The Citi Double Cash card keeps getting better! It started its life as a simple fee-free 2% cash back card (which confusingly was advertised as 1% + 1% back). At that time it was a fine choice for 2% back, but then it went on a roller coaster ride where it got worse, then better, and now even better…
Worse at first: One of the things that used to set the Double Cash card apart from the competition was Citi’s very strong purchase protections such as Extended Warranty, Price Rewind, and more. Sadly, Citi removed all of these benefits in September, 2019.
Then better: Shortly after dropping purchase protections in September 2019, Citi added the ability to transfer cash back to ThankYou points. Combined with certain other Citi cards, this made the Double Cash’s rewards more flexible and more rewarding for travel.
Then even better: More recently, Citi turned the Double Cash card into a full fledged ThankYou Rewards card. Instead of cash back, the card now directly earns ThankYou points which can be cashed out for a penny per point or, if combined with a premium card like the Citi Premier card, can be transferred to airline and hotel partners.
Here’s everything you need to know…
Should you apply?
In my opinion, the Double Cash is one of the most rewarding cards available. For most people I recommend getting the card.
The Citi Double Cash rarely has a signup bonus. As a result, you may be better off product changing from another consumer Citibank card to the Double Cash card (call Citi to make the change). One warning: some Citi cards have 24 month restrictions against getting a bonus for the same or a similar card. For example, the Citi Premier bonus has this restriction:
Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+℠, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier℠ or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.
The reason this is important here is that if you product change from one of the listed ThankYou cards to the Double Cash card, Citi will record the event as if you closed the ThankYou card account. That will then reset the clock and you’ll have to wait 24 months before you can qualify for a bonus on a new ThankYou card.
Let’s say, for example, that you have the Prestige card and you want to product change it to the Double Cash, and suppose it has been more than 24 months since you’ve signed up for or cancelled any other Citi ThankYou cards. In that case, I’d recommend first signing up for another ThankYou card with a good bonus (such as the Citi Premier which has a 60K offer at the time of this writing), and then product change the Prestige to the Double Cash afterwards.
A better choice for a product change is to change from one of Citi’s American Airlines consumer cards. Take the AAdvantage Platinum Select card, for example. That card has the following 48 month rule:
American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles are not available if you have received a new account bonus for a Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® account in the past 48 months.
Notice that cancelling an AAdvantage card does not reset the 48 month clock. So, if you product change from an AAdvantage card to the Citi Double Cash, Citi will record the event as if you cancelled the AAdvantage card, but that won’t hurt your future ability to sign up for that card again.
If you would rather sign up new for the Double Cash and you are near a Citi branch it makes sense to visit to see if there are any in-branch offers for the card. If you’d rather sign up new, online, click here to find our application link.
Are you eligible?
Given that there isn’t usually a signup bonus for the Double Cash, the only eligibility criteria is whether or not you can get approved. Compared to other issuers, Citi is usually pretty easy on approvals.
How to apply
Product change to the Double Cash card or look for a signup offer in-branch. If you want to apply online, you can find the signup link here: Citi Double Cash Card.
If your application is denied, call reconsideration here: 800-695-5171. If the reconsideration call doesn’t work, try the Citi Credit Card Executive Office: 423-477-6858.
Citi Double Cash Disadvantages
The Citi Double Cash card isn’t perfect. Here are the key things I don’t like about the card:
Foreign Transaction Fees
Don’t use the card outside of the United States.
No Purchase Protections
This card used to have very strong purchase protections such as Extended Warranty, Price Rewind, and more. Sadly, Citi removed all of these benefits in September.
This card doesn’t have any perks worth mentioning.
This card doesn’t usually have a signup bonus, but if one is available it will appear here:
The best way to earn Citi Double Cash rewards is through credit card spend. Technically, this card earns 1 point per dollar (1%) when you make a purchase and 1 points per dollar (1%) when you pay your credit card bill. I find it simpler to say that this card earns 2X everywhere, or 2% cash back.
The Citi Double Cash card is particularly good for “non bonus” spend. For example, some cards earn bonuses at restaurants, some at grocery stores, some at gas stations, etc. The Double Cash is one of the most rewarding cards for all other (not bonused) spend.
Our Manufactured Spending Complete Guide lists many ways to increase credit card spend to earn more rewards. Here are a few examples that are particularly rewarding with the Double Cash card:
- Pay bills with Plastiq: Plastiq charges 2.85% to pay most bills by credit card. Paying with the Double Cash card is therefore like buying ThankYou points for 1.425 cents per point. That’s an OK deal if you plan to transfer those points to airline miles to book high value awards.
- Pay federal taxes: You can pay your estimated federal taxes by credit card for as low as 1.87% in fees. This is a way to buy ThankYou points for less than a penny each!
- Buy Visa gift cards at Simon Mall: The Double Cash card is one of the most rewarding options for these purchases.
Citi Double Cash Redeem Rewards
Double Cash cardholders can redeem their ThankYou points for cash back at a rate of 1 cent for each point.
