Citi announced on Tuesday, June 25, its new Pay With Points feature, in partnership with Mastercard, which will allow select Citi cardholders to redeem points in real-time, starting in early July.
If you have a Citi Prestige, Citi Premier, Citi Rewards+ or Citi ThankYou Preferred card, you can choose to redeem ThankYou Points immediately after making eligible purchases, from dining to groceries, entertainment to clothing/department stores.
"We recently did a survey of 1,000 consumers, and 86% said that they would be more likely to redeem their points if they could do it in real-time — and that number rose to 94% with millennials," Mary Hines, head of customer engagement and innovation for Citi Branded Cards, said during the announcement event at Mastercard's Tech Hub.
Citi wants to help make consumers' rewards redemption experience as positive as possible by providing "instant gratification on enabling you to use those points for exactly what you want," Hines said.
Citi cardholders who earn ThankYou rewards can set up email or push notifications directly from the Citi Mobile App or Citi.com to find out when an eligible purchases can be covered by Pay With Points. When transactions qualify, you'll receive a notification asking if you want to cover your purchase completely or partially with ThankYou points.
All you have to do is click the notification, log into your Citi account and select confirm. The statement credit should appear in two to three business days.
Citi's Pay With Points feature is similar to the real-time rewards redemption program featured on the soon-to-be-released Apple Card. Apple says cardholders will be able to use their rewards right away for any Apple Pay spending.
While exact details are still up-in-the-air regarding just how Apple's instant rewards work, it's clear that Citi cardholders can easily redeem points for common, everyday purchases and points can be "cashed in" at any amount — whether that's a $2 cup of coffee or $50 supermarket run.
"There is no minimum [rewards redemption amount]. If you want to pay for a quarter of your coffee with points, you can do that," Hines tells CNBC Make It.
This announcement comes a day after Citi announced that they will soon be removing a significant number of cardholder perks, from the popular Citi Price Rewind benefit to worldwide car rental insurance, baggage delay protection, extended warranty protection and more on certain cards.
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