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Citi launches new cash back card with flexible 5% earning rate

The new no-annual-fee card from Citi can be an excellent choice for more than one type of cardholder


The new Citi Custom Cash℠ Card offers 5% cash back in your top eligible spending category that adjusts each billing cycle.

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Cash back credit cards with high cash back rates in bonus categories can offer great value, but they also can be somewhat high maintenance, either requiring an annual fee or activation of rotating categories.

The new credit card by Citi requires neither. On June 10, 2021, the issuer announced the launch of the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, an exciting no-annual-fee product with a flexible 5% cash back category. The card is now open to applications and offers $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

Citi Custom Cash Card: At a glance

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
citi custom cash

Who should get this card?

This card could be a great choice for those who’d like a low-maintenance card that offers generous cash back, as well as cardholders looking for a finishing touch to their more complex credit card strategy.

  • Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening (fulfilled as ThankYou points that can redeemed as cash)
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months (13.99% to 23.99% variable APR thereafter)
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No rotating bonus categories to sign up for – as your spending changes each billing cycle, your earning adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories
  • No annual fee
  • Citi will only issue one Citi Custom Cash℠ Card account per person.

Generous monthly cash back in the top spending category

The new Citi Custom Cash Card offers 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle (up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter). All other purchases earn 1% back.

The eligible categories include restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs and live entertainment.

Cardholders will earn cash back in the form of ThankYou points, which they’ll be able to redeem as a direct deposit, check or a statement credit or to shop with points at Additionally, points can be redeemed for gift cards or travel through the Citi travel portal.

How to maximize the Citi Custom Cash Card

The new Citi Custom Cash Card can be a great choice for two types of cardholders.

The first is cardholders seeking simplicity in their credit card strategy. If you’re opposed to cards with annual fees and don’t want to keep track of changing quarterly categories on cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the Discover it® Cash Back, the Citi Custom Cash Card is a fantastic option. Since it automatically chooses your top spending category and earns the generous 5% cash back in it, it’s a very low-maintenance product with high potential value. It can work well as a single credit card or in tandem with a flat-rate card like the Citi® Double Cash Card.

Another type of cardholder the card suits is someone looking for a card that offers rewards in their high spend category not covered by their other cards.

For example, you might have multiple cards that reward you for common expenses like groceries and gas stations. Yet, you don’t have a card to earn bonus rewards on dining. The Citi Custom Cash can be a wonderful choice since it can give you 5% back on dining – that’s more than even the best cards for restaurants offer – especially if you keep in mind that the new Citi card doesn’t charge an annual fee.

Planning big expenses

The Custom Cash can also be a good card to put a big charge on, especially considering the card’s intro APR offer. Say you’re currently doing a big home renovation project, and not earning rewards on this spending seems like a loss. You could cover these expenses with the Citi Custom Cash by using it at home improvement stores and earn 5% cash back if it’s your highest-spend category that billing cycle (on up to the first $500 spent per billing cycle, then 1%). If you carry a balance, you’ll have 15 months with no interest (13.99% to 23.99% variable APR thereafter) to pay it in full, as long as you make at least minimum payments each month.

Another example is paying for your gym membership with the Custom Cash Card. That’s a rare category on credit cards, which makes it a perfect candidate for your Custom Cash spend. You can switch to paying your membership annually, put the charge on the Custom Cash Card and earn 5% cash back for that charge if that was your top expense category that month.

Bottom line

The new Custom Cash Card from Citi is a versatile cash back credit card that can offer over $300 in annual value by our estimates if you maximize the 5% bonus cash back. The product can be a good option for both rewards cards enthusiasts and consumers who prefer simple no-annual fee cards.

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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