Even more rewarding starting in March: A review of the Citi Double Cash card

Jan 19, 2022

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Citi® Double Cash Card overview

The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the simplest and most rewarding cash-back rewards cards. Starting in late March, cash back is automatically earned in the form of ThankYou points. With up to 2% cash-back earnings on all purchases — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off — it’s difficult to beat this no-annual-fee card. Plus, you have the option to convert your rewards to fully-transferable ThankYou points with another card. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

The Citi Double Cash Card is one of the best cash-back cards because it earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you make a purchase, plus 1% as you pay that purchase off) with no annual fee.

Even better, cash back will automatically be earned in the form of ThankYou points starting March 28, 2022. This will allow for easier usage of your hard-earned rewards. However, know that the ThankYou points earned on the Double Cash do not offer the ability to transfer to all of Citi’s 18 airline and hotel transfer partners.

Starting in late March, Citi Double Cash cardmembers will have the ability to more seamlessly transfer their ThankYou points to JetBlue, Choice Privileges and Wyndham Rewards with one fewer step. In addition, you’ll get options to use points for Shop with Points, gift cards, travel and charitable donations.

But to access fully transferable ThankYou points with all of the hotel and airline partners, you’ll have to pair the card with the Citi Prestige® Card (no longer available to new applicants) or Citi Premier® Card.

Let’s take a closer look at the Citi Double Cash.

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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In This Post

Who is this card for?

If you value cash back, simplicity and no annual fee, then the Citi Double Cash Card is likely the card for you. There’s no need to fumble through which card to use for every type of purchase, since you’ll earn 2% cash back on everything — 1% when you purchase and 1% when you pay your bill.

Although you can use the Citi Double Cash Card as a cash-back card, you can also convert your cash back to fully transferable ThankYou points with the Citi Premier Card or the Citi Prestige Card. This unlocks the ability to transfer your points to the full array of 18 airline and hotel partners.

If you’re looking for a card to use for purchases outside the U.S., however, this won’t be the card for you, since it carries a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Related: The best credit cards for everyday spending

Sign-up bonus

The Citi Double Cash Card doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus, but it does offer an introductory 0% APR for the first 18 months from account opening for balance transfers. Balance transfers must be completed within the first four months of account opening to take advantage of the introductory 0% APR, and you’ll need to pay an introductory balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first four months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5). After the introductory APR period, the variable APR is 14.74%-24.74% based on your creditworthiness.

Note that you won’t earn cash back on balance transfers. If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.

Related: The top no-annual-fee credit cards with a 0% intro APR

Main benefits and perks

Unfortunately, the Citi Double Cash Card doesn’t offer many other standout benefits or perks. Here’s what you’ll get:

  • Contactless payment with your contactless-chip enabled Citi card.
  • Access to Citi Entertainment, which provides special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events.
  • ID theft protection that helps eliminate the worry of identity theft by monitoring and alerting cardholders if suspicious activity is found.
  • The free services of Citi Identity Theft Solutions if your personal information has been stolen to commit fraud or theft.

How to earn

The Citi Double Cash Card is popular with many cardholders because its earning rate is consistent. There are no category bonuses and no limit on the cash back you can earn.

Starting March 28, 2022, cardmembers will continue to earn 1% cash back when they buy and 1% when they pay for their purchases; however, cash back will be automatically earned in the form of ThankYou points (with limited transferability).

Your card account must be current to earn rewards. This means you must pay at least the minimum payment due by the first day of each billing period — although it’s best practice to always pay your statement in full, if possible. Also, your cash rewards balance will expire if you have not earned any cash back on purchases or cash back on payments for 12 months. Note, that starting on March 28, rewards won’t expire as long as the account is open.

Related: The best cash-back credit cards

How to redeem

Historically, the Citi Double Cash Card only earned cash-back rewards with three options to obtain cash back once your cash rewards balance reaches at least $25:

But starting March 28, 2022, cardmembers don’t need to have the $25 minimum to redeem — and by earning ThankYou points automatically, you can more easily redeem for a variety of other options, including gift cards, transferring points to Wyndham, Choice or JetBlue and more.

