Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card review: One of the most generous balance transfer offers out there

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card review: One of the most generous balance transfer offers out there

Updated: November 15, 2022

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Updated: November 15, 2022

Partner Offer: Citi is an advertising partner

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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
3.9 rating
3.9 rating
3.9 / 5
Introductory Offer:5.0
Rates & fees:2.2
Features:4.0
Issuer Customer Experience3.0

In a Nutshell:

Thanks to its long introductory offer on balance transfers, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is a solid option if you need to pay down debt. Just be sure to factor in the card’s high balance transfer fee when weighing options.

Learn more about this card

0% Introductory period (balance transfers)
21 months

Excellent

0% Introductory period (purchases)
12 months

Fair

Transfer fee
$5 or 5% (whichever is higher)

Poor

Regular APR
16.74% - 27.49% (Variable)

Average

Annual fee
$0

Excellent

Citi Customer Service Ratings

  • J. D. Power 2020 customer satisfaction rating: 801 (50% of issuers in this category ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: Yes
  • Online chat available?: Yes
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.7/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.9/5
Average

Other Notable Features: Choose your payment due date, extended warranty, personal concierge service, damage and theft purchase protection, Citi Entertainment, Citi Easy Deals, Apple Pay

Low Interest Rating:
3.7 rating
3.7 rating
3.7 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties:2.7
APR:2.0
Features:1.5
Issuer Customer Experience3.0

In a Nutshell:

Thanks to its long introductory offer on balance transfers, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is a solid option if you need to pay down debt or finance a large purchase. Just be sure to factor in the card’s high balance transfer fee when weighing options.

Learn more about this card

Regular APR
16.74% - 27.49% (Variable)

Poor

Introductory Purchase APR
0% for 12 months

Excellent

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
0% for 21 months

Excellent

Fees

  • No annual fee
  • 5% or $5 balance transfer fee (whichever is higher)
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 5% or $10 cash advance fee (whichever is higher)
Fair

Penalties

  • Up to $41 late payment fee
  • Up to 29.99% penalty APR (variable)
  • Up to $41 returned payment fee
Poor

Citi Customer Service Ratings

  • J. D. Power 2020 customer satisfaction rating: 801 (50% of issuers in this category ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: Yes
  • Online chat available?: Yes
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.7/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.9/5
Very Good

Other Notable Features: Choose your payment due date, extended warranty, personal concierge service, damage and theft purchase protection, Citi Entertainment, Citi Easy Deals, Apple Pay

The Citi Diamond Preferred card is considered one of the best balance transfer cards if you need a lot of time to pay off debt since it carries one of the longest introductory APR periods for balance transfers on the market.

That said, the card comes with a high balance transfer fee, a disappointingly short intro APR period on new purchases and likely won’t hold much long-term value due to its thin perks and lack of an ongoing rewards program. While the Citi Diamond Preferred will help you get the job done if you need to pay off debt, it’s far from your only option, especially if you’d also like a card that earns rewards in the future.

See related: How I use my Citi Diamond Preferred

Pros

  • One of the longest introductory APR periods for balance transfers
  • No annual fee, giving you a low cost option to put a pause on interest
  • Potential to borrow against your available credit at a fixed rate with a Citi Flex Plan

Cons

  • No ongoing rewards program unlike some other cards with decent balance transfer offers
  • Short intro APR period on new purchases
  • High balance transfer fee
  • The minimum credit card APR is below the current average interest rate, but your ongoing APR could be quite high after the introductory period

Why you might want the Citi Diamond Preferred Card

If you need a balance transfer card to pay off credit card debt or hit pause on your monthly interest charges, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card will likely stand out for its exceptionally introductory intro balance transfer APR.

Long 0% introductory APR on balance transfers

The Citi Diamond Preferred card comes with one of the longest 0% introductory APR offers for balance transfers on the market: You can get a 0% intro APR for 21 months, with a 16.74% to 27.49% variable APR thereafter. That’s three months longer than the card’s previous offer and easily beats out the offers you’ll find on many competing balance transfer cards, which typically offer introductory periods of 12 to 18 months.

There are only a few other cards that can match the Citi Diamond Preferred card’s balance transfer offer, including the Citi Simplicity® Card (which also offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months, followed by a 17.74% to 28.49% variable APR), the BankAmericard® credit card (which offers a 0% intro APR on both purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 21 billing cycles, followed by a 14.99% to 24.99% variable APR) and the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card. The Reflect card offers a 0% intro APR for up to 21 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers if you make your minimum payment on time each month during the card’s intro period (16.74% to 28.74% variable APR after that).

If you’re looking for as much breathing room as possible as you chip away at your balance, having 21 months to pay down your balance could be exactly what you need. Just be sure to transfer your balance early, as you must complete your balance transfer within four months of opening the account to take advantage of the promotional offer.

