Savvy credit card users should be aware that Citibank has a CITI rebate programme which provides rebate $ at participating merchants on top of the existing perks of the individual Citibank cards that you are using. All citibank credit card users are entitled to the above rebates except for those holding Citibank Staff Business Gold Cards and Corporate Cards.
One of my favourite places to accrue the CITI rebate $ is at Starbucks where I enjoy 5% rebate in terms of SMRT$ when I topup my Starbucks card, and an additional 10% rebate in CITI rebate $. Do not be confused by these 2 types of rebates as they belong to different programmes and you cannot combine these 2 rebates. SMRT$ is shown on your monthly credit card, and a minimum of $10 is needed before you can exchange for various vouchers like SMRT vouchers to topup your EZ-link card. CITI rebate $ on the other hand, is never reflected on your statements, but rather on your charge slip (refer to the figure below)
Because there is no way of tracking the CITI rebate $ except on these charge slips, there is a need to keep these as records.
Looking at the list compiled above – there are various categories, the participating merchants fall under various categories – Groceries, Health & Beauty, Dining, Fuel & Motoring and Retail. As such, one may be using the Citibank SMRT card for grocery and coffee, and Citibank Dividend for dining and petrol. And please note that CITI rebate $ earned on one card cannot be combined with another card!
As such, one needs to strategise to make the most of these rebates.
1. Earn high & spend low
Sounds simple enough, but personally I have fallen for this trap when I first used the SMRT card at Starbucks. The friendly barrister asked if I wanted to use the CITI rebate $ after he swiped my card. Without thinking, I said “Yes” only to realise that I have lost to chance to accrue 10% rebate on the spending this round.
10% is the best earn rate, so never spend your CITI rebate $ at these merchants. Instead, save them for use during grocery shopping (2% rebate) or at the merchants with 1% rebate.
2. Use the appropriate card at the right place
As mentioned previously, there are a few different categories of merchants offering the CITI rebate $. Be consistent and use the same card for the said specific purposes – e.g. Citibank SMRT card for grocery and coffee, and Citibank Dividend for dining and petrol. That way, you will know that you have CITI rebate $ in these few cards and will not have to think where your CITI rebate$ are kept!
3. Watch the minimum spend
There are some participating merchants that require a minimum spend before you are entitled to the CITI rebates. For instance, if you are buying $48 of items at Cold Storage, then find a small item like candies to meet the minimum spend of $50. Otherwise, you will lose 1% on CITI rebate and 2% on SMRT rebate (Note: SMRT card earns 5% rebate at supermarkets only if >$50. Otherwise, it is 3%. In addition, monthly spending <$600 will get 0.3% less in terms of SMRT rebate)
In conclusion, know your credit cards well – SMRT and Dividend cards have minimum spending for their own individual categories. Earn CITI rebate $ at the right places and spend at those with the lowest earn rate!