Citi Rewards+SM Student Credit Card Review

Best for:  The busy, responsible student who wants to earn rewards for everyday spending. 

The Citi Rewards+SM Student is a credit card designed to appeal to a student’s lifestyle of constant movement and little downtime. The card offers to round up your points to 10 with every purchase. As an example, if you decide to grab water from a vending machine on your way to class you can rack up to 10 points for a single purchase. Likewise, ordering a pizza for a late-night study session nets you another 20. Citi Rewards+ Student understands that life is about small things adding up in a big way. So enjoy your daily treats today and redeem your points later on travel, gift cards and online shopping.

The basics 

  • APR: 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for seven months, then the standard variable APR rate of 15.49% – 25.49%.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Reward Rates: Citi Rewards+ rounds up your purchases to the nearest 10 points, and there’s no cap on how many purchases you can make. You’ll get two ThankYou® points for every $1 you spend at supermarkets and gas stations, up to a maximum of $6,000, as well as one ThankYou point per $1 after you meet the cap.
  • Intro Offer: You’ll get 2,500 bonus points when you spend $500 in the first three months.

Standout features 

  • Citi Rewards+ gives 10% extra points back on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year. Meaning that if you decide to use 5,000 points to get a $50 gift card, you get 500 points deposited back into your account.
  • ThankYou points are redeemable for a wide variety of gift cards, travel purchases —flights, cruises, hotels and more — and even online shopping at Amazon and BestBuy.
  • Citi Entertainment gives you special access to buy tickets to thousands of events each year. You can also score pre-sale tickets and VIP packages.
  • You can pay by tapping your card on the payment reader, thanks to a contactless-chip enabled card, and shop safely via your smartphone when you sign up to use Citibank’s Digital Wallet.

Best way to use this card 

The great thing about the Citi Rewards+ Student card is it syncs perfectly with how college students already spend money. The advantage of making small purchases on your card is that each is rounded up to the nearest tenth; each point is worth $0.01 when used to redeem gift cards and travel rewards. That makes the redemption value higher on many purchases than a cash back card that offers 1.5% back. For instance, a $12 restaurant entree gives you 20 points ($0.20), whereas you’ll only earn $0.18 with the cash back card.

Moreover, the bonus offer of two ThankYou points for every $1 you spend at supermarkets and gas stations lets you rack up even more points, up to 12,000 points in the first year. For students who are living off-campus, driving a vehicle every day and buying their own groceries each week, this can really add up fast — especially if your roommates let you charge communal groceries on your tab. You won’t be getting the reward rate that comes with some premium cards, but with Citi Rewards+ Student card, every little bit counts.

Citi Rewards+ Student also rewards cardholders for redeeming their points, which is an important thing to keep in mind. Every 10,000 points you redeem — up to 100,000 points each year — you’ll get 1,000 ThankYou Points deposited back in your account. That’s the equivalent of a $10 gift card.

In a nutshell 

Citi Rewards+ Student is the perfect card for college students who have good credit and want something that complements their cash-free spending habits. Thanks to the fact that Citi Rewards+ Student rounds up each purchase to the nearest 10 points, you’ll boost the redemption value on every purchase you make. There are lots of ways to redeem your points, and you can also get great deals on events through Citi Entertainment. The card has no annual fee and an introductory 0% APR on purchases for seven months, which is a great way to make textbooks a bit easier to afford.

If you don’t have a high enough credit score to qualify for the Citi Rewards+ Student card, though, you do have viable no annual fee options. Discover it® Student Cash Back offers 5% cash back on rotating categories (1% on everything else) and a $20 statement credit for each year for students who maintain a GPA of at least 3.0. Likewise, the Journey® Student Credit Card by Capital One gives you an unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase and has no foreign transaction fees.

Valerie Fulton

Contributing Writer

Valerie Fulton is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance, real estate, higher education, home improvement, and business copy. Her work has been published at Veros Real Estate Solutions, Bluehost, Sears, UPS, Movoto, the Simple Dollar, Peak Communications, and the University of Tennessee. Every summer, she travels from Austin, Texas to the coast of Maine with her two standard poodles in order to manage the vacation property she bought for a steal several years ago.