Citi Rewards Platinum Visa credit card (Citibank)

Review: Citi Rewards Platinum Visa credit card (Citibank)

What's Hot

  • Up to 40,000 bonus frequent flyer points (100,000 Citi points)
  • Reduced annual fee in year one

What's Not

  • Terrible points earning rate
  • There's a points cap, too
  • International transaction fee one of the highest in Australia

X-Factor

  • Travel insurance may cover journeys booked using points

Introduction

Citibank's Citi Rewards Platinum Visa credit card sounds impressive on the surface: after all, it's Platinum plastic with the word "Rewards" in the title, but a closer look shows this card to be far from rewarding.

That's because Citibank says you're earning up to "one point per dollar spent" – but that's one Citibank Rewards point, not one airline frequent flyer point. When you move your points to the likes of Velocity or KrisFlyer, your reward vanishes to a mere fraction of a point: 0.33-0.4 frequent flyer points per $1 spent, to be precise.

You're also likely to find better ongoing annual fees and lower international transaction fees elsewhere, leaving few reasons why a new customer would preference this card over another.

Citi Rewards Platinum Visa credit card: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Platinum
  • Card type: Visa
  • Loyalty program: Citibank Rewards
  • Citibank airline partners (Platinum): Virgin Australia Velocity, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Citibank Rewards points earned per A$1 spent:
         Government and government-related transactions:
    No points at any time
         Other domestic spend, up to $10,000 per month:
    1.0
         Domestic spend beyond $10,000 per month: No points
         International spend (uncapped): 1.0
  • 1 Citibank reward point ($1 spent) = 0.4 Velocity points (2.5:1 conversion), 0.33 KrisFlyer miles (3:1 conversion)
  • Points capping: Applies to domestic spend only, as above. International spend is uncapped.

Fees, charges and interest: 2/5

  • Annual fee: $49 in the first year, $149 thereafter
  • Additional/supplementary cardholder fee: $90 (up to 4)
  • Interest rate on purchases: 20.99% p.a.
  • Interest-free days on purchases: Up to 55
  • Interest rate on cash advances: 21.74% p.a.
  • International transaction fee: 3.4%
  • Minimum income requirement: $35,000/year
  • Minimum credit limit: $6,000

Earning points for free flights: 1/5

For new customers, there's a reward of 100,000 bonus Citibank Rewards points when you apply by June 30 2018 and spend $3,000 on the card within 90 days of approval – equal to 40,000 Velocity points or approximately 33,333 KrisFlyer miles.

With Velocity, that's enough to book a one-way business class flight from Sydney to Perth or for four one-way upgrades from discount economy to business class on short domestic flights such as Sydney-Melbourne, but once the sign-up bonus has come and gone, things get far less rewarding.

An earning rate equal to 0.4 Velocity points per $1 spent combined with the card's monthly points cap means you won't earn more than 4,000 Velocity points per month from shopping in Australia, and although no points capping applies to international purchases, Citibank's hefty 3.4% international transaction fee negates any value from the points you're earning on those payments.

That's because for every Velocity point you'll earn on overseas transactions, you're paying Citibank 8.5 cents ($0.085) in international transaction fees. Previous calculations by Australian Business Traveller put the value of one Velocity point between 0.54 cents and 7.45 cents at the absolute best-case scenario, so you're paying more to earn each point than the point would ever be worth.

Even if you spent those Velocity points on a business class ticket, you'd be worse off than simply forgetting about Citibank credit points and going out and buying a business class fare at full price, which is downright bonkers, when other cards in the market prove much more rewarding.

Read: What is a Virgin Australia Velocity point worth?

For example, the comparable Platinum-grade Virgin Money Velocity Flyer Visa provides 0.66 Velocity points per $1 spent up to $1,500 per month and 0.5 Velocity points thereafter with no points capping, aside a lower ongoing annual fee of $129 (reduced to $64 in the first year): so even when points tiering kicks in, you'd still be earning more points than from the Citi Rewards Platinum Card on its best days.

You could also be earning 0.5 Velocity points per $1 spent, uncapped, via the Westpac Altitude Platinum Visa card, by opting for Altitude Rewards and converting the Altitude points you earn into Velocity points at a 2:1 rate. There's also no annual fee in the first year ($150 thereafter), and a lower international transaction fee of 3% (versus Citibank's 3.4%).

If KrisFlyer miles are more your thing, St. George's Amplify Platinum Visa card churns out the equivalent of 0.5 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent at home and abroad, uncapped, via the Amplify Rewards program, with an annual fee of only $99, and up to 25,000 bonus KrisFlyer miles (50,000 bonus Amplify points) on the table for eligible new customers who spend at least $2,000 on eligible purchases within 90 days of card approval.

We'll also flag that Citibank's definition of "government and government-related transactions" (on which it awards no points) doesn't just include the usual suspects like payments to the ATO: payments for council rates, vehicle registration, road tolling accounts, public transport fares, fines, court-related costs and at Australia Post and council-operated parking metres and stations are all barred from earning points, so it's hard to see how anybody could consider the Citi Rewards Platinum card "rewarding".

Airport lounge access: 0/5

Airport lounge access or membership is not a feature offered on this card.

Free international travel insurance: 4/5

Being a Platinum card, this product's saving grace is its international travel insurance, which you may qualify for after charging the cost of your overseas flights to the Citi Rewards Platinum card or have booked your ticket through the Citibank Travel Program.

You may also be covered if your journey was booked using Velocity points or KrisFlyer miles, provided you've transferred at least 15,000 frequent flyer points across to that program from your Citibank Rewards account in the preceding 12 months.

This insurance covers return journeys of up to six months or international one-way travel for up to 31 days after leaving Australia: handy when you've booked your outbound flight but don't yet have a flight back home, when your plans are open-ended.

Extended warranty cover, transit accident insurance, purchase cover and access to a guaranteed pricing scheme are also provided, although the relatively common interstate flight inconvenience insurance is absent. 

Citi Rewards Platinum Visa credit card: verdict

In the first year, there's no denying that the sign-up bonus equal to 40,000 Velocity points or 33,333 KrisFlyer miles is worth far more than the card's $49 annual fee – but when it comes time to pay the annual fee again 12 months later, you'll wind up spending more than three times as much and getting no extra benefit in return.

All you'll receive is a measly 0.4 Velocity points (or 0.33 KrisFlyer miles) for every $1 you charge to the card: and that's if you haven't exceeded the monthly points cap, and aren't spending with a government body or government-related entity where no points are earned at all.

While you can also make use of the Citibank Dining program – where you get a free bottle of wine at participating restaurants – in our experience, the free bottle is normally one of the cheapest drops on the menu, and not worth paying credit card annual fees just to get for 'free'.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

1 Comment

  • johnnyw

    johnnyw

    21 Jun, 2018 10:48 am

    I was told now that Amex Plat Charge also covers flight booked with points as well
    No member give thanks

Guest

17 Jul, 2018 11:29 pm

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