CNN Underscored reviews financial products such as credit cards and bank accounts based on their overall value, but does not review all financial companies or all available financial offers. We may receive compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com, and this compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site,
Our quick take: The Citi Rewards+® Card is a great choice for those looking for an easy-to-use rewards credit card that comes with no annual fee, a solid introductory APR offer and the unique ability to earn extra bonus points on small purchases.
- Earn 2 points for every dollar you spend at supermarkets and gas stations, up to $6,000 per year (then 1x) and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
- All purchases round up to the nearest 10 points.
- Get 10% of your points back every time you redeem, up to 100,000 points redeemed each year.
- 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers made in the first four months after you open the card (13.49% to 23.49% variable afterward).
- 0% APR on all purchases for the first 15 months (13.49% to 23.49% variable afterward).
- No annual fee.
- Points are generally best redeemed for gift cards unless you also have the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier® Card.
- Other cards may be better for more expensive purchases.
- Limited travel and shopping protections.
Current sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 on eligible purchases within the first three months after opening the account.
Best for: People who typically make small purchases with their credit card and want to start earning more rewards for them, or those with a Citi Prestige or Citi Premier card who can combine cards to maximize the 10% points rebate.
Digging into the Citi Rewards+ card
Let’s start with the most unique aspect of the Citi Rewards+ Card: its points rounding feature. Everything you buy with the card earns rewards that are rounded up to the nearest 10 points. While this might not sound like a big deal — and it’s not on very large purchases — the effect it has on small purchases can add up quickly.
Let’s look at an example. Say you pay $8 for a basic manicure at your local nail salon and pay for it with your credit card. With most cards, you’d likely earn 1 point per dollar, or 8 points for that purchase. But with the Citi Rewards+, you’ll earn 10 points, thanks to the roundup.
Doesn’t sound too exciting? OK, how about if you use your credit card to feed 75 cents into a modern parking meter? Other cards would only earn 1 point on that transaction, but the Citi Rewards+ earns the same 10 points as the manicure. That’s a huge 10x increase in rewards.
Even if you went out and bought a video game for $51, instead of earning 51 points for it, you’ll earn 60 points with the roundup perk. Obviously, the relative increase is less impressive on larger transactions, but those extra points can still make an impact over time.
With the Citi Rewards+, you’ll also earn 2 points for every dollar you spend at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar after that. And you’ll get the roundup on these purchases as well -— if filling up your gas tank costs $36, instead of earning 72 points, you’ll be rounded up to 80 points.
So even though the card only earns 1 point per dollar on all your purchases outside of supermarkets and gas stations, you might find that for inexpensive items, you’ll actually earn more points than you would with a card offering a bonus category on that purchase.
Typically, points earned with the Citi Rewards+ are best redeemed for gift cards since you’ll get 1 cent per point that way. Other redemption options include using your points at Amazon or transferring them to JetBlue, but in both cases, you’ll get less than 1 cent per point.
However, if you have a premium Citi credit card such as the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, you’ll be able to combine your points across all your Citi ThankYou cards into one points account. From there, you’ll have many more options to redeem them, including booking travel via the Citi travel portal or transferring them to one of Citi’s airline partners.
Advantages of the Citi Rewards+ card
Aside from the Citi Rewards+ card’s bonus categories and roundup feature, one of our other favorite perks is its 10% points rebate. Every time you redeem points with the Citi Rewards+ — or even if you redeem points from another Citi card that shares the same ThankYou account as your Citi Rewards+ — you’ll get back 10% of your points, up to 100,000 points redeemed each year.
That 10% points rebate is in effect right from the start when you get the card, so when you redeem the 20,000 bonus points you can earn from the card’s sign-up offer, you’ll get 2,000 points back in your account to use for a future redemption.
The Citi Rewards+ also shines if you find yourself in a position where you’re having a hard time making ends meet, as the card comes with an introductory interest offer on purchases and balance transfers. You’ll get a 0% APR for a full 15 months when you first open the account, as well as a 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 months on transfers made in the first four months after you open the account. But make sure you pay your debt in full before those 15 months expire, because in both cases, the APR jumps to a variable 13.49% to 23.49% thereafter.
Disadvantages of the Citi Rewards+ card
Unfortunately, you won’t find many travel or shopping protections on the Citi Rewards+. This means if you’re looking for a credit card to provide insurance on your next trip or an extended warranty on a major purchase, this isn’t the card to use. This card is best for your smaller “around town” purchases, but not one that you’ll want to use when it comes to booking a big trip.
If you don’t have a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card to pair with the Citi Rewards+, you’ll want to redeem for gift cards at 1 cent per point. While there are many gift cards available, you’ll want to make sure there are options associated with stores that you shop at often. In the end, gift cards aren’t as flexible as pure cash, so if your goal is to get cash into your pocket, you’re better off with a true cash back credit card.
Citi also has some interesting rules when it comes to sign-up bonuses on its credit cards. While many card issuers have restrictions on how often you can earn a bonus, Citi determines eligibility based on whether you’ve opened or closed certain Citi cards in the past.
Specifically, if you’ve received a new card bonus for the Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier® or Citi Prestige® in the past 24 months, or if you’ve closed any of these accounts in the same time frame, you won’t be eligible for the 20,000-point bonus offer that comes with this card.
Other credit cards similar to the Citi Rewards+ card
There’s no other card on the market that will round up your points, but for an easy-to-use card with no annual fee, the Citi® Double Cash Card is one of our favorites. It earns 2% cash back on everything you buy — 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you pay it off — and you can redeem your cash back by having it deposited directly in your checking or savings account, or as a statement credit on your credit card account.
Similarly to the Citi Rewards+, you can pair the Citi Double Cash with a premium Citi card to convert your cash back into ThankYou points and redeem them for travel at a potentially higher rate. But unfortunately, you still won’t receive much in the way of shopping protections or travel insurance with this no-annual-fee card.
If avoiding an annual fee is a top priority for you, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is another card to consider. It earns 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% cash back on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services), 3% cash back at drugstores and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a basic no-frills card within the Chase family of credit cards. But pairing it with a premium Chase Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card opens up many more lucrative travel redemption options.
One other major advantage that the Chase Freedom Unlimited has over the Citi Rewards+ is that the Freedom Unlimited offers some travel and shopping protections, such as trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver and purchase protection.
Should you get the Citi Rewards+ card?
If you’re thinking about getting the Citi Rewards+ card, you have to be comfortable redeeming your points for gift cards to get the best value for them, unless you also have the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card. If not, you might be better off with another no-annual-fee card that earns easier-to-redeem cash back and offers a few more benefits.
But if you often use your credit card to cover small everyday purchases, then the Citi Rewards+ card can earn more rewards than many other comparable — or even better — credit cards. It might not end up being your primary credit card, but it could be a good addition to your purse or wallet so you can reach for it when you need to pay just a few cents here and there.
Find out which credit cards CNN Underscored chose as its best credit cards of 2021.