Citi Introducing New Best Points-Earning Card for Small Transactions (And It May Be a Big Mistake)

Citibank is introducing the new Rewards+ card on January 10, 2019. It’s a no annual fee product, which means that the Thank You points it earns won’t transfer to airline miles (other than to JetBlue).

However the earning structure is interesting.

  • They round up points earning to the nearest 10 points
  • Earns 2 points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6000 spent each year
  • 10% rebate on points for the first 100,000 you spend each year (so up to 10,000 bonus points for redeeming)
  • Initial bonus will be 15,000 points after $1000 spend within 3 months

This is lucrative for small dollar purchases. Every $1 purchase, for instance, earns 10 points. That’s a huge category bonus.

I don’t think the initial bonus is huge, and you can do a lot better on grocery store spend. This is all about rewarding small transactions in my opinion.

The best way to redeem these points would be to transfer them to an annual fee card that allows transfers to airline miles, even though that will mean giving up the 10% redemption bonus (in all likelihood). Citi Prestige is about to become a fantastic card for spending albeit with weak benefits.

On the one hand I’m surprised to see this ’round up’ offer. Chase already learned their lesson trying this. However memories are short. Perhaps Citi just figures they will shut down cardmembers who abuse it.

For several years if you had a Chase checking account and a Freedom card you had extra benefits through Chase Exclusives. The card earned 10 bonus points per transaction and a 10% bonus. That made making tons of very small dollar transactions lucrative and some people even automated those transactions online. This Chase Exclusives bonus ended December 31, 2015. Maybe that’s just long enough for people to forget.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. If I have a Citi Prestige could my wife get this card and transfer these “lower level” TYP to me so I can use transfer them to the albeit crappy TYP partners for flight redemptions?

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