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Citi Double Cash vs. Chase Freedom Flex

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Person looking at credit card
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The Citi® Double Cash Card and Chase Freedom Flex℠ are both no-annual-fee rewards cards, but depending on what you value the most in your rewards card, their worth varies. For example, if you’re more interested in maximizing your rewards potential or earning a significant sign-up bonus, the Chase Freedom Flex is a good pick. If you’d rather swipe your card without having to keep track of rotating bonus categories, you’re probably better off with the Citi Double Cash.

Still, you’ll never know which option is best for you until you do your research. Luckily, we’ve done it for you. Below, we’ll see how the two cards stack up against each other.

Main details

Citi Double Cash Card Chase Freedom Flex
Welcome bonus N/A $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months
Rewards rate 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay for purchases
  • 5% cash back on activated bonus category purchases each quarter (on up to $1,500 each quarter, then 1%)
  • 5% cash back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March 2025)
  • 3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Intro APR 0% intro APR for 18 months for balance transfers (16.24% to 26.24% variable APR after) 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (17.24% to 25.99% variable APR after)
Annual fee $0 $0

Citi Double Cash vs. Chase Freedom Flex highlights

As far as rewards go, the Chase Freedom Flex has the potential to earn you a lot more cash back. But if you’re planning a balance transfer, you might want to consider the Citi Double Cash instead. Here’s how the two cards compare in a variety of categories:

Welcome bonus winner: Chase Freedom Flex

Since the Citi Double Cash doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, the Chase Freedom Flex is the obvious winner in this category. You can earn a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in your first three months — a decent bonus with a comparatively low spending requirement.

Rewards rate winner: Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex has the potential to earn a lot more cash back than the Citi Double Cash. It offers 5 percent cash back on rotating bonus categories each quarter (on up to $1,500 each quarter, then 1 percent; activation required). The card also earns 5 percent cash back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases and Lyft rides (through March 2025), 3 percent cash back on drugstore and dining purchases (including restaurants, takeout and eligible delivery services) and 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.

In comparison, the Citi Double Cash offers an unlimited 1 percent cash back as you make purchases and another 1 percent when you pay off your purchases. In other words, you’ll get 2 percent cash back for being a responsible cardholder.

Intro APR winner: Tie

If you’re looking to get a credit card because you’re planning a balance transfer, the Citi Double Cash may be a better choice. The card has a 0 percent introductory APR period for 18 months on balance transfers (16.24 percent to 26.24 percent variable APR after), compared with Chase Freedom Flex’s 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (17.24 percent to 25.99 percent variable  APR after).

At the same time, the Citi Double Cash doesn’t have a 0 percent intro APR offer on purchases, while the Chase Freedom Flex offers 0 percent intro APR for 15 months to purchases as well (17.24 percent to 25.99 percent variable APR after). So, if you’re planning a big purchase and know you’ll carry a balance, the Chase Freedom Flex would be a better option for you.

Annual fee winner: Tie

Neither card charges an annual fee for card membership, so they tie in this category.

Foreign transaction fee winner: Tie

Both the Citi Double Cash and the Chase Freedom Flex charge a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent. That means that neither card would be a good choice for travel outside of the U.S.

Which card earns the most?

While it’s clear that the Chase Freedom Flex can earn more during your first year of card membership due to its welcome bonus, let’s take a look at which card provides more value in the long run.

Citi Double Cash vs. Chase Freedom Flex spending example

Say you spend $15,900 per year on a credit card, $2,250 of which is spent at restaurants, $650 on travel and $150 at drugstores.

With the Chase Freedom Flex, you’ll earn $32.50 in cash back if you book that $650 in travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, $67.50 in cash back on the $2,250 spent at restaurants and $4.50 in cash back on $150 in drugstore purchases.

Then, say you max out the annual spending limit for the Chase Freedom Flex’s rotating bonus categories. The most you can earn from rotating categories each quarter is $75 — $300 per year — which would require spending $6,000 per year in these categories. The card’s rotating bonus categories typically include grocery stores, gas stations, select streaming services and select merchant purchases.

