Citi Double Cash Review: 2% on Everything Hard to Beat

the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer is a valuable workhorse among credit cards. With a superior flat rate cash back, it’s ideal for consumers who want hassle-free cash rewards on everything they charge. What it lacks in sizzling, it makes up for in reliability on a daily basis. It’s a Honda Accord in a credit card market that recently got stuck with aspiring Lamborghinis.

Most of what you need to know: The card gives you 2% cash back on every purchase – 1% when you make it and 1% cash back when you pay it back. There is no limit to how much you can earn, and the annual fee is $ 0.

the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer holds well on its own, but it’s also a perfect companion to a bonus grade credit card for those who use two card strategy to maximize cash back.

As good as it is, this offer won’t have everything all credit card buyers are looking for. There’s no signup bonus, for example, and it also doesn’t offer ways to earn more than its base (admittedly high) reward rate. For those who wish to transfer a balance, the terms are decent but not top notch.

Even so, to get maximum rewards with minimum effort (or cost), you would be hard pressed to find a better card.

Citi® Double Cash Card: The Basics

Awards: 2% cash back on purchases, divided into two stages:

  • 1% cash back for every dollar spent.

  • 1% cash back for every dollar paid.

Redemption possibilities: Credit statement, deposit to bank account or check. Minimum redemption amount: $ 25.

Nerdy tip: The Citi Double Cash is a cash back credit card, but it also allows you to convert your rewards into cash into Citi Thank You Points at an effective ratio of 1: 1. ThankYou points redemption options include travel, gift cards, and more. See here for more information.

Interest rate: 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then the ongoing APR of 13.99% to 23.99% Variable APR.

Balance transfer fees: 3% of the amount transferred or $ 5, whichever is greater.

Benefits of the Citi® Double Cash card

High reward rate

The industry standard for cash back rewards was 1%. As the name suggests, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer essentially doubles that rate, paying 1% upfront and 1% after paying the bill. The sooner you pay your balance, the sooner you earn the second half of the rewards. It’s a powerful incentive to pay your entire credit card bill every month, which we recommend you do anyway to avoid interest.

Nerdy tip: When you redeem a cashback for a credit on your statement, you don’t earn the second 1%. This is because you are not actually repaying that amount; it’s just subtracted from your bill. But that’s a minor consideration. Trading a whopping $ 1,000 a year would mean giving up $ 10 in rewards for the convenience of taking the money in the form of statement credit. It’s still very close to a 2% return on expense, assuming you pay your bill in full each month.

Simplicity

Many cash back cards offer bonus categories, some permanent, others that change monthly. They allow you to earn additional rewards in featured expense categories, such as gas stations, restaurants, and home improvement stores. They can be complicated to follow. Some limit the amount of spending that is eligible for bonus rewards, and any spending over that limit earns a mundane cash back of 1%.

With the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer, you can be a lazy optimizer and pull out the same card all the time, without worrying about where you are using the card and whether you have hit the limit for a spending category.

Flexibility

the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer offers the option to earn cash or convert your rewards into Thank You Points.

ThankYou points can be invaluable, especially for travelers, but the ThankYou rewards program is not as straightforward as others and requires a bit of navigation know-how in order to get the best value for money. The cash back earned on the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer converts to thank you points in a 1: 1 ratio. That means you could turn $ 100 in cash rewards into 10,000 Thank You points. Then you can redeem points for travel, gift cards, purchases at eligible retailers, and other options.

Depending on your credit card strategy and travel goals, this conversion flexibility can potentially increase the value of your rewards.

Disadvantages to consider

The disadvantages of Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer These aren’t much of a deal breaker in light of the high reward rate, but they’re still worth mentioning.

No bonus. There is no sign up bonus for this offer, but cash back card bonuses are usually not high anyway, usually $ 150 or less.

No disproportionate rewards. Double the money on all purchases is great, but it doesn’t come close to the 5% cashback you can get on some expenses if you’re willing to invest more effort using quarterly grade cards.

Foreign transaction fees. Its 3% fee for foreign transactions means it’s a bad choice of card to use abroad. Many cards do not have such fees.

Balance transfer fee. The long interest-free period on balance transfers is competitive, and a 3% balance transfer fee with a minimum of $ 5 is typical. But the fees always hurt. This equates to a fee of $ 300 out of the $ 10,000 transferred.

Minimum redemption. You must have at least $ 25 in rewards before you can redeem them, which equals $ 1,250 in purchases. Multiple cards allow you to redeem rewards of any amount at any time.

Expiration of the award. Citi says cash rewards balances “expire” if you don’t earn cash back on your purchases or payments for 12 months. If you stop using the card, be sure to redeem the qualifying rewards first – or make a minor purchase with the card at least once a year to reset the clock when it expires.

Citi® Double Cash Card against the competition

The toughest competitors are cards that offer huge cash back for specific spending categories, depending on where you use them.

Rotating categories. Some cards offer 5% cashback on bonus categories that change quarterly. In the past, categories included gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, department stores, and home improvement stores. Good examples are the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Discover it® Cash Back. Both offer 5% off the categories you activate, up to $ 1,500 in spend per quarter (equivalent to $ 75 in cash back), and 1% on all other expenses.

Permanent categories. Other cash back cards have bonus categories that don’t change. the American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Card is a good example. The card offers 3% cash back in US supermarkets on spending up to $ 6,000 per year (then 1%); 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores; and 1% cash back everywhere else. Conditions apply (To consult the rates and costs of the American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Card, see this page.). It has an annual membership fee of $ 0.

Nerdy tip: For optimizers, the decision is not one or the other, but both. Increase cash rewards by using a bonus categories card to earn higher income on certain purchases, and use the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer for everything else. This reaps a higher yield with a little more effort.

Other flat rate cards. Some credit union cards may have flat rate cash back programs that meet or exceed the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer, but you must be eligible to be a member of the credit union.

the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer beats the more typical flat rate of 1.5% cash back offered by several cards. However, some of these cards offer great cash bonuses that the Citi card does not. the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, for example, makes this offer: Earn $ 200 bonus after spending $ 500 on purchases in the first 3 months after opening the account.

Need more information to help you compare your cash back credit card options? Our best credit cards page can help you.

Is it good for you?

If you want a hassle-free, fixed rate rewards card, it’s hard to beat the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer because its rewards apply to all expenses and have no limit. The returns can be even better if you use it in conjunction with a bonus categories card.


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About Mary Moser

Mary Moser

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