Nerfed: Citi Credit Cards to Exclude Some Amaze Transactions

Eagled-eyed member of the chat Sole Guy has spotted new exclusions added to Citibank’s list of items that will not earn rewards across Citi’s range of credit cards. The bank has included a line in the latest round of credit card statements stating that the new exclusions will come into effect 26th July 2023.

Key changes

While the list of MCCs remains the same, a few items were added in the list of merchants excluded by name. The three items added should raise some eyebrows to people who use their Citi credit card with Instarem Amaze:

  • AMAZE* AXS
  • AMAZE* EZ-link
  • AMAZE* TRANSIT

While this is a nerf, it is a relatively small one and we should heave a sigh of relief that these exclusions are on pretty specific areas of spend.

Amaze Transit transactions excluded

Except for Citi SMRT (given its name), Citibank has officially excluded transit, EZ-Link, and bus/MRT transactions from rewards. There are still ways some are getting rewards from their Citi cards for public transportation, and one of the ways is to link their Citi card to Amaze, then using Amaze for EZ-Link top-ups or SimplyGo transactions.

Given Citbank’s latest update to the exclusions list, this will no longer be possible from 23rd July 2023 onwards. Given the relative ease one can get rewards for public transportation, this is probably not a big concern for most Citi cardholders who are also users of Amaze.

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Seth

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Biggest usage of Citi Rewards + Amaze unaffected

The main use case for Instarem Amaze with Citibank cards will likely be the pairing of Amaze card with Citi Rewards. When one links Citi Rewards to their Amaze card in the Instarem app and charges transactions to the Amaze card, transactions pass through as online transactions, thereby earning the higher earn rate of Citi Rewards.

This is a “hack” of sorts, converting in-store, offline payments that would normally get only 1X point with the Citi Rewards into online ones that get 10X points or 4 miles per dollar. This pairing is by now an open secret, and something I theorise Citi knows but is currently closing an eye to. Cards like HSBC Revolution and UOB Preferred Platinum Visa give 4 miles per dollar on a variety of online and offline transactions, so I imagine that Citibank is just making Citi Rewards competitive through this method.

Citi Rewards

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Citi Promo:

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  • Citi Rewards: 40,000 points
  • Citi Cash Back: S$300 cashback
  • Citi SMRT: S$300 cashback
  • Tap here to see Citi promos

Last day to apply: 30th April 2024


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Excluding only some but not all Amaze transactions lends some credence to this theory. The optimistic side of me thinks that Citi might just make the Citi Rewards card a 10X points card even for contactless payments soon, much like its UOB and HSBC counterparts. One can dream.

In contrast, DBS excluded Amaze transactions entirely quite early on. In fact, it’s almost like a distant memory now, seeing how it has been more than a year since that happened. Given the long time the Citi Rewards + Amaze pairing has been a thing, hopefully Citi is a-okay with Citi Rewards getting 10X points through Amaze.

Conclusion

If you’re someone who has been using Amaze as a conduit to get rewards on your Citi cards for public transportation expenses, this might be an annoyance come late July.

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New users:

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Features:

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  • Convert offline to online spending (for cards like Citi Rewards)
  • Store and swap between 5 credit cards on one Amaze card
  • Find out Merchant Category Code of transactions

But the bigger news here is perhaps the fact that Citi hasn’t decided to pull the plug on the Citi Rewards + Amaze game. If this exclusion is any indication, the canary in the 4-miles-per-dollar-everywhere coal mine is still alive and kicking… for now.

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