Citi Double Cash: More Valuable Than Ever Before

Filed Under: Citi, Credit Cards
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Understandably a lot of people are at least temporarily reassessing their approach to using credit cards. Some people are looking for ways to be more efficient with their strategy and spending, while others are looking to earn cash back rather than travel rewards.

While I’m maintaining the same credit card strategy as before, I totally get the sentiment. That’s also exactly why I think the Citi® Double Cash Card (review) is worth another look for those who don’t have it.

Why the Citi Double Cash is so valuable

The Citi Double Cash is possibly the most versatile no annual fee credit card out there. It’s the credit card I use for my everyday spending, and it’s one I recommend regardless of whether you want to earn cash back or travel rewards.

Citi Double Cash
2% cash back, or 2x ThankYou points with the ThankYou Premier or Prestige
Learn MoreApply Now

Here are the four reasons that the Citi Double Cash should be in your wallet:

No annual fee

Okay, I kind of hinted at this above — the Citi Double Cash has no annual fee, so it doesn’t get better than that. Need I say more?

Earn cash back at a rewarding rate

The Citi Double Cash has a phenomenal rewards structure if you’re looking to earn cash back. At this point that’s understandably what lots of people are looking to earn, as getting cash towards your daily expenses may be preferable to earning travel rewards.

The card offers:

  • 1% cash back when you make a purchase
  • 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase

By the time you’ve paid for your purchase you’ll get two cents back on every dollar spent. This is more rewarding than a vast majority of cash back credit cards, and is in line with the best cash back return you’ll find on a credit card.

There’s not a single card I can think of that offers a return of better than 2% cash back without any major strings attached.

Use your cash back towards everyday expenses

Flexibility to turn cash back into travel rewards

This is why the Citi Double Cash gives you the best of both worlds. Not only can you earn the equivalent of two cents on the dollar, but those points can also be converted into travel rewards points:

What really makes this so awesome is that you can earn rewards on the Citi Double Cash even without having the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige. Then in the future you can decide to get one of those cards, and all the cash back you’ve racked up on the Citi Double Cash can be converted into ThankYou points, should you so choose.

This means for every dollar you spend (and subsequently pay the bill for) you’re getting your choice of either two cents or two transferrable points

Use ThankYou points for some incredible travel rewards in the future

0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers*

This is something I’d recommend avoiding if at all possible, but understandably a lot of people are having liquidity issues at the moment. If that applies to you, the Citi Double Cash is offering 0% introductory APR for 18 months from date of first transfer when transfers are completed within 4 months from date of account opening. After that, your APR will be 13.99% to 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.

You’ll want to do everything you can to pay off the balance during that period, since the interest after that can be high. But 18 months is a long period — some other cards offer 12 months, but 18 months is rare.

How I’ve maximized earning with the Citi Double Cash this year

I picked up the Citi Double Cash last fall, so how am I using this card? Essentially it’s the card I use for all personal spending within the US when there’s not otherwise a bonus category. For example:

  • I pay my rent with the card through Plastiq
  • I pay my taxes with the card
  • I use the card for most online shopping
  • I use the card at drugstores

Those are just a few examples, but this is essentially my go-to card for any non-supermarket/dining/travel/cell phone purchase.

Bottom line

The Citi Double Cash has been my go-to card for everyday spending at home for about six months now, and I absolutely love it. Personally I use the card for the ability to earn ThankYou points.

The flexibility this card offers in this environment is unrivaled. The no annual fee card can earn you the equivalent of two cents or two transferrable points for every dollar you spend (after paying the bill).

Citi Double Cash
2% cash back, or 2x ThankYou points with the ThankYou Premier or Prestige
Learn MoreApply Now

Being able to efficiently earn either cash back or travel rewards is the kind of flexibility that consumers should be looking for nowadays, and there’s no other card as well rounded as this.

Is anyone else using the Citi Double Cash as their go-to for everyday spending?

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Comments
  1. Can you review the TY pt/cent that you are paying by using this card for plastiq and taxes? Thank!

  2. @ Francisco C — Yep, for taxes the fee is just under 1.9%, so to me it’s the equivalent of acquiring ThankYou points for under 0.95 cents each. Then for Plastiq the standard fee is 2.5%, but there are promotions all the time that lower the rate. Personally I’d buy ThankYou points even for 1.25 cents each (at least under normal circumstances), and I’ve continued to do so for now.

  3. The card has no protections, not even extended warranty – which makes it risky to use for online shopping.

  4. I am an expat living/spending abroad, most of time, currently have both Citi premiere & prestige, does this card have forex fee ??

