Cash Back or Travel Rewards? Get Both with Citi Double Cash!

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The Impressive Versatility of the Citi Double Cash Card

You may have read on miles and points blogs that “Cash is king.”  As silly as it sounds, “cash” is my favorite travel points currency.  There’s no drastic deflation, it’s the more flexible currency, and I don’t even have to use it for travel.  However, I can’t ignore the outsized value that any points and miles currency can provide with award sweet spots or timely redemptions. The Citi Double Cash Card can set you up for the benefits of both!

I previously described how I routinely obtain a value of 1.38 cents per Citi Thank You point with the proper set of Citi cards (Double Cash, Premier, and Rewards+).  In addition to the 2% cash back option, the Double Cash sets you up for redeeming up to 2.76% value (per dollar spend) for travel booked via the Citi travel portal.  Also, you could decide to redeem your 2 points per dollar spend with any of Citi’s travel partners!  Let’s step through how to effectively implement this strategy.

Step #1: Set The Table

Start by adding the Citi Double Cash Card to your credit card portfolio, either via new application or a product change.  If you already have a Citi card that you aren’t particularly fond of, I recommend getting the Double Cash via product change since there isn’t currently any welcome offer on the card.  Then, put spending on the card that isn’t earning you more than 2% with other cards.

Step #2: Get Additional Cards

When a Citi Premier offer comes along that interests you, apply for that card (if you don’t have it already).  The Premier unlocks the ability to transfer Double Cash rewards to ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio.  Also, it provides 25% more point value for Citi travel portal redemptions.  At this point, your Citi Double Cash spend earns you 2% cash back, 2.5% value for Citi travel portal redemptions, or 2 ThankYou points for transfer to partners.

If you wish to get even more value, consider applying or product changing an unwanted card to the Citi Rewards+ card, giving you a 10% rebate on your points redemption (for the first 100,000 points annually).  Currently, Citi is offering a 15,000 point welcome offer for the Rewards+ card.  This effectively brings your Double Cash spend to ~2.76% rewards, if redeemed via the travel portal, and possibly more with points transfer to partners.

Citi Double Cash Card
Citi Thank You points can be redeemed for special experiences, like Walt Disney World.

Step #3: Analysis

It’s always good to have redemption goals in mind, but circumstances can change.  Would you get more value out of 2% cash back immediately? Or do you have an immediate travel goal in mind that gives you more than 1 cent of value per point?  If you have an immediate travel goal, compare the travel portal redemption value to what you could achieve via points transfer to a travel partner.  Warning: it’s been noted that Citi’s travel portal has charged higher rates for the same flights/hotels than other booking sites, so be careful using points via the travel portal.

You can see all of Citi’s current travel partners here.

Step #4:  Timing and Execution

If you want 2% value immediately, simply cash it out.  Or based on the above analysis, transfer your Citi Double Cash rewards to your Citi Thank You point account.  Double Cash transfer to Thank You points is one-way. In other words, you can convert Double Cash rewards to Thank You points any time, but you cannot turn Thank You points into Double Cash rewards. Therefore, only transfer Double Cash rewards to Thank You points when you are immediately redeeming the Thank You points.

Citi Double Cash Card – Final Thoughts

As a traveler who prioritizes travel freedom over brand loyalty, I have enjoyed the versatility that the Citi Double Cash card provides when combined with other Citi cards.  This is why I currently have three Double Cash card accounts (and plan to go for more).  That said, each traveler’s goals and philosophy are different.

How have you effectively redeemed your Citi rewards while staying flexible?  What other travel currencies and strategies have provided you a good balance of flexibility and value?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a points/miles enthusiast, FIRE disciple, and huge Disney World fan. An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on traveling throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their travel goals, Disney-related and otherwise.

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3 COMMENTS

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I use mine to pay my house payment and car payments through Plastiq. I call these bedroom points because I never leave the house or do any work to earn these. On a cost per point basis, they are my most expensive points. I will transfer these to a TY partner for an expensive business class fare somewhere to ensure I get the outsized value I need from these points.

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