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Targeted: Citi launches PayAll – buy miles from 0.8 cents each

A targeted campaign for now. If rolled out on a bigger scale Citi's PayAll could be a very attractive 'buy miles' proposition.

Citi Building (Oxford Properties Group)

If you hold one of the Citi credit cards in Singapore you may have received an email from them this morning inviting you to take part in the new Citi PayAll program, allowing you to earn miles by making rent and education payments using your card by paying an administrative fee.

The promotion appears to be targeted, at this stage at least, as Eddie was selected but I was not.

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The email from Citi this morning

Not a new concept

As many of you will know this is not an entirely new idea, companies like CardUp and iPaymy already offer such facilities, while UOB PRVI Miles cardholders can use the PRVI Pay feature to generate ‘unlimited’ miles at 2 cents each.

Now Citi is getting in on the act too, and of course the interesting thing for us is the fee charged as that directly relates to the cost per mile you’re incurring to use your credit card this way.

How Citi PayAll works

Currently Citi PayAll allows you to make rental payments to any landlord, and tuition fees to an education provider. Recipients do not need to bank with Citi and will receive payment via normal bank transfer. Your credit card account will then be charged for the same amount, plus the processing fee.

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In turn you will earn the local miles earning rate associated with your card. That means you’ll only want to be using a Citi PremierMiles Visa (1.2mpd), Citi PremierMiles Amex (1.3mpd), Citi Prestige (1.3mpd) or Citi ULTIMA (1.6mpd) for these payments.

Using the Citi Rewards card, for example, at 0.4 miles per dollar, will never be good value here.

Citi PayAll is capped at S$10,000 a month in total PayAll transactions, or 95% of your credit limit per month, whichever is lower. If you have been targeted by Citi for the PayAll function (check your email or SMS), then you’ll have 30 days to enrol. That suggests this may be an initial test of PayAll to a select group, hopefully with wider rollout in the future.

You’ll have to allow 7 days for payments to go through using this facility, and you can also set up a recurring (monthly) payment using PayAll.

Future payment categories are set to include tax payments and condo management fees. You can learn more about Citi PayAll at the dedicated landing page here.

The fee

The fee for Citi PayAll is a fixed amount rather than a percentage, and is tiered with three options:

  • S$24 fee for payments up to S$2,000
  • S$60 fee for payments of S$2,001 – S$5,000
  • S$120 fee for payments of S$5,001 – S$10,000

Edit: These are the fees Eddie has been quoted for using Citi PayAll, however one of our readers Ken was kind enough to reach out to Citi who clarified that the actual fees you will be charged depend on your relationship with the bank and who the payee is. The only way to be sure what fees you will pay is to experiment with the online form which will reveal the quote.

That means there are three ‘sweet spots’ when you consider the fee as a percentage – payments of exactly S$2,000, S$5,000 and S$10,000. A 1.2% fee applies in these three cases.

In between the bands the fee is variable as a percentage, and higher than 1.2%.

Examples

Full terms and conditions for Citi PayAll are available here, though unhelpfully the fees and tiers are not specifically mentioned – you must have been targeted for the offer and then play around with the facility online to determine how it works.

Luckily you have us to do the legwork for you. Here is a table showing the cost per mile using Citi PayAll for a selection of example transaction amounts depending on the Citi card used.

Note how we’ve highlighted the ‘sweet spots’ – payments of exactly S$2,000, S$5,000 and S$10,000.

Edit: These are the fees Eddie has been quoted for using Citi PayAll, however one of our readers Ken was kind enough to reach out to Citi who clarified that the actual fees you will be charged depend on your relationship with the bank and who the payee is. The only way to be sure what fees you will pay is to experiment with the online form which will reveal the quote.

Cost per mile for Citi PayAll transactions
PremierMiles / Prestige ULTIMA
CitiCardPMTrans Card.pngCiti Prestige Trans.png Citi Ultima Trans.png
S$500 4.0¢ 3.7¢ 3.0¢
S$1,000 2.0¢ 1.8¢ 1.5¢
S$2,000 1.0¢ 0.9¢ 0.8¢
S$3,000 1.7¢ 1.5¢ 1.3¢
S$4,000 1.3¢ 1.2¢ 0.9¢
S$5,000 1.0¢ 0.9¢ 0.8¢
S$7,500 1.3¢ 1.2¢ 1.0¢
S$10,000 1.0¢ 0.9¢ 0.8¢

At those three ideal transaction levels you’ll be paying 1 cent per mile using the Citi PremierMiles Visa, 0.9 cents per mile using the PremierMiles Amex and just 0.8 cents per mile with the Citi ULTIMA card.

Remember as soon as you move away from the sweet spots, especially upwards by a small amount (e.g. S$5,100) you’ll jump into the higher fee bracket and get a much poorer cost per mile.

