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Citi Rewards+ Card vs. Citi Double Cash Card

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If you are on the hunt for the best rewards card that suits your lifestyle and spending habits, Citi has a couple of options that could work for you. The Citi Rewards+® Card offers a cash back on your gas and grocery spending, while the Citi® Double Cash Card offers an unlimited flat rate of cash back when you spend on the card and then when you pay off your purchases.

Essentially, the Rewards+ card is for people who want rewards back on gas and grocery spending with the option to rack up a few extra points through bonuses and rounding points up. The Double Cash card is good for those who want a simple, set-it-and-forget-it way to earn unlimited cash back on all their spending.

However, it still helps to know a little more about some of the cards’ features and benefits so that you can choose the one that works best for you. Here’s how the cards compare to one another.

Main details

Citi Rewards+ Card Citi Double Cash Card
Welcome bonus Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening N/A
Rewards rate
  • 2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points)
  • 1X points on all other purchases
  • Unlimited 1% as you buy, plus another 1% when you pay for your purchases
Intro APR 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer and on purchases from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 13.74% – 23.74%, based on your creditworthiness. 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.24% – 24.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
Annual fee $0 $0

Citi Rewards+ Card vs. Citi Double Cash Card highlights

Welcome bonus winner: Citi Rewards+

This card offers 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening. This can be worth up to $200 when you redeem them for gift cards at thankyou.com. The Citi Double Cash doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, so the Citi Rewards+ is the clear winner here.

Rewards rate winner: Citi Double Cash Card

The Double Cash card wins out over the Citi Rewards+, only because you can earn unlimited cash back. The Rewards+ has a $6,000 limit on grocery and gas spending, then you get 1 percent back in the form of ThankYou points.

Another reason the Double Cash card wins out here is that you get cash back at 1 cent per dollar spent, whereas the ThankYou points you earn with the Citi Rewards+ Card cannot be redeemed for cash or a statement credit for more than 0.5 cents per point. So this means that, although you can earn more on gas and grocery spending with the Rewards+ Card, your redemptions options are limited and the value of your points is reduced for many redemption options.

Introductory APR winner: Citi Double Cash Card

If you’ve got any high-interest debt to pay down, the Citi Double Cash Card offers a lengthy 18-month 0 percent introductory APR period for balance transfers. After the introductory period is over, you’ll pay a 14.24 percent to 24.24 percent variable APR. This no-interest term is on the longer side of what most cards offer, which means you could potentially save hundreds of dollars on interest fees alone if you transfer a high-interest balance to this card.

Which card earns the most?

Citi Rewards+ vs. Citi Double Cash Card spending example

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household earned $84,352 in 2020 while spending $61,334. They also broke down numbers from discretionary categories like groceries, gas and entertainment. We’ll apply these spending figures to the Citi Rewards+ and the Citi Double Cash cards to see what you stand to earn in terms of rewards:

Annual spending Amount Citi Rewards+ (ThankYou points) Double Cash Card (Cash back)
Groceries $4,687.00 9,374 $93.74
Restaurant $2,375.00 2,375 $47.50
Gas $1,313.00 2,626 $26.26
Gas and groceries over $6,000 $510.00 510 N/a
Apparel and services $1,434.00 1,434 $28.68
Entertainment $2,912.00 2,912 $58.24
Personal care products and services $646.00 646 $12.92
Total $13,877.00 19,877 $277.54

At first glance, it looks like the Citi Double Cash card wins out with almost $280 in annual cash back over the nearly 20,000 ThankYou points you’d get with the Citi Rewards+ card. But there’s a little more to the story.

For one, the Citi Rewards+ card has a 20,000 welcome bonus you’ll get if you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within three months of account opening. Then, there’s an annual redemption bonus which gives you 10 percent points back (for the first $100,000 points redeemed each year). Finally, don’t forget that you’ll earn extra points with the Citi Rewards+ round-up feature, which rounds all your purchases up to the nearest 10 points. A gas station purchase for $1.71 will fetch 10 ThankYou points instead of 1.71 points.

