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On Jan. 3, Citi announced the release of the new Citi Rewards+? Card. This $0 annual fee card will debut on Jan. 10.
The Citi Rewards+? Card is a unique addition to the rewards credit card market, since cardholders will be able to benefit from a rewards program that rounds up to the nearest 10 ThankYou® Points on every purchase. For example, if you purchase a $1 candy bar, you’ll earn 10 points — that’s compared with other cards that will only earn you 1 point. This is a fantastic perk that can allow cardholders to maximize ThankYou® Points, especially considering the rewards program is just OK — earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
“This card is all about rewarding people for making more small purchases, which is unusual in the credit card space,” said Matt Schulz, CompareCards.com chief industry analyst. “Many people don’t think of pulling out their credit card to buy a candy bar or a bottle of soda, but this just might change that.”
What we like
Rewards round-up. It’s hard to find a card that will reward you for spending less, but the Citi Rewards+? Card fills that void. On every purchase you make, points will be rounded up to the nearest 10 ThankYou® Points, which helps make up for the subpar rewards program.
Points returned to you. In addition to points rounding up, you receive 10% points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou Points redeemed per year. If you redeemed 100,000 ThankYou Points for gift cards, you’d have $1,000 in gift cards and then receive 10% of your ThankYou Points back, which comes to 10,000 ThankYou Points. Those returned 10,000 ThankYou Points can then be redeemed for an additional $100 in gift cards.
New cardmember offer. Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com. This can be redeemed for $150 in gift cards, among other options that include statement credit, travel and shopping at select partners — but those redemption values vary.
$0 annual fee. Since Citi removed the Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card from its catalog last year, there hasn’t been a no-annual fee ThankYou card. Currently, the only Citi card that earns ThankYou Points is the Citi Premier℠ Card, but that comes with an annual fee of $95, waived for first 12 months*. The Citi Rewards+? Card is a welcome addition with a $0 annual fee.
Decent intro 0% APR offers. This card provides a year to finance new purchases or get out of debt with an intro 0% for 12 months on purchases and an intro 0% for 12 months on balance transfers (after, 15.74% - 25.74% (Variable) APR). This is a typical intro period, however the best balance transfer cards can offer up to 21 months of introductory interest-free financing.
What we don’t like
Higher rewards is capped. The higher 2 ThankYou Points for every dollar spent at supermarkets and gas stations is limited to the first $6,000 in purchases per year. This is a setback if you spend more than $500 a month combined in both categories. After you hit the maximum, rewards will drop to 1 ThankYou Point per dollar spent.
Low rewards for everyday purchases. You only earn 1 ThankYou Point for every dollar spent on all other purchases that aren’t made at supermarkets and gas stations. This is a subpar rate since you can do better with other cards, such as the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay).
- Citi® Private Pass®: Access to presale tickets and VIP experiences for concerts, plays, dining experiences and other events
- Trip cancellation and interruption protection
- Worldwide car rental insurance
- Worldwide travel accident insurance
- Damage & theft protection
- Extended warranty
- 90-day return protection
The Citi Rewards+? Card is an interesting card that’s sure to turn some heads with its hard-to-find rounding perk. While the base rewards you earn pale compared with other cards, such as the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, the rounding up and 10% points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou Points redeemed per year may be enough to win you over. A good strategy can be pairing the Citi Rewards+? Card with a flat-rate cash back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. Just be careful not to go overboard.
“No one should ever overspend just to get credit card rewards, even if those rewards are really amazing,” Schulz said. “That’s true even with small purchases. Those extra $1 or $5 purchases can add up over time and make it harder for you to pay off your credit card at the end of the month, and that’s the last thing any credit cardholder needs.”