  5. One thing to keep in mind about this awesome card is that it charges foreign transaction fee, but most of us aren’t doing international travel now anyway. I usually end up swapping this out for Capital One Venture when using for non-bonus spend overseas.

  6. Also remember when redeeming cash back you should NOT have it applied as a statement credit but direct-deposited into your bank account. The statement credit does not count as “1% when you pay” so you’d be missing out on the other 1% for the amount you redeem.

  7. @Jessie:

    3% forex. That’s why Ben isn’t using it outside the US.

    I have Reasons(tm) why I can’t be in the Citi ecosystem but a 2% cash back card like this should be your baseline credit card you fall back to. It will be more difficult to find one with no FTF, but not impossible (check credit unions).

  8. @Ben

    Would you value the citi double cash card more than the amex blue business plus and if so why since they both offer 2x on all purchases. Only thing I can think of is that the amex blue caps it at $50k.

  9. @Andy,

    1. Personal vs Business card.
    2. Citi vs Amex points, they’re both worth similar amounts in terms of when transferred to partner airlines, but depends on which ecosystem works better for your setup.
    3. Mastercard is more widely accepted than Amex in general, but I think the gap is narrower compared to the past.

  10. Are you earning many Membership Rewards or Ultimate Rewards nowadays? If not, are you keeping those cards? For example you spending much on your Amex Green, Chase Sapphire Reserve, etc? If not, are you keeping those cards?

    TYP are a backup currency for me, but I am thinking about earning more of them through Double Cash. However I put most non-bonus spend on my Delta Reserve for MQM, so not much room for Double Cash currently…

  11. Yes! Love this card, which has earned me rebates of over $1000 a year for a long time. When I moved from Chicago to Seattle, I charged all my moving expenses (movers alone where over $8K) and new furniture purchases. Flight training? On the card! What a deal this card is.

    Downside: Foreign transaction fees means those charges all go on my Alaska Airlines card.

  12. I got a tax form this year though, which reduces the return some. I’ll use it this year until I hit $599 cash back then switch…

  13. I’ve been receiving double cash back in checks. Does this mean I have to pay taxes on that? I live in Florida if that makes a difference.

  14. Always remember when the fine folks at Citi send you a product change offer you have been targeted as they want to block you from getting another signup offer for the next two years on another card in that reward catagory.

    I fell for this converting a Citi Preferred to a Double Cash. No where is mailing did they disclose a product change is considered closing a card unless the card number does not change. Phone agent will not tell you if number will change so assume it will.

    When on the phone with Citi always ask and get permission to record call. An agent misquoted a retention offer to me. The fact that I had the exact date, time and agent number made no difference. I was promised 5 times via online chat the recording would be reviewed by a manager,

    A letter by certified mail eventually was answered that Citi will make no effort to determine if a recording was actually even made to address my grievance.

    Alternately, you can review the terms of retention offer online in chat box and after web agent confirms it immediately screen print the conversation,

    The small print on all bonus offers I have gotten is always a ridiculously small cap. I was excited to get a 5 X offer on the (once great ) Prestige card for Drugstores until I learned later it was capped at 2500 points A generous appraisal of a Citipoint is 1.6 cents
    2500 x .0016 = $40 (yawn) Get your gift cards at an office supply store with your Chase Ink Cash for 5 X. Chase has better transfer partners then Citi.

    In short in all dealing with Citi expect deception and dishonesty.

    You will rarely will not encounter it.

  15. Has anyone had issues with Plastiq checks not arriving or Plastiq sending them late?

  16. I see Dave saying he got a 1099 on the cash back rebate- but I do not believe that is considered taxable income by IRS. – so I am confused by this

  17. @ssss

    I have been using Plastiq for couple years now after reading about it here.

    I have never had a late payment!

  18. If I get a 1099 tax form then it is not worth it – then after paying 30-45% Fed tax and 5-10% state tax, tax you are getting only 1-1.3c cash back
    Better to go with the BofA cards – Fidelity Cash back – or even Freedom Unlimited

  19. @Lucky

    What is the asterisk for, or just copy and paste typo?

    “0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers*”

    Anyway this got my attention. Before you advertise this as a benefit you should warn readers about the balance transfer fees. There are many cards that offer both No balance transfer fee and limited time 0% APR.

    You should also warn about the 3% foreign transaction fee.

    I know you need to sell cards, but come on, there is always some catch for no annual fee cards and some warning for the less savvy would be nice.

