed yearly are returned to you
- Points can be transferred to other Citi credit cards for enhanced redemption flexibility
- Valuable welcome bonus with a relatively nonthreatening spending requirement
- Long introductory APR offer lets you pay off a balance transfer and/or purchases interest-free for a while
- No annual fee
- Contactless card enables tap-and-go payment
Why It Could Be Better
- $6,000 spending cap on 2X earnings is restrictive
- 1 cent per point isn’t a very good value for travel redemptions
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- Only transfer partner is JetBlue
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
- Make tiny purchases: Yearning for a coffee or a quick snack? Whip out the Rewards+ card. If you spend $3, for example, the card’s rounding feature means you’d get 10 points, earning you more than 3X points per dollar.
- Buy gas and groceries: The card earns 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations, so that’s where you’ll typically get the best value aside from the tiny, everyday purchases described above.
- Get the signup bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,500 in the first 3 months. Considering the cost of groceries and gas, it shouldn’t be all that hard to meet the spend requirement.
- Redeem how you want: Travel, statement credit, and gift card redemptions all provide a value of one cent per point. Nothing special, but the lack of variation gives you some flexibility.
- Transfer your points to JetBlue at a 5:4 rate: JetBlue is the Rewards+ card’s only transfer partner. It’s a good option if you actually dig the airline, because while your point value will depend on how you redeem, you shouldn’t have much trouble making your TrueBlue points worth more than a cent each. You won’t get the 10% rebate, however.
- Transfer to another Citi card if you can: To get the highest value from the points earned with this card, transfer them to either the Citi Premier® Card (Review) or the Citi Prestige® Card (Review), and then to a ThankYou travel partner.
- Pay off a balance transfer: Thanks to the card’s introductory APR offer, the Rewards+ is a solid candidate if you need a way to carry a balance without incurring interest. But bear in mind that there’s a 3% ($5 minimum) transfer fee.
The Citi Rewards+ offers a decent rewards program with a few nice quirks. Earn in the 2X categories, and you’d ordinarily get the cash back equivalent of around 2.2%, thanks to the card’s 10% Points Back perk.
Factor in the Round Up feature and various redemption options, and your cash back equivalent could rise much higher, especially when it comes to small purchases — think 10%–20%, depending on how you redeem.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
The Citi Rewards+ earns 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations, both places where the typical cardholder is likely to drop at least a few bucks on a regular basis.
There’s a $6,000 spending cap at the 2X rate, but that’s pretty common for a fairly simple card at this fee tier.
The Rewards+ card’s earning potential is fairly strong thanks to its Round Up and 10% Points Back features. No matter how many points you’d ordinarily earn on a given purchase, your earnings will automatically be rounded up to the next 10 points. Plus, 10% of your first 100,000 points redeemed are returned to you.
This makes the Rewards+ a solid go-to option for inexpensive purchases. Spending $1 and getting 10 points rather than the 2 points you’d get without Round Up, for example, provides an exceptionally good return on spend. That’s 11%, incorporating the 10% you’ll get back upon redemption.
Or, if you transfer these points to an airline program and manage to use them for 2 cents each, you’re basically doubling your value for a final huge cash back equivalent of 20%.
But the impact of Round Up diminishes as you spend more money. Say you spend $151 at the supermarket on a few week’s worth of groceries, which would ordinarily net you 302 points. The slight boost up to 310 points isn’t all that impressive, is it?
Be Careful Where You Shop
The supermarket and gas station categories have certain exclusions that may keep you from earning the 2X rate at your favorite stores.
Both gas stations and supermarkets must be coded as such (using the gas station and supermarket merchant codes, respectively) in order for you to earn at the 2X rate.
This means that drugstores, warehouse clubs, superstores like Target and Walmart, and several other types of merchants are excluded from the supermarket category. Likewise, you likely won't be able to earn 2X points on gas purchased at wholesale clubs or superstores with gas stations, or even at certain convenience stores that aren't coded as gas stations.
The good news is that you shouldn't have much trouble earning 2X points at a regional grocery chain, or on gas at your everyday gas station.
Looking to redeem your stash of ThankYou points? You’ll have a few options to choose from. Most of them will seem pretty familiar if you’ve ever used another rewards credit card. You’ll receive 10% of the first 100,000 points you redeem back each year, adding an extra $100 or so of potential annual value.
You can swap your points for statement credits or gift cards at one cent per point, or you can use points to shop at Amazon.com or BestBuy.com. We don’t recommend using them to shop because you won’t earn any points on those purchases, like you would with a credit card purchase.
Redeem for travel through Citi’s own portal, and you’ll receive the same flat-rate value of one cent per point. That’s not awful, nor is it game changing.
If you’re committed to redeeming your points for travel rewards, there are a few ways to ramp up your return on spend. One option is to transfer your points to JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program, the Rewards+ card’s only partner program, at a 5:4 rate.
You’ll probably get an even better value by transferring your points to another Citi card, as outlined below.
