Citi Custom Cash vs. Citi Double Cash

Which cash back card from Citi offers better rewards?

Summary

The Citi Custom Cash offers 5 percent cash back on up to $500 spent each billing cycle in the category that you spend the most in. The Citi Double Cash offers up to 2 percent cash back on all purchases, with no limits. Let’s see how these two cards compare.

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The value of reward points and miles often vary based on what airlines and hotels will let you redeem them for, but cash back rewards usually steadily remain valuable. Citi is one of the leading issuers of reward credit cards, and it includes the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card in its lineup, which offers as much as 5 percent cash back on some purchases every month. Comparing that card with an older favorite, the Citi® Double Cash Card, the competition is tight, and the card better suited for you really depends on how much you spend.

Card details

CardCiti Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Custom Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi Double Cash Card

Rewards rate5% cash back on up to $500 spent each billing cycle in your top spending category, then 1%; 1% back on all other purchasesUp to 2% cash back (1% cash back at the time of purchase and 1% when you pay your statement balance)
Introductory bonus$200 in cash back (fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou points) after you spend $1,500 on purchases within 6 months of account openingNone
Annual fee$0$0
Estimated yearly rewards value ($1,325 monthly spend, $15,900 annually, including intro bonus)$503, based on an estimated $300 a month of spending in your top category$318

Citi Custom Cash vs. Citi Double Cash

Earning rewards

Citi Custom CashCiti Double Cash Card
  • 5% cash back in your top spending category (on up to $500 each billing cycle, then 1%)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 1% cash back when you make the purchase
  • 1% when you pay off your purchase
  • $200 cash back if you spend $1,500 in 6 months
  • None

The winner: Citi Custom Cash

If we’re talking only rewards, the Citi Custom Cash will earn the average cardholder more cash back per year. On up to $500 per billing cycle, you can earn 5 percent cash back on the category you spent the most in that cycle. The eligible bonus categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select streaming services, fitness clubs and more. You’ll also earn 1 percent cash back on other purchases. If you spend around $15,900 per year and maximize the 5 percent bonus category (which should be fairly easy to do), we estimate you’d earn $399 of cash back per year. If you also add in the card’s sign-up bonus of $200, after you spend $1,500 in six months, you’ll have $599 in rewards after your first year.

The Citi Double Cash is much more straightforward, though it still earns a decent number of rewards. You earn 1 percent cash back on everything at the time of purchase, and another 1 percent back when you pay for your purchases, with no limits. You only have to remember to pay your balances on time to get that second percent back.

Redeeming rewards

Citi Custom CashCiti Double Cash
  • Cash back
  • Statement credit
  • Direct deposit
  • Check
  • Gift cards
  • Shop with Points
  • Pay with Points
  • Travel
  • Cash back
  • Statement credit
  • Direct deposit
  • Check
  • Gift cards
  • Shop with Points
  • Pay with Points
  • Travel

The winner: Tie

Since they share the same issuer and are both technically cash back cards, the Citi Custom Cash and Citi Double Cash allow the same ways to redeem your rewards. In fact, both cards earn cash back in the form of Citi ThankYou points, which opens up the redemption options to include travel reservations, gift cards and Shop with Points, as well as the more traditional methods like cash back, statement credit and direct deposit.

Additionally, if you also hold the Citi Premier® Card, you can pool your points onto the Premier Card and transfer your points to one of the Citi’s airline partners.

0% introductory APR

Citi Custom CashCiti Double Cash
  • On new purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (16.24% – 26.24% variable)
  • None

The winner: Citi Custom Cash

Though its 0 percent intro APR only lasts 15 months, it could still help you, if you have some credit debt to resolve from your other high-interest card or are planning a big purchase soon (a washer, dryer, bookcase, etc.). Keep in mind though that the intro APR only applies to balance transfers performed within the first four months of account opening, and the card lacks an intro balance transfer fee, charging you 5 percent (or $5, whichever is greater) right out the gate on every transfer you make.

The Citi Custom Cash’s intro APR offer is only useful for cardholders with a small amount of debt because that balance transfer fee could quickly cut into any money you save with the 0 percent interest if you transfer a lot.

Other perks and benefits

Citi Custom CashCiti Double Cash
  • Automatic account alerts
  • Choose your payment due date
  • Mastercard ID theft protection
  • Fraud early warning
  • Free access to FICO Score
  • Citi Entertainment
  • Automatic account alerts
  • Choose your payment due date
  • Mastercard ID theft protection
  • Fraud early warning
  • Free access to FICO Score
  • Citi Entertainment

The winner: Tie

While no-annual-fee credit cards typically don’t come with a large suite of extras, these two cash back cards do offer some basic account features, such as automatic alerts, a mobile app and the ability to choose your payment date. Other benefits include Mastercard ID theft protection, fraud early warning and free access to your FICO score. Both cards also offer damage and theft protection, which can be a great perk should you have a qualifying incident.

Additionally, both cards also offer access to the Citi Entertainment program. This benefit offers you exclusive access to music, sports, culinary experiences and more.

Which card should you get?

These two Citi credit cards are quite similar, so your choice comes down to your spending.

The Custom Cash is an easy-to-use, flexible earning card that automatically selects your 5 percent category according to the category you spent the most on during that billing cycle and is great for cardholders who consistently spend $500 or more in a single category. However, since the Citi Double Cash has no limits to its cash back, it’s great for big spenders.

  • If you’re a modest spender: Because the Custom Cash Card limits your 5 percent bonus cash back to $500 of spending per billing period, you can earn only $25 in bonus cash back each month, and just 1 percent after that in your top category plus on all other purchases. The Citi Custom Cash is best for modest spenders who will maximize the 5 percent category without averaging down their rewards by earning just 1 percent on a large number of other purchases.
  • If you spend over $2,000 per month: At a certain point, the $500 monthly spend cap on the Citi Custom Cash begins to hinder how much cash back you can earn, instead of maximizing your purchases. By our calculations, those who spend $2,000 per month (or $24,000 per year) will earn the same $480 in cash back with both the Citi Custom Cash and Citi Double Cash. Anything over the monthly $2,000, you’ll start to earn more with the Citi Double Cash — that makes the flat-rate cash back card a better choice for big spenders. The Double Cash also makes sense for those who spend heavily outside of the Custom Cash spending categories that are eligible for the 5 percent.
  • If you spend a lot in the top spend categories: Anyone who spends reliably $500 or more in the top categories, such as groceries, gas, streaming services, restaurants and more, will have the easiest time making use of the Citi Custom Cash’s 5 percent bonus rate. You can go about your regular spending and watch the cash back roll in.

Bottom line

The Citi Custom Cash and Citi Double Cash are both high-value cash back cards that are better than many of their competitors. Each has a different formula that rewards cardholders with predictable cash back on everyday spending. Big spenders may enjoy the unlimited 2 percent on the Citi Double Cash more, whereas modest consumers may find the Citi Custom Cash more worth it.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

Credit Card Rate Report
Reward
17.99%
Student
18.66%
Airline
17.81%
Business
16.07%
Cash Back
17.95%

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