Review: Citi Rewards Credit Card

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4 mpd for online spending (extendable to offline via Amaze) and a wide variety of transfer partners makes the Citi Rewards an excellent choice.

Here’s The MileLion’s review of the Citi Rewards Card, Citibank’s flagship rewards offering.

For the longest time, this was marketed as a card for shopaholics to earn bonuses when buying bags, shoes or clothes. But insiders knew that “bags, shoes and clothes” was just a serving suggestion; in reality, cardholders could earn 4 mpd on all manner of things, including Points.com purchases, ride-hailing and even GrabPay top-ups, for a period.

Citibank eventually dropped the charade in March 2019 by officially expanding the scope of the bonus to cover virtually all online transactions, making the Citi Rewards a staple in any miles chaser’s wallet. 

And of course, who can forget that crazy 97-day period in 2018? 

Citi Rewards Card
★★★★
4 mpd for online spending (extendable to offline via Amaze) and a wide variety of transfer partners makes the Citi Rewards an excellent choice.
👍 The good👎 The bad
  • Earn 4 mpd on all online spending, except travel
  • Pair with Amaze to earn 4 mpd on almost all overseas transactions
  • Widest variety of transfer partners in Singapore
  • No bonus for travel transactions
  • Citibank does not pool points
💳 Full List of Credit Card Reviews

Overview: Citi Rewards Card

Apply Here
Income Req.S$30,000 p.a.Points ValidityUp to 5 yrs.
Annual FeeS$192.60
(First Year Free)
Min.
Transfer
25,000 TY points
(10,000 miles)
Miles with
Annual Fee
N/ATransfer
Partners
  • SIA
  • BA
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Flying Blue
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • THAI
  • Turkish
  • IHG
FCY Fee3.25%Transfer FeeS$26.75
Local Earn0.4 mpdPoints Pool?No
FCY Earn0.4 mpdLounge Access?No
Special Earn4 mpd on online trxns. (except travel)Airport Limo?No
Cardholder Terms and Conditions

The Citi Rewards was originally issued on the Visa network, but all new Citi cards have since switched over to Mastercard. Existing Visa cards can continue to be used until expiry.

The distinction used to be a bigger issue because the Citi Rewards Mastercard had a track record of not crediting bonus points properly for certain merchants. Those problems have mostly been resolved, to the best of my understanding, but it’s still best practice to monitor your points balance each month and check for discrepancies. 

How much must I earn to qualify for a Citi Rewards Card?

citi rewards income requirement

The Citi Rewards Card has an entry-level requirement of just S$30,000 per annum. 

Applicants who don’t meet the minimum income requirement may be able to place a S$10,000 fixed deposit with Citibank to get a secured version of the card. Visit a Citibank branch for more information.

How much is the Citi Rewards Card’s annual fee?

 Principal CardSupp. Card
First YearFreeS$96.30
SubsequentS$192.60S$96.30

The Citi Rewards Card has an annual fee of S$192.60 for the principal cardholder, and a S$96.30 fee for supplementary cards. The first year’s fee is waived for the principal cardholder.

Annual fee waivers are at Citi’s discretion, but I’ve never had an issue getting one (with annual spending in the S$10-12K range). Citi does not award any bonus points for renewals. 

What sign-up bonus or gifts are available?

From 1 August to 31 October 2022, new Citi Rewards cardholders will receive 40,000 ThankYou points (equivalent to 16,000 miles) when they:

  • Apply online for a Citi Rewards Card by 31 October 2022
  • Get approved within 30 days from application
  • Spend at least S$800 on eligible transactions within the first 2 months of approval

This offer is open to those who do not currently hold a principal Citi card, and have not in the 12 month period before application.

You can read the full details of this offer here.

How many miles do I earn?

🇸🇬 SGD Spend🌎 FCY Spend➕ Bonus Spend
0.4 mpd0.4 mpd4.0 mpd on online transactions except travel

SGD/FCY Spend

Citi Rewards Card members earn 1 ThankYou point for every S$1 spent in Singapore Dollars or foreign currency (FCY). 1 ThankYou point is worth 0.4 airline miles, so that’s an equivalent earn rate of 0.4 mpd for both local and FCY spending. 

All foreign currency transactions are subject to a 3.25% fee. 