  20. I tried for three long years to convince Citi to product change my Simplicity to a Double Cash, and they refused, citing the Card Act, so I finally gave up and asked them to cancel the Simplicity. Just about that same time, PenFed introduced their Power Cash Rewards which earns 2% on all purchases and has no foreign transaction fees. I hear that Citi has finally relented and is now allowing product changes from Simplicity to Double Cash, but I no longer need the Double Cash.

  21. I thought that 1099s are only from their banking TYPs. Did other readers get them from credit card TYPs?

  22. I originally got the Citi DC card because it supports Virtual Account Numbers. This feature lets you set up a new card number and give that number its own credit limit and expiration date. The idea is that you can short-circuit all the “auto renew for your ‘convenience’ WEASELS.” You sign up for an annually-billed service with the Virtual credit card number where you have set the expiration date to be 2 months after you sign up. When the service goes to “auto renew” 12 months later, it CAN’T. If the service tries to charge you any additional fees, assuming you set the credit limit really low on the Virtual Account Number, it CAN’T. In summary, Virtual Account Numbers can insulate you from all of the usual credit card billing Weasel practices that one encounters. The only problem with this feature is that, on Citi DC, as was also the case with BofA ShopSafe before it, there is/was reliance on FLASH for implementation in Windows browsers. Well, FLASH is now Officially & Completely DEAD. So, in BofA Land, ShopSafe is No More. For Citi DC, you now have to download a separate (non-Browser-based) Windows App to do Virtual Account Number setup & maintenance functions. So, you need a Windows laptop. Tablet (iPad, etc.) and Mac users are out of luck.

  23. 1. There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

    2. There is one 2% cash back that has no foreign transaction fee.

  24. The PayPal Mastercard seems better as a cash-back card than the DC in almost every way, if you don’t care about TY points:
    – 2% cashback on everything
    – No foreign transaction fee
    – No cashback redemption minimum (unlike $25 for DC)

  25. @ Ben — For almost everyone, this card is wholly unnecessary if you have the AMEX Blue Biz Plus, which offers a sign-up bonus. I don’t think anyone should sign up for this card without a sign-up bonus.

  26. @Gene,

    MasterCard more widely accepted than AMEX. I have a decent AMEX setup with the Hilton cards and Platinum, but my dining and most travel go through Citi premier and non bonus to Citi Double Cash due to being able to use MasterCard for more places.

  27. @Lea
    BEST INFO I NEVER RECEIVED! Thank you for this explanation of why it is better to get a ACH transfer for the money to my bank, than to credit it to my statement balance! Never knew it and have probably lost 5 years of 1% cash back every month! Thank you, thank you.

    @Cactus
    Yes, you are right about PayPal MC, EXCEPT for the fact that you don’t get the money back in your MC account. It goes to your regular PayPal account and you have go there, with another password and login, and have the money sent to the credit card. Since I never use the regular PayPal (non-credit card) account for anything, this represents a waste of time and for me.
    I do use it, however, while on foreign travel, and find it worth 2% cash back to go through the hassle to get it. But in the US, the double cash CITI is better.

  28. Beware the vast majority of 0% APR deals even if there is no transfer fee charge the full interest rate on all new purchases. Look at the terms carefully and consider putting the card in the sock drawer, auto paying minimum each month (late and the deal cancels). And calendar when (and have the ability to pay it off in full). It will also reduce your credit score as your debt to available credit will be much higher. It is a trap for the financially unwary and for people who keep a balance (paying interest). Ben, please put your readers first. I enjoy your travel tips but your referral offers no so much

  29. Freedom unlimited combined with CSR card gives more IF redeemed for direct airline travel through the chase system. I don’t agree with paying for charges with plastiq on this card. It gives 2% but plastic was charging 2.5% and now charges 2.85%. There are many cards that don’t have a foreign transaction fee. So looks like this card is not as useful as I thought initially.

  30. however, this card took away many basic benefits such as extended warranty, return protection and theft protection last year. So it might not be worth it for certain purchases, such as buying a TV.

  31. Amex Blue Business Plus for the win. 2x on all purchases up to $50K (which, if you hit, you could use a second one, which is easy to get), no annual fee. 12 or 15 month (I forget) 0% APR on Balance Transfers (though with fee) *and* new purchases. I personally find Membership Rewards more valuable than ThankYou points, especially in tandem with an Amex Business Platinum with its option for 35% rebate on business class tickets. Of course, one’s mileage at a time may vary, and having the Double Cash 2% usable as actual cash is compelling these days.

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