The Citi Custom Cash Card offers cash back that adapts to your spending habits. It may be worth a look if you’re interested in flexible rewards.
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This card offers cash back rewards that fit how you spend from month to month. Rewards are earned as Citi ThankYou Points and you can redeem them for cash, statement credits, gift cards and travel.
If you value flexibility, earning Citi Custom Cash rewards might appeal to you. But a Citi Custom Cash Card guide lets take you a closer look at how this cash back option works. Here’s what you need to know.
The value of Citi ThankYou Points
Citi ThankYou points are valued at 1 cent apiece when redeeming for cash or flights. Points value ranges from 0.5 cents to 0.83 cents on average for other redemption options such as online shopping and gift cards.
Citi Custom Cash
Citi Custom Cash rewards rate
Top eligible spend category
The Citi Custom Cash Card earns 5% back on your highest spending category each billing cycle, up to $500 in purchases. The card earns 1% back thereafter.
Eligible spending categories include:
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Select travel (including flights and hotels)
- Select transit (including car rentals)
- Select streaming services
- Home improvement stores
- Fitness clubs
- Live entertainment
Based on the Citi Custom Cash rewards structure, this card could be a good fit for everyday spending. But it could also work as a cash back option for travel when paired with a miles or points card.
1% back everywhere else
Once you reach the $500 cap for earning 5% back on your highest spending category, you’ll keep earning 1% back on those purchases until a new billing cycle begins. Meanwhile, you’ll also earn unlimited 1% back on all other purchases.
That means you can earn cash back virtually anywhere you go. So if you shop at warehouse clubs, Amazon, Target, Walmart or pet supply stores you can get 1% cash back on those purchases.
How to redeem your Citi ThankYou pointsThere are several ways to redeem Citi ThankYou Points earned with the Citi Custom Cash Card.
To redeem points, you’ll first need to log into your account. From there, you can review how many points you have to redeem and your options for redeeming them.
For example, you can redeem your points for:
- Statement credit
- Direct deposit into a bank account
- Gift cards
- Shop with Points at Amazon
There are no minimums when you redeem for statement credit or direct deposit. Points are worth 1 cent each, so 10,000 ThankYou Points can be redeemed for a $100 statement credit, a $100 check or a $100 direct deposit.
If you want to redeem for travel, you can do so through the ThankYou portal. You can also transfer ThankYou Points to select airline partners on a 1:1 basis. Travel partners include Aeromexico, Etihad Guest, JetBlue, Qantas and Virgin Atlantic.
Citi Custom Cash card protections
The Citi Custom Cash Card includes zero liability protection. That means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges to your account, online or otherwise, if your card is lost or stolen.
That’s a nice benefit to have if you’re worried about someone gaining access to your account and using it to make fraudulent purchases.
Free FICO score
You also get free FICO credit score access as a cardmember benefit. Your score is available online or through the Citi mobile app.
FICO scores are updated monthly so you can easily track score changes over time. You can also see at a glance which factors are impacting your score positively or negatively.
Citi Quick Lock
Losing your card can be a hassle but you don’t have to worry about anyone misusing it, thanks to Citi Quick Lock. This feature allows you to lock your card and block new charges until you find it or receive a replacement.
You also have fraud early-warning detection built in. This feature monitors your account for suspicious activity, then notifies so you can lock your account or take other action as needed.
Mastercard ID theft protection
With the increasing threat of identity theft, it’s good to have security features designed to help protect your information. The Citi Custom Cash Card includes Mastercard ID theft protection, which monitors your accounts for suspicious activity. It’s free to enroll and monitoring begins as soon as you’re signed up.
Maximizing your Citi Custom Cash rewards and benefits
Making the most of Citi Custom Cash rewards starts with ensuring you’re earning the full 5% back in rewards allowed each billing cycle.
Citi applies rewards automatically, based on how you spend. But you can tailor your purchases to fit the 5% rewards categories each month so you’re earning the maximum rewards.
For example, if you charge $500 per month in groceries monthly, you’ll earn 5% back, which is $300 per year.
It’s also important to be smart about how you redeem rewards. Your Citi ThankYou Points are worth 1 cent each when redeeming for direct deposit, checks or statement credit. But you might get a lower valuation if you’re redeeming for gift cards or online shopping.
Think carefully about how you want to use the rewards you’ve earned so you can wring the most value from them.
The Citi Custom Cash Card could be a good fit, depending on how you spend each month. Since there’s no annual fee, you might prefer it to a flat-rate cash back rewards card that offers 1.5% or 2% back. But it pays to crunch the numbers to see how valuable it would be for you. Looking at your last six to 12 months’ worth of purchases can help you max out the 5% rewards rate each month.