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Conflicting reports: Does the Citi Forward Give 5x Points on Amazon?

by on August 24, 2012

Retraction: After hearing reports that the Citi Forward no longer gave 5x points on Amazon.com, NerdWallet contacted their customer services representatives to find out more. While we heard from multiple CSRs that Amazon no longer counts, our readers have told us that they still receive 5x points. We’ll continue to investigate and try out different cases. We strive to provide the best content for our readers, but we jumped the gun on this one, and we sincerely apologize to our readers.

We would like to hear if people still receive the 5x points a) on Amazon book purchases, b) on non-bookstore purchases from the Amazon.com marketplace and c) from other sellers than Amazon, but purchased through their storefont.

Here’s what we’ve heard from customer service:

  • Representatives 1-3: Amazon.com purchases do not count as bookstores, unless they are actually books.
  • Representative 4 (contacted today): They do count as bookstores.
  • Representative 5 (contacted today): Amazon earns 6 ThankYou Points per $1.

There was no change in our affiliate relationship with Citibank either way – this was a slip up that should not have happened. Thanks to our readers for keeping us on track, and we apologize.

The Citi Forward gives 5 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on movies, music, restaurants and bookstores. We’ve heard that ThankYou Points are again difficult to redeem, requiring you to accumulate 10,000 points before you can redeem at full value for gift cards. To redeem fewer points, you either have to redeem for student loan/mortgage payments or charity, or take a hit in redemption value. Another reason we’re not so hot on the card – its signup bonus is 10,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $650 in purchases & paperless statement sign-up in the first 3 months., whereas we consider even the Chase Freedom’s Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening to be low.

Cards that give 3%+ on Amazon.com

Citi Forward: The feature of our article, it counts Amazon purchases as a bookstore (again, we’ve heard conflicting reports) and also earns 5 ThankYou Points to the dollar on music, movies and dining out (this last includes fast food and most bars). ThankYou points vary in value depending on how you redeem: the best way is to cash in for a mortgage/student loan payment or to one of Citi’s featured charities, which gets you the full 1 cent per point with just 2,500 points. If you want to redeem for a gift card, you must wait till you’ve got 10,000 before you get the full value.

Chase Amazon.com Rewards Visa Credit Card
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on Chase's
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Amazon.com credit card: Of course. It earns 3% at Amazon and 2% on gas, restaurants and drugstores. The card pays out in Amazon points, which can be redeemed at checkout, or as cash back or a statement credit. We’re not fond of the Amazon card, as we believe that you can find better gas or dining rewards elsewhere, and you can certainly do better than a signup bonus of 3,000 Amazon.com Rewards Bonus.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred: The Amex Blue Cash Preferred gives unlimited 3% at gas stations and department stores, and 6% on up to $6k spent at grocery stores. We’ve heard conflicting reports about Amazon.com counting as a department store for the 3% rewards, but you can, with a little legwork, get 6% back at the online retailer. Just pick up an Amazon.com gift card at the checkout line of many supermarkets, including Safeway and Raley’s, and earn that full 6% cash back. Not too shabby. It does have a $75 annual fee, but the killer rewards are worth it, not to mention the Get 100 Reward Dollars, redeemable for a $100 statement credit, after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months. Plus, get one year of Amazon Prime after you sign up for a new membership with your Card and meet the spending requirement in the same time period. signup bonus. Take that, Citi Forward.

American Express Blue Cash Everyday: Same card, same principle. The Blue Cash Everyday has the same rewards structure as the Preferred, but has no annual fee and earns unlimited 2% on gas and department stores, and 3% on up to $6k spent on groceries (read: Amazon gift card). The Everyday comes with a smaller signup bonus than the Preferred, clocking in at $100. When deciding between the Everyday and the Preferred, weigh your grocery, clothing and gas spending against the $75 fee. Spend $50 in groceries weekly, and the Preferred is the better option.

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet's official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.
  • Jonathan

    American Express Blue Cash does **NOT** count Amazon as a Department Store. You only get the normal 1% back there.

    • dodo

      American Express Blue cash does count
      Amazon as a Department Store, it is 2% not 1%, Amazon marketplace does not include, which means marketplace is 1% not 2%

  • Joel

    Was expecting this to happen so I took the Amazon Rewards Visa instead. The points can be converted to a statement credit with only a $20 minimum, so it’s practically cash.

  • stansso

    How was this confirmed?

  • Warez

    This is a lie. This and your U S Bank Cash+ review made me never read your blog again.

    • M

      I just checked my Citi account. Non-book purchases on Amazon still come up as bookstore purchases. I agree, that this review combined with your US Bank review makes this site less than credible. I suspect you are no longer getting affiliate bonuses from Citi so you are steering your readers elsewhere.

  • James

    Wouldn’t Amazon still count as a music store and/or video rental store?

  • whats going on here?

    How was this info obtained? recent amazon purchases still come up as bookstore

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      We hear that if the purchases are actually books, Amazon will count, but if you buy clothes, food, electronics, etc., it no longer counts for 5x bonus rewards.

  • HF

    Please remember: Rule #1 DO NOT CALL! NEVER! You may ruin this deal!!!

  • http://www.spwca.co.uk/ Jack – CA London

    Seems like you got a couple of other best cards though anyway…Say, I’m holding an Amazon rewards card for years and love it.

  • Carroll

    I got the Citi Forward in July of this year and up until 9/1, it seems that I was getting 5 points per $1 with Amazon, since then, it’s only been 3 points. I’ve spend around $500 a month with Amazon. I don’t know if it’s too much or what, but now I’m kind of annoyed because the points were the only reason that I went with this card. They haven’t even been giving me the 5 points for restaurants, I’ll have to call about that.

  • StockStalker1

    FYI you really only get 4.75% cash back on the AMEX Blue, not 6%. You’re limited to $360 of rewards at 6% and – the $75 yearly fee it comes out to 4.75%. Still the best I’ve seen on Amazon stuff (if you go the grocery store + giftcard route, which also works with eBay).