(EXPIRED) 5% back everywhere through 3/31/20 w/ Citizens Bank Mastercard (limited states)

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I can’t imagine that this will work out as well as it sounds for a heavy hitter, but for the gamblers among us who also happen to live near a Citizens Bank branch, the Citizens Bank Mastercard is offering 5% back everywhere through March 31, 2020. That’s not a typo — 5% back on all purchases everywhere for more than 4 months (if you get the card now). Catch #1 is that the “bonus” cash back doesn’t post until after the promo period, but it has the potential to be interesting.

Money Tree

The Offer and Key Card Details

Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus® World Mastercard®
5% back everywhere until 3/31/20
5% back everywhere through 3/31/19: Card ordinarily earns 1.8% back everywhere. There is currently an in-branch offer to earn an additional bonus of 3.2% back everywhere through 3/31/20 (to be paid out in May 2020)

No Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: This card isn't ordinarily worth a look with only 1.8% cash back. However, if you're able to get the in-branch offer for a bonus 3.2% back through 3/31/19, it could be a great card for everyday purchases and things like paying taxes / tuition / etc.


Card Type: Visa Signature

Noteworthy perks: 1.8% cash back on all purchases with a bonus 3.2% through 3/31/19 for those who open through in-branch offer as of 11/8/19)

See also: See this for more info about the card, though note the 5% offer is only available in-branch.

Quick Thoughts

We ordinarily don’t even list cards on our Best Offers page that have a new cardmember bonus of less than $100 unless they offer substantial other benefits or return on spend. At 5% back everywhere for a few months, this seems to fit the bill in terms of substantial return on spend. As exciting as that sounds, let’s lead off with a few things to attenuate your expectations:

  1. This deal is only available in-branch and Citizens Bank branches are in the northeast (in CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT. Branch locator)
  2. Citizens is not known for its stellar customer service
  3. Citizens is known to often give very low CLs (I did see a report today of someone getting a CL near $20K, but a lot more reports of $500 CLs)
  4. The card earns 1.8% back with a “bonus” of 3.2% until 3/31/20 and that bonus posts at the end (I believe not until May of 2020)
  5. Some reports of a similar promo years ago indicated that Citizens was very slow on paying out (perhaps limiting the amount you can redeem each month)
  6. Cash back can apparently only be redeemed in $25 increments

Regarding point #5, apparently Citizens offered a promo like this with 10% back on gas and groceries years ago. Reports I read ranged from having to follow up with customer service for a long time to get paid to one person who noted that they had been limited to redeeming $300 of cash back each month. I can’t imagine that Citizens is used to having big MSers, so I wouldn’t imagine that regular stops at Simon would fly under the radar.

That said, it’s certainly a potential opportunity. I’d recommend showing some modicum of restraint if you go after it or at least understand that it may not be smooth sailing. On the other hand, if you’ve got a lot of legit spend to do in the next four or five months outside of bonus categories, this could be appealing. It could certainly be worth it for paying taxes. On the other hand, if you can spend $50K over the next six months, you’re better off looking at the Capital One business cards. This fits in a niche somewhere in between. I don’t know whether or not you can open an account if you have an address in a state that is not served by Citizens. If someone knows or finds out, let us know in the comments.

H/T: Doctor of Credit

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Gaurav
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Gaurav

Opening a Capital One account would be beneficial if you could actually get them to approve one 🙂

Dmat
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Dmat

Not bad. Shockingly I have a branch about 3 miles from my house, and some big organic spend coming up.

Cap One would be better, I agree, but I’m not up for getting hit for the typical 3 hard inquiries from them, given that Schwab just hit me for TWO on EQ for opening a checking + investment accounts (on the same day) recently.

Matt Mahoney
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Matt Mahoney

It is a World Mastercard

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Chuck
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Chuck

I’ve had the 5% cash back Citizens CC since mid November and I’ve had zero issues. It took a little work but I played the game. I used it religiously for every single purchase where a CC was accepted. I basically just substituted my Citizens debit card for this CC. I paid everything off well before the due dates to avoid any fees or interest- again religiously.
Fast forward to April 4, 2020- the promotion ended 3/31/2020. Over 4 1/2 months I used this CC for $12,500 worth of purchases. Purchases I would’ve made anyway regardless how I paid for it. Groceries, gas, some utility bills (some wouldn’t have made sense with the fees they charged for using a CC), property taxes (even with the fees charged I came out ahead in the end), car and home owners insurance (0 fees from my insurance co for using a CC), car maintenance, ect…. you get the picture. If I could use a CC and it was free or minimal fees I used this one.
I made it a little mission of mine to extract as much money out of Citizens as I could. By paying back all debts on time and in full every month I paid ZERO interest for my short term loans- free loans. From mid Nov to April 30 I recieved my standard $25 cash back “rewards” 9 times for a total of $225 (free money) and every single one of those $25 cash “rewards” went right back to Citizens to be applied to the balance. For every $1390 I spent I got 1.8% back or $25 right away ($25 increments were the minimum to redeem).So really you don’t get 5% back at the end of May. You get a lump sum of 3 2% of your total purchases. Which in my case will be approximately $400 ($12,500x.3.2%=$400).
So in summary I was able to get $625 (free money) out of Citizens for borrowing their money, short term, over the course of 4 1/2 months by doing nothing more than making my regular everyday purchases and paying it back on time every time, here’s that word again, religiously lol..$225 now and $400 later for basically doing nothing more than paying my bills and buying things I normally would have anyway. I’ll have to wait 2 months (end of May 2020) to get the $400, but I’m patient I can do that.
UPDATE: I received the $400 “cash back reward” 2 weeks after the promotion ended (3/31/2020). No strings attached and much quicker than anticipated.