All of a Sudden the Citi Double Cash Card Becomes Essential

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The Citi® Double Cash Card has no annual fee and earns 2% cash back (1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay for the purchase). That makes it one of the best value cards (strong rewards with no or low annual fee) and one of the very best cash back cards.

So far so good, it’s been a strong value card for awhile. However effective today earnings transfer to Citi ThankYou Points 1:1 ($1 in cash rewards becomes 100 ThankYou Points).

If you combine points into a Premier or Prestige card you’ll be able to either earn 2 transferable points to airline miles per dollar spent. In other words transfer Citi Double Cash to ThankYou Rewards, and on to a Premier Or Prestige Card’s ThankYou account and transfer 1:1 into the follow programs:

  • Star Alliance: EVA Air, Avianca LifeMiles, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines
  • oneworld: Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Qantas, Qatar
  • SkyTeam: Air France KLM
  • Non-alliance: Etihad, JetBlue, JetPrivilege, Virgin Atlantic

Transfer points, for instance, to Turkish Airlines and Hawaii awards are 7500 miles each way in coach or 12,500 in business class on United each way. And since you’re earning 2 points per dollar on all spend with Citi Double Cash (transferred to ThankYou Rewards and on to a Citi Prestige or Premier account) just $6250 spend is enough for one way premium cabin redemption to Hawaii.

Moreover since the Premier Card gets you 1.25 cents per point in value towards paid air travel, transferring Double Cash ThankYou Rewards to Premier means earning a rebate of 2.5% on all spend towards airfare. That’s one of the best rebates out there in addition to having the flexibility to transfer to airline miles.

This becomes the single best personal card for unbonused spend since (pair with a Citi card whose points transfer to miles) it earns 2 airline miles per dollar spent without any category bonuses.

Citi Double Cash Card

(HT: leetommy)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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  1. I’ll quibble a bit, in favor of the Amex Blue Business Plus card. Most folks won’t spend more than $50,000/year on either it or the Citi card, so the uncapped nature of the Citi spending doesn’t make a difference to them. And Amex Membership Rewards are in a sense worth more, since the points transfer to more partners and for some partners transfer more quickly than Citi Thank You points do – a big factor in securing award tickets. On the other hand, there are certain merchants who’ll take Citi but not Amex cards. But still, on balance I see the Amex card coming out ahead.

  2. I can transfer my Chase ultimate reward points to United Airlines. What are the chances I will be able to transfer my Citi thank you points to American Airlines in the future?

  3. @Steve – One’s for business, the other personal. I easily hit the $50,000/year on the Blue Business Plus, but don’t really have a go-to card for unbonused personal spending. I have two Premier cards, so I’m thinking about just product changing one to the double cash for a (hopefully) win-win.

  4. @Gary,

    You forgot to mention combining the Double Cash with the Rewards+ and the Premier, which would yield, 2*1.25 + 10% points rebate. That probably is the winner. However, I still am fond of my BoA Premium Rewards with Platinum Honors.

  5. The Turkish redemption is good. However, good luck finding I space on United flights to Hawaii. Especially from the east coast.

  6. Does Citi separate TY points earned by different credit cards? As I recall Citi told me that TY points earned with my old Forward card and with my Citi checking account could not be combined with the TY points earned with my Citi Premier card. Is this true? Or was I misinformed?

  7. Still a trash card compared to 2.625% cash back on everyday spend from bank of America premium rewards if you keep 100k in investment or deposit balances.

  8. Amex Blue Business Plus card is still better. No AF. Earn 2 pts per dollar. If you don’t have a business then yes the DC or if you have more than 50k unbonus spend the citi DC could make sense assuming its enough spend to justify paying for a Citi AF card with subpar benefits. I have both the citi DC and amex business blue plus. The only time the DC may see spend is if I run into the rare case where I have unbonused spend AND the merchant does not accept amex. Eventually when my bonus clock resets I will get the premier or prestige depending on which clock resets first.

  9. >transfer Citi Double Cash to ThankYou Rewards, and on to a Premier Or Prestige Card’s ThankYou account

    Citi has no mechanism to convert “on to” like you said. Points transferred into the Thank You program fall into one of 2 categories only: Transferrable points (sign-up bonuses on the TY cards, points earned by normal spend on TY cards) and non-transferrable points (checking account sign-up bonuses).

    If these points can’t be transferred to airlines and are treated like checking account sign-up bonuses, then to you use your terms, all of a suddent the Citi Double Cash card becomes a devaluation of your Thank You points into a currency that only values cash statements at 0.5 cpp.

  10. So, you’re confirming what Citi told me about my Citi checking account bonus TY points and certain other TY points not being transferable to the TY points earned with my TY Premier card. But, in response to your concern that you can cash out at only 0.5 cpp, try using them to make mortgage payments. You have to call and talk to a Citi rep, and the transfers have to be in increments of $25, $50, $100, or $500, but you can get 1 cpp that way.

  11. Gary, please elaborate on this:

    “Transfer Citi Double Cash to ThankYou Rewards, and on to a Premier Or Prestige Card’s ThankYou account”

    “Anon” seems to be saying that this won’t work.

  12. From Reddit:

    “Has anyone had any confirmation from Citi that these TYP will in fact be transferable to airlines if you hold a Premier/Prestige card? Right now still getting error messages when I try to transfer DC to TY. Went through all the T&C in the DC section of the TY site. Didn’t see it mentioned anywhere.”

  13. @Ferdinand Magellan: milestalk confirmed (and screenshotted) that these TYP are fully transferrable once you link your DC and Premier/Prestige accounts.

  14. @Truth And how much is it “costing” you to have your money parked there? Stocks could make sense but never cash based on how much better interest you can get elsewhere.

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