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TPG reader question: It is more lucrative to convert Citi Double Cash rewards to ThankYou points?

June 14, 2021
4 min read
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A cash-back credit card is sometimes not just a cash-back credit card.

In some cases, pairing a no-annual-fee cash-back card with a more premium, annual-fee card can unlock the ability to do even more with your rewards.

Take the Citi® Double Cash Card, for instance. On paper, the card earns a solid 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% at the time of purchase and another 1% when you pay your balance. But that only partially tells the story of this card.

In this week's TPG reader credit card question, Stanley Martin Jr. asks how rewards earned on the Citi Double Cash can be worth even more by converting them into full-fledged ThankYou points.

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[pullquote]I earn cash-back rewards on the Citi Double Cash. How can transfering this into ThankYou points be more valuable and get me a 3.4% return? Wouldn't it be better just to use my cash back as a statement credit?[/pullquote]

First, let's walk through the various ways you can redeem your cash-back rewards with Citi.

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Some popular cash-back options include redeeming rewards as a statement credit towards your next bill or towards travel on the Citi ThankYou Travel Portal.

However, you can also convert your cash back to ThankYou points via a linked ThankYou account. Through this conversion, $1 of cash rewards becomes 100 Citi ThankYou points.

How ThankYou points can be better than cash back

You can transfer to Singapore Airlines using ThankYou points as long as you have a Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

So what's the big deal with using ThankYou points?

Well, if you only had the Citi Double Cash card, then it's not really that lucrative. Besides statement credits and gift cards, points can only be used to transfer to a limited array of partners such as JetBlue (at a paltry ratio of 1000 ThankYou points to 800 JetBlue TrueBlue points).

But here's the kicker.

If you also have a Citi Prestige® Card and/or Citi Premier® Card alongside your Double Cash card, you can unlock the ability to transfer ThankYou points to any of the 16 airline transfer partners.

And transferring points to a partner can unlock amazing redemptions in premium cabins, such as with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club or Etihad Guest, among many more.

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.

Related: What credit score do you need to get the Citi Double Cash Card?

Doing the math

Here's how this whole process works.

  • First, you earn your 2% cash back with the Citi Double Cash.
  • Next, you transfer your Double Cash rewards into ThankYou points.
  • Then, you combine your ThankYou points with either the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige.

TPG values ThankYou points at 1.7 cents apiece. And if you have a Citi Premier or Citi Prestige, you'd effectively earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar spent on the Double Cash (if converted).

That's how we come up with an effective 3.4% return when you buy and pay with your Citi Double Cash Card.

Bottom line

It's not always better to transfer your rewards to airline partners. Sometimes, cold-hard cash rewards or a statement credit is preferred. But by at least converting your Double Cash rewards to ThankYou points, you open the door to an array of other redemption options.

Those options can help you truly maximize your ThankYou points -- and by pairing your Double Cash card with another Citi card, this becomes possible.

Featured image by Lufthansa First Class (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.