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Beware of Citibank’s awful Pay with Points program

Poor value ahoy.

At long last, I took the plunge and invested in a proper camera because none of you Philistines can appreciate the flawed beauty of Blackberry camera photos.

Image result for sony alpha a5000
it’s not the photographer, it’s the camera…

This baby is currently on the way from Qoo10 and should reach me just in time for my upcoming Japan trip at the end of the month (JAL 767 J, SQ 77W old F and hopefully much better photos of the Oneworld lounges in T1 coming your way!)

I paid for the camera with my Citibank Rewards card because it earns me 10X points (4 mpd) on online shopping, including Qoo10. A few minutes after I finished the transaction on Qoo10, I got this SMS from Citibank

Clicking the link brought me to this page

Citibank was offering me the chance to burn my 43,709 Thank You points in exchange for S$104.07 off my transaction, based on their valuation shown below


The following merchants are eligible for this program.

Remember that 5 Citibank points= 2 airline miles, so you’re either giving up 168 miles per $1 of value (if you pay with ThankYou points) or 140 miles per $1 of value (if you pay with Citimiles. For whatever reason, only Citibank Premermiles Visa cardholders can participate. AMEX cardholders can’t. No loss for you guys, I assure you).

Recall the value of a mile. I don’t need to tell you that both options are terrible, terrible value. You get 0.60/0.71 cents per mile depending on whether you redeem ThankYou points or Citimiles, and both are valuations you should stay far, far away from. Even if you choose SQ’s much maligned Pay with Miles option you get roughly 1 cent per mile.

The only possible exception I could think is if you have expiring points/miles and are below the threshold needed to transfer them out to an airline loyalty program. You can read the full T&C of the Pay with Points program here (they left track changes on, “lol” as the young people say)

We know that Citibank has been progressively moving towards a revenue-based program for their points, at least on the redemption side. This trend was started with the relaunched Citibank ThankYou portal back in January where they tested out a variety of options (and redemption values). My guess is they’re trying to see what threshold people will accept in Singapore.

I don’t know what the answer is to that, but I do know that it’s much more than what’s on offer with this Pay with Points program. So if you get the SMS, do yourself a favor and ignore it.

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6 Comments on "Beware of Citibank’s awful Pay with Points program"

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Welcome to the sony family! It’s a purchase you wont regret

I’m an Olympue OM-D series person but the a5000 is a solid choice as well. Welcome to the world of Mirrorless!

Yeah, I’ve been ignoring this Citibank SMS for quite a few months now.

One question about the reward points though… Has Citibank really ended the 20x reward points for Amazon.com? Does it go back to 10x or lower?

It has not been extended.

I have a Sony Nex 6 (predecessor to the alpha 6000) and its been solidly serving me since 2013! A Sony mirrorless is a good choice.

I also had the misfortune of petrol station cashiers mistakenly redeeming my points for $5 off the bill. Have to be quite vigilant whenever cashiers process the transactions and offer you the choice!