Citi Double Cash Card Review: Earn 2x Points Everywhere

Filed Under: Citi, Credit Card Reviews
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In this post I wanted to take a look at what has more or less overnight become the single most lucrative personal credit card out there.

Citi Double Cash Card Basics

The Citi® Double Cash Card has just gone from being one of the best cash back credit cards, to being one of the all around most lucrative credit cards. So in this post I wanted to provide an updated review of this incredible card.

As far as I’m concerned, this card has just ushered in a new era of credit cards, where you can earn 2x transferable points on all purchases with no caps. So not only is this a great card for those looking for a simple credit card strategy, but it’s also a great card for those who go great lengths to maximize their points.

Here’s what you need to know about this card, starting with some basics, followed by what makes this card so awesome:

No Annual Fee

The Citi Double Cash has no annual fee, which you can’t beat. A lot of people sacrifice credit card rewards because they don’t want a card with an annual fee, so here you’re getting a valuable card that won’t cost you anything.

0% Intro APR

The Citi Double Cash has an offer for 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers. After that, the variable APR will be 15.74% – 25.74%, based on your creditworthiness.

This won’t be for everyone, but I know that this is something that some people take advantage of. While some cards offer 12 months 0% APR, 18 months is quite a long time.

As always, in general, I only recommend getting a credit card if you’ll be able to pay off your balance in full every month and use it responsibly, or else the rewards won’t outweigh the cost.

Mastercard Benefits

The Citi Double Cash is a Mastercard, which is worth mentioning because Mastercard has excellent acceptance with merchants.

The same is true of Visa, though this is an area where American Express is still improving. So there is something to be said for getting a Mastercard that will be accepted virtually everywhere.

Foreign Transaction Fees

This isn’t a card you’re generally going to want to use for international purchases. The card has 3% foreign transaction fees, so the rewards you earn wouldn’t compensate for the fees you’re paying. Fortunately there are lots of other great cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Citi Application Restrictions

Every credit card issuer has different policies for approving new cardmembers. With Citi, the main restriction to be aware of is that you’ll be approved for at most one card every eight days, and at most two cards every 65 days.

You Can Product Change To The Citi Double Cash

The Citi Double Cash doesn’t have a sign-up bonus. So while it can make a lot of sense to apply for the card directly, there are potentially some other pathways by which you can acquire this card.

Citi is among the most generous issuers in letting people product change between cards:

  • You can downgrade any personal Citi credit card to the Citi Double Cash; this even includes co-branded cards
  • You can generally only product change if you’ve had a card for at least 12 months, so you can’t do this with a new card
  • You’ll want to call Citi to see all the options available to you

The benefit of product-changing rather than applying new is that you can maintain your credit line, and also that it won’t count as a further inquiry on your credit report.

Whether you apply for the card outright or product change to it, you have options.

Citi Double Cash Rewards: Earn Up To 2% or 2x Points

This is where the Citi Double Cash gets truly incredible, especially with the changes that were made to the card recently. When you spend a dollar on the card (and pay the bill) you’re potentially looking at earning two cents of rewards, and those rewards can even be transferred to Citi ThankYou points at a ratio of one cent per point.

Earning Cash Back With The Citi Double Cash

The Citi Double Cash offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase.

So after paying for your purchase, you’ll earn rewards worth two cents back on every dollar spent, which is great. A lot of people earn 1-1.5% cash back on their credit cards, so this is much better.

As far as I’m concerned, earning at least two cents back on every dollar is the golden standard for credit card rewards.

Earn valuable cash back with the Citi Double Cash

How To Redeem Citi Double Cash Rewards As Cash

As explained above, the Citi Double Cash offers a return of two cents on the dollar for your spending (after paying your bill), but how does the actual process of earning cash back work?

The cash back will show in your Citi account after logging in, and will appear in two columns — the 1% cash back you earn from spending, and then the 1% cash back you earn from paying for your purchase.

You’ll need a minimum of a $25 cash back balance to redeem your Citi Double Cash rewards, which is earned after $1,250 of spending. You have four redemption options for Citi Double Cash rewards:

  • You can redeem for a gift card from a variety of retailers
  • You can redeem for a statement credit, which will post to your account within 2-3 days
  • You can redeem for a direct deposit, which can be to a Citi account, or an account with another bank
  • You can redeem for a check, which will be mailed to you within 7-10 days

Personally, I wouldn’t redeem for a gift card (why limit yourself?), but either a direct deposit or check seems like the ideal way to redeem Citi Double Cash rewards.

New: Transfer Citi Double Cash Rewards To Citi ThankYou

Citi has just added the functionality where Citi Cash Rewards can be converted into Citi ThankYou points at the rate of 100 ThankYou points per $1 of Cash Rewards. In other words, 100 cents cashback converts into 100 ThankYou points.