Transfer Points to Airline Miles
The best use of ThankYou points, in my opinion, is to transfer points to airline partners in order to book high value awards. One example is the ability to book United flights to Hawaii for only 7,500 points each. Please check out our post which covers the best awards that can be booked with Citi ThankYou points:
>>>>> Citi ThankYou points sweet spots <<<<<
It is usually best to wait until you find a great flight award before transferring points. One exception: Citi often offers 25% or 30% transfer bonuses to certain programs (Air France Flying Blue and Avianca LifeMiles are two recent examples). If you’re confident that you’ll use the points for good value, it may make sense to transfer points when those bonuses are in effect.
The Double Cash card can directly transfer to a few airlines and hotel programs, but at poor transfer rates. A much better option is to combine your Double Cash ThankYou account with a Citi Premier account (or Citi Prestige if you got that card while it was still available). That way, you can get the full transfer power of Citi points to airline and hotel programs. See: Citi Transfer Partners.
Current Transfer Bonuses
Transfer bonuses come and go over time. When transfer bonuses are in effect, details will automatically appear here (when viewed online):
|Transfer Bonus Details||End Date Sortable|
|Rewards Program||Best Uses|
|Aer Lingus Avios||Aer Lingus shares the "Avios" currency with British Airways and Iberia. In most cases it is best to move points to one of those programs in order to book awards for less. See also: Complete guide to Avios - British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus.|
|AeroMexico ClubPremier||AeroMexico is a SkyTeam partner. Club Premier points can be used to book flights on AeroMexico, SkyTeam alliance members (such as Delta or Korean Air), or on select partner airlines. Unfortunately many have reported that awards are extremely difficult to book through AeroMexico so we do not recommend transferring points to this program. If you want to fly AeroMexico, look to transfer points to another SkyTeam partner (such as Air France) and then book AeroMexico with that program.|
|Air France KLM Flying Blue||Monthly Air France Promo Awards often represent very good value. Air France miles can be used to book Sky Team awards, including Delta awards. Air France offers very good business class award pricing between the US and Europe & Israel.|
|Avianca LifeMiles||Avianca LifeMiles can be great for Star Alliance awards. They offer reasonable award prices and no fuel surcharges on awards. They also offer shorthaul awards within the US (for flying United, for example) for as few as 7,500 miles one-way. Best of all, their mixed-cabin pricing can lead to fantastic first-class award prices. See this post for details.|
|British Airways Avios||While flights on British Airways itself often incur outrageously high fuel surcharges, many BA partners charge low or no fuel surcharges. Excellent value can be had in redeeming BA points for short distance flights. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar. See also: Complete guide to Avios - British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus.|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||Cathay Pacific has a decent distance based award chart, but they no longer allow stopovers longer than 24 hours. Cathay Pacific Asia Miles can be a good option for booking American Airlines flights with a distance based award chart, especially if other OneWorld Alliance miles aren't available. For long distance flights, it is possible to reduce the cost of first class by adding on a business class flight. See this post for details.|
|Choice||Choice Privileges points seem to be randomly valuable within the US, but dependably valuable internationally in expensive locations such as Scandinavia and Japan|
|Emirates Skywards||The best use of Emirates miles has been to fly Emirates itself. Unfortunately fuel surcharges can be steep. See: Emirates Sweet Spot Awards - First class from 30K miles round trip. Another great use is to book JetBlue Mint flights. See: Book JetBlue Mint (including Mint Studio) with Emirates miles.|
|Etihad Guest||Etihad has a very competitive award chart for American Airlines flights, among others. For example, they charge only 50,000 miles one-way for business class flights from North America to Europe. Partner awards must be booked over the phone.|
|EVA Air Infinity MileageLands||If you want to fly one of the best business class products in the sky, the best way to snag EVA flights is with their own miles since they release more award space to their own members. One-way business class flights from the US to Taipei cost 75K to 80K miles. Fuel surcharges are very low on these routes.