If you’re not prepared to do that, we recommend either transferring to JetBlue if you expect to fly with it in the future, or simply redeeming for statement credits if not.
Transferring Points to the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige Cards
If you’re willing to put even more effort into the redemption process, ThankYou points can be transferred to the Citi Premier® Card (Review) or Citi Prestige® Card (Review) and then transferred once more to one of those cards’ partner airline loyalty programs.
This list of partners is much bigger, featuring Air France, Cathay Pacific Asia, Qantas, Virgin Atlantic and more. Transfers are mostly at a 1:1 rate, and transferring to JetBlue TrueBlue from one of those two cards will give you a 1:1 rate versus the 5:4 rate you’d get with this card. The per-point value you ultimately receive with this method will vary, but may be better than one cent per point.
Unfortunately, both the Premier and Prestige cards feature annual fees, which is why the Citi Rewards+ may not be the best credit card for travel enthusiasts looking to squeeze major value out of their rewards.
The Citi Rewards+ card supplies a rather thin array of benefits, and none provides much in the way of monetary value. You may find some convenient, however, like the free FICO score (helpful for monitoring your credit) and the ability to lock your card on the fly.
- Citi Concierge: Enjoy personal, non-emergency assistance with tasks like booking travel, restaurant, and hotel reservations, securing tickets to your favorite sporting events, and seeking out gifts.
- Citi Entertainment: Receive special access to tickets for a vast selection of events, like VIP concert packages and dining experiences.
- Citi Quick Lock: Lock your Rewards+ card instantly if you think it’s been lost or stolen.
- Free FICO score: Starting 30 days after account opening, you’ll be able to access your FICO Bankcard 8 credit score, based on your Equifax credit report, for free.
- Virtual Account Numbers: Step up your online shopping security by creating virtual credit card account numbers for use with specific merchants. Select your own spending limits and expiration dates.
Throughout your time as a Citi cardholder, you may be offered either Citi Flex Pay or a Citi Flex Loan, the issuer’s proprietary flexible financing options. Citi will periodically review your account for eligibility and will typically extend these offers by email or through your account page.
Both options can be advantageous if you’re certain you can’t pay off a necessary purchase right off the bat, but be sure to look into the details to make sure you’re making the right decision for your situation.
The Terms & Fees
|Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|0% for 15 months, then 13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)||0% for 15 months, then 13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)||25.24% (Variable)|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum||5% of each cash advance; $10 minimum|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|Up to 29.99% Variable||Up to $40||Up to $40|
The Rewards+ is quite competitive when it comes to promotional APR offers. You get 0% on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. The regular 13.49% - 23.49% (Variable) APR kicks in afterward. The Rewards+ charges a balance transfer fee, however, so if you’re dead set on transferring a balance, you may prefer a credit card without one.
The 3% foreign transaction fee is also worth noting; you’ll want to pick another card for use outside the country.
The Bottom Line
The Citi Rewards+ is good, but not great.
It features a relatively strict $6,000-a-year limit on its 2X spending categories, and that 2X rate isn’t anything to brag about when compared to the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, which earns 2% cash back on every single purchase you make (1% when you swipe, 1% when you pay it off as long as you at least pay the minimum due on time), or to the 3% U.S. supermarket reward rate offered by the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (also bound by a $6,000 annual spending restriction).
Nor are the card’s benefits likely to turn heads. A free credit score is nice, and virtual account numbers are a huge perk if you’re a stickler for security, but there are all sorts of ways to check credit scores for free even without a Citi card. And the card lacks protections that some of our favorite no annual fee cards provide — think extended warranties, purchase protection, travel insurance, and that kind of thing.
But the Rewards+ isn’t the worst card on the market. The Round Up feature highlights the card’s unique value when it comes to smaller purchases in particular.
For example, swipe the card for a $2 cup of coffee, and you’ll earn 10 points. Buy a $1 candy bar for another 10 points. If you tend to rely heavily on these types of tiny purchases, then this could be a great card to add to the mix.
How to Apply for the Citi Rewards+ Card
If you’d like to apply for the Citi Rewards+, click the Apply Now button below. You’ll be taken to the Citi website, where you’ll have to fill out a straightforward application before Citi performs an inquiry to look into your creditworthiness. You should typically receive a decision right when you submit the application, unless the issuer needs more information or time to decide.
What Credit Scores Do You Need to Get the Citi Rewards+ Card?
The Citi Rewards+ is designed for good credit. “Good credit score” typically indicates a FICO score of at least 670, and/or a VantageScore of at least 700 (although these ranges vary depending on who you ask).
You’re not guaranteed to be approved with good credit scores, though, and you still have a chance to be approved even if your scores are below this threshold.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship status
- Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
- Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage or rent payment
Alternatives to the Citi Rewards+ Credit Card
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Sean Messier works to empower individuals with the knowledge required to use credit cards responsibly and to their advantage. His writing- and research-based background has granted him experience in an array of topics, from finance to business and beyond. Sean distills the knowledge accumulated over years of experience in the credit space into consistent, actionable articles, guides, and reviews.
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