Citi Forward Card Bonus & Rewards Follow-up: 5x Rewards at Restaurants and Amazon.com

Citi Forward CardI promised to follow-up on the features of the Citi Forward® Card after getting mine, and am finally getting around to it. Read on to see how you can get a $100 gift card and also 3.45% cash back with this card at restaurants, Amazon.com, and more.

Sign-Up Bonus

The bonus ThankYou points showed up promptly. The bonus amount changes and is different now than before, so please see their website for the current offer. But I did get them as promised.

5x ThankYou Points

This card works off the same ThankYou points system as many other Citibank cards. 10,000 points = $100 gift card at stores like Sears, Macy’s, Staples, Old Navy, Gap, etc. 10,000 points = $100 towards a student loan or mortgage payment. 14,000 points = $100 prepaid Visa credit card. 14,500 points = $100 statement credit.

What makes this card unique is that you get 5 points for every $1 you spend on restaurants, book stores, video rental stores and movie theaters. On everything else, you get the plain vanilla 1 reward point for every $1 spent. No annual fee.

5x Rewards at Restaurants
Again, at 1 penny per point with gift cards, getting 5x points is like getting 5% back when eating out. Even if you convert to straight cash, that’s still 3.45% cash back at restaurants (5/1.45). Or 3.57% back if you are okay with prepaid Visa card, which I am since they are usable anywhere that takes credit cards.

I have gotten my 5x rewards at fast food restaurants (McDonald’s), chain sit-down restaurants (Chili’s, etc), and also mom-and-pop places.

5x Rewards at Amazon.com
I can also officially confirm that Amazon.com is considered a bookstore. This is true even if your entire purchase (or any of it) did not contain books. I made one purchase with books, and one with only electronics, and got 5x points for both. So you can indeed get 3.45% cash back at Amazon, or 5% back in the form of gift cards.

The 5x points show up separately under the “Bonus Points by Category Earned” on your online statement:

Earnings Screenshot

I can also confirm it works at Regal movie theaters. I have this card stored online at my Amazon account so I don’t forget, and it’s in my wallet marked for restaurants only. Makes it easy to track my dining-out budget!

Comments

  1. Does this allow you to get a gift card to Amazon?

  2. Can I get this card if I already have a Citi card?

  3. I’ve had luck with Chase with converting one card to another type by calling them up. I’m guessing Citibank might be the same way.

  4. I’ve started using this card a lot since they Nerf’d my Chase Freedom. I really wish they offered Amazon gift cards, though, as that’s the only place I shop at these days.

  5. If not Amazon, how about Target? None of the stores mentioned in the article are of much use for me.

  6. Will eReader.com (ebooks) considered as a bookstore?

  7. I just got this card last week and can confirm the 5,000 bonus on my first statement for paperless statements. This seems to be one of the best cash rebate cards out there right now.

    Tommy, I had 2 other Citi cards when I applied for this, and they gave it to me anyway.

  8. Michael says:

    I wish they had amazon gift cards too, but overstock.com has a lot of the same stuff unless you read a lot.

    “Can I get this card if I already have a Citi card?”
    Yes, I have the MTVu (basically the same card) from Citi (only had it for a little over 6 months) and I still got approved for this. The good thing is you can combine the thank you points from all your citi accounts into one thank you points account.

  9. It seems that using Mortgage Payment reward is like cash for those of us who have mortgage but the effective rates are better: $250 = 3.98%, $75 = 3.95%, $50 = 3.91%. Here’s analysis I did to see the value of TY points (I only included store cards that could be of use to me, ordered by points value from 5% down to 3.13%):

