There are all kinds of different strategies you can take with maximizing your credit card rewards. Some people like to earn cash back, while others like to earn travel rewards. In most situations, you’ll want to decide what kind of rewards you want to earn before applying for a card, so that you can be rewarded as efficiently as possible.
That’s something that’s pretty remarkable about the Citi® Double Cash Card (review) — the card offers an exceptional return on spending whether you’re looking to earn cash back or travel rewards. With the changes that were made to the card earlier this year, it’s even more lucrative than before.
Why the Citi Double Cash is so valuable
The Citi Double Cash is possibly the most versatile no annual fee credit card out there. It’s one of the credit cards that I use most for my everyday, non-bonused spending, and it’s one I recommend regardless of whether you want to earn cash back or travel rewards. Below are four reasons that the Citi Double Cash should be in your wallet.
No annual fee
Okay, I kind of hinted at this above — the Citi Double Cash has no annual fee, so it doesn’t get better than that. Need I say more?
Earn cash back at a rewarding rate
The Citi Double Cash has a phenomenal rewards structure if you’re looking to earn cash back. Cash is king, as they say, and it’s hard to beat the rewards structure of this card. The Citi Double Cash offers:
- 1% cash back when you make a purchase
- 1% cash back when you pay for that purchase
The cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou points, and each ThankYou point earned with the card can be redeemed for one cent cash back. There are no minimum redemption amounts, and you can be rewarded in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit.
By the time you’ve paid for your purchase, you’ll get two cents back on every dollar spent. This is more rewarding than a vast majority of cash back credit cards, and is in line with the best cash back return you’ll find on a credit card.
There’s not a single card I can think of that offers a return of better than 2% cash back without any major strings attached.
Flexibility to turn cash back into travel rewards
This is why the Citi Double Cash gives you the best of both worlds. Not only can you earn the equivalent of two cents on the dollar, but those points can also efficiently be converted into travel rewards points:
What really makes this so awesome is that you can earn rewards on the Citi Double Cash even without having the Citi Premier. Then in the future, you can decide to apply for the Citi Premier Card, and all the rewards you’ve earned on the card can be pooled with your other ThankYou points and transferred to partners.
This means for every dollar you spend (and subsequently pay the bill for) you’re getting your choice of either two cents or two transferrable points, which can be converted into airline miles.
0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers*
This is something I’d recommend avoiding if possible, but understandably this is something that some people looking for credit cards value. The Citi Double Cash is offering a 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% – 25.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Keep in mind that there is a balance transfer fee of 3% for each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first four months of account opening.
You’ll want to do everything you can to pay off the balance during that period, since the interest after that can be high. But 18 months is a long period — some other cards offer 12 months, but 18 months is rare.
How I’ve maximized rewards with the Citi Double Cash
I picked up the Citi Double Cash in 2019, so how am I using this card? Essentially it’s one of the main cards that I use for my personal spending within the United States when there’s not otherwise a bonus category. For example:
- I’ve paid my rent with the card through Plastiq
- I’ve paid my taxes with the card
- I’ve used the card for most online shopping
Those are just a few examples, but this is one of my go-to cards for any domestic purchases not at supermarkets, restaurants, gas stations, etc. Nowadays I also put some of my everyday spending on the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card (review), as the card offers 2x Venture miles on all spending.
Amazing combo: Citi Premier + Citi Double Cash
If you’re looking to earn travel rewards in the long-term, I think it’s specifically worth talking about the value of having the Citi Double Cash in conjunction with the Citi Premier Card, which is one of the best card combos out there:
- The Citi Premier offers a massive welcome bonus of 80,000 ThankYou points after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening, which will really jumpstart your rewards earnings
- You’re eligible for both of these cards as long as you follow Citi’s general credit card application rules
- The Citi Premier offers 3x points on dining, gas, groceries, air travel, and hotels, and has no foreign transaction fees
- The Citi Premier offers a $100 annual hotel credit, which could cover your annual fee right there
- You can earn all of this with a single $95 annual fee on the Citi Premier, since the Citi Double Cash doesn’t have an annual fee
To me, this is a valuable and straightforward approach to take in order to maximize credit card rewards, as you’ll earn 2-3x points on all purchases.
The Citi Double Cash has been the single card that I’ve spent the most on since 2019, and I love it. Personally, I use the card for the ability to earn ThankYou points that can be transferred to airline partners.
The flexibility this card offers is unrivaled. The no annual fee card can earn you the equivalent of two cents or two transferrable points for every dollar you spend (after paying the bill). Being able to efficiently earn either cash back or travel rewards is the kind of flexibility that consumers should be looking for nowadays, and there’s no other card as well rounded as this.
Furthermore, when you combine the Citi Double Cash with the Citi Premier Card, you’re looking at one of the best card combos out there with one low annual fee.
Anyone else love the combo of the Citi Double Cash and Citi Premier?