 

There are lots of ways you can redeem your Citi ThankYou points. You can redeem them for one cent each towards gift cards and other purchases, though that isn’t worth it. At that rate you’re just better off earning cash back outright rather than gift cards.

Where this gets really valuable is if you have the Citi Double Cash in conjunction with either the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige. If that’s the case then you can also transfer these points to Citi’s airline transfer partners, including Etihad Guest, Singapore KrisFlyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and more. This is a fantastic way to redeem for international first & business class experiences.

Redeem Citi Double Cash rewards for travel in Singapore’s new A380 Suites

Points potentially transfer at the following rates to the following programs:

Citi ThankYou Transfer PartnerTransfer Ratio
Aeroméxico Club Premier1000 : 1000
Air France KLM Flying Blue1000 : 1000
Avianca LifeMiles1000 : 1000
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1000 : 1000
Etihad Guest1000 : 1000
EVA Air Infinity MileageLands1000 : 1000
Jet Airways JetPrivilege1000 : 1000
JetBlue TrueBlue1000 : 1000
Malaysia Airlines Enrich1000 : 1000
Qantas Frequent Flyer1000 : 1000
Qatar Privilege Club1000 : 1000
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1000 : 1000
Thai Royal Orchid Plus1000 : 1000
Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles1000 : 1000
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1000 : 1000

This is the first credit card out there to offer an unbonused return of 2x transferable points per dollar spent. I value ThankYou points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s like a return of 3.4% on spending.

In some cases you can do even better than that. Citi frequently has transfer bonuses, so you can potentially take advantage of those while earning 2x points on this card.

The only card that compares in any way is The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, which offers 2x Membership Rewards points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year. However:

  • You’re limited to earning 2x points on the first $50,000 spent every calendar year, and
  • This is a business credit card

Is The Citi Double Cash Right For You?

The Citi Double Cash has long been lucrative. However, historically I’ve thought this card was ideal for those looking to earn simple cash back rewards, rather than true points hobbyists. That’s no longer the case.

After you spend a dollar on the card and pay the bill you’ll have your choice of earning:

  • Two cents cash back
  • Two transferable points, assuming you have the card in conjunction with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige

Earning 2x transferable points per dollar spent with no caps on earnings is unrivaled.

Citi Double Cash Card Alternatives

The Citi Double Cash is now industry leading when it comes to the return it offers on transferable points, though there are still some other cards that may be worth considering:

Those are just a few options, but I wanted to provide a good selection of options.

Citi Double Cash Card Summary

The Citi Double Cash has gone from a great cash back credit card, to an unrivaled card for those who are into miles & points. Not only can the card potentially earn up to two cents back per dollar spent, but in conjunction with the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige you can potentially earn 2x ThankYou points per dollar spent, which can be transferred to airlines or hotels.

This card is now a must-have, and I plan on picking up the card soon myself. This card is also a no brainer for paying your taxes with, for example, since you can do so for a fee of 1.87% (which is like acquiring ThankYou points for under a penny each).

If you want to learn more about the Citi Double Cash Card or apply, follow this link.

Apply Now

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Comments
  1. I have put considerable annual spend on this card since the earliest days of its inception and recommended it enthusiastically to many. Scripted and hard to understand overseas customer support and cancellation of all secondary benefits on 22 September 2019 will result in a closed account in the coming months. Spending has been switched to a more attractive local credit union rewards card. This is unfortunate since the Citi Double Cash card was one of the best if not the best no annual fee credit cards on the market. After 22 September 2019, the only Citi card worth using is the Costco card for which secondary benefits were reduced but not eliminated. Sad.

  2. I’d add that since it is a World Mastercard, if you put your cell phone bill on it then you will be covered by the new MC cell phone insurance. That’s not bad for a card that also gives you 2% back!

  3. PayPal Mastercard offers 2% cashback with every purchase (not 1% purchase and 1% paydown) and offers zero foreign transaction fee. That, combined with the reduction of Citi benefits, makes that card a better option. That said I would rather spend on travel rewards cards or something like the CFU.

  4. Can anyone confirm @HADLEY V. BAXENDALE’s comment that the Citi Double Cash has cell phone protection? I checked the internets and did not see this feature. I will take that card out of the sock drawer today and transfer my cell phone bill to it, if true. Thanks.

  5. Available starting July 1

    Cellphone insurance: World cardholders will get cellphone protection worth up to $600 per claim, while World Elite cardholders will get protection worth up to $800 per claim, to cover theft, damage and even screen scratches. For both cards, losses are covered up to $1,000 per year. To receive this benefit, you’ll have to pay your cellphone bill with the Mastercard World or World Elite card to get this perk.