|Iberia Avios||Iberia offers very low award prices on their own flights. Round trip partner awards can offer good value under some circumstances as well. Fuel surcharges are often lower when booking with Iberia rather than British Airways. It's possible to move points (Avios) between Iberia, British Airways, Aer Lingus, and Qatar. See also: Complete guide to Avios - British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus.|
|Jet Airways Inter Miles||JetAirways JetPrivilege miles are useful only for a few very specific cases such as certain flights to Hawaii for as low as 15K (30K business) one-way, or to the Caribbean or Central America for as low as 10K (20K business) one-way. Details can be found here.|
|JetBlue||JetBlue points offer the most value when cheap ticket prices are available and when award taxes are high relative to the overall cost of the ticket (more details can be found here). The JetBlue Plus Card and the JetBlue Business Card offer a 10% rebate on awards, so you can get more value by holding one of these cards. JetBlue points can also be transferred to Amtrak 2 to 1 (with Amtrak points worth up to 2.9 cents each, this transfer can offer good value).|
|Malaysia Enrich||Given Malaysia's award chart devaluation in June 2017, I'm not aware of any good uses for these miles.|
|Qantas Frequent Flyer||Best use is probably for flights on El Al with no fuel surcharges. Also useful for short AA flights. Qantas offers distance based award charts similar to Cathay Pacific. Both are OneWorld Alliance members. I recommend comparing award prices across both programs before transferring to either. Qantas offers round the world business class awards for only 280,000 points (but with many restrictions)|
|Qatar Privilege Club Avios||Qatar has reasonable award prices for flying Qatar itself. Points are now transferable 1 to 1 to British Airways (and from there to Aer Lingus or Iberia)|
|Shop Your Way Rewards||Don't do it. Shop Your Way points can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards. That said, unless Shop Your Way starts offering discounted gift cards, there's no point in converting transferrable points to Shop Your Way.|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||Use to book Singapore Airlines First Class awards (generally reserved for their own members), Alaska Airlines economy awards, or for Star Alliance awards (including United Airlines).|
|Thai Airways International Royal Orchid Plus||I'm not aware of any good uses for these miles|
|Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles||Miles & Smiles offers a number of awesome sweet-spot awards including 7.5K one-way anywhere within the US, even to Hawaii. Many awards cannot be booked online but can be booked via phone or email. See: Turkish Miles & Smiles Complete Guide and Turkish business class sweet spots from the US.|
|Virgin Atlantic Flying Club||Virgin Atlantic offers a few great sweet spot awards including ANA first class between the US and Japan for as low as 55K points one-way; and US to Europe on Delta One business class for 50K points one-way. See: Best uses for Virgin Atlantic points (Sweet Spot Spotlight).|
|Wyndham||Wyndham often allows booking multi-room suites for the same price as a standard room. It's sometimes possible to get great value from points in that way. Bonus: award nights are not subject to resort fees. Additionally, you can book Vacasa vacation rentals for only 15K points per room per night. Wyndham Earner cards offer automatic 10% discount on award stays.|
The Rewards+ Rebate
One way to make your rewards go farther is to get a Rewards+ card and combine it with your other accounts. The Rewards+ card offers a 10% rebate on redeemed points, up to 10,000 points rebated per year. By combining the Rewards+ ThankYou account with your Premier or Prestige ThankYou account, for example, you’ll get that rebate when you convert points to airline miles or when you book travel. See this post for more: Citi Rewards+ is a great companion to Premier or Prestige.
This is also a great option to combine with the Double Cash card. By picking up a Rewards+ card and combining ThankYou accounts between the two cards, you can take advantage of the Rewards+ card’s 10% points rebate each year (on up to 100,000 redeemed points). Let’s say you spend $25,000 on the Double Cash card and therefore earn $500 in rewards. You can then convert those rewards to ThankYou points and redeem $500 in points for $600 worth of gift cards. You’ll then get $50 in ThankYou points back (thanks to the Rewards+ card) which you can then use to get $60 worth of gift cards. You’ll then get $6 in ThankYou points back. So, for a total cost of $494 worth of ThankYou points, you’ll get $660 worth of gift cards. In total, your $25,000 spend results in $660 in gift cards plus $6 in ThankYou points. That’s a return of 2.66% on your spend!
Combine Rewards Across Cards
If you are the primary account holder with multiple credit cards that earn ThankYou Rewards, you can combine ThankYou Rewards accounts. When your points are combined, they can then automatically be redeemed at the same value as your best card. For example, if one of your cards is the Premier card, and you have combined ThankYou accounts, then you’ll be able to transfer points to airline and hotel programs at the best rates even if the points were earned on your Double Cash card.
There are disadvantages to combining points:
- You lose the ability to pick and choose which points are used when you redeem awards.
- You lose visibility into how many points remain with each card.
Overall, I think that these disadvantages are minor. The advantages of combining your Double Cash ThankYou account with your Premier or Prestige ThankYou account greatly outweigh to disadvantages.
Share Rewards Across Cardholders
If you don’t have a premium ThankYou card or you don’t want to combine it with your Double Cash ThankYou account, then you can opt to “share points” instead.
Citi allows people to transfer ThankYou points to anyone else, for free. The “anyone else” includes yourself if your accounts aren’t combined. There are two catches to this:
- Shared points expire after 90 days. Make sure you have a specific near-term use in mind before transferring points.
- 100K limit: Each member may share up to 100,000 points per calendar year. Each member may receive up to 100,000 points per calendar year.
Why this is valuable:
- A friend or family member with a Premier card can transfer points to airline or hotel programs with the best transfer rates.
- If a friend has airline elite status with one of Citi’s transfer partners with which you want to book an award, you may be better off transferring points to your friend who can then transfer the points to the airline partner and book the award for you (to get free award changes, for example).
- If you haven’t combined accounts, you can still use points from your Double Cash card effectively by sharing them with your Premier or Prestige account before redeeming the points.