Simple and rewarding: Citi Double Cash Card review
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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. With up to 2% cash-back earnings on all purchases — 1% when you buy and another 1% as you pay — it’s difficult to beat this no-annual-fee card. Plus, now you have the option to convert your cash-back rewards to ThankYou points. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐½
*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 buy, plus 1% as you pay), with no annual fee. Although the card appeals to many consumers who prefer the simplicity of cash-back rewards and fixed-rate earning, it can also be a solid pick for those who are already maximizing Citi ThankYou points, since you can convert the card’s cash-back rewards to ThankYou points if you also hold either a Citi Prestige® Card or Citi Premier® Card . 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.
This card isn’t the best fit for everyone, though, especially since it doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus and it carries a 3% foreign transaction fee. Still, 2% cash back on every purchase with no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn and no annual fee is a pretty solid value proposition. Let’s take a closer look.
Who is this card for?
If you value cash back, simplicity and no annual fees, then the Citi Double Cash Card is likely the card for you. There’s no need to decide which card to use for each purchase like you would with the Chase trifecta, Amex trifecta or the perfect mix of no annual fee cash-back cards, since you’ll earn 2% cash back for each purchase — 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 ThankYou points via a linked ThankYou account. If you also have the Citi Premier® Card or the Citi Prestige® Card, this unlocks the ability to transfer your points to airline partners and redeem for flights.
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 reading: The best credit cards for everyday spending
The Citi Double Cash Card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, but it does offer an introductory 0% APR for the first 18 months 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 a fee of $5 or 3% of the balance you transfer (whichever is greater). After the introductory APR period, the variable APR is 13.99% – 23.99% 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.
Main benefits and perks
Unfortunately, the Citi Double Cash Card doesn’t offer many standout benefits or perks. However, you will have access to the Citi Concierge, which can be an easy and convenient way to get help with your travel, shopping, dining, entertainment and everyday needs. Plus, you’ll have access to the following perks:
- Contactless payment with your contactless-chip enabled Citi card
- Access to Citi Entertainment, which provides special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events
- Free ShopRunner membership, which provides free two-day shipping and free returns on eligible items when you shop at 140+ online stores
- See your FICO Score
- 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 there’s no limit on the cash back you can earn. Earning is simple: you earn 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay your statement. This means you can effectively earn 2% back.
However, 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.
Related: The best cash-back credit cards
How to redeem
Historically, the Citi Double Cash Card only earned cash-back rewards. You still have the following three options to obtain cash back once your cash rewards balance reaches at least $25:
- Request a check for at least $25, up to the total cash rewards balance at the time you redeem
- Redeem for a statement credit to your Card Account for at least $25, up to the total cash rewards balance at the time you redeem
- Redeem for a credit to your linked Citi savings or checking account or to a checking account from which you have paid a Citi Credit Card bill at least twice
You can now also convert your cash back 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. How you can use your points varies depending on whether you also have a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige Card.
If you have a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige Card associated with the same sign-in as your Citi Double Cash Card, you can combine points converted from Citi Double Cash Card cash rewards with points earned on your Citi Premier or Citi Prestige. Then you can redeem these points as if they were earned by your Citi Premier or Citi Prestige. In particular, you can transfer your points to a variety of airline 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 a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige Card, your Citi ThankYou points will have fewer redemption options. Instead, the only transfer partners you’ll see are JetBlue and Sears — neither of which will provide particularly good value.
Which cards compete with the Citi Double Cash Card?
The Citi Double Cash Card competes with other no-annual-fee, fixed-rate earning cards such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. To see how the Citi Double Cash Card stacks up for a consumer who’s interested in using just one no annual fee fixed-rate earning card for all of his or her spending, check out the table below.
For the purposes of this comparison, I used the 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer spending data for the average consumer. I assumed that the only expenses payable with a credit card are food ($7,923), apparel and services ($1,866), fuel ($2,109), entertainment ($3,226) and personal care products and services ($768). If all these expenses are paid with a credit card, then the average consumer would put $15,892 on his or her credit card annually.
|Citi Double Cash Card||Chase Freedom Unlimited||Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card|
|Sign-up bonus||N/A||$200 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first three months||$200 after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months from account opening|
Year 1 when converted to points and transferred to travel partners
|Year 2 (net)
Year 2 (net) when converted to points and transferred to travel partners
|Year 3 (net)
Year 3 (net) when converted to points and transferred to travel partners
|Year 4 (net)
Year 4 (net) when converted to points and transferred to travel partners
|Year 5 (net)
Year 5 (net) when converted to points and transferred to travel partners
As you can see, the Citi Double Cash Card easily outpaces the Quicksilver Cash Rewards after the first year if you also have the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige and plan to convert your Double Cash Card cash rewards to Citi ThankYou points and then transfer to airline partners. The Citi Double Cash Card also outpaces the Quicksilver Cash Rewards after the second year if you’re just looking for cash-back rewards. However, if you plan to travel internationally with your credit card, the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card may be a better choice, since it has no foreign transaction fees.
The Citi Double Cash Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited are both advertised as cash-back cards, but offer the opportunity to convert your cash-back rewards to transferrable points if you also hold select cards. We’ve already discussed how this works for the Citi Double Cash Card, but if you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit card — the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase 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.
Based on TPG’s latest valuations, this means you’d be getting a 3% return on everyday spending. As you can see in the table, the Citi Double Cash Card outpaces the Chase Freedom Unlimited on cash-back earnings after the second year and on transferrable points earning after the fifth year — though keep in mind that the Chase Freedom Unlimited now comes with additional bonus categories.
The Citi Double Cash Card also competes with some other flat-rate cash back cards that have specific membership requirements. The Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature Card provides 2% on all purchases with no annual fee but requires that cardholders have a specific Fidelity account. Another popular option that’s available to Alliant Credit Union members is the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card, which provides 2.5% on all purchases and waives the $99 annual fee the first year.
If you’re looking for a cash-back credit card with no annual fee and you don’t want 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. In particular, it’s great for those who don’t use their credit card internationally (since there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee).
Alternatively, if you have the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige Card and enjoy maximizing your Citi ThankYou points, it may be worth signing up for the Citi Double Cash Card. You can now convert cash rewards earned by the Citi Double Cash Card to ThankYou points, so the Double Cash card can be a great way to rack up ThankYou points on everyday purchases.
Apply here for the Citi Double Cash Card
Additional reporting by Benét J. Wilson
Featured image by John Gribben/The Points Guy.
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WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, 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.
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