Earn up to 100x w/ new Citi Rewards+ card. No, really. Ok, maybe not?

Citi has announced a new credit card that nearly made me spit out my second cup of coffee because it seems like it would be awfully hard to sustain as it is being marketed. I find this particularly ….interesting…in light of the recent reports about banks tightening up on rewards. Citi is launching a new card that, among other things, will round up rewards on your purchases to the nearest 10 ThankYou points. That means if you spend $8, you’ll earn 10 ThankYou points (1.25x). If you spend $5, you’ll earn 10 ThankYou points (2x). If you spend $1, you’ll earn 10 ThankYou points (10x!). If you can find purchases as low as $0.10, you’ll be earning 100x. I know — nobody will let you put a $0.10 purchase on a credit card, right? You’re probably right..but it certainly won’t be hard to make $1 purchases, which makes this one pretty interesting…if it lasts.

–> You can find Citi’s press release here <–

A few more fuel points and the Rewards+ might become my go-to gas card.

The earning structure & benefits

I doubt that Citi is going to market this one as the “$1 Amazon Gift Card card” — they did introduce some bonus categories other than “tiny purchases”.

The Citi Rewards+ card will have the following key details:

  • Earn 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year (then 1x)
  • Round up your earned ThankYou points to the nearest 10 ThankYou points (which presumably means that a $20.50 purchase earns 30 ThankYou points, etc)

Additionally, the card will carry the following benefits according to One Mile at a Time:

  • Get 10% of your points back for the first 100,000 points you redeem per year (unclear how this works with points pooling)
  • Access to presale tickets and VIP experiences for thousands of events each year through Citi Private Pass
  • Trip cancellation and interruption protection
  • Worldwide car rental insurance
  • Worldwide travel accident insurance
  • Damage & theft protection
  • Extended warranty
  • 90-day return protection

The Offer

This card will come with a welcome offer of 15,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, and it will have no annual fee

Quick Thoughts

This card makes me smile, I just wonder how long it will last. I get what Citi is trying to do here — companies are vying for the top spot in your wallet. Citi is clearly hoping to incentivize you to pull out this card for all of your silly little purchases in the hopes that it becomes a habit and therefore the card you use for bigger purchases also. The problem is that I can’t imagine anyone has calculated how many silly little small purchases some people will make.

The supermarket and gas station bonus categories aren’t very exciting as you’ll earn better category bonuses on lots of other cards, though the trip cancellation and interruption protection, car rental insurance, and purchase protections look decent for a no-annual-fee card.

One question I have is how this card will affect eligibility for cards like the Prestige or Premier, which usually exclude those who have opened or closed other ThankYou cards in the past 24 months. Will opening this card lock you out of a bonus on either of those cards for 2 years? Will you be locked out of this one by those card applications? We’ll have to check the terms when applications for this card go live on January 10, 2019.

While you should be able to pool points earned from this card with a premium card like the Premier or an ultra-premium card like the Prestige in order to transfer to airline partners, it is not clear how they will calculate the 10% rebate on the first 100K points you use per year. Will that include all pooled points? Just the points from this card? How about if you transfer points from this card to someone else? I would expect that the rebate will get murky with the way Citi tracks points earned from different cards separately, so I don’t find that rebate too exciting yet – we’ll see how it works in practice.

Overall, I find this an interesting move from Citi. It’s certainly something a bit different from what we’ve seen from other issuers, so I’ll give them points for creativity. I’ll just take those points back with $1 Amazon gift cards.

H/T: One Mile at a Time

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About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Acker
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Acker

I’ve been known to purchase bananas with a cc. One banana at at time, using self checkout. Yes, the charge was often under 15 cents. Yes, I have no pride. Yes, it worked. Yes, it resulted in oodles of points.

tom
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tom

This won’t last. There are people who have created scripts that will run 10c transactions all day

Jason Wong
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Jason Wong

This will last, but people will get BANNED from Citi as a whole. They have internal scripts from the fraud department. If they run over 10 transactions in a day < $1, it will be flagged. If this is flagged, it will be reviewed internally. If it is a consistent pattern that happens over 3 times, the account and all subsequent CC will be banned/blacklisted. Welcome to the fraud department. Good luck.

John
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John

Someone did this on another card for .01 gift cards at amazon I think, years ago. One of those cards that rounded up…

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

Chase Freedom + Chase Checking. I think they called it Chase Exclusives or something. They gave an extra 10 points per transaction.

JayP
Guest
JayP

Exactly! This reminded of that. It was awesome while it lasted. Wonder why they did away with it……

Hal
Guest
Hal

When the Barclays aviator had the round up your miles promo, I just sent myself 1c venmo transactions. 501 of them each month

Yuri
Guest
Yuri

This is basically buying AA miles at 1c each. Not that good. I was doing some $1.01 reloads at Amazon, but not many.

Hal
Guest
Hal

I still get more value than 1c each out of them. I just did a 80k JAL F from US to Tokyo.

Chuck
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Chuck

Waiting for this on Jan 10th!

Austin
Guest
Austin

NYC parking meters can be paid in 25 cent increments.

Pam
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Pam

I will definitely PC one of my current Citi garbage cards (kept for long cl) to this. Can see using for all legitimate transactions under $5 instead of cash. It’s own niche, I like it too…:-)

ed k
Guest
ed k

They put out a press release, which does not include the full terms, then wait for us to talk about it openly and how to take it to the max, then finalize the terms when the offer is released. You may have played into their hands. I suggest no further discussion or there will be disappointment.

Floridian Person
Guest
Floridian Person

It seems similar to the Amex Everday Preferred Card that needs daily purchases to get to the 30x in a month. You should do a comparison of the 2 cards with 30 ttransactions a month on each. I’ve had to resort to buying separate bananas or 50 cent Amazon cards to get there on the EDP. With what the cardholder gets and what the bank gets (in fees), it must be working for Amex.

mileshusband
Guest
mileshusband

Hard to compare 1.5X card to a 10X+ card. What is comparable is dealing with micro-transactions at scale occupies valuable planning and execution time, especially to stay below the radar.

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[…] bonus like 3% everywhere with the Alliant Cashback Visa, a bonus on micro-purchases like with the coming Citi Rewards+ card, a drawn-out welcome offer like the new Southwest 60K offers, or various offers for bonus points on […]

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