Citi Rewards+ is a great companion to Premier or Prestige

Citi Rewards+When Citi introduced the no-fee Rewards+ card recently, we were surprised and confused.  The card rounds up rewards to the nearest 10 points.  This means that a $1 purchase earns 10X rewards, a 10 cent purchase earns 100X rewards, and a 1 cent purchase earns 1000X rewards.  Those numbers sound awesome until you think more about it.  How many tiny purchases do you really make?  Even if you make two small purchases every single day for a year, we’re only talking about 7K points earned.  The only way to make this into a big deal is to game the system.  Does Citi really want us doing that?  Today’s post isn’t about that subject, but you can read our thoughts in these posts:

10% rebate, for the win

The real value with the Rewards+ card is as a companion to the Citi Premier or Prestige card.  The Rewards+ card rebates 10% of points redeemed, up to 100,000 points redeemed.  In other words, you can get up to 10K points back per yearOut & Out has confirmed that the rebate works with pooled points.  He combined his ThankYou accounts, including the Rewards+ card, and transferred points earned on other ThankYou cards to an airline program.  The result was that he earned a 10% rebate on that point transfer.  See the “Combine points across cards” section of our Complete Guide to ThankYou Rewards.

10K points per year is hardly a huge win, but it does make the annual fees on the Premier and Prestige cards easier to swallow…

What this means for Premier cardholders

Citi Premier Card

FM Mini Review: One of the best all-around travel rewards cards: Very strong earnings for spend. Excellent bonus categories. Points transferable to select airlines.


Annual Fee: $95

Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Travel
Dine
Gas
Other

Earning rate: ⚬ 3X travel and gas ⚬ 2X dining and entertainment

Noteworthy perks: With this card, ThankYou points become worth 1.25 cents each towards travel; or transfer points to airline partners

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

The Citi Premier card costs $95 per year.  In exchange, you get excellent category bonuses, 1.25 cents per point value towards travel, and the ability to transfer points to airline miles.  If you also have the Rewards+ card, you’ll get back up to 10,000 points per year just for redeeming ThankYou points.  For example, if you use 100,000 points to purchase $1,250 worth of travel through the ThankYou portal, you’ll get back 10,000 points.  Those 10,000 points then can be used to purchase $125 worth of travel.  That more than makes up for the Premier card’s $95 annual fee!  If you have the Premier card and were thinking of cancelling or downgrading due to the annual fee, you might want to rethink it.

What this means for Prestige cardholders

Citi ThankYou Prestige Card

FM Mini Review: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card may be a better fit for many, but the Prestige card's best in class 5X rewards for dining, airfare, and travel agencies is hard to beat.


Annual Fee: $495

Card Type: Mastercard World Elite

Base
Travel
Dine

Earning rate: 5X airfare, dining, and travel agencies ⚬ 3X hotels and cruise line ⚬ 1X everywhere else

Noteworthy perks: $250 travel rebate per calendar year ⚬ Free lounge access: Citi Properietary Lounges; and Priority Pass Select with free guests ⚬ $100 Global Entry application fee credit ⚬ 4th night free hotel benefit

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

The new Prestige card costs a whopping $495 per year.  In exchange, you get an annual $250 travel rebate, awesome category bonuses, lounge access, 4th Night Free (2 times per year), the ability to cash out points at 1 cent each, and the ability to transfer points to airline miles.  The card currently lets you get 1.25 cents value for flights (not travel in general, just flights), but that benefit goes away in September.  Still, whether you cash out points for a penny each, transfer points to airline programs, or book 4th Night Free hotels through the portal, the Rewards+ card will give you up to 10K points back.

To make the math easy, let’s assume that you regularly spend at least 100K points per year.  And we’ll generously value the travel rebate at it’s full face value, but we’ll value the 10K rebate at only 1 cent per point.  We then can see that the net annual fee for the Prestige card drops to only $145 ($495 – $250 – $100).  That’s not bad at all for an ultra-premium card that offers 5X rewards for dining & airfare plus excellent perks.

Citi Rewards+, sign up new or product change?

Citi Rewards+ Card
15K points
15K points after $1K spend in 3 months

$0 Annual Fee

FM Mini Review: 10% points rebate (up to 10K rebate per year) make this a great choice to pool with ThankYou Premier and/or Prestige


Card Type: Mastercard World

Base
Gas
Grocery

Earning rate: 2X at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 per year ⚬ Round up to nearest 10 TY points on all purchases

Noteworthy perks: Round up to the nearest 10 points on all purchases with no cap. ⚬ get 10% of your points back on the first 100K redeemed each year

See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide

You might think that it’s a no brainer to sign up new so that you can get the signup bonus, but there are some reasons to prefer product changing from another ThankYou card:

  • Have you earned a welcome bonus or closed another ThankYou card in the past 24 months?  If so, you won’t qualify for the Rewards+ signup bonus.  Here are the current terms: “Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+℠, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these cards, in the past 24 months.”
  • Do you have plans to sign up for other ThankYou cards?  At the time of this writing, the Premier card has an excellent signup offer with the first year fee waived (found here).  If you want that card, you can get it at the same time you sign up for the Rewards+, but not once you earn the signup bonus.
  • Do you have plans to sign up for other non-Citi cards?  Some card issuers won’t approve your applications if you’ve opened up for lots of cards from any bank recently.  The most famous example is with Chase’s 5/24 Rule (you won’t be approved for a new Chase card if you’ve opened 5 or more cards in the past 24 months).

