In the interest of full disclosure, OMAAT earns a referral bonus for anyone approved through some of the links below. These are the best publicly available deals (conditions apply) we’ve found for each product or service. The opinions expressed here are those of the author only, and not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, hotel chain, or product manufacturer/service provider. and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or otherwise supported by any of these entities.
Citi Double Cash Card Basics for February 2021
Citi Double Cash offers incredible flexibility, whether you’re looking to earn cash back or travel rewards. It’s fantastically rewarding as a cashback card, and with a little effort, it can also be an unrivaled travel rewards card.
For me, the Citi Double Cash ushered in a new era of credit cards, where you can earn 2x transferable points on all purchases, with no cap. Not only is this a great card for those looking for a simple credit card strategy, but it’s also a great card for those who put a lot of effort into maximizing their points.
Here’s what you need to know about this card, starting with some basics, followed by what makes this card so great:
No annual fees
Citi Double Cash has no annual fee, which is unbeatable. Many people sacrifice credit card rewards because they don’t want a card with an annual fee, so here you get a valuable card that won’t cost you anything.
The initial annual rate of 0%
Citi Double Cash has an introductory annual rate offer of 0% for 18 months on balance transfers from the date of the first transfer when transfers are made within four months of the account opening date. After that, your APR will be 13.99% to 23.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.
It won’t be for everyone, but I know it’s something some people take advantage of. While some cards offer 12 months 0% APR, 18 months is quite a long time.
As always, in general, I only recommend getting a credit card if you’ll be able to pay your balance in full each month and use it responsibly, otherwise, the rewards won’t outweigh the cost.
The advantages of Mastercard
The Citi Double Cash is a Mastercard, which is worth mentioning because Mastercard has excellent merchant acceptance.
This is also the case with Visa, although this is an area where American Express is still improving. There’s something to be said for getting a Mastercard that will be accepted virtually anywhere.
3% foreign transaction fee
The Citi Double Cash is not a card that you are generally going to want to use for international purchases. The card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so the rewards you earn would not offset the fees you pay. Luckily, there are plenty of other great cards with no foreign transaction fees.
Citi Application Restrictions
Each credit card issuer has different policies for approving new cardmembers. With Citi, the main restriction to be aware of is that you will be approved for a maximum of one card every eight days, and a maximum of two cards every 65 days.
Since Citi Double Cash does not have a sign-up bonus, the 24/48 month restrictions do not apply.
You can switch products for Citi Double Cash
Citi Double Cash does not have a sign-up bonus. While it might be a very good idea to request the card directly (which is exactly what I did), there are potentially other avenues through which you can acquire this card.
Citi is among the most generous issuers for letting people switch products between cards:
- You can downgrade any Citi personal credit card to Citi Double Cash; this even includes co-branded cards
- You can usually only switch products if you’ve had a card for at least 12 months, so you can’t do this with a new card
- You’ll want to call Citi to see all the options available to you
The advantage of switching products rather than making a direct request is that you can maintain your line of credit, and also that it will not count as an additional inquiry on your credit report.
Whether you request the card outright or switch products, you have options.
Earn rewards with Citi Double Cash
This is where the Citi Double Cash gets amazing. When you spend a dollar with Citi Double Cash (and pay the bill), you’re potentially looking to earn two cents in rewards, and those rewards can even transfer into Citi ThankYou points at a ratio of one cent per point.
Earn cashback with Citi Double Cash
Citi Double Cash offers 1% cashback when you make a purchase, and 1% cashback when you pay for that purchase.
After you make a purchase and pay your bill, you’ll earn rewards worth two cents on every dollar spent, which is great. A lot of people earn 1-1.5% cash back on their credit cards, so that’s a lot better.
As far as I’m concerned, earning at least two cents back on every dollar is the gold standard for credit card rewards.
Earn valuable cash back with Citi Double Cash
How to Redeem Citi Double Cash Rewards to Cash
As explained above, Citi Double Cash offers a return of two cents on every dollar you spend (after paying your bill), but how does the actual process of earning cash back work?
The cashback will appear in your Citi account after logging in, and will appear in two columns – the 1% cashback you earn by spending, then the 1% cashback you earn by paying for your purchase.
You’ll need a cashback balance of at least $25 to redeem your Citi Double Cash rewards, which are earned after spending $1,250. You have four redemption options for Citi Double Cash rewards:
- You can redeem your rewards for a gift card from various retailers
- You can redeem your rewards for a statement credit, which will be posted to your account within 2-3 days
- You can redeem your rewards for a direct deposit, which can be to a Citi account, or an account at another bank
- You can redeem for a check, which will be mailed to you within 7-10 days
Personally, I wouldn’t redeem for a gift card (why limit yourself?), but I’d choose direct deposit or check instead, which gives you the most flexibility.
Earn ThankYou points with Citi Double Cash
In addition to being able to redeem Citi Double Cash rewards for cash back, you can also convert Citi Cash rewards into Citi ThankYou points at the rate of 100 ThankYou points for $1 in cash rewards. In other words, 100 cents of cashback converts into 100 ThankYou points.
See this post for everything you need to know about the process of transferring Citi Double Cash rewards to Citi ThankYou.
There are many ways to redeem your Citi ThankYou points. You can redeem them for one cent each for gift cards and other purchases, although it’s not worth it. At this rate, you’re simply better off earning cash back outright than gift cards.
Where it gets really valuable is if you have the Citi Double Cash in conjunction with a card that earns ThankYou points like, the amazing Citi Premier® Card (review). The card has an excellent sign-up bonus, reasonable annual fees and offers 3x points in five different categories.
In some cases, you can do even better than that. Citi frequently has transfer bonuses, so you can potentially take advantage of them while earning 2x the points on this card.
The only card that compares in any way is the Blue Business® Plus credit card from American Express (review), which offers 2x the Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent each calendar year. However :
- You are limited to earning 2x points on the first $50,000 spent each calendar year
- It’s a corporate credit card
Is Citi Double Cash for you?
Citi Double Cash is industry-leading, whether you’re looking to earn cash back or travel rewards. The best part is that you don’t have to decide which one you want – you can earn rewards and then later decide how you want to redeem them.
After spending a dollar on the card and paying the bill, you will have the choice to win:
- Two cents cash back
- Two transferable points, assuming you have the card in conjunction with a card earning ThankYou points, such as the Citi Premier
Earning twice transferable points per dollar spent with no cap is unmatched.
What makes this card even more valuable is the flexibility it gives you in these uncertain times – you can earn cash back, then in the future you can still transfer points to ThankYou Partners, if you wish to travel.
Citi Double Cash Card Alternatives
The Citi Double Cash is as good as it gets, although there are still a few other cards that may be worth considering:
- If you’re looking for flexible travel rewards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) and Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review) are an incredible duo that offers great return on spend and valuable benefits.
- If you want a travel rewards card that offers flexible points, the Capital One Venture Rewards (review) credit card has a $95 annual fee, offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 points (after spending $3,000 in three months), offers 2x Venture miles per dollar spent, has no foreign transaction fees, and more
These are just a few options…
Citi Double Cash Card Summary
The Citi Double Cash is a no-annual-fee card that offers unparalleled flexibility whether you’re looking to earn cash back or travel rewards points. Not only can the card potentially earn up to two cents per dollar spent, but in conjunction with the Citi Premier, you can potentially earn 2x the ThankYou points per dollar spent, which can be transferred to airlines or hotels.
It’s my main card for daily spending, not buffed, and it should be the card that many others use as well