    Staples® Gift Card $100 $100 10000 $0.0100 5.00%
    Sears Gift Card $100 $100 10000 $0.0100 5.00%
    Best Buy Gift Card $50 $50 6000 $0.0083 4.17%
    The Home Depot® Gift Card $50 $50 6000 $0.0083 4.17%
    Bed Bath and Beyond® Gift Card $50 $50 6000 $0.0083 4.17%
    Mortgage Payment reward $250 $250 31400 $0.0080 3.98%
    Mortgage Payment reward $75 $75 9500 $0.0079 3.95%
    Mortgage Payment reward $50 $50 6400 $0.0078 3.91%
    $250 Statement Credit $250 35000 $0.0071 3.57%
    Citi® Gift Card $100 $100 14000 $0.0071 3.57%
    Citi® Gift Card $50 $50 7000 $0.0071 3.57%
    $175 Statement Credit $175 25000 $0.0070 3.50%
    $100 Statement Credit $100 14500 $0.0069 3.45%
    $50 Statement Credit $50 7500 $0.0067 3.33%
    $50 Cash Reward $50 8000 $0.0063 3.13%
    $100 Cash Reward $100 16000 $0.0063 3.13%

  10. SavingEverything says:

    If you convert an existing credit card to another credit card type, then you will not receive any of the bonuses or promotional offers (those are soley for new applicants to the new card type). I’ve experienced this with at least Chase; where if I convert, I do not receive promotional bonuses or rewards. My QUESTION: If i buy an item that is not shipped from or sold by amazon (but is listed on amazon.com website), how will purchase appear on my credit card and would it count as a bookstore purchase??? [e.g. $51.95 Ships from and sold by Beautiful Perfumes, but I log in at amazon to make purchase] P.S. Thanks Sergei.

  11. Does iTunes count as movies and music for the purposes of the 5x rewards for movies and music? That’s where I get all of my music/movies from these days, unless I got to a theater (rare)

  12. OT. I always pay my AE in full each month. However, I’ve received an offer to enroll in flexible payment. It says enrollment is free and I’ll receive 5000 bonus points for doing so. Has any reader enroll wit this offer? Is there a catch or hiden costs?
    TIA for the info.

  13. Caitlin says:

    AARGH. When did they change the conversion rates for student loans?! I bet they hid it in some fine print on some courtesy checks they sent me or something sly like that. It used to be 5,000=$50, 10,000=$100 on student loan rebates. Jerks.

  14. Wow, thank you, I was just thinking of trawling into the archives looking for this card. Also, please consider giving your readers a heads up to the slickdeals and co. front page deal for the $250 Chase Saphire plus credit card, I just got approved :)

  15. Teri – I have gotten the 5x bonus from amazon marketplace and half.com transactions – amazon or half is still the intermediary and is listed as the seller on my account statements.

    also, I have gotten the 5x bonus at many bars, which are often considered eating establishments or serve food and citi does not notice the difference.

    As Jonathan mentioned in the earlier post, there’s also a nice student loan option TY reward if you make more than your total loan value.

  16. Does netflix give you 5x points as well?

  17. Sebastian says:

    Hi, just wanted to let people out there know that Citi blocks Linux users from accessing their site. They do let us _apply_ for the card, but block access to login and manage the account. Despicable.

    They are such an evil entity that it doesn’t just look at the User Agent string (which can be easily fixed), but they run a flash program to check the OS. Who knows what data/program the flash program does on your machine…

    No wonder they are doing so poorly. They got what they sow.

    BTW, great site. Keep it up.

  18. They also give (or did when I signed up) 100 points each month you pay on time.

  19. Michael says:

    “Hi, just wanted to let people out there know that Citi blocks Linux users from accessing their site. They do let us _apply_ for the card, but block access to login and manage the account. Despicable.

    They are such an evil entity that it doesn’t just look at the User Agent string (which can be easily fixed), but they run a flash program to check the OS. Who knows what data/program the flash program does on your machine…

    No wonder they are doing so poorly. They got what they sow.

    BTW, great site. Keep it up.

