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Citi Custom Cash benefits guide

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woman at a restaurant paying with a credit card
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The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card has one of the highest cash back rates of revolving category cards. Offering 5 percent cash back rewards on your top spending category (on up to $500 each billing cycle, then 1 percent), this card offers an excellent way to earn rewards on what you spend the most on—and with virtually no effort.

And despite it being a no-annual-fee card, the Citi Custom Cash offers sought-after benefits, including a welcome bonus worth $200 in cash back, a zero-interest introductory period and World Elite Mastercard benefits. Keep reading to learn more about the features of this Citi credit card to decide if it’s the right fit for your wallet.

Citi Custom Cash benefits

5 percent cash back rewards

With the Citi Custom Cash, you’ll receive a generous 5 percent cash back rate for the first $500 spent, then 1 percent back, on your top spending category each month (technically referred to as a billing cycle by Citi). The ten categories that count toward this 5 percent rate include:

  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery stores
  • Live entertainment
  • Select streaming services
  • Select travel
  • Select transit
  • Home improvement stores
  • Fitness clubs
  • Drugstores

Despite the Citi Custom Cash being advertised as a cash back card, you’ll technically earn your rewards as Citi ThankYou points, which can be redeemed for a direct deposit, statement credit or check, gift cards, travel through Citi or shopping via Amazon. If you’re interested in redeeming your rewards as a check, note that you’ll need at least $5 in cash back earnings. And if you already own a separate Citi credit card, you’ll be pleased to know that you can pool rewards into a single account.

While the Custom Cash does earn points, they’re considered “basic” ThankYou points—meaning, in the simplest sense, they can’t be transferred to Citi hotel and airline partners. If you pool your points into a more premium Citi card account (any annual fee-carrying Citi card), you’ll gain that privilege.

0% intro APR offer

Another great benefit of the Citi Custom Cash is that it allows you to avoid expensive interest rates for the first 15 months of owning the card (followed by a 16.24 percent to 26.24 percent variable APR).

This zero-interest offer extends to both balance transfers and new purchases, which is a great way to pay off existing debt or cover a new, large purchase over time. While it’s not the longest intro APR period on the market, because the Citi Custom Cash offers generous rewards where you spend the most for no annual fee, it’s still a solid offer.

Sign-up bonus

Another Citi Custom Cash benefit new cardholders can take advantage of is its first-year welcome bonus. If you spend $750 in the first three months of opening the card, you’ll receive a bonus of 20,000 ThankYou points, worth $200 in cash back rewards.

That means making just $250 in purchases with the card for three months in a row—a relatively low threshold, especially if you plan on hitting that $500-per-month rewards cap each billing cycle.

World Mastercard benefits

What’s also notable about the Citi Custom Cash card is that it’s a World Elite Mastercard, giving you access to a multitude of Mastercard credit card benefits. Here are a few of the best perks offered through Mastercard’s highest tier:

  • Travel accident insurance of up to $1,000,000
  • Lost baggage insurance of up to $3,000 per trip
  • World Elite Concierge access
  • Cellphone protection
  • Free ShopRunner membership
  • Rental car discounts and perks with companies like Hertz and Sixt
  • Lowest Hotel Rate Guarantee and Mastercard Hotel Stay Guarantee
  • $5 Lyft credit per month if you take at least three rides per month
  • 3 months free of DoorDash DashPass for new users + $5 off your first two orders each month for DashPass members

Maximizing the Citi Custom Cash

In terms of long-term potential, it’s important to know how to get the most out of the Citi Custom Cash. Below, we’ve highlighted two ways to maximize the value of this cash back card so you can benefit as much as possible as a new cardholder.

Pair the Custom Cash with another Citi credit card

The Citi Custom Cash is a great card to supplement other Citi cards in your wallet due to its lack of an annual fee, ability to earn basic ThankYou points and simplistic earning structure.

If you already own a rotating bonus category card, the Citi Custom Cash can be a good option to swipe for all other spending—and as a no-annual-fee card, you won’t need to justify having it in your wallet.

In terms of pooling points, owning a more premium Citi card—one that earns traditional Citi ThankYou points—will allow you to pool and effectively transform rewards earned by the Custom Cash. So, if you’re big on travel, pooling points into a premium Citi account grants you access to Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partners.

Plan your spending, from one month to the next

Citi Custom Cash Card benefits can be maximized if you plan your purchases to coincide with a specific category each billing cycle. Try to book all of your travel one month, pay your gym memberships in full the next month and so on. Additionally, be sure you hit at least $750 in spending during the first three months to ensure you don’t miss out on the welcome bonus.

The bottom line

The Citi Custom Cash Card offers an impressive rewards rate, automatically tailored to your highest spending, along with additional benefits for no annual fee. We think that the Citi Custom Cash is worth it, but consider checking out Bankrate’s list of the best Citi credit cards to see if there’s another option that peaks your interest.

Written by
Erin Bendig
Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing credit card information and personal finance advice with others.
Edited by
Editor, Product
Reviewed by
Associate Editor
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Part of  Introduction to the Citi Custom Cash Card