See related: How to transfer a balance to a Citi credit card

Limited-time welcome offer

Dedicated balance transfer cards rarely come with any sort of rewards or bonuses, but for a limited time the Citi Diamond Preferred is offering a valuable sign-up bonus: a $150 statement credit after you spend $500 in your first three months. While that may not sound like a huge bonus, it could go a long way toward lowering the total cost of your balance transfer. Indeed, if you’re transferring a balance of $3,000 or less to the Diamond Preferred, the $150 bonus would completely offset your balance transfer fee (5% or $5, whichever is greater). Even if you transferred a larger balance, this $150 bonus — which most people could earn easily via everyday spending on staples like groceries and gas — could make the Diamond Preferred a cheaper option than cards with lower balance transfer fees and no sign-up bonus.

You can borrow against your available credit limit at a fixed rate

While it doesn’t carry many flashy perks, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card could come in handy if unexpected, major expenses pop up. As a Citi cardholder, you may be able to take advantage of a Citi Flex Plan, which allows you to borrow cash against your available credit limit and pay it back at a fixed rate (between 16.74% to 27.49%) over a set term of up to 60 months (depending on your creditworthiness). These rates could make a Citi Flex Plan cheaper than a cash advance (which poses a 28.99% variable APR), but be sure to read your plan terms carefully since some may charge an additional 1.72% monthly plan fee.

Since a Citi Flex Plan uses the existing credit line on your Citi card, you won’t have to fill out an application, go through a credit check or pay an origination fee. Unfortunately, though, you must be offered a Citi Flex Plan and not all cardholders are eligible.

Why you might want a different card

If earning rewards is important to you or if you need a lengthy intro period on new purchases to pay off large expenses, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card may not be your best option. Plus, if you’re assigned the card’s high-end APR, carrying a balance beyond your intro APR period could prove especially costly. Make sure to consider your spending habits and other card options before you apply.

Short 0% introductory APR on new purchases

Though the Citi Diamond Preferred Card got a boost via its extended intro APR period for balance transfers, it took a hit with a shortened introductory APR period on new purchases. You now get a 0% intro APR for your first 12 months on new purchases (16.74% to 27.49% variable APR thereafter) – a six-month decrease from the card’s previous offer.

Whether you’re planning a move, home renovation or even a vacation, being able to spread out payments on large expenses with a card’s extra-long financing period could be a big help. But depending on the size of your purchase, 12 months may not be enough time for you. This short intro APR period is especially disappointing since many low-interest cards offer longer intro APR periods on new purchases and a matching intro APR on balance transfers.

If you are looking for time to make payments on new purchases while avoiding interest, consider the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, which allows you to pay off new purchases (and balance transfers made in the first 60 days) over your first 18 billing cycles (18.24% to 28.24% variable APR after that).

See related: Best credit cards for large purchases

Increased balance transfer fee

Unfortunately, the Diamond Preferred card charges a high balance transfer fee. While the card once charged a 3% balance transfer fee (or $5, whichever was higher), the Diamond Preferred now charges a whopping 5% balance transfer fee (again, with a $5 minimum). This is a major downside and could add up to hundreds more in fees if you have a large balance to transfer.

Though cards with no balance transfer fees can be tough to find, plenty of balance transfer cards offer a 3% balance transfer fee. And though you may need to sacrifice a few months of 0% intro APR, opting for a card with a lower balance transfer fee than the Diamond Preferred could save you more money in the long run.

The high-end APR could cost you

After the promotional period on balance transfers and new purchases ends, the Citi Diamond Preferred card’s ongoing APR will be 16.74% to 27.49% (variable), depending on your creditworthiness.

While the card’s low-end APR is slightly below the average APR for a balance transfer card, the high-end is very high indeed. Additionally, if you struggle to pay on time, you could face a penalty APR of up to 29.99% (variable) and a late payment fee of up to $41.

Carrying a revolving balance can really cost you with this card, so if you have less-than-perfect credit and suspect you’ll only qualify for the higher-end APR, make sure you have a plan in place to ensure you pay off your balance during the promotional period and avoid racking up additional debt.

No rewards program and limited perks

Aside from its generous intro APR period for balance transfers, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card offers cardholders few ongoing benefits. You’ll get access to Citi Entertainment℠, a program that provides special access to ticket sales, preferred seating and VIP packages at concerts, sporting events and dining experiences, as well as a chance to save with the Citi Easy Deals program, which gives cardholders discounts on a variety of everyday purchases.

Unfortunately, you won’t earn any regular rewards or get any ongoing credits or discounts bundled with the card, which will limit its long-term value. While paying off debt should definitely be your top priority following a balance transfer, you can still take advantage of a balance transfer card that offers rewards to save on everyday purchases.

