Citi Rewards Signature Visa + optional Linked Diners Club Card

Review: Citi Rewards Signature Visa + optional Linked Diners Club Card

What's Hot

  • Convert points to Velocity, KrisFlyer
  • Two Priority Pass lounge visits per year
  • Reduced annual fee and no international transaction fee on Linked Diners Club Card

What's Not

  • Reduced points earning rate on 'everyday' Visa spend

X-Factor

  • No extra charge to hold a Linked Diners Club card, which provides added benefits

Introduction

Citibank's Citi Rewards Signature credit card has an impressive name, and right now, an impressive sign-up bonus, with up to 310,000 bonus points on offer for eligible new customers.

New in 2018, you can also now add a Linked Diners Club Card onto the account to earn points at the highest rates and avoid paying international transaction fees when shopping abroad, and you can also enjoy Citibank's well-known 'free wine every time you dine' benefit at a range of participating restaurants.

Here's what the Citi Rewards Signature credit card – and optionally, the Linked Diners Club Card – have to offer.

Citi Rewards Signature Card: fast facts

  • Grade/tier: Above-Platinum (but not quite 'Black')
  • Card type: Visa Signature + optional Linked Diners Club Card
  • Loyalty program: Citibank Rewards
  • Citibank Rewards points earned per $1 spent on Visa with:
         Major restaurants, hotels and airlines in Australia, plus all international spend:
    2
         Major supermarkets, petrol stations and Australian national retailers: 1.5
         Government and government-related transactions: No points
         Everywhere else: 1
         Eligible purchases made using the optional Linked Diners Club Card: 2
  • Citibank Rewards airline partners for Signature members: Virgin Australia (2:1 conversion), Singapore Airlines (2.5:1 conversion)
  • Converting your Citibank points into frequent flyer points, this gives you (per $1 spent):
         1 Velocity point or 0.8 KrisFlyer miles at restaurants and the like using the Visa, and on all eligible Linked Diners Club spend
         0.75 Velocity points or 0.6 KrisFlyer miles spent at supermarkets, etc. using the Visa
         No points on government payments using either card
         0.5 Velocity points or 0.4 KrisFlyer miles everywhere else using the Visa

Fees, charges and interest: 3.5/5

  • Annual fee promotion: $195 in your first year
  • Annual fee thereafter: $395, or a reduced $197.50 where $48,000 is spend in the prior year
  • Linked Diners Club Card: Offered at no additional charge
  • Supplementary cardholder fee: $0 (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: $75,000 p.a.
  • Minimum credit limit: $15,000

Earning points for free flights: 3.5/5

Eligible new customers who apply before May 31 2019 have the opportunity to earn up to 300,000 bonus points, but rather than being delivered as a lump sum, Citibank will instead provide 15,000 bonus points per month over the first 20 months, where at least $1,000 is spent on purchases in every monthly statement cycle.

Request a Linked Diners Club Card on the account when you apply and you can earn a further 10,000 bonus points, delivered after you first make a purchase using that card within 90 days of approval, giving you a grand total of up to 310,000 bonus points in the Citibank Rewards program.

With a 2:1 conversion rate to Virgin Australia Velocity, that bounty is worth a healthy 155,000 Velocity points – more than enough for a return Virgin Australia business class journey to Hong Kong (119,000 Velocity points, transferred from 238,000 Citibank Rewards points), plus a one-way Virgin Australia business class flight to Perth from the east coast.

Beyond the sign-up bonus, you'll earn the highest number of points either when using the Linked Diners Club Card, or using the Signature Visa card overseas or with major airlines, hotel chains and restaurants in Australia, giving you the equivalent of one Virgin Australia Velocity point per dollar spent, uncapped.

You can also earn the equivalent of 0.75 Velocity points per $1 spent on the Visa at national retailers, major supermarkets and petrol outlets: although keep in mind that stores like Coles, Woolworths and most BP outlets accept Diners Club cards without surcharge, so by using the Linked Diners Club Card here instead, you can boost your points earning without paying an extra fee.

Diners Club also enjoys fair acceptance overseas through a range of partner card networks: for example, Diners cards are welcome in the United States wherever Discover cards are accepted; wherever international UnionPay cards are welcome in China; wherever JCB is accepted in Japan, and so on.

Just note that Citibank awards no points on government and government-related transactions using either card, such as payments to the ATO, Australia Post, council rates, car registration and so on, when using either card.

Inclusive travel insurance: 4/5

Use your Citi Rewards Signature Card or the Linked Diners Club Card to pay for a return international flight before leaving Australia and you may automatically be covered by the bank's complimentary travel insurance on trips of six months or less.

International return journeys booked using Velocity points or KrisFlyer miles may also be covered if you've directly converted at least 15,000 frequent flyer points to that program from Citibank during the 12 months immediately prior to booking your ticket.

This is joined by the expected line-up cover with interstate flight inconvenience insurance, transit accident insurance, purchase cover, extended warranty protection and access to the guaranteed pricing scheme all included.

Airport lounge access: 2/5

Having a Citi Rewards Signature Card gets you two complimentary airport lounge visits every year via the Priority Pass program, with further visits charged to your account at US$27 per entry.

In Australia, that allows you to use the Rex Lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide; the Plaza Premium lounges in Melbourne and Brisbane; the Reef Lounge in Cairns and the Catalina Lounge in Darwin, along with a host of airport restaurants where one 'lounge visit' can be swapped for $36 of dining credit.

While Diners Club maintains its own network of international airport lounges, the Linked Diners Club Card on this account can't be presented for access – but keep that Priority Pass card handy and you'll be able to access many of the same lounges anyway.

Citi Rewards Signature Card: the verdict

With a sizeable sign-on bonus, no points capping, no international transaction fees on Linked Diners Club Card purchases, airport lounge access, a reduced ongoing annual fee (subject to meeting spend requirements) and bonus points on restaurant, airline and hotel spend in Australia, there's a lot to like about the Citi Rewards Signature Card, particularly with the Linked Diners Club Card attached.

That said, these cards won't appeal to everybody – particularly given the best earning rates only apply to Diners Club spend or Visa purchases in specific categories – but for regular travellers or those regularly spending in those higher-earning places, there's value to be had.

Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin 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!
 

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24 Oct, 2018 08:02 am

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