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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  1. Thanks for highlighting this. While I believe you’ve pushed this card before, I actually appreciate the reminder.

    A few more thoughts on this card, one positive and two negative:

    1. It has an additional advantage over the Amex Blue Business Plus cc in that some businesses don’t take Amex.
    2. But Citi points are a PITA to deal with, in that if you cancel a card you lose its points unless you transfer them to some other points program within a month or two. Amex and Chase don’t work this way.
    3. Also, Citi points aren’t as valuable as Amex, since Amex has more partners.

  2. I know all the credit card people like to use Avianca life miles to book domestic flights on United, but I would never choose a points currency that has no US mainline carrier transfer partners…

    Chase UR with Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and CSR still comes out on top in my book.

  3. I don’t feel like rewarding Citi until they clean up their ‘we saved a bunch of dollars on the Prestige insurance’ situation. Agreed that this card paired with the Premier is probably sensible for someone who doesn’t care about that.

  4. While I may have some Citi cards (AA cards?), I generally avoid them for poor service. I once had 2 cards that had $75 AF each and called to cancel. They didn’t cancel and started charging late fees. I had to call multiple times and ask for supervisors. Finally they fixed everything except they screwed themselves out of $150.

    Yeah, they ended up crediting my account too much and sent me a check for about $75 on each account. Not really worth the hassle for me but at least I got something out of it.

  5. @Rich

    Forgive me for making a federal crime out of $75.

    The subpoena is being drawn and will be sent to Gary.

  6. >>Are there any bonus offers for new accounts?<<

    @Daniel, No.

    Citi can pull of the 2% cash back because it doesn't waste money on churners.

  7. Amex business blue is hardly the runner up. If your spend is 50k or less it blows DC out of water because you can transfer the points to travel partners if you only have that card. DC requires having a second citi card with subpar benefits and AF.

  8. One minor clarification to their advertising: you don’t get the second reward point until the subsequent billing cycle; not “when you pay.”

  9. I got this card, paid my statement when it closed, got the 1X points for spending, but not the 1X points for the payment.

  10. @JosephN

    Citi has always been the easiest to churn, until recently, it easy to get apps without the antichurning clauses.

  11. I have the Double Cash, but don’t ever have the right situation to use it because it is a CIti Mastercard. Due to foreign exchange fees, it is strictly a domestic card. Not useful for airfare (AMEX Platinum), travel and dining (CSR), or any unbonused spend that takes AMEX (Business Blue up to $50K). The primary situation I have where I wish I could optimize better is Costco which takes only Visa. I content myself with the Chase Unlimited for 1.5X, but if I could pull 2X convertible points, that would be awesome. I spend $30K+ /year at Costco alone. Is there a Visa version of this card?

  12. Assuming you have the premium card to trigger transferability, this no-annual fee card is great for unbonused spend. It’s also uncapped. Curious how Citi will make the numbers work on this.

  13. Any card that charges a fee based on political boundaries (“foreign purchase fee”) does not belong in my wallet. What an ethically corrupt product.

  14. @Beachfan

    I don’t know what Citi card you are talking about. You didn’t specify one. This thread is about Doublecash, and Doublecash does not have a sign up bonus.

    The super low marketing cost is the only way Citi can make a go of it with an uncapped 2% cashback card.

  15. @highperf- this may not be worth the hassle, but you can
    buy Costco gift cards online with any cc and shop with those in-store. (Particularly good Delta egift card deal right now)

  16. I converted my double cash rewards into points, then looked at redemption options. Only one airline, JetBlue, was shown! A Citibank chat revealed that the card’s options were more limited that my Prestige card, and this was no error. This would be a show-stopper, but the agent told me to call the ThankYou center and consolidate the two ThankYou accounts by folding the Double Cash account into my Prestige account. Problem solved! Now the Prestige account shows points from both accounts, and future Double Cash points will go there too. A PITA to have to go through this process!

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