Solid balance transfer option, but no rewards: Citi Diamond Preferred Card review
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Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card overview
The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers a solid low introductory APR and no annual fee. However, it isn’t a great long-term credit card because of its lack of rewards opportunities. Card rating*: ⭐⭐⭐
*Card rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
It’s no secret that at TPG, we put an emphasis on rewards credit cards — specifically those that earn travel rewards that can help us get to our favorite destinations (both domestic and abroad). But not everyone researching credit cards is looking to earn rewards. Some are looking to consolidate debt, build credit, finance upcoming large purchases and more — and those are all legitimate reasons to get a credit card.
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While the Citi Diamond Preferred isn’t a rewards credit card, it does still offer value in its intended category. It’s not a card I would suggest using long term, but that doesn’t mean it can’t help you reach your goals in the short term.
Related: The best Citi credit cards of 2021
Who is this card for?
The Citi Diamond Preferred Card has a solid introductory APR offer built to help those looking to avoid interest payments while they finance new purchases or consolidate debt through balance transfers.
With no way to earn rewards and few benefits aside from its intro APR period, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is far from the best choice for a frequent traveler looking to use everyday expenses as a way to save money on future vacations. In fact, this card is less rewarding than some debit cards. If you want to earn cash back or travel rewards, you’ll want to check out our best cards for travel.
1 1/2 years of no interest
Here’s the only draw of the Citi Diamond Preferred: Rather than a traditional sign-up bonus, the card offers a 0% APR introductory offer for both new purchases and balance transfers.
For both balance transfers and purchases, you’ll get 18 months of 0% interest on all transfers completed within the first four months of account opening. After the introductory period ends, your balances will be subject to a 13.74% to 23.74% variable APR based on your creditworthiness.
The card’s 18 months is a great offer for balance transfers and new purchases — one of the best on the market, in fact. Status quo for a 0% APR credit card like this is 12-15 months.
Things to consider when using a 0% APR offer
When a 0% APR credit card is maximized, it can help you pay down debt, improve your credit score and avoid interest on large purchases you need to pay off over time. But here are some things to keep in mind when looking into a 0% APR offer.
A 0% APR offer is only truly effective if you pay off your balances before the introductory period ends. Otherwise, what is left on your credit cards will start accruing interest at the standard variable APR.
For this reason, it’s important for you to go into a 0% APR offer with a plan of how much you’ll put on the card and how you’ll budget to pay off those balances within the intro period to avoid interest.
Balance transfers are subject to a fee
It’s not uncommon on balance transfer credit cards — you’re charged a small percentage of whatever balances you transfer into your new account. The Citi Diamond Preferred charges a 3% fee or $5 of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. You’ll want to factor that cost into your payoff plan.
For example, if you are transferring $3,000 to the Citi Diamond Preferred to utilize the 18 months of 0% APR on balance transfers (after which a variable APR of 13.74% to 23.74% applies), you’ll end up paying a $90 fee. That is still significant savings compared to paying interest on a balance of that size. Based on the current average interest rate of 16.16%, you’d end up paying hundreds more in interest over the course of 18 months if you didn’t use a 0% intro APR offer to consolidate and pay off your balances.
What cards compete with the Citi Diamond Preferred?
There are plenty of cards on the market that offer a solid 0% APR offer, many of which also earn rewards. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a credit card with a longer intro APR period for balance transfers than the Citi Diamond Preferred. However, there are some better options available if you’re looking to use your card to finance new purchases or earn cash-back rewards.
The Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited both offer a 15-month (from account opening) 0% introductory APR period for new purchases (14.99%-23.74% variable APR after), and each also gives you the long-term value of a rewards credit card. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is another option that gives you 15 months of 0% intro APR on purchases (then a 12.99%-23.99% variable APR applies) while also earning valuable Membership Rewards points. However, the card doesn’t offer balance transfers — so if you’re trying to avoid interest on current debt, this isn’t the card for you. The information for the Amex EveryDay card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: Best 0% APR credit cards
If you’re just looking for a credit card with a good introductory APR offer, the Citi Diamond Preferred is a solid choice — one of the best, in fact, with its uncommonly generous 18-month window. While you aren’t earning rewards, it does come with a great balance transfer offer and a standard new purchases intro offer to help you save money on interest. And because this is a no-annual-fee credit card, you’ll be able to keep it long term, even if you don’t swipe it after you are done utilizing its intro offer.
If you’re hoping to use your new credit card for long-term spending, you’ll want to take a look at rewards credit cards that also offer intro offers, such as the Chase Freedom Flex and Chase Freedom Unlimited.
Additional reporting by Joseph Hostetler.
Featured photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy.
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