If you haven’t heard, Citi is introducing a new card in the Thank You Rewards portfolio. It doesn’t earn transferrable points on its own, but you can combine points with Citi’s premium cards. You know the drill. It’s not an especially compelling card, except that it rounds every transaction up to the nearest 10 rewards points. Spend $10, get 10 points. Spend $1, get 10 points. Spend $0.01, presumably, get 10 points. Has there ever been a card more ripe for gaming than this one? Right off the bat, I figured you could immediately start earning 20 points per dollar on Amazon via $.50 gift card reloads. And then, of course, there’s the whole issue of automating one cent transactions thousands of times in order to earn millions of points.
Sure, it is very likely that Citi will shut you down for this behavior, but there’s a line, and it’s pretty much a guarantee that churners are going to figure out where that line is. I remember when the US Bank Altitude card came out, people were excited to game the shit out of the 3x Apple Pay bonus category, but US Bank was fairly aggressive about shutting people down who did that. I’m more willing to poke the Citi bear since my overall churning strategy doesn’t really involve them too much. I’d never mess around with anything like this on a Chase or Amex card, but I don’t have the same fearful respect for Citi that I do for the other two.
Recently One Mile at a Time addressed the issue of whether or not people could or should game this card, and his advice was basically that you shouldn’t try, either because you’ll get shut down or you’ll ruin it for everyone else and Citi will nerf the card. That’s sound advice, really, but again, Citi simply can’t release a card like this and just expect people to treat it with dignity and respect, regardless of the pleas for civility from their affiliates.
OMAAT also made a couple other points I need to quibble with… the first is that “Citi isn’t dumb.” “Dumb” may be the wrong term, but anyone who got fifteen American Airlines cards in a year and pocketed the bonus on each one will probably beg to differ with the conclusion that Citi is too smart to be gamed. The second point is that no merchant would ever let you run multiple one cent transactions through them, since they’d lose money on each one. I guess we’ll just have to see if that ends up being true or not.
ON A COMPLETELY UNRELATED NOTE, I’m happy to announce the launch of the Windbag Miles Official Store! There’s only one product for sale so far.
Maybe it was a bad decision to launch the store for real and then connect it to my PayPal account and everything, but let’s be honest, I’ll probably take it offline before the card launches. Or will I? You’ll just have to check back on January 10th. Who’s in for some Windbag Miles Diamond Centurion Reward Points?
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