The Citi Custom Cash Card is an excellent choice if you want to earn rewards across categories or even in a single high-spending category for maximum rewards. Plus, you can earn a welcome bonus with a reasonable return on the amount you're required to spend. Another point in favor of the Citi Custom Cash is its decent intro APR period for both purchases and balance transfers.
You can also double your point value on earnings, giving you even more reason to use this card for everyday expenses like groceries or gas.
Welcome offer: A good deal compared to similar cash back cards
New cardholders can earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 in purchases within their first six months, which comes in the form of 20,000 ThankYou points.
Although the Citi Custom Cash card’s spending requirement may be a bit hard to meet for some spenders, an offer worth $200 is on par with the sign-up bonuses you’ll find on some of the most popular cash back cards. The current $1,500 spending requirement is double the card’s previous bonus spending requirement and higher than what’s often required to earn the same cash bonus with competing no-annual-fee cash back cards (some cards require a spending threshold of just $500).
Here’s how the Citi Custom Cash card’s bonus stacks up to those of competing rewards cards when you break down the bonus as a return on spend:
Intro APR: Save on interest for the long run
Like a number of other no-annual-fee cash back cards, the Citi Custom Cash offers a solid intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers — making it a great option if you need to transfer your balance to Citi.
Besides being an effective balance transfer card, the Citi Custom Cash doubles as a somewhat low-interest credit card thanks to its 19.24 percent to 29.24 percent variable ongoing APR. This interest rate is reasonable for a rewards card, with its low-end APR slightly below the current average interest rate.
Rewards: Earn elevated cash back within a wide variety of categories
The Citi Custom Cash earns 5 percent cash back on up to $500 (then 1 percent back) of purchases in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle, plus unlimited 1 percent on all other purchases. The 10 categories that earn you 5 percent rewards are:
A pro tip to maximize your rewards is to pay for all your subscriptions or big expenses in a given category in a single billing cycle. For example, paying for all of your fitness club memberships in full in January, renewing your annual transit passes in February and booking all of your summer travel in March means you could earn cash back on a wider variety of purchases across the year’s billing cycles.
Redemption options: The unique chance to double your point value
The Citi Custom Cash offers one of the more well-rounded suites of redemption options among no-annual-fee rewards cards. You can redeem any number of your ThankYou points for cash back in the form of a direct deposit, check or statement credit, but your points must equal at least $5 in cash back to redeem for a check. Alternatively, you can redeem your points for gift cards, booking travel through Citi or eligible purchases on Amazon via Shop with Points.
Since you earn ThankYou points instead of automatic cash back, your point value can vary depending on the redemption choice. The Custom Cash card’s cash back redemption options will get you a value of 1 cent per point. You’ll also get 1 cent per point for gift card redemptions and travel bookings through Citi.
But if you pool points with the Citi Premier or Prestige, Bankrate’s latest point valuation estimates that your points may be worth around 1.9 cents each on average through certain Citi transfer partners. This valuation estimate means transferring your 20,000-point sign-up bonus to the right transfer partner could nearly double its value from $200 to $380.