For example, consider the Citi® Double Cash Card, which not only offers an 18-month introductory period for balance transfers (17.74% to 27.74% variable APR thereafter), but also gives you a chance to earn cash back on all of your eligible purchases (up to 2% back, 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off those purchases). The ongoing cash back you earn with a card like the Double Cash could even save you more overall than a card with a much longer intro APR period. Meanwhile, if financing new purchases is more of a priority for you, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is another option, offering unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a 0% introductory APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (17.99% to 27.99% variable APR thereafter).

How does the Citi Diamond Preferred Card compare to other balance transfer cards?

The Citi Diamond Preferred card’s main selling point is its extremely long 0% introductory offer on balance transfers, but the card is thin on other perks. Here are a couple of our favorite alternatives, each of which comes with a solid 0% introductory offer on balance transfers as well as other perks like a longer intro APR period on purchases or ongoing rewards.

Wells Fargo Reflect

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

 

Discover it Balance Transfer

BankAmericard® credit card

Discover it Balance Transfer

Citi® Double Cash Card

Introductory period (new purchases)

Up to 21 months from account opening

Introductory period (new purchases)

21 billing cycles

Introductory period (new purchases)

None

Introductory period (balance transfers)

Up to 21 months from account opening (if made in first 120 days). A 3% fee (min. $5) applies (up to 5% after the first 120 days).

Introductory period (balance transfers)

21 billing cycles on balance transfers made within the first 60 days

Introductory period (balance transfers)

18 months (if made in first four months). An intro balance transfer fee of 3% (min. $5) applies for balance transfers completed within the first four months of account opening (then 5%, min. $5).

Regular APR

16.74% - 28.74% Variable APR

Regular APR

14.99% - 24.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Regular APR

17.74% - 27.74% (Variable)

Other things to know

  • Includes cellphone protection against damage or theft (up to $600 per claim and two claims per year, subject to a $25 deductible)
  • Earn cash back as an account credit with My Wells Fargo Deals card-linked offer program
  • Start with an 18-month 0% intro APR, which you can extend for three months if you make your minimum payments on time each month for the duration of the intro period
Other things to know

  • No rewards program
  • Earn cash back with BankAmeriDeals card-linked offer program
  • Offers a remarkably low interest rate after the intro APR periods end, a low 3% balance transfer fee ($10 minimum) and no penalty APR
Other things to know

  • Earn up to 2% cash back on every purchase (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off purchases)
  • Rewards expire if card is not used for more than 12 months

Citi Diamond Preferred vs. Wells Fargo Reflect Card

A hot pick thanks to its long introductory periods on both qualifying balance transfers and new purchases, the Wells Fargo Reflect Card offers up to 21 months of 0% intro APR from account opening on both qualifying balance transfers and new purchases if you make your monthly payments on time for the duration of your intro period (16.74% to 28.74% variable APR thereafter).

See related: How to transfer a balance with a Wells Fargo credit card

Citi Diamond Preferred vs. BankAmericard

If you want some breathing room on new purchases, the BankAmericard credit card delivers a 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 21 billing cycles (balance transfers must be made in the first 60 days). Plus, the BankAmericard poses a lower 3% balance transfer fee ($10 minimum) and 14.99% to 24.99% variable APR after your intro offer period ends. Although the BankAmericard’s ongoing interest rate isn’t much lower than the Citi Diamond Preferred card’s rate, the BankAmericard can save you far more money if you’re transferring a large balance or you need time to pay off purchases.

See related: BankAmericard benefits guide

Citi Diamond Preferred vs. Citi Double Cash Card

Since it’s marketed mostly as a general cash back credit card, the Citi Double Cash card’s generous balance transfer terms may surprise you. While the card lacks an introductory APR on new purchases, you can take advantage of a 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers (17.74% to 27.74% variable thereafter). The card’s flat-rate cash back earning scheme provides better long-term value than you’ll find on the Citi Diamond Preferred and even encourages good spending habits, since you’ll earn 1% back when you buy and 1% back when you pay off your purchases. What’s more, the Double Cash card offers a much lower 3% intro balance transfer fee ($5 minimum; increases to 5% for transfers after the first four months), which can save you serious money if you’re moving a large balance.

How to use the Citi Diamond Preferred card:

  • If your primary goal is to use the introductory offer to pay off debt, try to avoid new purchases that will incur more debt.
  • If you use the introductory APR for big purchases, make sure you can pay the card off before the introductory period is over.
  • Try out our balance transfer calculator to see if the money you’ll save with the card’s long introductory offer on balance transfers justifies the high balance transfer fee.
  • Enroll in Citi Easy Deals to earn special discounts on certain purchases.

See related: Things to do when you get the Citi Diamond Preferred

Is the Citi Diamond Preferred Card right for you?

The Citi Diamond Preferred Card’s long introductory APR on balance transfers is hard to beat and may make the card a good fit if you think you’ll need a long time to pay down your balance. However, if you have big expenses on the horizon or want more long-term rewards value from your balance transfer card, you might want to look into other options like the BankAmericard or Citi Double Cash card.

Frequently Asked Questions

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