The Citi Rewards credit cards in Singapore, which come in a Visa and a (slightly more secretive) Mastercard version aren’t your go-to payment options for general spending, earning just 0.4 miles per dollar either in Singapore or overseas for most transactions. The key to these cards is the superior earn rate of 4 miles per dollar in the bonus category – shoes, bags and clothes at online or retail stores, or department store spend.
Citi added a new category to the list yesterday however, and it’s one our readers will certainly be happy to see.
Online retail transactions now earn 4mpd
That’s right, no longer do you have to worry about the specific MCC code of the merchant you are paying online with your Citi Rewards card, essentially all retail online spend will qualify for 10 Citi ThankYou Points (4 miles) per dollar spent.
There are some exclusion categories however, read on to learn about those.
It’s still capped
Until early October last year the Citi Rewards Card had an annual cap on bonus category spend of S$12,000 per card membership year. That was great for buying ‘big ticket’ items as you could earn 4 miles per dollar on the first S$12,000 of spend even in a single month if you wished.
Better still, if you also obtained the ‘other’ Citi Rewards card (the Visa if you hold the Mastercard or vice-versa) you got another S$12,000 annual cap on that card too, allowing you to accrue 96,000 miles in total per year.
That sadly changed in October 2018, and the cap is now structured as S$1,000 per month (i.e. per statement cycle).
You can still get two cards and double your monthly cap to S$2,000, but this clearly isn’t as good for very expensive items. It’s also a bit of a hassle to keep track of, unlike the DBS Woman’s World Mastercard (see our review) which has a simple S$2,000 monthly cap for online transactions, also earning 4 miles per dollar in this category.
There are some exclusions
Principally you will not earn Citi ThankYou points at the bonus rate for online spend in the following categories:
- Mobile wallet transactions
- Travel related transactions
That latter category means no flight or hotel bookings, car rental bookings, etc. Citi has provided a list of the MCCs specifically excluded in the travel transactions case:
|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)|
These are in addition to the general exclusions for qualifying charges using this card, like bill payments and insurance payments, a full list of which is available here.
Going back to the DBS Woman’s World Mastercard, that card in fact does include travel related transactions in its qualifying spend for online transactions earning 4 miles per dollar, so it arguably remains a better proposition for your online spend especially when you consider the higher (S$2,000) monthly cap.
Clothes, shoes and bags remain
Just to be clear, Citi is not replacing the bonus spend category with online retail transactions, simply adding to it. If you still generate a number of bonus points each month using the existing eligible clothes, shoes and bags MCCs, including in retail stores (not online), you’ll still earn 4mpd in this category too.
You’ll still earn 4 miles per dollar in the following categories, both locally and overseas including online and in-store:
- MCC 5621: Women’s Ready to Wear Store
- MCC 5699: Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessory Shops
- MCC 5631: Women’s Accessory and Specialty Stores
- MCC 5651: Family Clothing Stores
- MCC 5611: Men’s and Boy’s Clothing and Accessories Stores
- MCC 5655: Sports and Riding Apparel Stores
- MCC 5641: Children’s and Infant’s Wear Stores
- MCC 5661: Shoe Stores
- MCC 5948: Luggage and Leather Good Stores
- MCC 5311: Department Stores
At the Hardwarezone Forum some Citi Rewards cardholders have reported successful bonus transactions outside these categories too.
This spend remains part of the same S$1,000 monthly cap per card applicable to the online retail transactions.
Citi ThankYou Points are super flexible
One of the great benefits of Citi Miles and Citi ThankYou points in Singapore is the wide range of transfer partners compared with other bank loyalty points.
You can transfer your points into 12 different frequent flyer programs and into IHG points. The minimum transfer quantity is 10,000 miles, and transfers then need to happen in 10,000-mile ‘blocks’.
|Remember Citi ThankYou Points credit to the following programs:|
There are some more useful programs here than others, personally we tend to use Citi miles to transfer into BA Avios points (see our analysis of some good value uses of those in the Asia-Pacific region).
While Emirates isn’t a partner, you can also consider transferring from Citi into Qantas Frequent Flyer for Emirates First and Business Class redemptions.
Remember the (strange) points expiry rule
Unlike the Citi Prestige and Citi PremierMiles cards, ThankYou Points earned with the Citi Rewards card have a 60-month validity.
It’s not quite that simple though.
In fact you have to accrue and redeem your points in fixed five-year periods. For example, if you open your card account on 1st July 2019 your first 60-month reward period ends on 30th June 2024. Any points accrued by that date will expire no matter whether you earned them five years ago or in the final week of the 60-month period!
Citi then give you 3 months to use any unredeemed points from that 60-month period before wiping them from your account. It’s easy to get caught out here so beware, especially considering the 25,000 Citi ThankYou Points (10,000 miles) minimum transfer blocks to KrisFlyer and other frequent flyer programs.
Terms and conditions
The full terms and conditions for the Citi Rewards 10x (4mpd) bonus promotion, now including details of online retail transactions, are available here.
Citi is still running a sign-up bonus for the Rewards card, worth 10,800 miles. You can see full details in our article here.
Originally this was set to end in a couple of days (on 31st March 2019), however Citi have extended the offer to 30th June 2019.
A great enhancement, the addition of (most) online retail transactions to the Citi Rewards bonus points category earning 4 miles per dollar will be roundly welcomed.
Unfortunately the recent S$1,000 cap each month now makes it more difficult to keep track of and excludes ‘big ticket’ purchases, but there is still the option to apply for both cards and double your potential earning, or use this as a backup option if you’ve reached S$2,000 online spend on the DBS WWMC in a month.
Be careful of the exclusion categories, particularly those related to travel transactions. The exclusion of travel related transactions is indeed disappointing, but there’s always the DBS WWMC for that.
We’ve also updated our full review of the Citi Rewards cards, where you can find additional details about the product and its workings.