Simple and rewarding: Citi Double Cash Card review

Aug 17, 2021

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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current information. Citi is a TPG advertising partner.


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 make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off — 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 with another card. 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 make a purchase, plus 1% as you pay that purchase off) 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 (no longer available to new applicants) 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.

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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.

(Photo by Josh Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Josh Gribben/The Points Guy)

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: 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 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.

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. 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.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

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 with three options to obtain cash back once your cash rewards balance reaches at least $25:

Now, however, you can 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.

(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 15+ airline transfer partners — including American Airlines until Nov. 13, 2021. 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.

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.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

Another option worth comparing is the Chase Freedom Unlimited, offering 5% back on travel booked through Chase Travel, 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 transferrable 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 by 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 Stella Shon and Benét J. Wilson. 

Featured image by John Gribben for The Points Guy.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.