The Citi Rewards credit card points program is a flexible credit card points program, with the Signature and Prestige Visa as the primary linked cards.
Citi have recently 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.
The upshot? With Citi being one of the first to make changes to their rewards program and linked cards, it’s not possible to see yet which bank rewards programs are coming out as being most appealing. That said, there are still several unique benefits of Citi Rewards, especially for Prestige Visa cardholders, which are worth knowing about.
Digging into the details of Citi Rewards
Citi Rewards does continue to offer some of the highest points earning linked Visa options on the market with a flexible points currency.
You’ll get a choice of earning points into either Qantas Points (under a direct earn arrangement called ‘Citi Qantas Rewards’, costing $49 per year, and with a monthly sweep of your points ), or into Citi Rewards – the focus of this guide.
If you prefer flexible points programs, where you can choose which frequent flyer or hotel loyalty program you want to transfer your points to at the time of making a redemptions – it’s worth assessing whether Citi Rewards could work for your own ongoing spend and earn preferences.
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 bonus partners earn points at different rates depending on the card you hold.
The Citi Rewards Card Range
Citibank often offer the Prestige and Signature cards 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 a heap of 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|
|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 Signature Rewards Visa|
|Loyalty program||Citi Rewards|
|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|
|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 $199, and an earn rate of 1 points per $1 spent on purchases in Australia and 3 points per $1 spent internationally.
Citi Rewards Transfer Partners
Citi Rewards transfer partners for the Signature Visa are low in number, but high in quality:
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Virgin Australia Velocity
- Emirates Skywards
For the Citi Prestige Visa the following partners are also included:
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Delta SkyMiles
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Qatar Privilege Club
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid
- Etihad Guest
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Garuda Frequent Flyer
- Eva Air Infinity MileageLands
- IHG Rewards
- Club Carlson
For Prestige and Signature cardholders, points transfer out to the most commonly used programs at a rate of 2 Rewards points to 1 Virgin Australia‘s Velocity point , and 2.5 Rewards points to 1 mile for both Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles programs.
There’s a minimum transfer of 20,000 Citi Rewards points and you can transfer as many points over the 20,000 minimum as you like.
This means if you’re closing your account you’ll need to pay particular attention to the points balance to be able to transfer it all in one go – if you let it go below 20,000 points, the points will be stuck there.
Transfers to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Qantas Frequent Flyer are only available on certain card types. Citi Prestige cards (with a $700 annual fee) get access to Asia Miles transfers as well as all the other international partners, while all Citibank cards which allow earn into Qantas have to be set up as direct sweep into compulsory Qantas points, where you can’t hold a balance in Citi Rewards.
Emirates Skywards transfers are possible from the Citibank Signature and Prestige Visas at 2.5 Citi Rewards points to 1 Skyward mile. Again, the 20,000 point minimum transfer level applies.
Citi Rewards Bonus Point Partners
Citibank has a wide range of bonus partners – many of which are quite niche. There are a few mainstream retailers though, and it depends on where you spend your money as to whether you’ll get the most out of their bonus partner program.
The earn rates for bonus partners differ from card to card as follows:
- Citi Classic – 1 point + 3 bonus points = 4 points per $1 spent
- Citi Platinum – 1 points + 3 bonus points = 4 points per $1 spent
- Citi Signature – Up to 2 points depending on bonus category + 3 bonus points = Max of 5 points per $1 spent
- Citi Prestige – Up to 3 points depending on bonus category + 3 bonus points = Max of 6 points per $1 spent
There’s no really big bonuses like some of the 10:1 points per dollar rates from a few of the Amex partners, but the offers on dining and various hotel groups could be lucrative.
One of the more interesting partners is InterContinental hotel groups, with bonuses on spend at InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels, and as they have a wide reach in the region, and hotel spend can be fairly ‘big ticket’, this could yield some good bonus points. Hertz and Europcar are also bonus partners too.
Bonus points are not available to those who earn points into Qantas Frequent Flyer.
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 an OK use of 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 is a benefit of some of Citibank’s cards too, however it’s value is debatable. Some may get great value out of it, with a free bottle of wine and some occasional discount offers when dining at a large range of selected restaurants. In our experience though, 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
Even with the upcoming changes, Citi Rewards is still a useful rewards program, given it has the key airline partners for points transfer – transfer rates to Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer are at least equivalent to others in the market for a non-American Express card program.
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, and for their flexibility in transferring much smaller amounts of points – the minimum transfer levels for Citi Rewards transfers to airline partners are comparably high.
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, if you’re not into Qantas Frequent Flyer, and want a flexible secondary card, then a Citi Rewards linked card is worth considering.
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