The Citi Double Cash Card Has Become Absolutely 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 in the past quarter they made a change that turns the card from a top cash back card into a top card, period. The Citi® Double Cash Card‘s earnings transfer to Citi ThankYou Points at 1:1 (so $1 in cash rewards becomes 100 ThankYou Points).

On their own these points can’t transfer to most of Citi’s airline partners however if you combine points from a Citi® Double Cash Card into a Premier or Prestige card account you’ll be able to effectively use the card to earn 2 transferable points to airline miles per dollar spent. That means the minimum you’d ever earn is 2 miles per dollar with your choice of:

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

And 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 if you prefer. 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 (paired with a Citi card whose points transfer to miles) it earns 2 airline miles per dollar spent without any category bonuses. Runners up:

Citi Double Cash Card

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, 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 advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. Gary,

    Why no mention of US Bank Altitude Reserve? If you have a Samsung phone/correct watch, that is a legit 4.5% return toward travel (cough, cough), at any in person payment terminal. And also hold true for NFC terminals for Android and Apple pay. Yes, not airline miles, but clearly more valuable than an in person 2X on Double Cash.

    I agree with you 100% for online purchases.

  2. So what’s the best way to start? Get a Premier/Prestige first and then Double Cash? Does Citi have a mandatory waiting period between applications?

  3. @Boraxo – I did a product change from an AA card to the double cash. If you have a card with Citi that you’re considering canceling, apply for the premier card then product change the existing card. Just make sure that the existing card is a year old or more, since Citi May get weird about changing a card after a few months.

  4. Good suggestion. Don’t mind the h8ters, Gary.

    I PCed to Doublecash years ago. 2% with no AF it is well worth having.

  5. Foreign transaction fee charge is 3%.
    Funny that part is never mentioned in any of these reviews for this or Freedom cards.

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