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The Citi Double Cash Card is a no-frills, no annual fee cash back card that doesn’t offer any big impressive benefits or headline-grabbing earning rates in a select spending category but is still one of the very best cash back cards that you can hold. For the miles & points enthusiast as well as for someone just looking for a good cash back card, the Citi Double Cash Card can be a compelling proposition.
The Citi Double Cash Card
- $0 (zero)
- 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.
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 spending in categories in which other credit cards don’t generally offer bonuses.
While spending in categories like dining, travel, gas, and groceries are easily covered by cards like the Amex Gold Card (review), the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, the Citi ThankYou Premier Card, and the Citi Prestige Card, 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.
The Big Enhancement
Back in 2019, the Citi Double Cash Card got a huge boost when Citi introduced one very important change to how the card’s cash back can be used.
Up until 21 September 2019, the Citi Double Cash Card was a pure cash back card in that the best that you could extract from it was the 2% cash back that the card offers. Then, from Sunday 22 September 2019, Citi began to allow the cash back earned by the Double Cash Card to be converted to its ThankYou points currency when a cardholder also holds either the Citi Prestige Card or the Citi Premier Card.
Citi’s ThankYou Points are useful as they can be converted to any one of 15 airline loyalty currencies so with cash back converting to Citi ThankYou points in a ratio of 1:1 ratio, the Citi Double Cash Card can effectively earn a cardholder 2 ThankYou Points per dollar.
Put another way, the Citi Double Cash Card can effectively earn 2 miles (or points) per dollar in any of the following airline loyalty programs:
- Aeromexico – Club Premier
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Etihad Guest
- Emirates Skywards
- 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
I value Citi ThankYou points at 1.5 cents each (based on the value that I know I can get out of them without much effort) so when paired with a Citi Prestige or Premier Card, the Citi Double Cash Card effectively earns a cardholder a rebate of 3% on all purchases made with the card.
A cardholder who transfers ThankYou Points to one or more of Citi’s airline partners, who’s prepared to put in a bit of work, and who exercises a bit of patience, can often extract considerably more value 1.5 cents out of each ThankYou point used (usually by booking premium cabin awards) and it’s this that makes the cash back that the Citi Double Cash Card earns considerably more valuable than the headline 2% rate would suggest.
This is what makes the Citi Double Cash Card one of the most useful cash back cards around.
A Great Pairing
As I’ve already mentioned, as a standalone card the Citi Double Cash Card is a great card to hold because it allows a cardholder to earn a minimum of 2% cash back wherever they shop but, as I’ve also explained, the card gets even better if it’s paired with one of Citi’s more premium cards.
With that in mind, here are the earning rates a cardholder would have access to if they held the Citi Double Cash Card alongside the Citi Premier Card (which comes with a $95 annual fee):
- 3 points/dollar – Dining
- 3 points/dollar – Supermarkets
- 3 points/dollar – Gas stations
- 3 points/dollar – Air Travel & Hotels
- 2% cash back or 2 points/dollar – Spending in all other categories
Base on my valuation of Citi ThankYou Points (1.5 cents each), the earning rates listed above represent effective rebates of between 3% and 4.5% on all of a cardholder’s spending. That’s fantastic for an annual outlay of just $95.
Also, as the Citi Premier card gives cardholders a $100 rebate on a hotel stay costing a minimum of $500 (and booked through ThankYou.com), used correctly, the Citi Double Cash/Citi Premier pairing could pay for itself.
The Citi Double Cash Card has always been a strong cash back card, but ever since Citi started to allow the cash back that it earns to be converted to ThankYou points it has been one of the best cash back cards on the market. On its own, it’s a great card to hold but when held alongside the Citi Premier Card it forms a fantastic credit card pairing.