  6. Meg,

    Did you get that information from the Citibank Double Cash website? Mastercard’s website indicates that added coverage information is specific to the issuer. Cell phone protection was not evident on the Citibank Double Cash website.

    JimT

  7. Just curious- why do you recommend redeeming via direct deposit? Wouldn’t a statement credit be just as easy if not easier?

  8. Fidelity 2% VISA – Pro, supports Apple Pay. Cons- 1% international fee, requires Fidelity account.

    PayPal 2% MasterCard – Pro, no international fee. Con, doesn’t support Apple Pay.

  9. Jim T –

    You bring up a good sleuthing point, however, your restatement of the coverage is not complete.

    The MasterCard website states the following with respect to the cell phone insurance coverage:

    “Disclosure

    Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions and exclusions of the Policies applicable to your Card, as specified by the underwriter, and is subject to change with notice.

    This site does not supplement or replace the Policy and/or Program Terms.

    Submission of a claim does not guarantee coverage or coverage availability.”

    https://www.mycardbenefits.com/Home/AboutCellPhoneProtection?cd=en&prog=cel

    Now, under the Citi Double Cash Damage and Theft protection or Extended Warranty section, excluded items relate to transportation related items and other such things, not cell phones.

    Therefore, the coverage exclusions of the Citi Double Cash Card are not in conflict with the MasterCard cell phone insurance coverage.

    I also asked a Citi rep online about this and she responded in the affirmative — although reps are notorious with respect to the answers they supply.

    I encourage others to query their reps about this matter to ascertain — hopefully — a definitive answer.

  10. Hadley V. Baxendale,

    I concede your point about the limitations of my coverage restatement and understand the interpretation of the coverage statements as you have stated. I also completely concur with your statement stating the need for a definitive answer.

    Nevertheless, all of these protections are cancelled effective 22 September 2019 per Citibank. The extra 1/2% that the Citi Double Cash card offers is not worth this level of angst given a plethora of strong 1.5% no annual fee cash back cards currently on the market. It is worth the 1/2% loss to me to avoid Citi credit card gyrations with scripted and hard to understand overseas customer service with the exception of the Citibank Costco card. Seriously, why carry a World Elite Citibank Double Cash card after 22 September 2019? Much of my business is going to a plain old Platinum Mastercard that pays 1.5 to 3.0 percent uncapped on all spend with no annual fee and few extra insurance benefits – most have been eliminated. Have a nice day and thank you for the response.

  11. I called Citi and talked to two people who didn’t know of any cell phone coverage other than the extended warranty. They thought maybe Mastercard would know and transferred my call to them. Mastercard transferred me back to Citi before I could even finish explaining what my question was. I doubt there is such coverage. Bummer. Just bought 2 new phones and don’t have any of the other cards with known phone coverage benefits.

  12. Given the discrepancy of responses, I re-checked with Citi via Chat and received the disconcerting news that contrary to earlier assurances, the Citi Double Cash is not a World Elite MC – Full Stop — End of discussion.

    No coverage, then.

    Sorry guys and gals.

    Will have to change my auto payment yet again!

  13. @Stu, I was under the understanding that a statement credit wouldn’t get you the 1% return from payments.

  14. “In other words, 100 cents cashback converts into 100 ThankYou points.”

    So if I do $100 worth of credit card spend I’ll earn 10,000 ThankYou points?? I must be missing something.

  15. @ citinoob — No, that’s based on the rewards. $1 of cash back would be earned based on $50 of spending. So in order to earn $100 of rewards you’d need to spend $5,000, and that would get you 10,000 ThankYou points.

  16. @Lucky – while I agree with all your points (no pun intended) about this card’s value, you leave out one key drawback for those using the portfolio strategy.

    As others have pointed out, the entire Citi Thank You portfolio is not as competitive as Chase UR cards’ or AmEx’s.

    Thus, for those who use the “portfolio strategy”, even if the Citi Double Cash has the best return for everyday spend, it’s not really worth racking up a few thousand points a year on it unless you’re going “all in” on Citi. Otherwise, you’re just accruing a few extra thousand points a year in an effectively stranded account

  17. The no annual fee is nice and maybe for some people this could be useful. I’d be curious as to how much people spend in various categories on credit cards. For example there are plenty of cards giving 3X+ points on dining and travel. For groceries you can get 6% cash back, for gas you can do 3x+ and business cards can give you 3-5X on various spending categories.

    So what is left that is needed for this card? Does the average person spend another $5-10K on things that they are only getting 1X now and this would give them an extra 5-10K points? And that saves you an extra $50-100?

    I know some people have businesses that can churn through money and make a number of these cards worth it but many others seem to be reaching for $100 and it really seems like a lot of extra effort for minimum rewards. And maybe some are big time earners/spenders but for most, many of these cards are hard to justify.

