If you’re looking for a no-annual-fee credit card, Citi has a few attractive products to offer. The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card and Citi® Double Cash Card are two popular options. But make sure to learn about them before making a choice: Both Citi cards are excellent in their own way, but they’re designed to serve very different purposes.
Read on to compare the Citi Double Cash and Citi Diamond Preferred and see which card may be worth adding to your wallet.
Citi Diamond Preferred vs. Citi Double Cash highlights
|Cards||Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card||Citi® Double Cash Card|
|Rewards Rate||None||2% cash back on general purchases (1% cash back when you make the purchase and an additional 1% cash back when you pay off those purchases)|
|Intro APR||18-month intro 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases (14.74% – 24.74% variable thereafter)||18-month intro APR on balance transfers (13.99% – 23.99% variable thereafter)|
Let’s take a closer look at these cards and see how they compare.
Welcome bonus winner: Tie
Many rewards credit cards come with valuable welcome offers that allow you to easily earn a cash bonus or large number of points. However, that’s not the case with Citi Double Cash and Diamond Preferred.
These cards can offer plenty of value to the right cardholder, but if a sign-up bonus is a deal-breaker for you, we recommend looking into no-annual-fee cards like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® (both offer $200 when you spend $500 within the first three months) or the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (currently offers $100 after you spend $2,000 within the first six months, as well as 20 percent cash back on Amazon.com purchases within the first six months—up to $150 back).
Rewards rate winner: Citi Double Cash
If you want a card that earns rewards, there’s no competition between the Diamond Preferred and Double Cash—the Diamond Preferred doesn’t earn any.
The Citi Double Cash, on the other hand, is one of the best flat-rate cash back cards. It offers 1 percent back on all purchases plus 1 percent back when you those purchases off, essentially earning you 2 percent back on everything. It’s a rare deal in the credit card market.
Intro APR winner: Citi Diamond Preferred
There are two types of 0 percent APR offers a credit card can extend: zero interest on balance transfers and zero interest on purchases. The former allows you to transfer a balance from another credit card and not pay any interest for a certain period, and the latter comes with no interest on purchases for a specified term.
The Citi Diamond Preferred is the winner here since it comes with both types of zero APR offers. With this card, you have 18 months of no interest on both purchases and balance transfers (14.74 to 24.74 percent variable APR thereafter).
Still, if you’re not planning any big purchases but would like to transfer your credit card debt to avoid interest, the Citi Double Cash will work just as well. Like the Diamond Preferred, it offers an 18-month intro APR on balance transfers (13.99 to 23.99 percent variable APR thereafter).
Which card offers more value?
Since the Citi Double Cash Back earns generous cash back, it will undoubtedly provide great value in the long term, especially when compared to the Diamond Preferred, which offers no rewards. For instance, if you spend $15,900 a year, which is an average annual consumer spend, you can earn $318 in cash back—earnings you’d miss out on if you went with the Diamond Preferred.
On the other hand, if you plan to carry a balance on your card within the first year and a half, interest payments would eat into your rewards. In this case, the Diamond Preferred could save you more money than the Double Cash Back.
When should you get the Citi Double Cash?
The Citi Double Cash is a wonderful choice if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee credit card with a simple rewards system. It can also be a good choice if you’re transferring a balance: You’ll get to reduce your credit card debt while saving on interest and continue to get decent value out of the card in the long term.
Besides an excellent rewards rate and balance transfer offer, the Citi Double Cash provides security and fraud protections, including $0 fraud liability, 24-hour fraud protection, Citi Identity Theft Solutions and Lost Wallet Service.
Additionally, you can get access to presale tickets and events with Citi Entertainment.
Redeeming cash back with the Citi Double Cash is just as straightforward as earning it. You can redeem your cash back for statement credits or direct deposit starting at $25. Alternatively, you can convert your cash back to ThankYou points, which you can use to purchase gift cards or travel through Citi and to shop on Amazon or PayPal.
Recommended credit score
To be approved for the Citi Double Cash, you’ll most likely need good to excellent credit (or a credit score of at least 670).
When should you get the Citi Diamond Preferred?
The Citi Diamond Preferred is a great option if you’re planning a large purchase. Just make sure to pay it off in full while the intro APR period lasts—otherwise, you’ll have to pay a rather high interest rate.
With this card, you can get access to Citi Flex Loans, which you can use to borrow money against your card’s credit line at a fixed rate and pay it back over a certain period. You can use this feature with no additional fees or credit inquiries. This can be a convenient option should you need a personal loan in the future. Note, however, that this feature is only available to cardholders the issuer targets for this offer.
Additionally, you may be able to use Citi Flex Pay on Amazon purchases to pay them off in equal monthly payments.
As a Citi Diamond Preferred cardholder, you’ll also get access to Citi Easy Deals where you can find discounts on various purchases, such as retail and restaurant deals.
Finally, like with the Citi Double Cash, you’ll be able to take advantage of VIP access to events with Citi Entertainment.
Recommended credit score
You’ll most likely need a good to excellent credit score (at least 670) to qualify for this card.
The bottom line
The Citi Diamond Preferred and Citi Double Cash are both excellent cards with no annual fees, but they target different types of cardholders. If your goal is to earn rewards, the Citi Double Cash is an obvious winner. However, if you’re planning to carry a balance, we’d suggest the Citi Diamond Preferred with its long 0 percent purchase APR.