Bonus Spending

Citi Rewards Card members earn a total of 10 ThankYou points for every S$1 spent on:

  1. online transactions (except travel and online/in-app mobile wallet payments)
  2. transactions at department stores, or shops selling bags, shoes and clothes

This effective earn rate of 4 mpd is capped at S$1,000 per statement month, shared between (1) and (2). Any spend in excess of the cap earns 0.4 mpd.

⚠️ Calendar Month vs Statement Month

Calendar month is straightforward (e.g. 1-31 January), but statement month will vary from person to person. Login to your Citi online banking and view your card details. You’ll see the statement date at the top.

For example, my statement period runs from the 12th to the 11th of the following month

The Citi Rewards Mastercard and Citi Rewards Visa each have their own 4 mpd cap. 

(1) Online transactions

All online transactions (regardless of currency) will earn 4 mpd with the Citi Rewards Card, except for travel and online/in-app mobile wallet payments. 

Travel transactions are defined by the following MCCs:

MCCDescription
MCC 3000 to 3350 Airlines, Air Carriers
MCC 3351 to 3500 Car Rental Agencies
MCC 3501 to 3999 Lodging – Hotels, Motels, Resorts
MCC 4112 Passenger Railways
MCC 4411 Cruise Lines
MCC 4511 Airlines, Air Carriers (Not Elsewhere Classified)
MCC 4722 Travel Agencies and Tour Operators
MCC 5962 Direct Marketing– Travel-Related Arrangement Services
MCC 7011 Lodging – Hotels, Motels, Resorts (Not Elsewhere Classified)
MCC 7512 Car Rental Agencies (Not Elsewhere Classified)

This means you shouldn’t use the Citi Rewards Card to buy air tickets, pay for hotels, or at online travel agents like Klook and KKday.

Online/in-app mobile wallet payments involve using the Citi Rewards Card in conjunction with Apple or Google Pay for virtual transactions. For example:

  • you won’t earn 4 mpd when you use the Citi Rewards Card to make an in-app Google Pay transaction with Deliveroo
  • you will earn 4 mpd when you use the Citi Rewards Card to make an in-app credit card transaction with Deliveroo. 

For most online/app-based payments, it’s a simple matter of choosing to pay directly with your credit card, instead of via Apple or Google Pay. However, there are some platforms e.g. Kris+ which only allow you to pay with Apple or Google Pay, so don’t use the Citi Rewards Card here.

4 mpd for online spending is an excellent bonus, since you probably make a lot of online transactions every day without even realising it: hailing a Grab, ordering food delivery, buying groceries, paying for Netflix, booking movie tickets etc. 

Even if you don’t, you can still enjoy the online spending bonus by pairing the Citi Rewards with the Amaze Card for in-store purchases. 

💳 tl;dr: Amaze card
Sign Up Here
  • Link up to five Mastercard credit/debit cards
  • Overseas transactions are converted into SGD (no FCY transaction fees, but subject to FX spread) and charged to the underlying credit/debit card
  • Transaction MCC remains the same, offline transactions charged to Amaze become online transactions for the underlying credit/debit card
  • Earn 1 InstaPoint per S$1 spent, on all transactions of at least S$10 (except exclusion categories), capped at 500 InstaPoints
  • Redeem InstaPoints for cashback in blocks of 2,000 InstaPoints= S$20

All transactions paid through Amaze code as online, which means you could dine at a restaurant or shop at a brick-and-mortar merchant, pay with the Amaze Card and earn 4 mpd with the Citi Rewards!

This probably won’t last forever, so enjoy it while you can.

(2) Transactions at department stores, or shops selling bags, shoes and clothes

All transactions (regardless of currency) made online or offline at the merchants with the following MCCs will earn 4 mpd.

MCCDescription
MCC 5311Department Stores
MCC 5611Men’s and Boy’s Clothing and Accessories Stores
MCC 5621Women’s Ready to Wear Stores
MCC 5631Women’s Accessory and Specialty Stores
MCC 5641Children’s and infant’s Wear Stores
MCC 5651Family Clothing Stores
MCC 5655Sports and Riding Apparel Stores
MCC 5661Shoe Stores
MCC 5691Men’s and Women’s Clothing Stores
MCC 5699Misc. Apparel and Accessory Shops
MCC 5948Luggage and Leather Goods Stores

This includes merchants such as Marks & Spencer, Takashimaya, Isetan, as well as fashion and apparel chains like Adidas, Nike and TUMI. 