    Now they don’t. Firefox on linux doesn’t work very well with it. Opera on linux will work, I also use yodlee moneycenter and the auto login works with the site

  20. I use firefox on citibank’s credit card site with Linux and flashblock. I guess that might be why it works for me with no issue. I have never tried it on Linux without flash block.

  21. great blog thanks for all your great info. good luck

  22. Does anyone know if 5x Rewards are redeemed for purchasing movie tickets off of Fandango.com?

  23. SavingEverything says:

    I know that Citibank has recently lowered its bonus points. They still give 6000 thankyou points after $50 in purchases within 3 months of account opening, plus 100 points each billing period when you pay on time and stay under your credit line; But, only 2500 points when you sign up for paperless statments within 3 months of account opening. But, earn 10 reward points on every dollar at restaurants, fast food, bookstores, record stores, movie theaters, and video rental stores for first 3 months; then it goes to 5 points thereafter…and 1 point for every $1 on other purchases!

  24. BloggerUSer says:

    @SavingEverything It’s weird, I just checked the citi cards website and the offer is still 5,00 thanks you points when you sign for paperless statements…

  25. Does anyone know if you get 5x with AmazonFresh.com? Its the grocery delivery service which Amazon.com offers.

  26. creditconsumer says:

    I was initially under the impression that if you make at least $50 dollars of purchase that are qualified for the 6000 points according to citiforward.com website but on the citicards.com website it says $250 of purchases. Which is it? I was under the impression that its only 50 bucks thats one of the reasons I applied for it.
    Is it possible that I can do a balance transfer from my other mtvU citi credit card and apply those previous purchases to my new citiforward card so that it will reach $250.00 of purchases? Is that a smart idea or mistake?

  27. @creditconsumer – From what I can tell, It used to be $50 for both sites, and was recently changed to $250. It all depends on what the website said when you actually applied. It may be possible to ask Citi which offer you are under.

  28. I see that in The TYN bonus section, Claim jumper gets 2 points/$1 – is this on top of the 5 points/$1 or instead?

  29. I’m sure others have mentioned this, but even the gift cards are a ripoff now. The point conversion is much, much more diluted than other credit cards, so as to cancel out the extra points earned entirely. There are also no longer $100 Sears gift cards, and all the other gift cards offered lose point value, just as cashing in does.

    My Amazon card gives *cash* at the same rate as gift card rewards – 5000 points = $50. This practice is misleading, and the higher point earning rates makes the card seem very good, when it is not. You should probably update this page to include changes in point redemption costs and reward availability (no more $100 gift cards – I called and checked).

  30. Clarification: The Citi Card’s practices are misleading, not the Amazon card’s, which is offered through Chase Bank.

  31. Also, the current cash in rate has gone up even more, 16000 points for $100. This brings it to about 3.1% cash back, on par with many other cards. Not horrible, but perhaps this should be removed from the ‘best cashback cards’ list. Even though it works out to be about as good as other cards, the deceptive practice of seeming to offer great point earnings, but then diluting the point value is somewhat unethical and less honest than other cards.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 5x Rewards on Books = 5% back at Amazon Here’s an interesting question. Who’s the most popular bookstore? Amazon.com. With the Citi mtvU card for college students, the 5% back on books worked on all purchases at Amazon, even if it wasn’t 100% books, since they really have no way of telling. Update: I have verified 5x points at Amazon.com. [...]

  2. [...] your balance on time and don’t exceed your credit limit. See my Citi Forward Card review and Amazon.com & restaurants follow-up for more [...]

  3. [...] or a 3.45% pure cashback return. Really, I’ve done it. See my Citi Forward review and rewards follow-up for more [...]

  4. [...] got paid $50 to sign up for paperless statements when signing up for the Citi Forward Card (see my review), so of course I did it. This month, I barely got my payment in on time, and was only 2 days away [...]

  5. [...] on restaurants, book stores including Amazon.com, video rental stores, and movie theaters. I have confirmed that all Amazon.com purchases count as a bookstore under their categorization [...]

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