  18. At first I was excited about this, but in my situation I never use any of Citi’s partners. Not flying international any time soon and don’t see a way to book domestic too easily with this. Maybe Virgin or other partner airlines, but I will probably just stick with my everywhere spend going on new card offers with sign up bonuses…

  19. I was thinking about downgrading the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Card, especially since they got rid of the up to 10k AA miles refund on award travel per year. Product changing to this no annual fee 2x return on spend card seems like a good option.

  20. I recently discovered (and was disappointed) that there are two different CitiThankyou Rewards: 1 Reward earned with credit card bonus’ and credit card spending. 2. Reward earned through a banking bonus. The banking bonus cannot be used to transfer to partner airlines.

    The deceptive aspect of CitiBanks practice is that when you log into your account both types of reward are merged into one account and are indistinguishable from one another until you actually attempt to transfer points to an airline partner. At that point you only get to transfer the credit card rewards.

    My question is ignored i want to use the banking rewards to make a travel purchase how do I make sure Citibank doesn’t use my credit card points instead?

  21. You can book domestic flights on United with Singapore, Delta with Virgin Atlantic, AA or Alaska with BA. You will be limited to saver space though

  22. Hmmmm…

    I am one of the many that runs this setup:

    Amex Gold + Schwab Amex Platinum+
    Chase Freedom Unlimited + Chase Sapphire Reserve

    Could a Citi Premier + Citi Double Cash (total fee of $95) replace the Chase combo? Given I put most dining and airfare on Amex, the Chase cards are really for travel – and I get 3x back on the Citi Premier for travel.

    The question is whether Citi’s redemption options are better than Chase’s. For me, it seems like a wash, but I need to look further. The Chase cards come with more perks as well.

  23. Brendan – good point on domestic carriers. I should have noted United hubs aren’t anywhere close to me so routing is challenged unless going cross county, JetBlue same issue, and I didn’t think BA was a Citi transfer partner, but could definitely use Virgin/Delta so I’ll have to check that out!

  24. “You can downgrade any personal Citi credit card to the Citi Double Cash; this even includes co-branded cards”
    I called to change my Thank you preferred to the double cash and they said I can’t. The card has been opened for years… HUCA?

  25. PayPal 2% MasterCard – Pro, no international fee. Con, doesn’t support Apple Pay.

    @Reaper. Doesn’t PP convert foreign into USD at their own horrible rate (vs Banks at the interbank rate)?

    Apple card gives 2% on everything bought through ApplePay. No fees of any kind.

  26. “This card is now a must-have” Umm no its not. People really need to do the math here and not just assume that it is a must have card. First off the amex business blue plus is a no AF card that doesn’t require other AF cards to transfer points. If you have a business and your non-cat spend is 50k or less per year then the amex is far superior to the citi double cash. Not even close. Yes amex has some acceptance issues but I find that issue to be fairly rare. To make the citi DC even a potential “must-have” in the points game you need to be able to transfer those points to travel partners. To make these transfers you have to pay for an AF citi card. I find chase and amex travel partners to be superior to citi, but setting that aside the real question is how much money are you losing on the AF of a citi card? Citi has absolutely gutted the benefits of these premium cards. Amex and Chase premium cards are superior in terms of benefits. I just don’t see how beyond the first year a citi premium card is worth the AF considering all the better cards out there. Even people without a business can get a freedom unlimited and earn 1.5 points on $ if they have a premium chase card, so we really are talking about a .5 point difference here. Maybe for someone with massive amounts of unbonused spend that don’t need the credit card protections offered by other lenders and who really values citi ty points above other point currencies. Seems like a limited group of people. Not sure why the blogs are going wild about this.

  27. @Alex I don’t know maybe things have changed. I know when I got my bank account signup bonus I was able to use it to transfer to travel partners and the bank automatically used the bank account points before the credit card points. This was a few years ago so maybe they changed all the rules since then.

  28. For those looking for cash back, there’s also the Alliant CU Visa at 3% first year then 2.5%. AF is $79 now I believe.

  29. I think this is a good option for those who have sock drawer citi cards and not willing to take the hard credit pull for a limited number of points. Of course it’s not better than one of the numerous annual fee cards others have mentioned but this doesn’t have a fee. Also someone asked about how much 1x spend are people doing, well medical bills, lawn care, child care/tuition. I would say property taxes but the 2x earned is less than the fee they charge to use a cc so probably only do that for a signup bonus card.

    It also probably doesn’t have cell insurance since citi and MC told me yesterday my annual fee AA and Premier cards don’t have this.

    But I do have a Prestige (want to downgrade) and a Preferred with some points on them and this may be a nice alternative. So my question is what happens to the Thank You points I have on these cards if I PC to this?

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