With the recent surge of interest in the Citibank Rewards Visa (no doubt related to the Citi / Apple Pay 8mpd opportunity lasting till 31 July – here are some ways to maximise the benefit if you’ve not already thought about it), I figured it was a good time to address one of the common myths of the Citi Rewards cards (both Visa and Mastercard versions).
Rewards points don’t really last for 5 years
“What’s that?” some of you might ask. It might seem clear as day that they do – after all, that’s what is stated on the card website.
If you dig deeper into the cardmember’s agreement (the file name is confusingly labelled Clear Platinum Visa, but it’s applicable for the Rewards cards as well – it’s also linked from the card website) and 10x Rewards T&C, you’ll see otherwise.
Dissecting the T&C
On the very first page of the cardmember’s agreement, the term “Citi Dollar period” is defined. This is somewhat confusing because the Citi Rewards website refers to the points simply as ‘Rewards’ (let’s not even go into the ThankYou terminology) but for all practical purposes you can treat these terms as equivalent.
Next up, there’s the 10x Rewards T&C, where you can fast forward to point #13 and take note of the actual validity of Citi Rewards points:
Citi Rewards points expire every five years
In short, Citi Rewards points expire every five years (with a 3-month grace period) starting from card approval, not from when the points are earned. This means you will effectively have less than a year to consume some of the points earned in your fifth year – if you’d applied for your card sometime back, you should check to make sure your points aren’t expiring soon.
p.s. some of you might also notice that point #11 seems to imply that the 10x points are capped for five-year periods as well; this is plain wrong – oddly enough, the website is correct this time in stating that “10X Rewards capped at maximum of 120,000 Rewards points per card anniversary year”, which tallies with actual experience by cardholders.
New cards’ points expire Aug 2023
If you apply for a card today and it gets approved within May 2018, what happens then?
Your Citi Dollar period will last for five years (ending in May 2023), so points earned before then will expire three months later (Aug 2023).
- May 2018: Card application approved. First Citi Dollar period begins.
- May 2023: New Citi Dollar period begins. Points earned now expire in Aug 2028.
- Aug 2023: Points earned in May 2018 – Apr 2023 expire.
I’ve not quite figured out when exactly the transition period begins (the cardmember’s agreement seems to indicate it’s the actual card anniversary date), but in practice just knowing the months involved will suffice for monitoring your Rewards validity.
Checking your Citi Rewards expiry date(s)
Jon has previously written about how to check your Citi Rewards points balance. To check your points expiry date, you can use a computer (i.e. non-mobile interface) to visit Citibank internet banking and access the same ‘Rewards & Offers’ page he’d written about.
If you have any points expiring in the next two months, they’ll be helpfully highlighted for you. If not, you’ll see something more reassuring like “0 points expiring”.
You can click ‘View Points expiring in the future (you may need to select a dropdown arrow to expand some text) and you’ll see something like this:
Moral of the story: remember to transfer your Rewards points before they expire!
Citi Rewards points expire every five years, counted from your card approval date (with an additional 3-month grace period). The bulk of your points won’t actually last five full years – do take note of this and remember to redeem your points before they expire!
If you haven’t picked up the card yet, it’s certainly worth considering getting – I regard my Citi Rewards card as among my favourite cards. If you’re an iPhone user, I would definitely recommend getting one as soon as possible to maximise the Apple Pay promotion.