Biggest-Ever Bonus On The Benchmark Cash Back Card, Strategy To Fit This Into Your Wallet

I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. Citibank is an advertising partner of this site, as is American Express, Chase, Barclays and Capital One. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available — instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is my benchmark. It is a no annual fee 2% cash back card. But it’s even better than that.

  • Right now there’s a limited time offer (and there’s never been a bigger one for this card). You can earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Most of the time there has been no initial bonus offer for this card at all.

  • They made two positive changes to the card this year. They eliminated the $25 minimum to redeem for cash and they now award ThankYou points directly for spend on the card (which can still be converted to cash at the same rate). This change means you no longer need to first convert the points to ThankYou points to have greater flexibility, do other things with them, like – if you have a Citi Premier® Card – transfer those points to airline miles or hotel points.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is one of the absolute strongest cash back cards. It has a $0 annual fee and earns 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you you pay for those purchases. There’s no caps on the cash back you earn, and the full rebate applies regardless of spending category.

And I say it’s a benchmark because it’s how I think about whether to earn miles with an airline card or even in a bank points program. Given that this card is available, and has no annual fee, the opportunity cost of earning points on a card is 2 of Citi’s points or 2% cash back. I wouldn’t spend 2 cents to buy an airline mile but that’s what you’re doing if you put spend on an airline card that’s only earning 1 mile.

And since in conjunction with a Citi Premier® Card the points become transferable, and I value those points at 1.6 cents apiece, it’s possible to earn an effective rebate of 3.2% on all of your spend without even needing a category bonus.

Add in that there’s even an initial bonus offer on the card right now, which is unusual (and they’ve never offered more), this is the perfect time to get the Citi® Double Cash Card. And it’s the perfect time for the Citi Premier® Card, too, since there’s never been a bigger offer on that product than the current one to earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

The two products make a powerful pair, transfer partners of Citi Premier include:

  • SkyTeam: Aeromexico Club Premier, Air France KLM Flying Blue

  • oneworld: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Qantas Frequent Flyer, Qatar Airways Privilege Club

  • Star Alliance: Avianca LifeMiles, EVA Air Infinity MileageLands, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

  • Non-alliance: Emirates Skywards, Etihad Guest, JetBlue TrueBlue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Citi Premier earns 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets, 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels; 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases. And then put your unbonused spend on Double Cash for a 2x return.

When considering these two products note that you can generally only be approved for one Citibank card every eight days (two every 65 days) at most.

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