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The rumors that have been circulating for a while came to fruition on Sunday as the Citi Double Cash credit card morphed into a combination of a good cash back card and a good points earning card for non bonused spend.
The Citi Double Cash Card
Current Sign-Up Bonus:
- 2% cash back on all purchases with no cap on earnings*
*The card pays 1% cash back when an eligible purchase appears on your monthly statement and further 1% cash back upon paying, a the very least, the minimum amount due on the statement.
This card does not offer any notable benefits.
So What’s So Special About This Card
The Citi Double Cash card has always been a popular card because it allows users to earn 2% back on purchases on which other credit cards don’t generally offer bonuses.
While spending on things like dining, travel, gas and groceries are easily covered by cards like the Citi Prestige Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, the Citi ThankYou Premier card and the Gold Card from American Express, it’s hard to get more than 1 point/dollar (1.5%/dollar) on spending in a number of other popular shopping categories (drugstores, big box stores, department stores etc…) and that’s where the Citi Double Cash card comes into play.
A Real Enhancement
Now Citi’s best all-around cash back card just got that much better.
As of yesterday, Sunday 22 September 2019, the cash back earned on the Citi Double Cash Card can be converted to Citi’s ThankYou points which, in turn, can be converted to any one of 13 airline loyalty currencies if the cardholder also holds the Citi Prestige or Citi ThankYou Premier card.
With the conversion ratio of cash back to Citi ThankYou points set at 1:1 this effectively means that the Citi Double Cash Card can earn a cardholder 2 ThankYou Points per dollar or, put another way, can earn 2 miles (or points) per dollar in any of the following airline loyalty programs:
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Etihad Guest
- Eva Air Infinity MileageLands
- jetBlue TrueBlue
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Note: Double Cash cardholders can transfer their cash back to jetBlue or Sears if they don’t have the Prestige or Premier credit cards but as these transfers don’t (mostly) offer good value this isn’t a card enhancement.
Also, it’s worth remembering that ThankYou points earned by the Citi Premier card can be redeemed directly for travel at a rate of 1.25 cents per point via the Citi Travel Portal (Citi Prestige ThankYou points are only worth 1.0 cent per point) so, a Double Cash cardholder who pairs their card with a Citi ThankYou Premier card, should* be able to combine the cash back from the Double Cash card with the points from the Premier card and effectively earn 2.5% per dollar when redeeming for travel.
*This has yet to be verified
Two Words Of Caution
Firstly, Citi has recently taken the rather unbelievable step of removing most travel and shopping benefits from just about every card it issues so it would be unwise to put any large purchases on to a Citi card (like the Double Cash card) which offers no protection – it would almost certainly be better to earn slightly fewer points (or slightly less cash back) and have your purchases/travels protected.
Secondly, while Citi’s travel portal’s airline pricing is more or less in line with what you’ll find when you check the airline sites directly, the cost of hotels and car hire through Citi can be extortionate (I’ve had the Citi travel portal quote me a nightly room rate that was over $75/night more than the hotel’s own website was quoting) so don’t assume that the prices Citi offers you (when redeeming points/cash back for travel directly) are automatically going to be competitive.
The Citi Double Cash Card has always been a strong cash back card but the fact that its rewards can now be converted to ThankYou Points makes it stronger than ever.
I still think that it’s well worth keeping an eye on what Apple is doing with its new Apple Card (the list of retailers at which this card offers 3% cash back is growing) but, for the time being, the Citi Double Cash card probably has the edge as the best all-around cash back card available.