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

Jun 14, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This article is part of a weekly column to answer your credit card questions. If you would like to ask us a question, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at Citi is a TPG advertising partner. 

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.

Want more credit card news and advice delivered to your inbox daily? Sign up for the TPG newsletter.

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?

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

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 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

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

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 photo of Lufthansa First Class by Zach Honig/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
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
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.