Update: Citi has uploaded the new sets of Terms and Conditions on the respective credit card pages.
This morning, I was notified by a reader from the Milelion Telegram Group that Citibank will be making big changes to the way points will be earned come 4 October 2018. These changes aren’t reflected on the Citibank website yet but appeared in the reader’s monthly credit card statement for the month of August 2018.
Here’s a screengrab courtesy of Jo from his credit card statement generated on 8 August 2018:
Here’s the changes:
Citi PremierMiles Visa, ULTIMA, Prestige will earn 2.4 mpd on FCY transactions up from 2.0 mpd…but FCY fees go up to 3%
From 1 October 2018 until 31 December 2018, all overseas retail transactions charged to the Citibank PremierMiles Visa, Citi Prestige and Citi ULTIMA card will see an increased earn rate of 2.4 miles per S$1 up from the current 2.0 miles per S$1 charged in foreign currency.
This improvement on the earn rate for foreign currency spend overseas puts this in line with the UOB PRVI Miles card which also earns 2.4 mpd on overseas foreign currency transactions. However, Citi does have the upper hand here as you earn points for every S$1 charged on your Citibank credit cards but with UOB, you earn points for every S$5 block.
The downside though, is that Citibank is also increasing the administrative fee imposed on all foreign currency transactions charged to all Citibank Visa and Mastercard credit cards from 2.8% to 3.0% from 4 October 2018. This would mean that your cost of acquiring points when using credit cards overseas will now be higher. While the increase of the earn rates for overseas foreign currency transaction seems like a temporary one, the increase in the administrative fee is permanent.
While an administrative fee of 3.0% is on the high side compared to the 2.5-2.8% which most other card issuers charge (i.e BOC), it’s still lower than what UOB charges for foreign currency transactions at 3.25% on the UOB PRVI Miles card which offers the same earn rate of 2.4 miles per S$1 for overseas foreign currency transactions.
If you’ve applied for the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard however, you should be using that card for all overseas transactions from the time you get the card until the end of the year since it earns a whopping 5.0 mpd and the FCY fee is pegged at 2.5%.
Payments made to Insurance, Government Services, Utilities, and Schools will no longer earn rewards
From 4 October 2018, you will not be able to earn reward points for payments these MCCs. I’m assuming this will be for direct payments made to these billing merchants as Citibank still has its One Bill facility where you will be able to earn reward points when making payment to selected billing organizations which include Insurance, Utilities and Town Council payments through the One Bill facility.
Citibank hasn’t updated its T&C to reflect the full list of categories which will be specifically excluded but we will update this post once they do. (Edit: Citi has uploaded a new set of Terms and Conditions laying out the full list of exclusions here.)
Citi Clear Platinum Visa will not earn 5X Citi ThankYou points
The Citi Clear Visa Platinum card was demarketed by Citibank a few years ago. It currently earns 5X Citi ThankYou points (2.0mpd) on categories such as dining, online shopping and overseas retail transactions.
From 4 October 2018, you will only earn 1X Citi ThankYou point (0.4mpd) on all spend on the Citi Clear Visa Platinum. There are plenty of direct competitors offering the same earn rates to this card such as the HSBC Revolution which covers both dining and online spend and the DBS Woman’s Card which gives 2.0mpd for online spend as well.
This change shouldn’t really impact the majority as there are plenty of other cards which offers a higher earn rate for the categories which Citi Clear awards bonus points for. But for those of you who are still holding on to this card, I’m guessing it’s time to sock drawer it.
Citi Rewards card switches to a monthly cap on bonus 10X instead of an annual cap
The Citi Rewards card is one of my favourite cards to use as it has a very broad definition of what constitutes shopping. It did come with an annual bonus points cap of 120,000 Citi ThankYou points per card anniversary year which translates to a total spend of S$12,000 on categories which award you 10X points.
From 4 October 2018, the annual cap of 120,000 Citi ThankYou points will instead be in the form of a monthly statement period cap of 10,000 Citi ThankYou points on 10X categories. This means that the total amount you can charge to your Citi Rewards card, which will earn10X points, will be capped at S$1,000 per statement period.
This to me is a huge devaluation as many people have been performing big-ticket purchases using the Citi Rewards cards and hitting the 120,000 points cap easily within days of getting their cards and even for everyday spend, this would decrease the appeal of the Citi Rewards card especially if you’re thinking of charging big-ticket items to the card.
Currently, the Citi Rewards card and the OCBC Titanium Rewards card are close competitors as they both award 4.0 mpd for purchases of clothes, purchases at departmental stores and online shopping sites. With the change from 4 October 2018, the OCBC Titanium Rewards would be the better option if you’re intending to charge large purchases to your card, especially so now that they’ve cut the earning of 10X on mobile payments prematurely on the OCBC Titanium Rewards.
This is certainly very sad news, especially for the Citi Rewards card with the move to a monthly statement cap. With the monthly statement cap, I will not be surprised if people end up exceeding this cap due to them forgetting their credit card statement period. The annual cap which the Citi Rewards card currently uses has been around for quite some time and it has certainly been very generous.
Oh and another positive change that is coming out from this is that they are finally going to standardize the use of Citi ThankYou points instead of Citi Dollars and ULTIMA$ for the naming of their points currency.