Major Citibank Credit Card Devaluation

Citibank’s Rewards Program will undergo a significant devaluation from June. Not only is Citibank changing the rates at which credit card points are earned… they are also increasing the number of Citi Rewards points required when redeeming or transferring points. This means that even existing points balances are affected by the changes.

The new rates come into effect from 15 June, and affect the Citi Signature and high-end Citi Prestige credit cards.

Citi Signature and Prestige cardholders will see the number of points earned on most purchases cut in half. The only exception is certain categories of spend including restaurants, hotels, major supermarkets, petrol stations and airlines. Spend in these categories will mostly either retain their current earning rates or see a smaller reduction in points earned.

In addition to the reduction in earning rates, the rates at which points can be transferred to airline frequent flyer programs and hotel loyalty programs are being increased. As an example, 2 Citibank Rewards points earned via the Signature card are currently worth 1 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer mile. From 15 June, however, you’ll need 2.5 Citibank Rewards points for every 1 KrisFlyer mile.

It’s even worse news for transfers to programs such as Etihad Guest and Malaysia Airlines Enrich. The number of Citibank Rewards points needed to convert to 1 mile in these programs will increase from 2 to 3. This is effectively a 50% price increase – and that’s on top of the reduced earning rates.

Redemptions made directly through the Citibank Rewards program, including for gift cards and merchandise, will also increase in price. However, Citibank has not revealed how much more expensive these redemptions will become.

Our members are particularly unimpressed with the simultaneous devaluations to earning and burning rates.

I don’t blame Citi for reducing earn rate to reflect their reduced interchange revenue.
I think simultaneously reducing conversion rates is just unfair – a double whammy for cardholders.

To add to the blow, Citibank is adding to its list of transaction types that will no longer earn any points at all. The list already includes payments to the ATO (tax office), but now also includes Australia Post, public transport fares and council rate payments.

They also seem to be expanding the “Government” non-earning category which will smash me. I mean honestly….public transport fares???

Australian Frequent Flyer is not aware of any other Australian credit card provider that does not award points on public transport fares.

The Prestige card is marketed as a high-end card. It has a minimum income requirement of $150,000 and attracts a $700 annual fee. But after this latest round of devaluations, there is very little that differentiates Citi Prestige from a card with a $100 annual fee.

Wow. The is just mind-boggling. Consider the fact that the “Prestige” is top of the lines with the highest income requirement and $700 Annual Fee. Now it is no better than a run of the mill card. I think this is getting the big pair of scissors. And why would I go for 3 Citi points for a restaurant over 3 Amex Points??

Dropping mine now too, no value in the $700 annual fee. Just need to work out where to move my Citi points before my warehoused points drop to half their value. Not happy Jan!

At the very least, Citibank has provided advanced notice of the changes. If you hold a Citibank credit card, you may wish to transfer your points out of your Citibank Rewards account by 15 June.

In November 2015, Citibank attempted to retrospectively devalue Citi Rewards points overnight. The bank eventually reversed its decision after being threatened with legal action.

Join the discussion HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]