For avoidance of doubt, you will earn 4 mpd even if you digitise the Citi Rewards Card into Apple or Google Pay and use your mobile phone to pay at the merchant, as this is not considered an online/in-app mobile payment. 

How does this compare to other cards?

The Citi Rewards isn’t the only card that earns bonuses for online spending. However, it’s one of the best out there thanks to its blacklist system.

A blacklist system means that all online transactions earn bonuses, unless they’ve been explicitly blacklisted. The Citi Rewards and DBS Woman’s World Card adopt this approach. 

A whitelist system means that only specified transactions earn bonuses. The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa and OCBC Titanium Rewards adopt this approach.

Card4 mpd capIncludes*
DBS Woman’s World CardS$2K per c. monthAll online trxns.
Citi RewardsS$1K per s. monthAll online trxns. except travel 
HSBC RevolutionS$1K per c. monthDining, travel, groceries, transport, e-commerce
UOB Pref. Plat VisaS$1.1K per c. monthDining, entertainment, groceries, e-commerce, fashion
OCBC Titanium RewardsS$12K per m. yearE-commerce, electronics, fashion
C. Month= Calendar Month | S. Month= Statement Month | M. Year= Membership Year
*Standard bank-wide exclusions apply, e.g. insurance, government transactions, charitable donations, prepaid wallet top-ups

When are ThankYou points credited? 

Base and bonus ThankYou points are credited when your transaction posts, which generally takes 1-3 working days.

How are ThankYou points calculated?

Here’s how you can work out the ThankYou points earned on your Citi Rewards Card. 

Base Points (1X)Round down transaction to nearest S$1, then multiply by 1
Bonus Points  (9X)
Round down transaction to nearest S$1, then multiply by 9

This means the minimum spend required to earn miles is S$1. 

If you’re an Excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate your points: 

Base Points (1X)=ROUNDDOWN(X,0)*1
Bonus Points  (9X)
=ROUNDDOWN(X,0)*9
Where X= Amount Spent

For the full list of formulas that banks use to calculate credit card points, do refer to these articles:

What transactions aren’t eligible for ThankYou points?

A full list of ineligible transactions to earn ThankYou points can be found in the Citi rewards T&Cs.

I’ve highlighted a few noteworthy categories below:

  • Educational Institutions (MCC 8211-8299)
  • Donations (MCC 8398)
  • Government Services (MCC 9000-9999)
  • Insurance (MCC 6300)
  • Professional Services and Membership Organizations (MCC 8651-8661)
  • Quasi cash transactions (MCC 6529-6540)
  • Real Estate Agents and Managers (MCC 6513)
  • Top-ups to prepaid accounts like YouTrip and GrabPay
  • Utilities payments (MCC 4900)

Citibank cards do not earn points with RentHero, but they will with CardUp. 

What do I need to know about ThankYou points?

❌ Expiry↔️ Pooling✈️ Transfer Fee
Up to 5 yearsNoS$26.75 per conversion 

A common misconception is that Citi ThankYou points earned on the Citi Rewards have a 5-year validity; Citibank even says so on its own website.

citi rewards 5 years expiry

But that’s not true. Don’t believe me? Visit the ThankYou rewards portal and check the expiry date of your points. You’ll see they all expire on the same day! 

citi thankyou points expiry

What’s going on here is that all ThankYou points earned on the Citi Rewards expire every five years (+ three months grace) from card approval/renewal, not from when points are earned.

Here’s an example:

  • Suppose my Citi Reward is approved on 1 May 2020.
  • All ThankYou points I earn between 1 May 2020 and 30 April 2025 will expire on 31 July 2025 (5 years + 3 months).
  • On 1 May 2025, a new ThankYou points “period” will commence
  • All ThankYou points I earn between 1 May 2025 and 30 April 2030 will expire on 31 July 2030 (5 years+ 3 months)

It’s rather counter-intuitive, but important to know.

Citibank has a policy of not pooling points across cards. If you have 12,000 ThankYou points on the Citi Rewards Visa and 30,000 ThankYou points on the Citi Rewards Mastercard, you will have to pay two separate conversion fees. This also means that you’ll need to transfer all your points out before cancelling the card, or else forfeit them. 

