While premier travel cards with a ton of benefits and cardholder perks tend to offer the most “bang for your buck” in the rewards world, most people could still benefit from a solid, no-fee cash-back credit card. Some cash-back cards let you earn up to 5% back in rotating categories, after all. Plus, it’s always advantageous to have points you can cash in however you want — not just for trips.
If you’re considering adding a new card to your portfolio this year but don’t want to pay an annual fee, you’ll be interested to know that Citi is launching a no-fee cash-back credit card with an interesting rewards scheme. This new card will offer 2x points on groceries and gas up to certain limits, 1x points on all other purchases, and a “rounding up” feature that could help you rack up more points over time.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
- Earn 15,000 ThankYou points after using your card for $1,000 in purchases in three months
- Earn 2x ThankYou points when you buy groceries and gas on up to $6,000 in spending per year (then 1x points)
- Earn 1 ThankYou point for each dollar spent on all other purchases
- ThankYou points are rounded up to 10 for every purchase
- No annual fee
- Get 10% points back on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year
Citi Rewards+℠ Card Review: A Unique Earning Proposition that Rewards People for Small Purchases
The Citi Rewards+℠ Card is an interesting card option because it does things differently than many competing cash-back credit cards with no annual fee. Instead of offering 5% back on up to $1,500 in special category spending each quarter each time you activate like the Chase Freedom® or the Citi Rewards+℠ Card offers extra points in the same categories all year — groceries and gas.
Considering consumers tend to spend a lot of money in these areas, and especially on groceries, it’s easy to see why someone might pick the Citi Rewards+℠ Card over other options. If you maxed out the 2x points categories each year with $6,000 in spending, you would earn 12,000 points minimum, after all. That’s more than you would earn with a card that offers 1% or 1.5% back on regular purchases, and not too shabby really.
But, the Citi Rewards+℠ Card’s “rounding up” feature is where it really stands out. With this unique spin, the Citi Rewards+℠ Card promises to round up all of your rewards to the nearest 10, meaning you’ll earn at least 10 ThankYou points at a minimum every time you use the card — no matter how much you spend.
Charge a $2 coffee? You’ll rack up 10 ThankYou points — or 5% back.
A $1 pack of gum? You’ll earn 10 points, or 10% back.
This feature makes the Citi Rewards+℠ Card especially advantageous — particularly for consumers in the habit of charging small purchases all the time.
On top of that, you’ll also get 10% of your points back when you redeem 100,000 points within a year. This card also offers a signup bonus of 15,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases within three months of account opening. And since these points are accrued within the Citi ThankYou program, they can be used for a wide range of awards, including travel booked through the Citi portal, gift cards, statement credits, and more.
Finally, the Citi Rewards+℠ Card comes with a wide range of benefits including access to presale tickets and experiences through Citi Private Pass, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, car rental coverage, travel accident insurance, damage and theft protection, return protection, and extended warranties. That’s a pretty nice suite of benefits for a card without any annual fee, which makes it a solid competitor for other cash-back cards with lucrative benefits like the Chase Freedom®.
- Related: Best No Fee Credit Cards
Citi Rewards+℠ Card: Where It Falls Short
While the Citi Rewards+℠ Card does offer enticing rewards categories and a signup bonus, there are some areas where it falls short. For example, you’ll only earn one ThankYou point per dollar spent outside of groceries and gas.
Earning double points on groceries and gas is always good, but this benefit is limited to the first $6,000 in spending each year.
As a final critique, the fact that this card rounds each award up to 10 ThankYou points could be a problem for people who may be inclined to make small purchases to earn more rewards. If earning 10 ThankYou points for every small purchase convinced you to stop into Starbucks more often or pick up a bag of chips every time you visit a gas station, then it’s unlikely this perk will leave you better off.
Who This Card is Good For:
- Anyone who spends at least $6,000 on groceries and gas in a year or charges lots of small purchases.
- People who want to earn cash-back without an annual fee.
- Consumers who want the option to redeem points for travel, gift cards, statement credits, and more.
Who Should Skip It:
- People who might be enticed to make more unnecessary small purchases to earn more points.
- Anyone who wants to earn more than 1 point per $1 on their regular purchases.
- Consumers who want to earn a larger signup bonus upfront.
How Does It Compare to Other Cash-Back Cards?
Before you sign up for the Citi Rewards+℠ Card, it helps to compare it with other cash-back credit cards that don’t charge an annual fee. The chart below shows how its benefits stack up to one of the most popular cash-back credit cards available today.
|Citi Rewards+℠ Card||Chase Freedom®|
|Earning Structure||2x ThankYou points on up to $6,000 spent on groceries and gas each year (then 1x points); 1x points on all other purchases|
All purchases earn 10 ThankYou points at a minimum
|Earn 5% back on up to $1,500 spent in bonus categories each quarter each quarter you activate (then 1%); earn 1% back on all other purchases|
|Signup Bonus||Earn 15,000 ThankYou points after you use your card for $1,000 in purchases within three months of account opening||Earn 15,000 points after you use your card for $500 in purchases within three months of account opening, which can be redeemed for $150 cash back.|
|Redeeming points||Redeem for travel, gift cards, statement credits, merchandise, and more||Redeem for travel, gift cards, statement credits, merchandise, and more|
As you can see, the Citi Rewards+℠ Card isn’t that different from the Chase Freedom®. Both offer the opportunity to earn more than 1% back in certain categories all year long, but both also enact caps that limit how many bonus points you can earn.
The signup bonuses are similar too, except that you only have to spend $500 on the Chase Freedom® within three months of account opening to earn the initial welcome offer.
Both cards let you redeem your points in more than one way as well, so they are very similar in that respect.
Want to Earn a Flat Rate of Rewards? Try This Card
Not everyone wants to deal with cards that offer more points in some categories than others, especially when caps limit how many bonus points you can earn within a year. That’s part of the reason cash-back credit cards that offer a flat rate of rewards are so popular. When you earn a flat rate of cash-back on everything you buy, you never have to worry about bonus categories or exceeding annual limits.
If you’ve been looking for a cash-back credit card that lets you earn more points on gas and grocery purchases all year, the Citi Rewards+℠ Card may be exactly what you need. Then again, there are a ton of cash-back card options to explore before you pull the trigger.
The links below can help you find the right card for your spending style and needs.
Please Note: Information about the Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by TheSimpleDollar.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.
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