Review: Citibank CitiRewards Card – Fast Credit of 4 mpd, Wide Range of Airlines, Annoying Non-pooling of Points

The Citibank CitiRewards card has a lot of contemporaries in a crowded space of 4 mpd cards, but it is certainly has one of the most interesting histories.

It used to be a fashion-focused card that gave points on clothing and shoes, but inexplicably, users found that it gave 4 mpd for a variety of online transactions. Then, during the crazy Apple Pay promotion, it gave 8 mpd for any Apple Pay transaction without limit. Good days.

These days, Citi officially markets it as a card that gives 4 mpd on online transactions.

ProviderCitibank
TypeConditional Miles
Earn Rate4 mpd conditional
0.4 mpd for non-qualifying transactions
Conditions4 mpd on online transactions excluding travel
4 mpd at department and clothing stores
Limits$1,000 spend monthly
TrackingStatement month
ApplyApply Here*

*$300 via PayNow for new cardholders; $30 for existing. Until 29th Feb. You may want to sign up for Citi Cash Back+ for $350 then get this card if you are a new cardholder.

As with most mile cards, CitiRewards Card is earns 10 Citi Thank you points for every dollar of qualifying spend. You can then convert 10 Thank you points into 4 miles (in blocks of 25,000 points to 10,000 miles).

Online transactions are about as easy as it gets since you can get everything online these days, aside from eating out, though CitiRewards does give you 4 mpd for food deliveries. If you buy clothes often, the card also offers 4 mpd for purchases made at clothing and departmental stores.

4 mpd for Grab top-ups

Update: Given the significant change Visa has done to Grab top-ups, this card may no longer give rewards on Grab top-ups. Consider the Amex True Cashback Card which still gives cashback on Grab top-ups.

CitiRewards, at least the Visa variant, is one of the rare surviving high-earn-rate cards that hasn’t excluded Grab top-ups. It is in fact the only 4 mpd game in town for this purpose, and we can only hope it continues.

Relatively low monthly limit

CitiRewards has a monthly limit of $1,000 which is on the lower end compared to DBS Woman’s World Card and OCBC Titanium Rewards.

OCBC TR has no monthly maximum, instead capping the annual limit at $12,000. CitiRewards used to offer the same limit too, making it useful for large purchases, but now it has become a use it or lose it $1,000 a month.

The DBS card has a more generous $2,000 amount per month. If you have both the Visa and MasterCard versions of CitiRewards, you technically have $2,000 of monthly capacity, but having two cards doesn’t work with if one single transaction is bigger than $1,000.

No pooling with other Citi cards

Also, points accrued by both cards are split and Citi annoyingly does not pool points together. You end up having the hassle of two separate balances of points with twice the conversion fees to pay.

If you use DBS WWMC for 4 mpd for your online purchases, you can also count on DBS Altitude to get 1.2 mpd for other stuff, and your points can be redeemed together. The same is true if you use UOB Preferred Platinum and UOB PriviMiles. Unlike Citi’s offerings, their conditional and unconditional cards play well with each other.

This is probably the single most annoying thing about Citi cards. There’s simply little incentive for me to use Citi’s 1.2 mpd PremierMiles because if I’m going to start having another pocket of miles that incurs its own conversion fee, I may as well do it with another bank. In fact, CitiRewards cardholders looking for an unconditional card would be better served with UOB KrisFlyer Credit Card or OCBC 90°N since these two cards won’t have an extra conversion fee.

Fast crediting of points

CitiRewards is the fastest mile cards that gives you your bonus points as soon as the transaction is posted by the merchant, which means mere days after the transaction is made. Other cards tend to take as long as the next statement to credit the bonus points, which means waiting for a month or so.

Aside from an urgent need for the miles, fast crediting also allows for easier tracking of your points as well as finding out whether a particular type of transaction gives bonus points before doing a bigger transaction.

Wide variety of airline partners and uses for your points

When it comes to miles, Singapore Air’s KrisFlyer programme isn’t the only game in town, and Citi has one of the widest variety of airline partners. How good this selection is depends on your preference for our national airline and the other airlines Citi partners with.

As with other banks, you can also use your points for a variety of vouchers and merchandise, mostly at a very poor value of 0.5 cents per mile or so. Apple products, on the other hand, can be bought with your miles being worth between 0.7 to almost 0.8 cents. It isn’t the worst deal and that changes your 4 mpd card to one that gives you roughly 3% cashback.

Other odds and ends

When you first get your CitiRewards card, points last very long; all the points you earn will expire in March 2025 if you sign up in March 2020. Five years is a long shelf life for points, but do take note that points earned in Feb 2025 will have an incredibly short life of one month.

Also, CitiRewards exclude a whole bunch of travel-related expenditure, so you would have to use another card for that for 4 mpd.

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Notable promos at the moment:

Conclusion

CitiRewards is a very solid card, one that used to be 11/10 Stars in a 2.5-month period of 8 mpd Apple Pay madness. As a more normal 4 mpd, it remained a respectable card with a $12,000 annual limit for large online transactions that few cards could match. That version gets a firm 9 Stars.

Getting nerfed to a monthly limit of $1,000, coupled with non-pooling of points, knocks this card back quite a bit, but the fact that it gives 4 mpd on Grab top-ups makes this a relevant card for now.

The good:

  • Works with Grab top-ups (for now)
  • Fast crediting of bonus points
  • Large variety of airline partners, and other redemption options
  • Long expiry (5 years from the start of your card approval)

The bad:

  • Does not pool points
  • Relatively low $1,000 monthly limit
  • Points accrued towards the end of your 5th year have a very short shelf life
  • Excludes travel-related expenses

The ugly:

  • Having this excluded from Grab top-ups too. No…………

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
8 Stars of Sethisfaction

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