The Citi Diamond Preferred Card and the Citi Double Cash Card both feature no annual fee and a lengthy introductory APR period on balance transfers, but they differ in their potential for earning cash back rewards and an introductory offer for purchase APR.
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If you’re looking for a straightforward credit card with no annual fee, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card and the Citi® Double Cash Card might be on your shortlist. These two Citi credit cards have no annual fee, along with an attractive introductory APR on balance transfers. Additionally, the Diamond Preferred features an introductory APR on purchases.
A possible downside if you’re looking for a new card is that the Citi Diamond Preferred card has no sign-up bonus and no ongoing rewards program. Similarly, the Citi Double Cash card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, but it does offer up to 2% cash back on all general purchases (1% when you buy, 1% as you pay), making it an attractive card to use for ongoing purchases. Let’s dive into more details on how these two choices from Citi stack up.
Citi Double Cash vs. Diamond Preferred
Below is a comparison table showing some of the key differences between the Citi Diamond Preferred and the Citi Double Cash cards:
|Rewards rate||None||2% cash back on general purchases (1% cash back when you make the purchase and an additional 1% cash back when you pay off those purchases)|
|Introductory balance transfer APR||21-month introductory 0% APR on transfers completed with the first 4 months (13.74% – 23.74% variable thereafter)||18-month introductory 0% APR (13.99% – 23.99% variable thereafter)|
|Introductory purchase APR||12-month introductory 0% APR (13.74% – 23.74% variable thereafter)||None|
The Citi Diamond Preferred card does not earn any points or rewards from using it for ongoing purchases. On the other hand, the Citi Double Cash card earns up to 2% cash back. The Citi Double Cash rewards you by paying 1% cash back on most purchases (excluding gift cards) and an additional 1% cash back as you pay off those purchases. Assuming that you pay off your statement in full each month, you will earn 2% cash back using your Citi Double Cash card.
Neither cards offer any sort of sign-up bonus (a one-time welcome offer where you could earn extra rewards or cash back for meeting a spending threshold). This lack of a sign-up bonus or extra rewards period could be a drawback when compared to other cards.
Since the Diamond Preferred card earns no rewards, you will have no points to redeem. With the Citi Double Cash, redeeming rewards is fairly straightforward.
The easiest way to redeem the rewards you get from the Citi Double Cash is to apply the cash back as a statement credit to your account. Earning up to 2% on every purchase won’t give you an incredible reward (1% when you buy and 1% as you pay), but it can be a solid amount to help cover some of your purchases.
If you don’t want to take the Citi Double Cash rewards as cash, you can also convert your cash back to Citi ThankYou points. This option is available to you if you have another Citi credit card that earns ThankYou points. With Citi ThankYou points, you have a lot of different options to redeem your rewards.
You can redeem your points for travel, which can be powerful, especially if you do have another Citi card that earns ThankYou points. You can also take advantage of transferring your ThankYou points to one of Citi’s hotel or airline transfer partners. Transferring to hotel and airline transfer partners is one way that you can get outsized value from the rewards you earn with the Citi Double Cash.
Neither the Citi Double Cash nor the Citi Diamond Preferred card has an annual fee, which makes the two cards equal from that perspective. Having a no-annual-fee card can be a sound financial decision, since paying too much in annual fees can put a pinch on your wallet, and the annual fee may not be worth it in many instances. Keeping a card with no annual fee that you’ve had for a long time can also be a great way to increase your average age of accounts, which is an important factor in determining your credit score.
If you’re trying to compare the Citi Diamond Preferred versus the Double Cash Back, you might also be interested in looking at some of the other perks and benefits of the two cards. The main perks these two cards offer are their introductory APRs.
Introductory 0% APR on balance transfer
One of the great Citi Double Cash benefits is the introductory 18-month 0% APR on balance transfers (13.99% – 23.99% variable thereafter). The Diamond Preferred offers a 21-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers completed in the first 4 months (13.74 – 23.74% variable thereafter).
The Citi Double Cash Card charges a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount or $5, whichever is greater, while the Citi Diamond Preferred Card charges a balance transfer fee of 5% of the amount or $5, whichever is greater. If you choose to make a balance transfer to your Citi card, paying it off before the end of the intro period could save you money in fewer interest payments.
Introductory 0% APR on purchases
One of the Citi Diamond Preferred benefits is that in addition to the introductory APR on balance transfers, it offers 12 months of a 0% intro APR for purchases (13.74% – 23.74% variable thereafter). This can make the Diamond Preferred an attractive option for people who are looking to make a large purchase and pay it off over time without accruing interest.
The two cards do offer some other minor perks and benefits, including the Diamond Preferred’s access to Citi Easy Deals and Citi Entertainment.
Citi Diamond Preferred: Best for those making a large purchase
Is Citi Diamond Preferred a good card? It depends on what you’re looking for. The Diamond Preferred doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus or rewards program, which puts it behind many other credit cards. The one Citi Diamond Preferred perk that truly sets it apart is its 21-month introductory 0% APR on balance transfers and 12-month introductory 0% APR on new purchases (13.74% – 23.74% variable APR thereafter).
Very few credit cards out there offer introductory APR on purchases, and combining that with an introductory APR on balance transfers sets the Diamond Preferred card apart. If you have outstanding credit card balances that you’re looking to get some extra time on, or if you have upcoming large purchases that you can’t pay off immediately, the Diamond Preferred may be a good option for you.
Remember, though, that the Citi Diamond Preferred card does charge a balance transfer fee of 5% or $5, whichever is higher. So even though you won’t pay any ongoing interest over the introductory APR period, you will have to pay the balance transfer fee.
Citi Double Cash: Best for those wanting solid rewards with every purchase
The Double Cash’s 2% cash back (1% when you buy and 1% as you pay) is an extremely attractive return for a no-annual-fee credit card. The ability to also convert your cash back to ThankYou points makes it even more attractive.
While you may want to use a different credit card for some purchases, such as if you’re meeting a welcome-bonus spending requirement or have a category bonus on that other card, having a reliable standby like the Citi Double Cash ensures you’ll be getting at least 2% cash back on all purchases (that are paid on time).
The Citi Diamond Preferred and Citi Double Cash are two credit cards from Citi that both offer no annual fee. You’ll need to have a Citi preapproval or have good or excellent credit to be approved for either of these two cards. Both cards offer an introductory APR offer on balance transfers.
The Diamond Preferred also offers an introductory APR on purchases, while the Citi Double Cash yield up to 2% cash back on all general purchases (1% when you buy, 1% as you pay). Deciding which of those gives you the most value will help you decide which of these two cards makes the most sense for you.