Key takeaways

  • The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card offers a longer than typical intro balance transfer offer, so it’s a good choice if you want a longer period to pay off debt interest-free.
  • A balance transfer fee of 5 percent applies, which is more than the typical 3 percent fee, so that could be a drawback if you have a lot of debt to transfer.
  • The Citi Diamond Preferred also doesn’t offer rewards on your spending, so you might be better off with card that comes with a shorter intro APR offer with rewards.

While it isn’t a good choice if you’re hoping to earn rewards on your spending, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card could be worth it if you need to consolidate debt from other cards thanks to its incredible 0 percent introductory annual percentage rate (APR) offer on balance transfers for 21 months from account opening (18.24 percent to 28.99 percent variable APR thereafter).

It’s one of the longest offers on the market. A shorter 0 percent intro APR offer on purchases — 12 months — is also featured with the same ongoing APR after the period ends. Plus, the Citi Diamond Preferred doesn’t have an annual fee.

If you’re hoping to transfer high-interest balances and consolidate debt, or if you want a card that lets you save on interest when you make new purchases for a limited time, this balance transfer credit card should be at the top of your list.

So, is the Citi Diamond Preferred worth it? Well, everyone’s circumstances are a bit different, but here are some reasons to consider this top balance transfer card as well as some reasons you might want to look at other options.

When is the Citi Diamond Preferred worth it?

Before you decide if the Citi Diamond Preferred is worth applying for, you need to think over all of its benefits and how they might apply to your situation. Here are a few scenarios where this card can be well worth it, either in the short term or over the long run:

You have plenty of high-interest debt to consolidate

When you qualify for the Citi Diamond Preferred, you’ll get a 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from account opening (transfers must be completed within four months of account opening), followed by a variable APR of 18.24 percent to 28.99 percent. This offer makes it possible to consolidate high-interest credit card debt and potentially pay it off quickly without adding interest charges to your balance during the introductory time period.

Savings example

So, how much can you save with the Citi Diamond Preferred? For the most part, this depends on how you plan to use it. Consider the following example, keeping in mind that the card charges a balance transfer fee of 5 percent (or $5, whichever is higher):

Imagine you have $8,000 in credit card debt at a 21 percent APR, and you just created a budget that will allow you to pay $450 per month toward your balance. At this rate, you could pay off this debt in 22 months and you would fork out $1,667 in interest during that time, according to our credit card debt payoff calculator,

Now imagine you transferred that debt to the Citi Diamond Preferred to get a 0 percent intro APR for 21 months (18.24 percent to 28.99 percent variable APR thereafter). Doing so would require a balance transfer fee of $400, so you would start the process owing $8,400. However, the same $450 monthly payment would leave you debt-free in about 19 months and you would pay $0 in interest along the way.

So, even with the balance transfer fee, the Citi Diamond Preferred could help you save more than $1,200 and pay off your debt three months earlier.

You want to make a large purchase and pay it off over 12 months

The Citi Diamond Preferred also comes with a 0 percent intro APR offer on purchases for 12 months from account opening (followed by a variable APR of 18.24 percent to 28.99 percent), so it can be useful if you want to buy something expensive and pay it down slowly over the first year.

You could use the card to buy new furniture or even electronics like a new computer or gaming system. You could also use the card to pay for holiday spending and then pay down your balance over 12 months, interest-free.

Avoiding an annual fee is important to you

Another Citi Diamond Preferred benefit is that it has no annual fee, so it’s a card you can plan to keep for the long haul. While you may not want to use it after the intro APR offer ends, keeping a card for a long time can help increase your credit score by lengthening the average age of your credit history. If you keep the card’s balance at $0 after you pay down your debt, that will also help reduce your credit utilization ratio, which is another important determinant of your credit score.

When is the Citi Diamond Preferred card not worth it?

While the Citi Diamond Preferred is definitely worth it in some scenarios, there are a few notable areas where it comes up short. Consider these instances where you may actually be better off with a different credit card altogether:

You want to minimize fees

We mentioned how the Citi Diamond Preferred charges a 5 percent balance transfer fee (minimum $5) upfront, but you should know this fee is on the higher end. The fact is, some top balance transfer cards charge lower balance transfer fees (typically 3 percent), and the difference in fees can be in the hundreds of dollars depending on how much debt you have to consolidate.

Consider our earlier example of an $8,000 transfer. The difference between a 5 percent balance transfer fee and a 3 percent fee is $160 ($400 vs. $240).

Rewards are important to you

Remember that the Citi Diamond Preferred does not offer any rewards for spending, whereas many other cards with a 0 percent intro APR on purchases or balance transfers do. If you’re willing to settle for an intro APR offer of up to 15 months instead of 21, you’ll find a range of popular cash back credit cards that let you earn rewards for spending and generous sign-up bonuses — many of which are featured on our list of the best 0 percent intro APR credit cards.

You don’t want to pay foreign transaction fees

It’s also worth noting that the Citi Diamond Preferred charges a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent. So, if you plan on traveling abroad, you should consider using a different card.

Should you get the Citi Diamond Preferred card?

Getting the Citi Diamond Preferred makes the most sense if you want to consolidate and pay down high-interest debt and need as long as possible to pay off that debt.

With that said, there are other 0 percent intro APR credit cards to consider if you can manage with a shorter intro period, including ones that let you earn rewards on your purchases. Some popular cards to consider in this niche include the Discover it® Cash Back and Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Here’s more information on each:

  • The Discover it Cash Back offers an intro 0 percent APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers (then 17.24 percent to 28.24 percent variable APR)
  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited also offers an intro 15 months of 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers (then 20.49 percent to 29.24 percent variable APR)
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Keep in mind: If you decide to get the Citi Diamond Preferred because you want a long time to pay down debt you consolidate, you should have a plan in place beforehand.

As you transfer high-interest balances over, keep in mind how much you’ll need to pay each month to ditch your debt before the 0 percent intro APR ends. Do the math and figure out how much you’ll need to pay during the intro APR offer timeline, then get serious about sticking to your plan. After all, any remaining balances will be charged the regular variable APR rate of 18.24 percent to 28.99 percent after 21 months are up.

This same planning applies to any large purchases you’re looking to pay off over time, but keep in mind that the Citi Diamond Preferred offers a shorter intro APR offer for purchases.

The bottom line

The Citi Diamond Preferred is best for a specific type of consumer — someone who plans to carry a balance and hopes to pay as little as possible to do so. This can apply to big-ticket items charged to a card or debt consolidated from other credit cards.

Keep in mind that this card is geared toward consumers with good or excellent credit. If your credit score needs work and you know you can’t qualify, you may want to look at credit cards for fair credit or bad credit.

There are numerous reasons to fall in love with the Citi Diamond Preferred — but it’s important to consider all angles (including the higher balance transfer fee and nonexistent rewards offerings), and compare the card against other top balance transfer card options before submitting your application.