For the first time in years, Citi has launched a welcome bonus on the Citi Double Cash card. I believe this is the first time we’ve seen a bonus on the card since rewards earned with it became freely convertible to Citi ThankYou points. While it doesn’t feature the most valuable bonus on the market, it is a solid bonus for a no-annual-fee card that comes with what is effectively a flat 2x / 2% cash back earning rate (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay the bill).
The Offer & Key Card Details
|Card Offer and Details|
This card does not currently feature an introductory bonus.No Annual Fee
FM Mini Review: 2X rewards for all spend with no annual fee makes this card a winner. Earn 2X everywhere and redeem for the equivalent of 2% cash back or 2X ThankYou points. Pair with the Premier or Prestige card to make points transferrable to airlines.
Earning rate: 2% cash back everywhere (1% cash back for each purchase + 1% when paying your credit card bill for that purchase)
Base: 2X (2.9%)
Card Type: Mastercard World Elite
Noteworthy perks: 1X when you make a purchase + 1X when you pay for those purchases
See also: Citi ThankYou Rewards Complete Guide
The DoubleCash card is a great card to have, but in recent years it hasn’t been a great card to get.
What I mean here is that this card is a solid “everywhere else” option since it essentially earns 2x rewards points per dollar spent / paid. Redeem rewards for cash back and you’ve earned 2% back. Alternatively, combine points earned on this card with points earned on your Citi Premier card and you can transfer them onward to airline and hotel partners (effectively earning 2 miles per dollar spent or 4 Choice Privileges points per dollar spent). That’s certainly reasonable return on spend.
The fact that this card is a Mastercard makes it more appealing for some: this means the card can be synced up for American Airlines SimplyMiles offers and the Double Cash can be used for a greater variety of payment types via Plastiq. It could also be used to back a Curve card.
All those arguments for having the card have been lukewarm without a welcome bonus. Long ago, we used to occasionally see a welcome bonus of $100 after $500 in purchases in the first 3 months, but I don’t think we’ve seen that bonus since before rewards became redeemable for ThankYou points. Therefore, for the past several years, if you wanted to have this card, the prevailing wisdom has been to get a Citi American Airlines card. That way you could score a valuable welcome bonus (in the form of American Airlines miles) and then a year down the road many have had success calling Citi and requesting a product change to the Double Cash card.
If you’re not in a hurry for the Double Cash, that’s still not a bad strategy since the American Airlines Platinum Select card typically comes with a much more valuable welcome bonus. That said, if you have no interest in collecting American Airlines miles and/or you have high “everywhere else” spend and you just want a no-annual-fee card that earns unlimited 2x, the fact that this card now has a welcome bonus makes it more reasonable to consider applying directly for this card.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that you really need to consider your spending patterns to decide whether or not this card makes more sense for you than the Custom Cash. Given that the Custom Cash earns 5x on up to $500 in the category in which you spend the most each month, you can basically earn an easy 30,000 points per year with that card (on just $6K spend assuming you focus all spend on a single card). If you are a relatively low spender, it might be worth your while to consider that card instead of this one. If you have high unbonused spend, the Double Cash could really shine.
Overall, I’m glad to see a bonus back on this card. While the bonus isn’t huge, it is the best bonus I ever recall seeing on the Double Cash card and it certainly may be worth it for the right segment.