Citibank has the widest variety of transfer partners in Singapore, with 12 airline and hotel programmes to choose from. This gives you access to some great sweet spots, like with British Airways Executive Club, Etihad Guest, and Turkish Miles&Smiles.

Points transfer at a 5:2 ratio, with a minimum transfer block of 10,000 miles. 

Frequent Flyer ProgrammeConversion Ratio
(ThankYou Points: Partner)
krisflyer logo25,000: 10,000
asia miles logo25,000: 10,000
british airways logo25,000: 10,000
etihad guest logo25,000: 10,000
evaair logo25,000: 10,000
flyingblue logo25,000: 10,000
ihg logo25,000: 10,000
enrich logo25,000: 10,000
qantas logo25,000: 10,000
qatar logo25,000: 10,000
thai airways logo25,000: 10,000
turkish airlines logo25,000: 10,000

Transfers cost S$26.75 per programme, regardless of how many points are converted.

Summary Review: Citi Rewards Card

Apply Here

In my pantheon of specialised spending cards, I’d rank the Citi Rewards just below the DBS Woman’s World Card, given its lower monthly 4 mpd cap (S$1,000 vs S$2,000) and exclusion of travel transactions.

However, it’s every bit an essential card to have, especially since DBS now excludes Amaze transactions. Pairing Citi Rewards with Amaze is a simple way of earning 4 mpd everywhere, including overseas with no FCY fees (Amaze does have a small FX spread for conversions).

Factor in the wide range of transfer partners and periodic Citi bonus miles promotions, and it’s a no-brainer in my book. 

So that’s my review of the Citi Rewards Card. What do you think?

Overall Score
★★★★
Ratings Guide
5 Stars
★★★★★
An essential card for miles chasers, with few viable alternatives 
4 Stars
★★★★
A very good card, although other equally good alternatives may exist
3 Stars
★★★
A decent card to round out your collection, but not absolutely essential
2 Stars
★★
Very limited use cases, and outperformed by most other cards
1 Star

Paperweight. Use for picking teeth or ninja stars

 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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dkdk

I’m not sure about the new MasterCard but when I registered for reward visa back in march (before it became MC exclusive), the card expiry date is march 2025

This means that my cc has an effective 5 years validity and I should use up all my thankpoints when the cc expiry is up.

If reward MC also has a 5 years card validity, you can also use that date as a marker in which you have to exchange all thankpoints before that date.

dkdk

I noticed that Citi line of credit cards tend to have 5 years validity and that coincide with the validity of the thankpoint duration (according to this article)

It will be easier to track if you keep in mind that you need to use up all the thankpoints before the credit card expiry date

Yiwei

Ah, by statement month, learnt it the hard way last year 🙁
Will you be doing a review on the UOB Lady’s Card too?

Shawn Lee

Hey Aaron, would you recommend the Citi Rewards or PremierMiles for a first timer? Or should i get both and use them whenever applicable?
Also, i’d like to ask, if i transfer the miles i’ve earned from the Rewards card to my KrisFlyer, can i also transfer my PremierMiles miles to the same KrisFlyer account? (Although i’ll have to pay the transfer fee twice)

Adam

Get both and use when applicable. Alternatively, get DBS Altitude + WWMC which are both similar to the Citi Premiermiles + Rewards combo but the points pool.

Adam

What do you think of using the CRV to top up the GPMC and using GPMC to pay for FCY purchases? Grab charges a 2% FX fee, so your cpm is 0.50 cpm.

Last edited 2 years ago by Adam
Adam

Well, GPMC does have a lower FX fee so my point still stands that it’s a viable alternative. For example, if you would normally put your FX spending on the CRV, you could instead top up the GPMC with your CRV and then use that for your online spending.

Huien

Hey there, thank you for writing this! I have been using the Citibank Rewards Mastercard for the past two years and have accumulated 216,614 points on it (it’s my primary card). I recently also signed up for the DBS Altitude Visa card and am thinking of making a switch to that as my primary card given the non-expiry of points and waiver of annual fees above a certain spend. I didn’t think that the Citibank Rewards offered much. Should I transfer my points to Krisflyer to use at some future date or cash it all out (it’s 22,000 points for… Read more »

Huien

Thank you! Appreciate the response!

