The Citi Double Cash Card is one of the best flat rate credit cards in the industry. A stalwart in Citi’s credit card lineup, the Double Cash is still extremely popular among cash back lovers and travelers alike. However, this two-toned credit card is not for everyone. Therefore, this post explains why you should not get the Citi Double Cash Card.
Released in September 2014 to critical acclaim, the Double Cash made headlines with its unique and valuable earning structure. Citi also made rewards earned with this card transferrable into Thank You (TY) Points in 2019. This move let the Double Cash become an excellent option for travelers too. Currently, the Double Cash earns 1% cash back or 1 TY point per dollar upon purchase. And thereafter, you earn another 1% cash back or 1 TY point per dollar upon paying your bill.
No Sign-Up Bonus
One of the biggest knocks against the Citi Double Cash is its lack of sign-up bonus. The 2% flat earning rate is excellent. But most cardholders would rather earn a sign-up bonus within the first three months of opening the card. Citi has great bonus on its other cards, but not the Double Cash.
Conversely, most of the Double Cash Card’s competitors offer a sign-up bonus worth between $150 and $200. And these bonuses can be earned by spending just $500 within the first three months. One example of a competitor is the Chase Freedom Unlimited. This card earns 1.5% cash back (or 1.5x Chase Ultimate Rewards Points per dollar if you also have a premium Chase credit card) on all purchases. This is 25% less than what the Citi Double Cash earns. But the tradeoff is that the Freedom Unlimited comes with a sign-up bonus worth $150 (or 15,000 Ultimate Rewards Points) for just $500.
Furthermore, you would have to spend a whopping $7,500 just to earn $150 in cash back. Most people would rather spend just $500 to earn the same cash back. They can save the other $7,000 or spend that money on other sign-up bonuses.
There Are Better Rewards Elsewhere
The Citi Double Cash is an excellent jack of all trades. It is great for non-bonus spend, but that is all. 2x TY points per dollar (or 2% cash back) can be beaten by a plethora of bonus category and 5x rotating cards for certain purchases.
Restaurants is an example of a category that you can easily earn more than 2% cash back (or 2x TY points per dollar spent). The Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi Prestige, American Express Gold Card, and Capital One Savor Cards all offer better rewards than the Double Cash for dining in.
Indirect Access to Citi’s Transfer Partners
The Citi Double Cash is one of Citi’s lower-tiered cards. Like the Citi Rewards +, it does not have direct access to Citi’s transfer partners. Citi is best known for their partnerships with a plethora of international airlines (and Jet Blue). However, this is less of a problem for Double Cash cardholders because of the COVID-19 pandemic limiting travel.
Currently, Citi’s transfer partners are as follows:
- Asia Miles / Cathay Pacific
- Avianca LifeMiles
- Etihad Guest
- Eva Air
- KLM Flying Blue / Air France
- Jet Airways
- JetBlue (5 TY = 4 True Blue Points if you do not have a premium Citi card, otherwise 1:1)
- Malaysia Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Unfortunately, Citi dropped several benefits from its entire credit card lineup in September 2019. The Double Cash was not affected as much as Citi’s more premium credit cards. But it was affected, nonetheless. Therefore, the Double Cash has no travel benefits aside from MasterCard network-related benefits. The Double Cash can be either a regular, World, or World Elite MasterCard, depending on your credit limit.
Even more basic perks like Citi’s Price Rewind, extended warranty, and collision damage waiver were discontinued. This is unfortunate because the Double Cash is not a great card to use for major purchases that might require a warranty.
The intention of this post is to provide a contrarian point of view on this popular credit card. Nonetheless, the Citi Double Cash has an excellent earning structure for cash back lovers. Cardholders also have indirect access to a plethora of international airlines (and Jet Blue).
Plus, the Citi Double Cash has been the apple of Gary Leff’s eye (H/T View From the Wing) lately. Despite his affection for this card, there are a plethora of alternatives that are better for different people. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited works for me because I have a Chase Quartet that earns UR points. It also came with a sign-up bonus that boosted my UR points balance when I first got the card.