Why I Don’t Think The Citi Rewards+ Is A Great Fit For My Needs

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Citi Launching New Rewards+ Card

The news broke last week that Citi will be releasing a new card, the Citi Rewards+ card.  Some people got very excited about this card because of the possibility to 20X or more if they play it right.  That sounds great in theory but the way to do it sounds like a real pain in the butt. I’ll share with you my thoughts on that later.

Details of the Citi Rewards+ Card

The Citi Rewards+ card will be a no annual fee card marketed to people as an everyday card because of it’s round up feature.  It reminds a little of the Barclays Flight Cents promo.  Although this is a better deal since you are not buying the miles like you did in that promo.  Here are the details and earning structure:

  • 15,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,000 within 3 months
  • 2 ThankYou points per dollar on Gas and Groceries up to $6,000 per year
  • 1 ThankYou point per dollar on everything else
  • The ThankYou points can be redeemed for gift cards or one cent a piece towards travel.
    • If you transfer them to the Citi Premier card then you can get 1.25 cents on travel.
  • No annual fee
  • 10% refund on points redemptions on up to 100,000 points per year (10,000 point rebate)
  • Round up feature

Citi Rewards+

The Two Best Perks

There are two interesting perks of this card, the 10% rebate and the round up feature.  Let’s take a look at both.

10% Rebate

The 10% rebate means you are essentially earning 1.1 points per dollar on everyday spend. You would earn 2.2 points per dollar on your first $6,000 of gas and grocery purchases.  That is a nice perk but you would still be better off transferring the points to your ThankYou Premier card where it would be a return of 1.25 and 2.5 respectively. That is if you took advantage of the 25% bonus the Citi Premier gets on travel bookings.  You would be forgoing the 10% rebate but it is still the better option.

Round Up Feature

This is what has people in the hobby salivating. This feature rounds the amount of points earned to the nearest 10 on each purchase.  So if you spend $7 on a coffee that gets you 10 points (1.42 points per dollar).  A $5 charge would also get you 10 points (2 points per dollar).  A $1 charge would get you 10 points per dollar, 50 cents 20 points per dollar and so on.

People are looking at this as a way to score insane returns on small purchases.  The low hanging fruit is of course Amazon reloads.  You can reload Amazon in as small as 50 cent increments.  This is key for many bank bonus requirements :). You could then brag that you are earning 20 ThankYou points per dollar on Amazon purchases.  Sounds great, right?

Citi Rewards+

Why It Doesn’t Work For Me

20 ThankYou points per dollar on Amazon netting you a return of up to 25% if you transferred those points to the Premier card, that is AMAZING!  But the work is tedious, annoying, and comes with risks.

But think of it this way, you would need to make 100 purchases to get 1,000 points.  How many could you do in one day before fraud alerts kick in?  How long before Amazon becomes aware, maybe they wouldn’t care but is 10,000 points after 1,000 purchases worth the risk?  What about a Citi shutdown – they have done it for less.


While discussing this with Danny the Deal Guru we came up with some funny headlines for this card.  Just for fun I thought I would share a few:

  • Earn 1000X on every tootsie roll purchase!!!
  • The Dollar Store is Your New Best Friend With This Card In Your Wallet!
  • #SelfCheckoutForLife
  • Get 18k points for a full tank of gas – 1 cent at a time!
  • Pump your gas for 97 hours straight for a free domestic flight…one penny at a time!

Hope you got a few laughs out of this section :).  We may have to do similar things in the future.  Share your best headline below.


I have a feeling some caps will be put in place for this card down the road or the feature will be killed off all together.

If the bonus was 25,000 like the Preferred has been in the past then I may change my mind some.  But for 15,000 points, a pedestrian earning structure, and an annoying game of endless tiny purchases means I am giving this a pass.

I am sure I will see some of you at the grocery store self checkout after midnight buying things one item at a time.  Or on reddit bragging about your $100 Amazon credit balance that netted you a 25% return (really only 2,000 points).  That is great and all but I will just continue on with my life and save myself the hassle.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. I’m with you – not worth the hassle for me to try and maximize the round-up feature – which in any case will be taken away or limited in short order anyway. Yeah it would be easy gravy for small purchases I suppose but even then – I don’t want to have a George Costanza wallet full of cards!

  2. Paying for parking in multiple small amounts with your parking meter app could be a good way to make use of this card. But if you fail to load $ and the meter maid strikes, you lose big time.

  3. Not worth the trouble for me either, but some frequent small spenders who haven’t gotten a Thank You card in a couple of years could do well with this.

  4. I have earned many bonus URs in the past with $1 McDonald’s drink purchases (1,500 URs after so many Chase Pays) but like you, Mark, would no way do this to expressly accumulate TYPs/minute Amazon gc.

    I do like as only a small puchase go-to, though, & I will prob PC one of my other NF Citi cards I don’t use (but keep for old CL) on 1.10.

    • I can see PC being an option for this card for sure. I wonder how long the round up feature will last.

      • I think the small-purchase feature is baked into this card’s allure.

        Presuming Citi will shutter abuser’s accounts rather than a new product launch which is, of course, very expensive for Citi. I think the major issuers have lived & learned, & they now have no compunctions with closing down gamers…fast with improved technology.

  5. Not that excited about any Citi card at this point. Chase and Amex still appear to be the leaders of the pack at this time…. in fact they have been for awhile. I’m hoping that in 2019 there will be a new spectacular offering with a huge sign on and travel perks. Time will tell.

    • The best thing about Citi TY points, imo at least, is that it doesn’t really hurt you when you use them :). I have no emotional attachment to them.

  6. Is it considered a similar product as Citi Premier, Prestige and Preferred, or is it possible to get this card without the 24 month open/close issue?

    • That info hasn’t been released as far as I know but I imagine it would fall in that family which makes it even worse since it would reset the clock (if that is the case).

  7. I think it’s a nice niche feature on a otherwise unremarkable card…. twice a day I pass my local coffee shop and buy a 1.25 coffee, I guess 20 TYR points a day would be nice, but I think going out of your way to slowly earn some extra points is crazy and I give Citi 6 months before they change the laungue on minimal purchase

    • That is true it could be great for those natural small purchases. My issue is I wouldn’t burn a inquiry for that and my wallet is already stuffed. If it hangs around could be a downgrade option though I guess.


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