The Citi Double Cash is one of the best cash back credit cards on the market. It earns 2% back on all purchases (when you pay your balance off in full each month) and there’s no annual fee. This makes it one of the leading cash back cards out there, but now the deal is going to get a little bit sweeter.
The new Citi Double Cash changes
Beginning in the fall of 2019, the Citi Double Cash will allow you to convert cash rewards from your Double Cash to Citi ThankYou points. Here’s what the changes state:
Coming in Fall 2019 your Citi Double Cash Card will allow you to convert your cash rewards to ThankYou Points which can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, purchases at select retailers, and more. For more details, please review the terms and conditions of your Citi Double Cash Card and the terms and conditions at www.thankyou.com
This is a big development for those people who go back and forth between cash back and travel rewards. But there are two big questions.
The first question is will you be able to transfer these points to travel partners? The answer seems like it would be yes (and many are assuming this is the case) but when you read the language above, it doesn’t specifically state that you will be able to do that. Not all ThankYou points can be transferred to travel partners so this isn’t outside the realm of possibilities. (Citi may require you to hold a Premier or Prestige.)
The second big question is if you are able to transfer these points to partners, what is this transfer ratio going to be like? If the transfer ratio is 1:1 then that would mean that DoubleCash would be earning 2 ThankYou points on all purchases and come with no annual fee. That’s similar to the Amex Business Blue Plus which earns 2X on all purchases (but only up to $50K).
Given the way Citi has been butchering credit card benefits left and right, I just don’t see them introducing something crazy competitive and lucrative like a 1:1 ratio.
More likely we’ll see something like a 2:1 ratio or maybe 2:1.5. This would make the Citi Double Cash an interesting option for someone primarily concerned with earning cash back but also interested in transferrable points.
It would also be an interesting option since it’s still rare to have a no annual fee credit card that earns transferrable points. Citi has weird point expiration rules though so it probably wouldn’t be as beneficial as having a card like the Amex EveryDay which allows you to store all your Amex Membership Rewards points indefinitely while paying no annual fee.
Should you get the Double Cash?
You might be wondering if you should get the Citi Double Cash in light of the new changes. The answer is probably not until we at least know the transfer ratio. Here are two major things you’d want to consider.
There’s no sign-up bonus. We have seen the Citi Double Cash offer a sign-up bonus of $150 after spending $500 in the first three months of account opening but that offer is no longer available. But even if it returned, it wouldn’t be a lot of value.
Even if Citi got crazy and allowed a 1:1 ratio, that would only be 15,000 potential ThankYou points. So realistically, if that bonus returned it would be closer to something like 7,500 to 10,000 ThankYou points. Considering you can get 60K and 50K bonuses with the Premier or Prestige, the Citi Double Cash would not be a compelling option for up-front value.
The Double Cash will continue to earn 2% back on all purchases which could work great in conjunction with other ThankYou points earning cards. If you’re wondering about other ThankYou earning cards and how they compare, here’s a quick breakdown:
- 3X on travel (including gas)
- 2X on dining and entertainment
- 5X on airfare
- 5X on dining
- 3X on hotels and cruises
So as you can see, there’s a need for a ThankYou points earning card for non-bonused spending and the Double Cash could be a great option for that if the transfer ratios are respectable.
If the ratio amounts to earning 1.5 ThankYou Points per dollar spent, that would be a great addition to either of the cards above and worth getting excited about. Anything more than that would be an absolute no-brainer.
Citi ThankYou partners
Here’s a list of Citi ThankYou partners in case you need to be refreshed:
- Asia Miles
- Avianca LifeMiles
- EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
- Etihad Guest
- Flying Blue
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- Jet Airways JetPrivilege
- Garuda Indonesia Frequent Flyer
- Malaysia Airlines Enrich
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Qatar Airways Privilege Club
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
This is very interesting news but we need confirmation that the points will transfer to travel partners and what that ratio will be before we get super excited. If it amounts to earning 1.5 ThankYou points per dollar spent (or close to it) that will be an exciting development and of course if it’s a 1:1 ratio that would make the Double Cash one of the best travel cards available (but I don’t see that happening).
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.