Lastly, you’d also earn 1 percent cash back on the rest of your non-bonus-category spending ($6,850), earning $68.50 in cash back. In total, that means you’d get $473 in cash back per year.

As for the Citi Double Cash, $15,900 in annual spending would earn you $159 in cash back when you make a purchase and $159 after you pay off your purchases, which brings your total cash back to $318.

Overall, this spending example demonstrates how bonus categories can make a significant difference in your cash back earnings, even though it might take a bit more effort to stay on top of them.

Why should you get the Citi Double Cash?

The Citi Double Cash is the easier-to-use card of the two since you won’t need to keep track of any bonus categories. Still, the card can be very rewarding if you use it on as many purchases as you can, and its rewards rate is highly competitive when it comes to flat-rate cash back credit cards.

Additional benefits

The Citi Double Cash has a 0 percent intro APR for 18 months for balance transfers (16.24 percent to 26.24 percent variable APR after). For that reason, we recommend this card if you’re looking for a balance transfer card that will still provide value once you’ve paid off your debt.

You’ll also enjoy benefits like Citi Entertainment, which provides access to VIP events like concerts, sporting events and more, along with $0 fraud liability, Citi Identity Theft Solutions and emergency card replacement.

Redemption options

You can redeem your cash back for statement credits, direct deposits, checks or Citi ThankYou points. Keep in mind that, even if you redeem your rewards for Citi ThankYou points, you won’t be able to transfer your rewards to hotel or airline partners without a premium Citi travel card like the Citi Premier® Card.

Recommended credit score

The Citi Double Cash requires a good to excellent credit score, which is a FICO score of 670 to 850.

Why should you get the Chase Freedom Flex?

The Chase Freedom Flex provides many excellent opportunities to earn cash back at a higher rate. If you don’t mind keeping track of rotating bonus categories, activating categories each quarter and making sure to use the card for bonus category spending, the Chase Freedom Flex can be very rewarding.

Additional benefits

If you’re planning a big purchase (or a big purchase and a balance transfer), the Chase Freedom Flex is a better choice since it offers a 0 percent intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (17.24 percent to 25.99 percent variable APR after).

With the Chase Freedom Flex, you’ll enjoy purchase protection, zero liability protection, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, cellphone protection, an auto rental collision damage waiver, travel and emergency assistance services, fraud alerts and more. You’ll also enjoy World Elite Mastercard benefits like a complimentary Shoprunner membership and a $5 Lyft credit when you take three rides in one month and pay with your card.

Redemption options

This card offers more redemption options than the Citi Double Cash. You can redeem cash back for statement credits, direct deposits, travel and events booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, shopping with PayPal and Amazon, gift cards and merchandise.

With this card, note that you’re technically earning Chase Ultimate Rewards points. If you have a premium Chase travel card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners. This can help you to maximize rewards value even further since travel rewards are some of the most valuable rewards in the credit card market.

Recommended credit score

Like the majority of rewards credit cards, the Chase Freedom Flex requires a good to excellent credit score (at least 670) to qualify.

Should you get the Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Flex?

If you want to earn as many rewards as possible, it’s a good idea to carry both a flat-rate cash back credit card and a credit card with rotating or bonus categories. That way, if you spend outside of higher-earning bonus categories, you’ll still get more than 1 percent cash back on your purchases. That’s why the Chase Freedom Flex and the Citi Double Cash can be excellent credit cards to pair together.

Plus, neither card charges an annual fee, so you won’t have to worry about using one card over the other to justify the cost of card membership. Instead, you can focus on maximizing rewards.

The bottom line

While the Citi Double Cash offers an exceptional rewards rate for a flat-rate cash back credit card, the Chase Freedom Flex offers more opportunities to earn rewards. Still, there are other factors to consider, such as whether you’re planning to carry or transfer a balance, and how much effort you’re willing to put into your credit card rewards strategy.

Written by
Ana Staples
Credit Cards Reporter and Young Credit Analyst
Ana Staples is a reporter for Bankrate and an expert on all things credit basics and personal finance for the younger generation.
Edited by
Associate Editor
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Part of  Introduction to the Chase Freedom Flex Card