George

Does using Apple Pay with this card gets around the issue with some online retailers? ie foodpanda/redmart for example?

John

I suggest to be careful with this card – I was fan for couple years but last 3 months having issues with Visa version

– They claim Amazon Prime Singapore is not eligible(Visa version) -those show Prime Now doesn’t get points – I did raise issue but can’t resolve

– also if you pay for Online services like Deliveroo, Food panda etc by Apple Pay – they claim this is mobile wallet so don’t give bonus(maybe more understandable)

Used to be a very straight card – getting bonuses

John

Can someone clarify this for me? Statement month starts on the statement date I see on the statement or the day after?

Yan

Does recurring singtel/starhub bills receive 10x? Does manual bill payment on the app get also?

Yiwei

I can confirm manual payment for Singtel on its website/app gets 10x points on the Visa version.

Calvin Lee

Hi, I have the Citi Rewards Visa card and recently got the Mastercard given that Amaze only works with Mastercard. Given that there is limit to 4 miles benefit, which is up to $1000 spend per statement month, now that I have both cards (Visa and Mastercard), do I get to enjoy up to $2000 spend per statement month ($1000 for Visa and $1000 for Mastercard)?

Tom

Yes you do. Card pools individually

Candy

I currently have the Citi Rewards Visa. Do you think it’s worth getting the MC version, and switch over ahead of my card expiry?

Ortloc

I have both. You’ll need the MC version to pair with Amaze. The visa and MC points don’t pool, so you’ll need to earn just enough points on the visa to cash out before switching permanently to the MC version.

Dain

HSBC Revo also should probably be in the list of How this card compares to others

CCW

“…shop at a brick-and-mortar merchant, pay with the Amaze Card and earn 4 mpd with the Citi Rewards”

This should be “…shop at a brick-and-mortar merchant (except department stores, or shops selling bags, shoes and clothes) pay with the Amaze Card and earn 4 mpd with the Citi Rewards” right?

Fees

Does paying overseas taxi and transit (bus/mrt) via Amaze->CRM get 4mpd? Unsure about the MCC, I guess in some places bus/mrt is government but most places it isn’t and I can’t see any obvious exclusion.

Jo Ong

sorry, getting alil confuse, does this mean that i will not earn 4mpd if i use amaze (linked to CRM) for travel expenses?

Nicholas

Any travel related expenses (e.g Hotels, Flights etc) just avoid using Amaze + CRM

Jay Lim

Thanks for this article, I havent realised that travel transactions are excluded. Does tapping rewards card at supermarket transactions give 4mpd? I was comparing this with DBS Altitude and realised that DBS awards points for in blocks of $5 although it provides points for transports like mrt and bus but each transport ride is usually below $5??

Ortloc

Tapping the card is not an online transaction and will not earn 4mpd, unless you’re buying stuff at a department store, bags, shoes or clothes.

Save yourself from memorizing what earns 4mpd and what doesn’t by keeping it in the drawer and pairing it with the Amaze card for use in shops instead. You’ll just have to remember not to use it for travel expenses.

Jay Lim

Thanks for this! Is it possible if I use amaze card in apple wallet or must i tap the physical amaze card?

Jo Ong

i just tried, amaze cant be added in apple wallet.

Sam

i can add the amaze card into google pay.

will amaze capture payments made via google pay as online transactions and earn the 4mpd when linked to citi rewards?

grippy

What’s the mpd when using in PayAll?

Chris Lim

Wondering if I should my monthly gym fee to Citi Rewards. Gym subscriptions are certainly not on the blacklist, but I’m also not sure if those count as “online transactions”. Anyone have a clue?

my kong

aaron,

between premiermiles vs prestige , if we fit the min income, which one will you choose for miles? am looking to cancel my ascend card soon.

LZY

If I pair the Citi Rewards to Amaze and set up Amaze on Google Pay, do I earn both Kris+ miles and Citi points when using Kris+ on participating merchants?

Rob

Citibank website mentions 10x rewards with Grab, Gojek and “more”. Any idea if “more” includes Comfort(Zig) and other ride sharing apps such as TADA and Ryde

Malcolm

Does spending on Hospital (medical checkup) earn 4mpd (x10 rewards)?

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