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 Citi ThankYou Points, whereas we consider even the Chase Freedom’s $100 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.
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.
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 $150 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.