Citibank Rewards Programs offer premium-level rewards and benefits to Citibank Select cardholders.
There are five lines of Citibank rewards credit cards, and they offer perks ranging from Starbucks gift cards to round-trip flights and hotels stays to a 2% rebate toward the purchase of your next car. Finding the right program to match your lifestyle will help you rack up points and earn the rewards you want.
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How does a Citi Rewards Program work?
As you purchase items with your credit card, you accumulate points that can later be exchanged for rewards like flights, gift cards and merchandise. It’s one way to get more out of your spending, though it’s important to remember you don’t have to spend more in order to earn more points. You need only strategize.
For instance, by spending intelligently, you can maximize the number of points you earn. The more Citibank bonus partners that you do business with, the more your dollars are earning you points. Remembering to use your Citi Rewards credit card for groceries, gas, dining out and holidays will help boost your point balance without any extra spending.
Another useful method is to set up direct debit with your Citi Rewards credit card. This allows you to automatically earn points every time a recurring bill is paid, such as a gym membership or electricity bill. By setting up direct debit, you can enjoy the fact that your bills are not only getting paid on time, but they’re earning you points.
What are the types of Citi Rewards Programs?
- Citi ThankYou Rewards
This program lets you earn points on everyday spending and is redeemable for a large catalog of rewards, starting at as low as 1,000 points. Points can be exchanged for travel offers, merchandise and gift cards — and with four ThankYou card options, there’s bound to be one for you.
- American Airlines AAdvantage
This program earns you AAdvantage miles, which can be redeemed on travel with American Airlines or American Eagle, as well as at over 10,000 hotels and car rental companies in 320 locations. There are four American Airlines AAdvantage cards to choose from.
- Citi Cash Back Program
This program gives you cash back on purchases, eligible bank transfers and cash advances made on your credit card. As part of the Citi Cash Back Program, you have access to the Citi Bonus Cash Center, meaning you can automatically earn more cash back from selected retailers. You can get the most out of your experience by picking one of the three available Cash Back cards to fit your shopping habits best.
- Driver’s Edge Rewards Program
If you’re looking to buy or lease a car, the CitiDriver’s Edge credit card can help, by earning you 2% rebates on any lease or the purchase of new and old vehicles.
- Other Rewards Credit Cards
CitiBank offers a total of 16 rewards credit cards, including some aimed at more specific areas of business. Like the Expedia card, which earns you points when you shop with Expedia, the Costco card for grocery rewards, an AT&T card to earn ThankYou points on AT&T purchases, or the Hilton card to earn Hilton HHonors bonus points instead.
How to compare rewards programs
While it may seem like all rewards cards offer the same benefits, there are other important factors to consider before making your decision. Perks come at a price, and it is important to assess whether that price is worth it. To make this decision, it can be helpful to focus on the following points:
- Interest-free days and interest rates. Double-check that you’re able to manage the interest rates, and know how many interest-free days there are. A rewards card won’t be much fun if you cannot afford to pay off the interest on its balance.
- How points are earned. Take a look at what types of actions can earn you points and assess whether they match your lifestyle. Can you earn points by paying bills? Do you receive a higher point per dollar rate with a linked account? When comparing rewards programs, these types of questions are a good place to start.
- What is the annual fee? If you are not spending or earning points, you should ask yourself whether the annual fee is worth it. You do not want fees to overshadow rewards.
Pros and Cons of the Citi Rewards Programs
As with any program, there are pros and cons to the Citi Rewards Programs. Looking at each column should help you decide whether the program is right for you.
- No limit or expiration date on points. Without a points cap, you’ve got greater earning potential to save for the things you want, and no expiration date means you can afford to save for longer.
- Gift cards. You can redeem points for gift cards at a wide range of stores like Starbucks, Banana Republic, and Bed Bath and Beyond.
- Access to premium airport lounges. The Citi Rewards Program invites you to enjoy over 600 deluxe lounges in over 600 selected airports.
- Fees and interest rates. You should remember that the rewards program cannot pay off your outstanding balance and caution should be taken before making excessive purchases.
Things to avoid about the Citi Rewards Program
The Citi Rewards Program offers some great perks, but should be managed with care. It is important to avoid the following:
- Overspending. If you carry an outstanding balance from month to month, a card with a lower interest rate is likely to be more cost effective than a card that offers you rewards for spending.
- Poor credit rating. If you apply for a Citi Rewards card and are rejected, continuing to apply may adversely affect your credit rating.
- Under-spending. A rewards program only works if you remember to use your Citibank credit card. If you have only a limited number of transactions, you will not earn enough points to redeem rewards of higher value. Using your credit card for daily expenditures will help avoid this problem.
- Missed bonus points. Remember to check who the bonus partners are in your area so you don’t miss the chance to earn an additional three bonus points per dollar spent.
Frequently asked questions
- Does the rewards program offer benefits I actually want? The Citi Rewards Program allows you to exchange points for flights, books, electronics, homewares and gift cards. Browsing their online catalog will help you discern whether you really want the available rewards.
- Is there a limit on how many points I can earn? No. There is no cap on rewards points.
- Will the rewards points expire? No, rewards points are evergreen and do not expire.
- How can I best maximize my spending to earn points? Using your credit card for daily purchases, setting up a direct debit to pay recurring bills, and spending with Citi Bonus Partners will definitely boost your point balance.
- Are points easy to redeem for rewards? Yes, rewards can be redeemed easily by using the Citi Bank online portal.
- How much are points worth when they are redeemed? For detailed information, you may want to consult their online catalog. However, a $50 gift card is worth 9,700 rewards points, for example.
- What are the interest rates and how many interest free days come with the credit card? With a Citi credit card you enjoy a 55-day interest-free period on all purchases. The interest rates depend on the type of credit card you choose and your creditworthiness.
About rewards credit cards
A rewards credit card earns you points for every dollar you spend. As a cardholder, the goal of a rewards credit card is to leverage the value from the points you earn toward the cost of the annual fee.
There is a broad range of rewards credit cards on the market, and each offer different perks and features. The basic premise, however, is the same: the more you spend, the more points you earn. The exact point value per dollar spent varies according to each card. In many cases, you are also given the chance to earn more points if you purchase from a retailer that is allied with your credit card company. For instance, instead of earning one point for every dollar spent, you can earn three if you shop with an allied partner with this program.
As you earn points and increase your point balance, you have the opportunity to redeem these points for the special benefits offered by your credit card company. A typical rewards program will offer you discounts on flights, hotels, concerts, restaurants or even household products.
To get the best value out of a reward credit card, it is important to choose a card that fits your lifestyle and budget. Some cards reward big spenders, while others have programs more suited for everyday shopping. As with any credit card, it is recommended you check the terms and conditions and weigh the benefits against the cons to ensure you get the best value credit card.
The Citi Rewards Program is a premium rewards program with many special benefits. What’s more, there is no cap or expiration on rewards points, meaning you can save for the great range of flights, merchandise and gift cards on offer.