Using the Citi PremierMiles card for example to make a S$5,100 payment this way will cost you S$120 fee for 6,120 miles (1.96 cents per mile). For S$2,100 it’s even worse – a S$60 fee for 2,520 miles (2.38 cents per mile).

As you can also see whichever card you use it really isn’t worth the fee until you’re charging a payment of at least S$1,000 through Citi PayAll, where cost per mile approaches 2 cents – the approximate value of a KrisFlyer mile and our upper limit to buy. Then it depends how far into each ‘band’ your payment amount falls. Complicated huh?

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Paying your rent or in future your condo fees using Citi PayAll is an attractive way to earn a large volume of additional miles through the year

If you’re a couple and your total rent is S$4,000 per month, assuming you both have a Citi PremierMiles card and were both targeted for Citi PayAll, you can each make a S$2,000 payment to your landlord and therefore access the lowest cost per mile of 1 cent each. That’s better than one of you paying the total rent of S$4,000 (1.3 cents per mile).

Your landlord will receive two payments each month instead of one in that case, but most are fine with this.

You’re not limited to KrisFlyer

The beauty of Citi Miles and Citi Rewards points is that they transfer into a wide variety of loyalty programs. Here’s the airline list:

  • Air France / KLM (Flying Blue)
  • British Airways (Executive Club)
  • Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles)
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air (Infinity MileageLands)
  • Garuda Miles
  • Malaysia Airlines (Enrich)
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways (Privilege Club)
  • Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)
  • Thai (Royal Orchid Plus)
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles

And here are the hotel loyalty programs:

  • Club Carlson
  • IHG Rewards Club

As you can see this gives you some great alternative options to KrisFlyer. Asia Miles and British Airways Avios can be used to redeem the excellent new Qatar Airways Qsuites, while Qantas Frequent Flyer points will get you into Emirates’ brand new First Class – just two examples of many.

Not a Citi customer?

There’s still a 21,000 miles sign-up bonus on offer if you pick up the Citi PremierMiles Visa card before the end of January 2019. You can check out our in-depth reviews of the Citi PremierMiles card and the Citi Prestige card here:

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READ OUR REVIEW

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READ OUR REVIEW

Summary

A nice promotion from Citi here, though unfortunately it appears to be targeted at this stage, and the 30-day sign-up window for those invited may indicate that it’s a test phase currently, or perhaps it will never be rolled out long-term to all Citi credit card customers.

It will be interesting to see how competitors in the market – CardUp and iPaymy respond to this new facility. They will no doubt be concerned if Citi PayAll is more widely rolled out in the weeks ahead.

Were you targeted for Citi’s PayAll facility, and if so are you planning to use it? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Cover Image: Oxford Properties Group)

15 comments

  1. Hi Andrew.. From reach outs to both Citiphone as well as RM, apparently he ‘fees’ are not as straight forward as it seems, per your tables.. From what we’ve been told, ‘the fee’ depends on a few factors.. including relationship with bank, and even who payee is.. the only way to know what the fee will be, according to bank, is to fill up the spaces and see what figure comes out.. quite strange indeed..!

    1. Thanks Ken, that is strange. I’d be interested to hear the fees others have been shown. Those in the article are based on what Eddie is being quoted through PayAll (I wasn’t targeted).

      Meanwhile I have added a comment to the article to reflect your info. Thanks again.

    1. 2000 fits my purpose better. Because I did not know about that tier, I paid more than 1cents per mile. I could have gotten 1cents per mile.

      1. Ahhh… But from several bits I read from you, you’re already way ahead of the curve in the Miles Game.. certainly way ahead of me… Can’t win them all.. cheers!

    1. It depends what card you are using with iPaymy.

      Assuming you have the Citi PremierMiles earning 1.2mpd, and you have a 1.99% promo code for iPaymy (their regular rate is 2.25%) then you’re paying 1.66 cents per mile that way.

      That means Citi PayAll can definitely be better, provided you’re at or near one of those ‘sweet spots’.

  2. I received the invite. However as I was adjusting the amount to be paid from $5000 to $2000 the promo became closed to me and I have to call Citi. So splitting up the bills may not work. The targetted mailer has a targeted amount in mind too for the reciepient to participate at

    1. Interesting thanks, they really are tinkering around with this! It will be interesting to see what the final version entails, assuming they decide to roll it out to everyone.

  3. Regarding the couple example, can’t an individual pay $2000 twice thus incurring a fee of $48 ($24 x 2) instead of a fee of $60 (for a $4000 transaction)?

    1. Yes I don’t see why not, though I suppose Citi could ask why you pay your rent twice per month to the same person. They really haven’t thought this one through with the tiered fee levels, a flat percentage would have been much simpler. People will just become inventive about their payments.

      If your rent is $2,100 per month for example, you would just pay your landlord $2,000 per month via Citi PayAll ($24 fee), then make a separate $100 payment to your landlord directly from your bank account each month, rather than use Citi PayAll for the entire $2,100 ($60 fee). Right?

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