Key takeaways

  • At 5 percent cash back on your top spending category (up to $500 each billing cycle), the Citi Custom Cash Card offers one of the highest cash back rates among revolving category cards.
  • The card has several high-value benefits, including a solid welcome bonus, a 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months, and access to World Elite Mastercard benefits such as travel insurance, concierge services, and discounts on car rentals and hotels.
  • To maximize the value of the Citi Custom Cash Card, you can pair it with another Citi credit card to pool rewards and transfer them to Citi hotel and airline partners. Additionally, planning your spending to coincide with specific categories each billing cycle and meeting the spending requirement for the first-year welcome bonus can help you make the most of this cash back card.

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The Citi Custom Cash® Card has one of the highest cash back rates of revolving category cards, with 5 percent cash back rewards in your top spending category (on up to $500 each billing cycle, then 1 percent). This rewards structure offers an excellent way to earn rewards where you spend the most — without much added effort.

On top of that, this no-annual-fee card has some high-value benefits, including a solid welcome bonus, introductory APR offer and World Elite Mastercard benefits.

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of Citi Custom Cash and decide if it’s the right fit for your wallet.

Citi Custom Cash cash back benefits

5 percent cash back rewards

With the Citi Custom Cash Card, you’ll receive a generous 5 percent cash back rate for the first $500 spent (then 1 percent back) in your top spending category each billing cycle. 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, 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.

While the Custom Cash does earn points, they’re considered “basic” ThankYou points. Put simply, that means they can’t be transferred to Citi hotel and airline partners. If you pool your points into a more premium Citi card account, such as the Citi Premier® Card, you’ll gain that privilege.

Sign-up bonus

Another Citi Custom Cash benefit new cardholders can take advantage of is the first-year welcome bonus. If you spend $1,500 in the first six months of opening the card, you’ll receive a bonus of 20,000 ThankYou points worth $200 in cash back rewards.

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

Citi Custom Cash 0% APR benefits

Another great benefit of the Citi Custom Cash is the ability to avoid expensive interest rates with a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (followed by a variable APR between 19.24 percent to 29.24 percent).

This zero-interest offer is a great way to pay off existing debt or cover a large purchase over time. While it’s not the longest intro APR period on the market, it’s still a solid offer thanks to the card’s generous rewards and lack of an annual fee.

Citi Custom Cash Mastercard benefits

What’s also notable about the Citi Custom Cash 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 this Mastercard tier:

  • Travel accident insurance
  • Lost baggage insurance
  • 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

Citi Custom Cash protection and entertainment benefits

Free FICO score access

With the Citi Custom Cash, you can view your FICO credit score at any time. The score will update on a monthly basis. Simply log in to your online account or check via Citi’s mobile app. You’ll also find additional information on what factors are impacting your score.

Citi Entertainment

As a cardholder, you’ll get access to Citi Entertainment. Through this program, you can receive exclusive access to concerts, tours, sporting events, dining experiences and more — including access to presale tickets and VIP packages.

$0 fraud liability and fraud monitoring

If a fraudster gets access to your credit card or account, you won’t be held liable for any unauthorized charges. Further, Citi’s Fraud Early Warning service keeps an eye on your account and will notify you of fraudulent activity.

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 Citi 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 for all other spending — and you won’t pay an additional annual fee to keep it in your wallet.

In terms of pooling points, owning a more premium Citi card — one that earns traditional, transferrable Citi ThankYou points — will allow you to pool rewards and transfer to Citi hotel and airline partners for heightened value. Currently, Bankrate values points earned with the Citi Premier at 1.9 cents apiece toward high-value transfer partner travel.

Plan your spending from one month to the next

You can maximize Citi Custom Cash Card benefits by planning 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 $1,500 in spending during the first six months to score the first-year 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 the Citi Custom Cash is worth it, but consider checking out Bankrate’s list of the best Citi credit cards to see if another option fits your spending.