If you have a balance you’re struggling to pay off, racking up interest at a high rate, it might be worth looking into a balance transfer card like the Citi Diamond Preferred.
Here at CreditCards.com, most of our staff are self-professed credit card nerds. We really take advantage of the cards we write about – whether for the rewards, perks or balance transfer offers.
I spoke with Abel Vivas, a compliance associate on our credit cards team, to get all the details of how he maximized his Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, taking advantage of its generous introductory offer on balance transfers to pay down some debt while saving on interest. Here’s a quick look at how he makes the most of the card – and why you might be able to as well.
Citi Diamond Preferred: At a glance
Designed primarily for paying off purchases over time, the Citi Diamond Preferred is a no-frills card with no rewards program. What it offers instead are two lengthy zero interest introductory APR offers – 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers and 0% intro APR for 12 months on new purchases (after the intro periods the regular APR is 13.99% to 23.99% variable).
You’ll be charged a 5% balance transfer fee (or $5, whichever is greater), but that cost should be easy to offset with what you’ll save in interest. However, it’s important to note that the 0% intro APR only applies to balance transfers completed within the first four months of account opening. If a balance transfer is performed after those first four months, the APR may increase from 0%, even during the first 21 months.
Using the Citi Diamond Preferred introductory offers
Balance transfer offer
Abel said the balance transfer offer was his primary motivation for applying for the Citi Diamond Preferred.
“I definitely took advantage of the card’s intro balance transfer offer. When I got the card, it was offering an intro 0% APR for 21 months – which was the main reason I found the card to be appealing. Luckily, I applied and was approved before the issuer changed the intro BT offer to only 18 months*,” said Abel.
He says that even with the balance transfer fee, he realized he could save significant money on interest by consolidating his debt.
“Once approved for the card, I immediately transferred a balance from a card that was charging me over 18% in interest. At the time, the Diamond Preferred was charging a 5% balance transfer fee (now 3%)*, which was a bummer. However, I factored in the smaller charge and compared it to what I would continue to pay by keeping a balance on my card with the high interest rate,” said Abel.
Abel created a repayment plan to ensure he could pay off his balance before the intro APR offer ended. That way, he didn’t have to pay any more interest before he was out of debt.
*The current balance transfer offer on the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is 0% intro APR for 21 months from date of first transfer (13.99% to 23.99% variable APR thereafter), with a balance transfer fee of 5% or $5, whichever is greater.
Introductory purchase APR
In addition to a generous offer on balance transfers, the Citi Diamond Preferred comes with a 0% intro offer for new purchases. You can enjoy a 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening before the 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR kicks in.
While Abel didn’t take advantage of this offer when he first signed up for the card, he said he would have had the timing been right.
“When I applied for this card, I had one goal in mind and one goal only. I was going to pay off the balance from my high-interest card. Since I didn’t make any purchases at all with this card, I didn’t save any money during the intro purchase offer. But had the world not closed during the pandemic, I would have taken advantage of this offer and would have gone on a long vacation,” said Abel.
Ongoing use for the Citi Diamond Preferred
Since it doesn’t have a rewards program, you might wonder if the Citi Diamond Preferred offers any ongoing value once the intro periods are over.
While it’s definitely not the card you’ll reach for to rack up cash back, the Diamond Preferred still comes with some useful perks that can offer value.
“I am a big fan of concerts, and Citi continually has Citi Entertainment offers that allow cardholders early access to concerts. I will continue to hold onto this card for the long haul as long as Citi continues to offer me early access to concerts and sporting events,” said Abel.
The Diamond Preferred also qualifies for the Citi Easy Deals program, which provides local offers from restaurants and retailers and potentially more savings depending on how much you spend in a calendar year. It doesn’t seem that attractive, but could still prove useful if you use the card on everyday purchases.
See related: How to maximize the Citi Diamond Preferred
Abel also keeps the card around to boost his credit score, as the additional credit limit is a boon to his credit utilization ratio. According to Abel, “the unused credit line has allowed my credit utilization rate to drop and my available credit amount to increase. It’s a win-win.”
Is the Citi Diamond Preferred worth it?
If you, like Abel, have a balance you’re struggling to pay off, while racking up interest at a high rate, it might be worth looking into a balance transfer card like the Citi Diamond Preferred.
Abel says his experience with the card was “100% worth it.”
“I just wish I had done it sooner, so I didn’t pay interest to my old card (which only collects dust now),” he said. “This card will continue to help me in my pursuit of a perfect credit score.”