Converting cash back into points is only the first step to boosting the value of Citi’s Double Cash – if you really want to maximize it, pair it with another Citi rewards card
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Dear Cashing In,
I like my Citi® Double Cash Card but just got a letter saying I can now use it to earn points, too. Should I? Is it worth it? – Jamie
When it comes to credit card rewards, there is nothing more flexible than cash. Surveys consistently show that cash back is the most popular reward. You can use cash for anything, and the rewards are easy to understand.
Now, though, has Citi devised a rewards program that is even more flexible than cash? Last month, the card company started allowing points from its Double Cash card to be used not just for cash back – it already had a strong, flat cash-back rate of 2 percent – but also for Citi ThankYou points.
See related: Best cash back cards
How ThankYou points redemption on Citi Double Cash works
A lot of reward programs allow you to redeem points for cash or travel. But the difference with Citi is that the redemption rate for cash and the redemption rate for points to use toward travel are both pretty favorable. The options are:
- Redeem for 2 percent cash back on all purchases (1 percent when purchased, plus 1 percent when you pay your bill)
- Redeem for 100 points per $1 of cash back.
Let’s look at how that might play out. Say you charge $2,000 on your Citi Double Cash card. On those charges, you could choose to take the 2 percent back in cash, or $40. Or you could choose to take the reward in points as 4,000 ThankYou points.
If you like receiving cash as a reward, you can continue to do that. But the real upside to this change from Citi is some of the potential it unlocks for travel rewards. That’s especially true if you have or are planning to get another card that has Citi ThankYou points as a reward.
If you just have the Citi® Double Cash Card, the advantages to this change are comparatively meager.
- You can convert your money to ThankYou points, but you can largely just use them to purchase travel on Citi’s travel portal.
- There’s not a huge advantage to doing that. You could accomplish the same thing by taking the cash and just buying plane tickets or hotel rooms like you usually do. You could also transfer the points to JetBlue.
But having another Citi card – like the Citi Premier Card or the Citi Prestige Card – can unlock a little better value. That’s because with those cards, you have the ability to transfer ThankYou points to more than a dozen airlines.
Using Double Cash in conjunction with one of those cards would enhance your ability to earn points.
- Citi Premier offers 3 points per dollar spent on travel, including gas.
- Citi Prestige offers 5 points per dollar spent on air travel and restaurants, and 3 points per dollar spent on hotels and cruise lines.
You could use those cards for spending in areas where they earn extra points and use Double Cash for everything else, since that spending on everything else is worth double points. That’s where the real value is in this change.
Still, the change by itself isn’t bad. It gives you more options, which is rare for a card than has no annual fee.
However, most people who have Citi Double Cash signed up for it for the cash. They will probably stick with it.
Information about the Citi Premier and Citi Prestige cards has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.