Converting your rewards

Before March 28, you will have convert your rewards to ThankYou points via a linked ThankYou account, as long as your cash rewards balance is at least $1. Through this conversion, $1 of cash rewards becomes 100 Citi ThankYou points. However, starting March 28, this step won’t be necessary as you’ll automatically earn rewards in the form of ThankYou points.

(Screenshot courtesy of Citi)

Then, you can combine and redeem these points as if they were earned by your Citi Premier or Citi Prestige. In particular, you can transfer your points to Citi’s airline and hotel transfer partners. Based on TPG’s valuation of Citi ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, this means you can earn an effective 3.4% return when you buy and pay with your Citi Double Cash Card.

If you don’t combine your points with a ThankYou Rewards account associated with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, your Citi ThankYou points will have fewer redemption options.

(Screenshot courtesy of Citi)

Related: Redeeming Citi ThankYou Points for maximum value

Which cards compete with the Citi Double Cash Card?

The Citi Double Cash Card competes with other no-annual-fee, fixed-rate cards such as the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. Although the latter earns at a lower 1.5% cash-back rate, the Quicksilver comes with a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. You can also now convert the cash back you earn with it into Capital One miles if you hold a credit card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and then transfer them to that program’s airline and hotel partners. The two cards stack up in interesting ways, especially after the first year.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

For the purposes of this comparison, I used the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer spending data for the average consumer. I assumed that the only expenses payable with a credit card are food ($8,169), apparel and services ($1,883), fuel ($2,094), entertainment ($3,050) and personal care products and services ($786). If all these expenses are paid with a credit card, then the average consumer would put $15,982 on his or her credit card annually.

Citi Double Cash Card Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Sign-up bonus N/A $200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening
Annual fee $0 $0
Earning rate 2% on all purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay) 1.5% on all purchases
Year 1

Year 1 when converted to points and transferred to travel partners

$320

$543

$440 (including the sign-up bonus)

$748

Year 2 (net)

Year 2 (net) when converted to points and transferred to travel partners

$320 ($640)

$543 ($1,086)

$240 ($680)

$408 ($1,156)

Year 3 (net)

Year 3 (net) when converted to points and transferred to travel partners

$320 ($960)

$543 ($1,629)

$240 ($920)

$408 ($1,564)

Year 4 (net)

Year 4 (net) when converted to points and transferred to travel partners

$320 ($1,280)

$543 ($2,173)

$240 ($1,160)

$408 ($1,972)

Year 5 (net)

Year 5 (net) when converted to points and transferred to travel partners

$320 ($1,600)

$543 ($2,716)

$240 ($1,400)

$408 ($2,380)

As you can see, the Citi Double Cash Card outpaces the Quicksilver Cash Rewards by the third year, and the gap continues to widen after that. However, if you plan to travel internationally with your credit card, the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card may be the better choice, since it has no foreign transaction fees.

Another option worth comparing is the Chase Freedom Unlimited, offering 5% back on travel booked through the Chase travel portal, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5% on everything else. The Freedom Unlimited also offers the opportunity to convert your cash-back rewards to transferable points if you also hold select cards.

If you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card — the Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Sapphire Preferred Card or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card — then you can effectively earn 1.5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent when using the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Related: The power of the Chase Trifecta: Sapphire Reserve, Ink Preferred and Freedom Unlimited

Based on TPG’s latest valuations, this means you’d be getting a 3% return on everyday spending with the Freedom Unlimited. You may want to consider the Freedom Unlimited instead thanks to its more robust earning rates on bonus categories, though you’d have to keep track of your spending.

Related: Best no-annual-fee cash-back credit cards

Bottom line

If you’re looking for a cash-back credit card where you don’t have to worry about category bonuses and figuring out the best credit card to use for each purchase, the Citi Double Cash Card may very well be the right card for you.

Getting this card is also a great way to round out your Citi Quadfecta if you have the Citi Premier Card or Citi Prestige Card to maximize your Citi ThankYou points.

Apply here for the Citi Double Cash Card.

Additional reporting by Chris Dong, Stella Shon and Benét J. Wilson. 

Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.