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- The Citi Rewards+® Card offers a no-annual-fee option for earning Citi ThankYou points, which realize their best value when combined with rewards earned through a Citi travel credit card.
- The Citi® Double Cash Card rewards responsible credit card behavior by offering 1 percent cash back when you buy and another 1 percent cash back when you pay for your purchases.
- Both cards feature intro APR offers, but they differ significantly. The best one for you will depend on your unique needs.
Citi has a couple of options that could work for you if you’re on the hunt for the best rewards credit card to suit your lifestyle and spending habits. The Citi Rewards+® Card offers its highest rewards on your gas and grocery spending, while the Citi® Double Cash Card offers unlimited flat rate cash back when you spend on the card and then pay off your purchases.
Essentially, the Citi Rewards+ is for people who want points back on gas and grocery spending with the option to rack up a few extra points through bonuses and rounding up. Double Cash 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 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 these Citi cards compare to each other.
|Citi Rewards+ Card||Citi Double Cash Card|
|Welcome bonus||20,000 bonus points after spending $1,500 in purchases on your card within 3 months of account opening||N/A|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within the first four months and on purchases (18.74% to 28.74% variable APR after)||0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers made in the first four months (19.24% to 29.24% variable APR after)|
Citi Rewards+ Card vs. Citi Double Cash Card highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Citi Rewards+
Citi Double Cash does not offer a welcome bonus, a serious drawback of the card. The Citi Rewards+ Card, on the other hand, offers 20,000 bonus points — redeemable, for example, for $200 in gift cards — after spending $1,500 in purchases within three months. It’s not a stellar welcome bonus, yet Citi Rewards+ is the clear winner here.
Rewards rate winner: Citi Double Cash Card
The winner for you will depend on whether you’re interested in straight cash back or earning ThankYou points to redeem for travel or other options.
That said, given the simplicity and unlimited earning potential of Citi Double Cash, we’re inclined to name it the winner in this category. Cardholders effectively earn 2 percent cash back on every purchase in the form of 1 percent when you buy and another 1 percent when you pay for your purchases.
Officially, Double Cash rewards accumulate as Citi ThankYou points, but on their own they don’t have the same redemption power as ThankYou points earned with Citi’s premium travel rewards card, Citi Premier® (or the Citi Prestige® Credit Card), which is no longer available to new applicants). Double Cash cardholders can only transfer ThankYou points to a handful of travel partners, which depresses their potential value. However, if you also have one of the premium cards, you can bucket your Double Cash rewards under that card to unlock top value.
The Citi Rewards+ also earns ThankYou points — but if you’re looking to redeem for cash back or statement credits, your points will be worth less than 1 cent each with this card.
The Citi Rewards+ does have its perks, though, that help you maximize its value. There’s an annual redemption bonus which gives you 10 percent points back for the first 100,000 points redeemed each year. There’s also a round-up feature, which rounds all your purchases up to the nearest 10 points. A gas station purchase for $1.71, for example, would fetch you 10 ThankYou points instead of 1.71 points.
Introductory APR winner: It depends
If you have existing high-interest debt to pay down, the Citi Double Cash Card offers a lengthy, 18-month 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers made in the first four months (19.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR thereafter) — though it doesn’t feature a matching offer on new purchases.
The Citi Rewards+, however, offers a 15-month 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers made in the first four months as well as on purchases, making this card the better option if you have a large purchase on the horizon. After the intro periods, your balance will be subject to a 18.74 percent to 28.74 percent variable APR.
Which card earns the most?
Citi Rewards+ vs. Citi Double Cash Card spending example
The average household earned $94,003 in 2022 while spending $72,967, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They also broke down numbers from discretionary categories like groceries, gas and entertainment that we can apply to the Citi Rewards+ and Citi Double Cash cards to see what you stand to earn in terms of rewards.
|Annual spending||Amount||Citi Rewards+ Card (points)*||Citi Double Cash Card (cash back)**|
*These values do not take into account the “rounding up” feature of Citi Rewards+. Remember that for each purchase, Citi rounds your earnings up to the nearest 10X points. It means that numerous small purchases will ultimately earn more rewards than a few larger purchases. This table also does not take into account the annual 10 percent redemption bonus with Rewards+.
**Double Cash rewards figures assume the cardholder has paid for all these purchases in order to earn the full 1 percent when you buy and another 1 percent when you pay.
|Groceries and gas (combined to demonstrate points earning scenario)||$5,703 (groceries)
|12,000 (2x points on first $6,000 spent)||$176.46|
|Groceries and gas spending over $6,000 cap||$2,823||2,823||N/A|
|Apparel and services||$1,945||1,945||$38.90|
|Personal care products and services||$866||866||$17.32|
|First-year value (including welcome offer)||–||44,731 (worth $223.65 cash back or $447.31 in gift cards)||$374.62|
|Second-year value||–||24,731 (worth $123.65 in cash back or $247.31 in gift cards)||$374.62|
In terms of value, you stand to realize a good bit more with the Citi Double Cash if you’re interested in straight cash back. Rewards+ ThankYou points are worth just 0.5 cents each when redeemed for cash back, so it’s best to redeem ThankYou points in other ways — or, better yet, combine those points with Citi Premier or Prestige for your best value options.
Why should you get the Citi Rewards+ Card?
The Citi Rewards+ Card is worth it for you if you spend only moderately on gas and groceries and typically make numerous smaller purchases rather than a few large purchases on your card. 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.
Further, Rewards+ is best for people interested in redeeming rewards for something other than cash, such as for gift cards or charitable donations. Best case is combining these points with ThankYou points earned with a premium Citi travel card.
In addition to its welcome bonus, round-up feature, annual redemption bonus and intro APR offer, Citi Rewards+ Card benefits include standard Mastercard benefits, like $0 liability on unauthorized purchases and identity theft protection services. Plus, you’ll enjoy access to Citi Entertainment, which offers opportunities for presale tickets, events and more. Events could include music festivals, pro football games or even high-end restaurant experiences.
You can redeem your ThankYou points in a few different ways:
- Gift cards
- Shop with points on Amazon.com or PayPal
- Statement credits (worth less than 1 cent per point)
- Cash (worth less than 1 cent per point)
- 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 is worth it 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 2 percent cash back and without any limits. For some, the simplicity is just too good to pass up.
In addition to the long intro APR on balance transfers, the card offers benefits like $0 fraud liability, 24-hour fraud protection, identity theft services and access to Citi Entertainment.
Redemption options for your cash back rewards include statement credits, direct deposit, check and ThankYou points redemption. If you choose, you can redeem your rewards as points for gift cards, travel through Citi or Shop with Points on Amazon or PayPal. You can also combine them with ThankYou points earned through other cards.
Recommended credit score
As with the Citi Rewards+ card, 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. In particular, the Citi Double Cash Card is a perennial hit due to its high rate of unlimited cash back.
The Citi Rewards+ Card 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 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.
As always, consider other options from our list of the best rewards credit cards for 2023 in case another card piques your interest.
*Information about the Citi® Double Cash Card and Citi Prestige® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.