These features alone can add 30,000 ThankYou points to the 19,877 we see in this spending example for a total of 49,877 points for the first year (worth almost $500 in gift cards). After the first year, you’d earn around 29,877 ThankYou points and $277.54 in cash back for each card with this spending example.

In essence, if you value redeeming points for gift cards, you could do slightly better with the Citi Rewards+ card in value each year. However, if cash is king for you, the Citi Double Cash is the simplest, most straightforward way to collect your cash back rewards.

Why should you get the Citi Rewards+ card?

You should get the Rewards+ Card if you don’t mind redeeming your rewards on gas and grocery spending in the form of something other than cash, like gift cards or charitable donations. If you spend much more than $6,000 a year on gas and groceries, then you might feel somewhat limited by the card’s rewards structure. In this case, you might opt for the Double Cash Card or other rewards cards that focus on grocery store purchases and gas station spending.

Additional benefits

In addition to the welcome bonus, round up feature and annual redemption bonus, the Citi Rewards+ card also has a 15-month introductory 0 percent APR period for both purchases and balance transfers. After this period ends, you’ll pay a 13.74 percent to 23.74 percent variable APR on any balance you carry on the card.

Plus, the Citi Rewards+ is a Mastercard, so there are additional basic benefits, including $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and identity theft protection services.

Redemption options

You can redeem your ThankYou points for a few different things:

  • Gift cards
  • Shop with points (on Amazon.com or PayPal)
  • Donations
  • Statement credits
  • Cash
  • Payment toward student loans and mortgage
  • Point transfer and sharing
  • Online bill pay

Recommended credit score

You’ll need good to excellent credit (670 through 850) to qualify for this card.

Why should you get the Citi Double Cash Card?

The Citi Double Cash Card works for those who want a simple process for earning a flat rate of cash back on all of their spending. There are no gimmicks, caveats or special categories to track.

Essentially, it’s designed to reward people who spend on the card and then pay down their purchases, which lets you easily earn up to 2 percent back in cash and without any limits. For some, the simplicity is just too good to pass up.

Additional benefits

In addition to the long intro APR, the card offers a few other benefits like $0 fraud liability, 24-hour fraud protection, Citi Identity Theft Solutions and Lost Wallet Service. This service will replace your lost card within 24 hours and provide you with emergency cash in the meantime.

Plus, you’ll get access to Citi Entertainment, which gives you access to presale tickets, events and more. Events could include music festivals, pro football games or even high-end restaurant experiences.

Redemption options

Redemption options for your cash back rewards include statement credits, direct deposit, check and ThankYou points. If you choose to redeem your rewards for points, a ThankYou account is automatically created for you. With a ThankYou account, you can redeem your points for gift cards, travel through Citi or Shop with Points on Amazon or PayPal.

Recommended credit score

You’ll need good to excellent credit (670 through 850) to qualify for this card.

The bottom line

Citi is an issuer that has pioneered some great offers in the credit card rewards space. So far, the Double Cash card has been a hit due to the high rate of unlimited cash back.

The Citi Rewards+ has a respectable rewards rate plus a few quirks that could help cardholders rack up slightly more rewards in the form of ThankYou points. Unfortunately, the Citi Rewards+ ThankYou points are mostly worth half of the cash back you could get with the Double Cash Card if you go for cash or statement credits—a deal-breaker for some.

Now that you know what each card offers and how much you can earn back, hopefully, you understand which one will work best for your preferences. As always, choose the rewards credit card that suits your needs for both the near and longer-term.

Written by
Aja McClanahan
Personal Finance Writer
Aja McClanahan is an author, blogger and speaker on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Aja is the author of "How a Mother Should Talk About Money with Her Daughter."
Edited by
Senior Editor, Credit Card Product News
Reviewed by
Associate Editor