In January 2022 we learned about changes coming to the Citi Double Cash® Card as of this spring. For most people the implications here shouldn’t be huge, but I’d still say these are positive developments overall.
This is a heads up that these Citi Double Cash Card changes are live as of today (March 28, 2022). Cardmembers should notice changes to how their Citi online account looks, so let’s go over the details.
In this post:
Why the Citi Double Cash Card is awesome
For those not familiar with the Citi Double Cash Card (review), this is a no annual fee card that has historically offered 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase.
What made this card so great is that in conjunction with a card earning ThankYou points, like the Citi Premier® Card (review), the cash back rewards could be converted into ThankYou points. This conversion happened at the rate of one cent per point, meaning you could earn 2x Citi ThankYou points per dollar spent. I value that at a 3.4% return, making it one of the best cards for everyday spending.
As I’ll explain below, this card now directly earns ThankYou points. This is noteworthy, but doesn’t have quite as many implications as you may assume.
What changed about the Citi Double Cash Card
With the changes that have been made to the Citi Double Cash Card as of March 28, 2022:
- There’s no longer a minimum cash back balance required to redeem rewards, while previously there was a $25 minimum; this is good for those who have the card but don’t spend all that much
- The card now earns ThankYou points rather than cash back; that means you earn one ThankYou point when you make a purchase, and one ThankYou point when you pay for that purchase
- You continue to have the option to redeem rewards as cash back at the same rate, but you also have access to other Citi ThankYou redemption options, including for gift cards, for booking flights and hotels, and more
For those maximizing rewards, the implications here are fairly limited:
- While the Citi Double Cash Card now earns ThankYou points, those points can’t be converted into airline miles or hotel points with most partners unless you have a “premium” card earning ThankYou points in conjunction with it; the exceptions are that you are able to transfer points directly to JetBlue TrueBlue, Choice Privileges, and Wyndham Rewards (more details on that below)
- Aside from being able to transfer points to airline & hotel partners, most other Citi ThankYou redemptions offer at most one cent of value per point, in which case you’re better off just getting cash that you can spend however you’d like
- In theory this could be useful if you wanted to downgrade another card earning Citi ThankYou points, as this would allow you to maintain your points, though the points still expire 60 days after you close an account, and there’s not really any benefit to keeping those points rather than cashing them out
- One important thing to keep in mind is that Citi ThankYou points issued through various cards have different redemption options, and the ThankYou points issued through the Citi Double Cash continue to be redeemable for one cent cash back each
Are the Citi Double Cash Card changes as expected?
When I first posted about the changes to the Citi Double Cash Card earlier this year, many were skeptical about whether there was some massive devaluation coming, or something. For example, one reader had commented the following:
I have now read FOUR articles on this change, and I believe every single one of them is an unadvertised-as-such paid-for promotion. Because let’s look at what they’re really doing. They are TAKING AWAY the actual U.S. dollar money you got back in exchange for … NOTHING. Nothing you couldn’t already CHOOSE to do IF YOU WANTED TO. They are TAKING AWAY an option in exchange for NOTHING.
With these changes now live, hopefully people can believe once and for all that this wasn’t a devaluation. Nothing is being taken away here, and you can still cash out rewards as before. So, what has actually changed?
When I log into my card account, I now see my total available ThankYou points, rather than the total available cash back. The marketing is also updated to reflect that you “Earn ThankYou Points Twice” rather than “Earn Cash Back Twice.”
But when it comes time to redeem, you’re in a better spot than you were before. You can still convert your ThankYou points into cash back (either in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit) at the rate of one cent per point. For example, you could convert 100 ThankYou points into $1 cash back.
It’s also now possible to convert ThankYou points earned directly with the Citi Double Cash into three airline & hotel currencies:
- Convert ThankYou points into Choice Privileges points at a 1,000:1,500 ratio
- Convert ThankYou points into JetBlue TrueBlue points at a 1,000:800 ratio
- Convert ThankYou points into Wyndham Rewards points at a 1,000:800 ratio
In all cases you’ll get a better transfer ratio, plus have access to lots more partners, if you have the card in conjunction with the Citi Premier Card.
Changes to the Citi Double Cash Card have now gone live, and they’re exactly as expected. Ultimately I’d say these adjustments are more about marketing than anything else. The card now earns ThankYou points rather than cash rewards, though those ThankYou points can be redeemed at the same rate as before toward statement credits, cash back, etc.
I suppose the goal is to market this as a more versatile card that can earn travel and other rewards, rather than just a cash back card. This seem to be about better integrating the Citi Double Cash into the ThankYou ecosystem, though you still aren’t able to transfer points to ThankYou partners unless you also have another premium card earning ThankYou points.
Importantly let me emphasize that if you’re looking to earn cash back, these changes aren’t negative. Nothing has changed for the worse. You can still accrue cash back at the same rate, and you can even cash out without the $25 minimum (which is a good thing).
What do you make of these Citi Double Cash Card changes?