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Citi Rewards+℠ Card Review – 2x Points at Supermarkets & Gas Stations

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At a Glance
Citi Rewards Plus Card Art
3.7 / 5
Rating

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Citi Rewards+℠ Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus ThankYou points when you spend $1,000 in three months (worth $150 when redeemed for gift cards)
  • Rewards: Earn 2X points on eligible gas station and grocery store purchases, up to $6,000 in annual combined category spending, and unlimited 1X points on all other purchases. On every purchase, Citi rounds up points earned to the nearest 10; on the first 100,000 points redeemed each year, Citi deposits a 10% points bonus back into your rewards account.
  • Intro APR: 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable regular APR applies
  • Fees: 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Credit Needed: Excellent/good

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The Citi Rewards+℠ Card is a popular credit card with no annual fee and an expansive, though complicated, rewards program that allows you to redeem accumulated points for virtually anything: gift cards, travel, general merchandise, cash, and more. It earns points at a moderate rate, favoring supermarkets and gas stations over other spending categories. ThankYou points earned with the Rewards+ card are most valuable when redeemed for gift cards, and usually somewhat less valuable when redeemed for general merchandise and cash.

The Rewards+ Card competes with some other cash back credit cards, gas credit cards, and general travel rewards credit cards.

Key Features

Sign-up Bonus

When you spend at least $1,000 in purchases on your card within 3 months of opening your account, you get 15,000 bonus ThankYou points. That’s worth up to $150 when redeemed for gift cards at thankyou.com.

Earning ThankYou Rewards Points

The Citi Rewards+ Card earns 2 ThankYou points per $1 spent on eligible purchases at supermarkets and gas stations, up to the first $6,000 in eligible spending per year. All other eligible purchases, including supermarket and gas station purchases above the $6,000 annual spending cap, earn unlimited 1 point per $1 spent.

Citi automatically rounds up all purchases to the nearest 10 points, meaning (for example) a purchase that would normally earn 96 points actually nets 100 points.

Redeeming ThankYou Rewards Points

You can redeem ThankYou points for a wide range of items, including gift cards, general merchandise, travel and transportation (with no blackout dates), statement credits, direct purchases made with merchants like Amazon and Best Buy, and more.

Gift card redemptions typically require 1 point per $0.01 in face value, and therefore usually offer the best value for your points. By contrast, general merchandise redemptions typically value ThankYou points between $0.005 and $0.01, and cash redemptions value ThankYou points at $0.005 apiece. These values are subject to change, however.

Redemption minimums vary by redemption method, but typically start at 2,500 points ($25 value) for gift cards and 10,000 points ($50 value) for cash. You’ll get a 10% bonus on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year, turning (for example) a 10,000-point redemption into a 11,000-point redemption. The bonus is deposited back into your rewards account.

It’s worth noting that Citi’s higher-end credit cards, including Citi Premier, allow you to transfer ThankYou points to participating frequent traveler programs, such as Hilton Honors – often at 1-to-1 ratios or better. However, Citi Rewards+ doesn’t have this perk.

Introductory APR

This card comes with a 15-month 0% APR introductory promotion on purchases and balance transfers. After the end of the introductory promotion, variable regular APR applies, depending on your creditworthiness.

Important Fees

There is no annual fee. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the total transaction amount, balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5% of the transferred amount.

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit. If you have any notable dings on your credit history, you are unlikely to qualify.

Advantages

  1. No Annual Fee. Rewards+ doesn’t charge an annual fee. That’s a big perk relative to other popular rewards credit cards, including fellow Citi cards such as Citi Premier ($95 annual fee), as well as similar non-Citi cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee).
  2. No Earning Caps or Rotating Categories. The Rewards+ Card doesn’t have any earning caps or rotating categories. The favored gas station and supermarket categories always stay the same, and there’s no limit to the number of points you can earn beyond the $6,000 annual spending cap on the 2X categories. By contrast, Chase Freedom has rotating categories that can be confusing to keep track of and annoying to activate every three months.
  3. Round-up and Redemption Bonuses Juice Rewards Earnings. This card’s rewards scheme has two customer-friendly features likely to boost total point earnings: rounding up points earned on every qualifying purchase to the nearest 10, and adding a 10% points bonus to the first 100,000 points redeemed each year.
  4. Good Intro APR Promotion. Rewards+ has a 15-month 0% APR promotion for purchases and balance transfers, after variable regular APR applies, depending on creditworthiness. That’s great news for new cardholders who need to make large upfront purchases or transfer high-interest balances from other card accounts.

Disadvantages

  1. Redemptions System Is Complicated. The Rewards+ Card’s redemption scheme is more complicated than it needs to be. Redemption minimums and point values vary depending on how you redeem, creating a confusing tableau. If you’re serious about maximizing this card’s value, you probably need to spend a few hours exploring the ThankYou Rewards portal and reading the fine print.
  2. Only Supermarket and Gas Station Purchases Earn Bonus Points. The Rewards+ Card’s bonus categories are somewhat limited: You only earn 2x points on purchases made at gas stations and supermarkets, and only up to $6,000 in annual combined category purchases. While this is fine for those with long commutes and moderate grocery budgets, the majority of most consumers’ spending falls into other categories. If you want a card that provides more equitable rewards on a wider range of spending categories, consider the Citi Double Cash Card (1% cash back on all initial spending and an additional 1% cash back when you pay your statement bill, for a total effective cash back rate of 2% when you pay your balance in full) or Capital One Quicksilver (1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases).
  3. Charges a Penalty APR. Rewards+ charges penalty interest on past-due balances. This is potentially costly for cardholders who occasionally miss payments, especially in light of the fact that Citi reserves the right to charge penalty interest indefinitely. Some popular alternatives, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred, don’t charge penalty interest.
  4. Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. This card comes with a 3% foreign transaction fee. That’s unfortunate for cardholders who want to rack up points while traveling abroad. Some higher-end travel cards, including stablemate Citi Premier, don’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Final Word

According to Citi, one can “redeem ThankYou points for almost anything.” If you find that simple concept appealing, this credit card should be high on your list.

On the other hand, if maximizing the value of your accumulated rewards points is important to you, there are better options than the Citi Rewards+℠ Card. Whereas this card’s ThankYou points can be worth as little as $0.005 apiece when redeemed, some competing cards set the floor for their point values at $0.01.

In other words, those cards repay you twice as fast for every $1 you spend. Food for thought.

Verdict
Citi Rewards Plus Card Art
3.7 / 5
Rating

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Citi Rewards+℠ Card

The Citi Rewards+℠ Card is ideal for cardholders with healthy gas and grocery budgets, who don’t like annual fees, and who want to be able to redeem their points for just about anything. It’s not ideal for cardholders who want to rack up points rapidly, nor those fortunate enough to work from home (or disciplined enough to keep their grocery budgets in check).

This card’s easy-to-understand spending categories, purchase and redemption boosts, good intro APR promotion, and lack of an annual fee are all helpful.

Its potentially confusing redemptions system, limited favored categories, penalty APR, and foreign transaction fees all hurt its prospects.

Overall, this is a solid choice for relatively modest spenders whose budgets overweight grocery and gas consumption.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses 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.

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