Citi Extra Cash offers some deals, some duds

Photo: Wonderdawg777

If you’re a Citibank credit card holder, you might have received a promotional mailing recently announcing that you have been awarded $100 in Citi Extra Cash.

Your first thought might have been, "Great! An extra $100 in cash back and I didn’t even have to do anything to earn it! What a nice surprise!"

Not exactly.

Citi Extra Cash is different from other credit card cash-back rewards. You can’t exchange your rewards for a check, a statement credit or a gift card.

To learn the basics of how the program works, read my Interest.com article, Citi Extra Cash offers some deals, some duds.

Here are some additional details about the program:

You earn 10% in Extra Cash on purchases made with your eligible Citi card, and it can take up to 6-8 weeks for this Extra Cash to appear in your account. It’s unclear what is considered an eligible card, even after reading the terms and conditions. It appears that you may need an invitation or special marketing message from Citi to participate.

You can also put Citi Extra Cash toward the purchase of merchandise. It’s harder to tell if you’re getting a good deal here since different stores often sell the same items at different prices. It’s also difficult to assess the quality of an unbranded item online. The items that are name brands don’t have model numbers, so you can’t search the internet for product ratings.

If you make a purchase you later regret using Citi Extra Cash, you can cancel it the same day with a phone call, or return it within 30 days of the redemption date by first calling a phone number to get a return authorization number. There is a 15% restocking fee for unwanted items. Bedding, pet items, food and partially used gift cards are not returnable. 

The program has a low-price guarantee, but there are a lot of restrictions, such as this one: “Price Guarantee applies only to a price published on a US based website within 24 hours of purchase and does not apply to the net cost of a purchase when a coupon, promo code or rebate is applied in the shopping cart or after the purchase.”

You can also use Extra Cash for travel. I did a test for a 1-week car rental at Chicago Midway, Avis and Budget were the only options. I chose Avis for an economy car over the Christmas holiday. Citi Extra Cash said I could get the car for $352.99, minus $75.62 in extra cash, for a pre-tax total of $277.37 and an after-tax total of $377.59, payable at pickup. The Avis website gave me a grand total of $468.34 for the same car, so the Extra Cash appears to pay off. However, Priceline tells me I could get an economy car for as little as $253, so maybe it’s not such a deal after all unless you’re loyal to a particular rental company.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is pretty much a rip-off, IMHO. It is no better than a coupon book. I am going back to cards that offer a true cash reward, redeemable to pay down your balance.

Anonymous said...

I've been a Citi cardholder since 1990 and I am unimpressed that Citibank is even trying to humor their cardholders with this trash. Unfortunately, this program is NOT worth one bloody point or the effort :(