The Citi Rewards credit card points program is a flexible credit card points program, with the Platinum, Signature and Prestige Visa as the primary linked cards.
At the end of last year, Citibank announced a decision to overhaul the earn rates on their rewards cards and also adjust the transfer rate to their partner frequent flyer programs from Citi Rewards. This was primarily a response to RBA’s changes to credit card payment regulations.
Digging into the details of Citibank Rewards
Citibank offers the option to earn points in a flexible points program called Citi Rewards, which contains at least 4 airline programs and possibly more depending on the Citibank card that you own, or to directly earn Qantas points through the Citi Qantas Rewards program, costing $49 per year, and with a monthly sweep of your points into your Qantas Frequent Flyer account. This guide focuses on the Citi Rewards program.
Citi Rewards is suited to those looking for a flexible points program, where you choose the frequent flyer or hotel program you want to transfer your Citi Rewards points to at a time of your choosing.
The program has a couple of quirks, for example where a number of frequent flyer and hotel program partners are only available to the Citibank Prestige Visa cards, and some partners earn points at different rates depending on the card you hold.
The Citi Rewards Card Range
Citibank has three main cards associated with the its Rewards programs. These are:
These cards often come with different signup bonuses for Qantas points vs Citibank Rewards points, so keep an eye out to ensure you are signing up for the offer you want.
The Citi Prestige is the high end card of the Citi Rewards range, and has an annual fee of $700 along with many travel benefits and partners.
|Card||Citi Prestige Visa 'Infinite'|
|Loyalty program||Citi Rewards or Qantas Frequent Flyer via Citi Qantas Rewards|
|Earn rates||1.5 Qantas point or 3 Rewards Points per $1 for selected purchases made and booked directly from a range of major restaurants and restaurant chains, major hotel chains and flights directly booked with major airlines and international spend|
1 Qantas point or 2 Rewards points per $1 for selected purchases made at major petrol outlets, major supermarkets and major national retailers
0.5 Qantas point or 1 Reward Point per $1 spent everywhere else on Eligible Transactions
|Earns points at ATO||No|
|Minimum credit limit||$30,000|
|Travel benefits||Visa Luxury Hotels|
Ritz-Carlton & Starwood preferred booking benefits
Two limousine transfers per year
Priority Pass membership
|Included insurances||Travel, purchase protection and warranty insurances (PDS)|
|Minimum income requirement||$150,000 p.a.|
|Overseas transaction fee||3.40% of the converted amount|
|Annual fee||$700 + $49 for optional Qantas Point opt-in|
Then, the Citi Signature Visa usually comes in around half the annual fee of the Prestige, but also has some decent benefits.
|Card||Citi Rewards Signature Credit Card|
|Loyalty program||Citi Rewards Program|
|Citi Rewards earn rate||2 Rewards Points per $1 for selected purchases made and booked directly from a range of major restaurants and restaurant chains, major hotel chains and flights directly booked with major airlines and international spend|
1.5 Rewards points per $1 for selected purchases made at major petrol outlets, major supermarkets and major national retailers
1 Reward Point per $1 spent everywhere else on Eligible Transactions
|Points cap||Citi Rewards points are uncapped|
|Minimum credit limit||$15,000|
|Earns points at ATO||No|
|Travel benefits||Priority Pass lounge access and two included lounge visits|
|First Year Annual Fee||$199|
|Regular Annual fee||$395 p.a.|
|Overseas transaction fee||3.40% of the converted amount|
|Minimum income requirement||$75,000 p.a.|
Finally, the Citi Rewards Platinum Card (no guide on Point Hacks yet) comes in with a standard annual fee of $149, and an earn rate of 1 point per $1 spent on purchases in Australia (capped up to $10,000 spend per calendar month) and 1 point per $1 spent internationally (uncapped).
Citi Rewards Transfer Partners
Citi Rewards transfer partners for the Platinum and Signature Visa are low in number, but high in quality:
- Emirates Skywards
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Virgin Australia Velocity
For the Citi Prestige Visa the following partners are also included:
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Etihad Guest
- Eva Air Infinity MileageLands
- Garuda Indonesia GarudaMiles
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Qatar Privilege Club
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid
- Hilton Honors
- IHG Rewards
- Radisson Rewards
For Signature and Prestige cardholders, points transfer out to Velocity Frequent Flyer at a rate of 2 Citi Rewards points to 1 Velocity point, and 2.5 Citi Rewards points to 1 mile for both Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Emirates Skywards.
Citibank has recently amended the minimum number of Citi Rewards points that can be transferred, and the change is a welcome one. Previously, the minimum number of points that could be transferred was 25,000, and points could only be transferred in blocks of 25,000 points thereafter.
The new requirements vary by frequent flyer program, and are as follows for the 3 main Citi Rewards programs:
- Velocity Frequent Flyer – Minimum 2,000 points in 1 point increments
- Singapore KrisFlyer – Minimum 20,000 points in 1 point increments
- Emirates Skywards – Minimum 15,000 points in 1 point increments
Any balance less than the minimum is ineligible to be transferred to frequent flyer programs until the minimum threshold is reached.
Citibank Travel Program
It’s possible to use your points for travel paying directly with your points using the Citibank Travel Program. This might prove to be a useful way to use your points if you can’t find any points flights for your travel dates, with redemptions yielding a value of 1c per point.
Other offers and benefits
Citibank Dining, which offers a free bottle of wine and some occasional discount offers when dining at a large range of selected restaurants, is a benefit of all 3 Citibank cards above, however it’s value is dependent on how often you dine at these restaurants and of course whether you like wine! In our experience, some restaurants don’t consistently offer or respect the benefit, making it hard to make the most of. The full list of benefits is here..
There’s also a changing range of other offers and benefits, including some discounts at select retailers, detailed here.
Why Citi Rewards? My thoughts
Citi Rewards does have its strengths, including quality airline transfer partners, and with the Citi Prestige, add a great variety of airline partners to that. However the transfer rate does fall short of a number of Visa and Mastercard cards in the market for everyday spend, especially for those looking to earn Qantas points through Citi Qantas Rewards. However, the rates are competitive if you find that a majority of your spend is with retailers that attract the higher earn rate.
If you like dining out in any of their dining partner restaurants where you can earn significantly more points than with other cards; or pay for stays often at Holiday Inn, InterContinental or Crowne Plaza hotels and earn bonus points for doing so.
American Express Membership Rewards is a bit more accessible though, with some lower fee cards in the range like the Platinum Edge, especially if you’re interested in hotel, rather than airline redemptions.If you think you’re able to direct the majority of your spend onto an American Express, then you may be better served with Membership Rewards.
However, for those looking for a flexible points program with quality airline partners, a Citi Rewards may be a good choice.
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