If any of the above are issues for you, and if you have another Citi card sitting around that you can product change to the Rewards+, then that may be your best bet.  Note, though, that if you change from an American Airlines card, Citi will treat the change as if you cancelled that AA card and you’ll then have to wait 24 months before you can sign up for a new AA card (other than the MileUp card or the CitiBusiness card, neither of which is affected).

In my case, I’m considering ditching my quest to get under 5/24 for Chase (I’m still about a year away).  If so, I’ll sign up new for the Rewards+.  My wife, though, is only a few months away from getting under 5/24.  In her case we’ll look to product change a Preferred card to the Rewards+.

Can you get two new ThankYou cards at once?

For those who are eligible, it would be awesome to open both the Premier or Prestige and the Rewards+ card at once in order to get both bonuses. Citi won’t let you open the cards on the same day, but they will let you open them within 9 days of each other.  And since Citi’s bonus rules for these cards have changed, it is at least theoretically possible to get both signup bonuses.  See: New Citi application rule might be a net win.

Here’s the relevant signup bonus language again:

Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+℠, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these cards, in the past 24 months.

A risk of signing up for two at once is that once you earn the signup bonus on one card Citi may determine that you are then ineligible for the bonus on the other card.  I don’t think that’s likely, but it is possible.  If I were doing this I’d make sure to get the bigger bonus on the Premier or Prestige card first, and then complete the minimum spend on the Rewards+ card.

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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David
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David

I have Thank You Preferred and Premier cards w/accounts pooled. Planning to product change the Preferred to a Rewards+.

Also, my wife plans to transfer Thank You points to me soon. Do you believe the 10% rebate will be valid when redeeming these transferred points?

Pam
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Pam

Interesting find. So I have this & the Preferred. I can’t pool points without a Citi AF card – do you think I would still get a rebate when redeeming TYPs from each acct?

I like my R+ card for maximizing small purchases & am glad the rebate is applied on the statement earned.

Tom
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Tom

5/24 is fools gold. Far better to ride hard and fast with the other banks.

CaveDweller
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CaveDweller

I agree get CHASE cards then go looking I have Ink & Prestige . Just posted 65k on my Hawaiian AL card Inter Island Flts. True Love..
CHEERs

Pam
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Pam

I find a more valuable argument can be made for keeping a slot open with Chase at any given time with somebody in the household. In the last year alone, for example, we have been able to get: 1. 3x CFU on all spend (& hoping it rolls around again soon when last April’s expires next month); 2. 3x & 5x bonus spend Ink Cards (along with 150,000 UR bonuses worth $2,250); 3. Ritz Carlton – 120,000 Bonvoy Points towards their best properties, worth $1,080, coupled with Plat status while using them; 4. World of Hyatt – 60,000 bonus points worth $1,080 5. Chase Sapphire Banking 60,000 URs worth $900

I took AMEX up on both Aspire & Brilliant upgrades (worth $1,800) but other than that I really haven’t found much else out there apart from Chase as valuable as all of the above. I only use Citi cards for odds & ends spending because their travel partners & system is not as valuable as Chase.

Pam
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Pam

(along with other banks now also being cautious in their own right with hard & fast)

Yuri
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Yuri

I’m testing this feature with 2 Rewards+ cards. Will see if I get 2x 10% back. So this brings the value of TYP to 1.85cpp, if you have Premier, Prestige and Rewards+, and book 4 nights stay with points for the first 100,000 points.

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Sam
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Sam

@Greg- What cards from Chase are you trying to get for your wife when she gets under 5/24? Which cards in your opinion are ones to get from Chase. Thanks!

CaveDweller
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CaveDweller

Get cards that Work for your travel needs not Greg’s .

CHEERs

Belinda
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Belinda

I used to love that Prestige card. Unlimited 4th night free. I guess still for a while. But now they’re sweating me about the reservation is in my name, made for one person, then when we arrive it’s switched over to my husband because he’s the primary on our Hilton diamond mutual fund account. Then Citi tries to say I never checked into the hotel. They almost stiffed me on a suite rebate last fall. I just stopped using it now.

Also their price rewind . First they lowered the yearly cap. Ok. Use a second Citi card…but now you can’t match to any auction site even on a buy it now price. I know people were putting their own items up…but I wasn’t. Does anyone know a workaround or another card that allows matching to an auction site?

Bill
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Bill

I couldn’t really justify the AT&T Access More card with its fee (even offset by online shopping), but the AT&T Access card was pretty boring. Glad that they let me product change to the Rewards+, especially now that the BoA card with preferred rewards can get me 5.25% on online shopping.

That you can use this with the prestige points is interesting, it might make for a good offset for the fourth night free changes.