Citi Rewards+ Review: Rounding Up Equals Modest Rewards

This unique card may be a fit for low spenders who make a lot of small purchases. But other cards will offer more long-term value, flexibility and simplicity.

Melissa LambarenaOctober 1, 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.1

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Despite its bonus tiers and "round up" feature, the card underwhelms when compared with others in its category.

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

on Citibank's application

on Citibank's application

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

Cons

  • Spending cap on bonus categories

  • Varying point values

Alternate Pick: High cash-back rate on everything

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Flexible, no-fuss rewards

You'll get a flat rate of 2% back on all purchases: 1% when you buy, 1% when you pay. No bonus categories, spending caps or rounded-up rewards to keep track of. Annual fee: $0.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.49% - 23.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 14 months and 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 14 months

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

The Citi Rewards+℠ Card underwhelms when compared with other rewards credit cards in its class.

Yes, modest spenders may appreciate the card's unique "round up" offer, which can make small purchases a little more rewarding. There's also a "Points Back" benefit each year on rewards that you redeem, up to an annual limit, plus some decent introductory offers.

But overall, you can find other no-annual-fee options that offer richer and less complicated rewards on everyday spending.

Citi Rewards+℠ Card: Basics

Card type: Rewards.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com.

Rewards:

  • 2 ThankYou points per $1 spent at supermarkets and gas stations (for the first $6,000 spent per year).

  • 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • 10% points back for the first 100,000 ThankYou Points redeemed per year.

Rewards are rounded up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase. So if you buy a $4 cup of coffee, you get 10 points instead of four.

Redemption options: 

You can redeem points for things like gift cards, travel, cash and potentially statement credits (for eligible purchases in select categories). You can also use points to shop online at eligible merchants, via the "Shop With Points" option. But point values vary widely depending on what you choose.

Gift cards, for example, generally redeem at a value of one cent per point. If you redeem points at Amazon.com, they're worth only about 0.8 cent each. Other redemption options like cash back and statement credit yield a value of only half a cent per point. You can also transfer points to JetBlue’s TrueBlue loyalty program, but not at a 1:1 ratio. (With this card, 1,000 ThankYou points will net you 800 JetBlue points.)

Nerd tip: Citi has other travel partners, but you'll need a card like the Citi Premier℠ Card or the Citi Prestige® Card to access them.

APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.49% - 23.49% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: 3%.

Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

Other perks: Citi Entertainment, which can grant you special access to things like presale tickets, VIP packages to concerts, sporting events and more.

Why you're better off passing on the Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Low rewards rate and complicated rules

The Citi Rewards+℠ Card will very likely limit your rewards-earning potential. Many households, especially larger ones, will exceed a $6,000 spending cap on gas and groceries in a year. Plus, the card's roundup feature — while interesting — is ideal only on small, sporadic purchases, and even then you have to do the math to determine the exact value you're getting upfront. The 10% redemption bonus is worth, at the very most, $100 in gift cards per year. Rather than worrying about tiered bonus categories, spending caps and rounded-up rewards, you're probably better off with a card that earns a flat, simple 1.5% back or higher on everything.

With the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, for instance, you earn 2% cash back on every purchase: 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay it off — no caps or rounding to bother with. Plus, unlike a points-based system with values and redemption options that can vary, cash back is straightforward and can be used on whatever you like. The card's annual fee is $0.

Varying point values

The Citi Rewards+℠ Card offers plenty of redemption options, but they're not all created equal. To get the best value from your points, you'll have to settle for gift cards, whereas redeeming for cash — the most flexible reward there is — cuts the value of your points in half. And while it's hard to find a no-annual-fee card that offers any kind of point transfer to travel partners, the selection and value with the Citi Rewards+℠ Card are limited.

For a more straightforward experience, consider the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card. It earns rich rewards on a wide variety of spending categories, with no earning cap. It also offers similar redemption options, except point values are the same regardless.

Foreign transaction fee

The card's 3% foreign transaction fee means it'll be costly to use internationally. If you’re looking for a card that earns travel rewards but also travels well itself, consider the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. It earns 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, and it skips the foreign transaction fees.

Is the Citi Rewards+℠ Card right for you?

The Citi Rewards+℠ Card could work for low spenders who make a lot of small purchases. But many other credit cards can offer more value, flexibility and simplicity. See NerdWallet's list of the best credit cards for more options.

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