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Balance Transfers

Citi Diamond Preferred vs. Citi Custom Cash

Balance transfer offers with long-term potential


The Citi Diamond Preferred and Citi Custom Cash cards can both be valuable cards, but one is better for customers who need to pay off high-interest debt and the other is better for customers who want to earn cash back.

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Struggling to pay off your credit card debt? Are high-interest payments adding to your misery? Then the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card or the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card could help.

Both cards offer long introductory 0% interest rate on balance transfer offers and new purchases. You can transfer your existing debt to these cards and pay it off without worrying about making interest payments, as long as you pay enough each month to erase all your transferred debt before the 0% introductory offer ends. This could save you hundreds of dollars in interest, depending on how much you transfer.

But which Citi card is right for you, the Diamond Preferred or the Custom Cash? That largely depends on how much existing credit card debt you want to pay off and how many months you might need to eliminate all of it.

The Citi Diamond Preferred card is a basic card that doesn’t offer rewards but comes with a longer 0% interest period on balance transfers than the Custom Cash card. The Custom Cash card, though, offers a longer 0% interest rate period on new purchases, along with a cash back rewards program in which you can earn as much as 5% back on purchases in a category that you choose.

Comparing card features: Citi Diamond Preferred vs. Citi Custom Cash

At first glance, the Citi Diamond Preferred and the Citi Custom Cash are excellent cards to help you pay off credit card debt you’ve amassed from other high-interest cards, but after a closer look, the two cards do have some big differences that set them apart.

Below is a comparison table that quickly summarizes the characteristics of each card:

CardCiti® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Welcome bonusNo welcome offer$200 cash back if you charge $750 within three months of opening your account
Balance transfer offer0% interest on balance transfers for 21 months and on purchases for 12 months0% interest on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months
Regular APR13.74% to 23.74% variable13.99% to 23.99% variable
RewardsNo rewards programEarn 5% cash back in the spending category of your choice, up to the first $500 spent, then 1% after that

Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases

Annual feeNoneNone

Balance transfer offer

The Citi Diamond Preferred card comes with one of the longer 0% interest periods in the industry. You’ll get 0% intro interest for 21 months on balance transfers. After this period, your rate will adjust to a variable APR of 13.74% to 23.74% depending on your credit. It offers a solid 12 months intro 0% APR on purchases, also followed by the regular APR of 13.74% to 23.74% variable.

You will have to pay a balance transfer fee, though, of either $5 or 5% of the amount transferred, whichever is higher. Balance transfers must be completed within four months of opening your account to qualify for the 0% offer.

The Citi Custom Cash card comes with its own 0% introductory offer on purchases and balance transfers. It lasts for 15 months, though, claiming the middle ground between the Diamond Preferred’s longer balance transfer offer but shorter purchase offer. The balance transfer fee for this card is $5 or 5% of the amount you transfer, whichever is higher.

Rewards program

The Citi Custom Cash card comes with a solid cash back program. You’ll earn 5% cash back in the category of your choice, including restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, travel, transit, streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs or live entertainment.

You’ll earn 5% cash back in your chosen category on up to $500 charged in each billing cycle, then 1% after that. You’ll also earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points, meaning that you’ll earn 5 points for every $1 on purchases in your chosen spending category and 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases. You can redeem your points for cash back as a direct deposit or a statement credit or for travel at the ThankYou rewards center. If you have a qualifying Citi card, like the Citi Premier® Card, you could also transfer your ThankYou points to Citi’s 16 travel partners.

The Citi Diamond Preferred card does not offer a rewards program.

Other perks

The Citi Diamond Preferred card is a fairly basic credit card. Its biggest perk is its long 0% introductory interest rate offer. However, that doesn’t mean that this card doesn’t come with other features.

You can set up automatic account alerts to remind you if your credit card balance is getting too high, payment is due or if you’ve gone over your credit limit. You can also choose your own payment due date each month that works with your monthly paydays. The Diamond Preferred Card also comes with identity theft solutions and protection against unauthorized charges. And with Citi Entertainment, you can get special access to tickets to events across the country.

Other than its own long 0% interest offer and its solid cash back program, the Citi Custom Cash card also comes with a welcome bonus. You’ll earn $200 in cash back if you spend $750 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.

You can also add authorized users to the Citi Custom cash card at no cost and earn points on the purchases that they make with their cards.

Citi Diamond Preferred Card: Best for paying off credit card debt

The main selling point of the Diamond Preferred card is its 21-month 0% interest offer on balance transfers. This offer is especially valuable for consumers who have racked up plenty of high-interest debt on other credit cards.

If you transfer that debt to the Citi Diamond Preferred card, you’ll have 21 months to pay it off without having to pay any interest. Just be careful: Once the introductory interest rate period ends, the interest rate on this card will rise to 13.74% to 23.74% variable APR. If you haven’t paid off the debt you transferred by then, you’ll have to pay this higher interest rate on your remaining balance.

See related: How to maximize the Citi Diamond Preferred Card

Citi Custom Cash Card: Best for category spending

The Citi Custom Cash card rewards cardholders who charge a lot each month at certain types of stores. Love dining with friends after work? You can choose restaurants as your 5% cash back bonus category. A movie buff? You can earn 5% cash back on streaming subscriptions. Renovating your home?  You can earn this cash back when buying a new saw and plywood at home-improvement stores.

The Custom Cash card is a good choice for everyone who spends big at one particular type of retailer each month. If you’re more interested in earning cash back than you are in a longer 0% interest offer, the Citi Custom Cash card is a better choice.

Bottom line

Although both the Diamond Preferred and Custom Cash cards offer long 0% interest offers, that’s where their similarities end. The Diamond Preferred is a more basic card, not offering any rewards program. The Custom Cash card, however, gives cardholders the opportunity to earn plenty of cash back depending on how they spend each month.

Both cards are good choices if you need to pay off high-interest debt on other credit cards. The long 0% interest offer on balance transfers – 21 months for the Diamond Preferred and 15 for the Custom Cash – gives you plenty of time to pay off your other credit card debt without worrying about interest payments (before the regular APRs kick in at the end of the intro periods).

If you can pay off your high-interest credit card debt in 15 months, the Custom Cash card is a solid addition to your wallet. If you think you’ll need the extra six months that come with the Diamond Preferred card, you might consider applying for that one instead.

See related: Citi Custom Cash vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card

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.

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