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Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card review: Is it the “preferred” Citi balance transfer card?

Its long intro APR on balance transfers makes it a compelling option.

 /  11 min
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At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for and how we rate our cards. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

4.1

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This card’s long intro APR offer could give you a needed reprieve from interest charges, but its lack of rewards doesn’t offer much long-term value after you’ve paid off your balance.

BEST FOR BALANCE TRANSFERS
Image of Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • Introductory offer
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
    5 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 2 stars out of 5
    2 / 5
    Fees
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 2 stars out of 5
    2 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

0% for 12 months on Purchases

Purchase intro APR

Regular APR

N/A

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Rewards rate

Info

Annual fee

Citi is an advertising partner


Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card Overview

Whether you want to pay off debt with a balance transfer or finance new purchases, the Citi Diamond Preferred could be a lifesaver. This no-annual-fee card comes with a lengthy introductory APR offer on balance transfers, carries a decent intro APR offer for new purchases and gives cardholders with good to excellent credit a relatively low ongoing APR.

If you’ve accrued a large balance on other cards, the Diamond Preferred could be just what you need to minimize interest charges as you pay off debt. But if you’re more focused on financing new purchases and earning rewards, a cash back or rewards card with a longer intro APR period on new purchases may be a better fit.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • This card does not offer rewards 

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Apr

    0% APR offer

    • 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months on transfers completed within four months of account opening
    • 0% for 12 months on Purchases 
    • 5 percent balance transfer fee applies (or $5, whichever is greater) 
    • 18.24% - 28.99% (Variable)

    Expert Appraisal: Excellent  
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • $0 annual fee 
    • 3 percent foreign transaction fee 
    • Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Citi Flex Loan 
    • Citi Entertainment 
    • Citi Easy Deals 

    Expert Appraisal: Typical 
    See our expert analysis

Citi Diamond Preferred pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    It has one of the longest introductory APR periods on qualifying balance transfers available.

  • Checkmark

    The low ongoing APR could make the card worth keeping even after you’ve paid off your balance if you plan on occasionally carrying a balance.

  • Checkmark

    The card has no annual fee, which helps cut costs when paying down debt.

Cons

  • The intro APR period on purchases is much shorter than the intro APR for balance transfers.

  • The 5 percent balance transfer fee (or $5, whichever is higher) is higher than typical.

  • There is no rewards program, limiting its long-term value.

Why you might want the Citi Diamond Preferred

The sizable intro APR on balance transfers and the potential for a lower-than-average ongoing APR make the Citi Diamond Preferred a competitive option among balance transfer cards. 

Intro APR offer: Impressively long for balance transfers

The advantage of a balance transfer card is to get the most time to pay off credit card debt. The Citi Diamond Preferred meets this need, offering a 0 percent intro APR period of 21 months from account opening on balance transfers (then 18.24 percent to 28.99 percent variable; greater of $5 or 5 percent balance transfer fee applies).

You have almost two years to pay your balance down without added interest. To qualify for this offer, you must complete your balance transfer within the first four months of account opening. While the Citi Diamond Preferred offers one of the longest transfer windows available, it’s best to transfer your balance as soon as possible to take advantage of the interest-free period. 

Ongoing interest rate: Lower than average

The low end of the Citi Diamond Preferred’s ongoing interest rate falls below the current average interest rate of around 20 percent, which is one of the highest APR averages on record. This means you still may be able to save more with this card compared to others even after the intro APR offers end.

Only a few cards match this low ongoing APR, and two of the best balance transfer cards have lower potential ongoing APRs: the Discover it® Balance Transfer (offer expired) credit card and the BankAmericard® credit card. Although these cards may save you more interest long-term, both have shorter intro APR periods on balance transfers.

Why you might want a different balance transfer card

While the Citi Diamond Preferred offers a stellar intro APR offer, the card’s long-term benefits are lacking. It has no rewards program or welcome offer, a high balance transfer fee and limited cardholder perks. Once you’ve paid your balance off or your intro APR period ends, the card’s limited value makes it difficult to justify keeping.

Rewards: No rewards structure or welcome offer

Although typical for many balance transfer cards, the Citi Diamond Preferred doesn’t offer rewards or a welcome offer. If your primary goal is to consolidate and pay off debt, the Citi Diamond Preferred may be ideal. But if you want to add a card to your wallet with more consistent long-term value, the Citi Diamond Preferred falls flat. The lack of a rewards program gives little incentive to keep the card long-term, and the disappointingly short intro offer on purchases does little to lift this card’s value.

You may be able to find rewards cards that have comparable intro APR offers if you’re willing to sacrifice a few months of zero interest for longer ongoing value.

Rates and fees: Balance transfer fee is on the higher end

A balance transfer fee is often either 3 or 5 percent of the amount you transfer to another card. The Citi Diamond Preferred’s balance transfer fee falls on the high end at $5 or 5 percent, whichever is greater — which means transferring a balance with this card will be more expensive than what you’d find on other balance transfer cards. 

For example, if you transferred $1,500 to the Citi Diamond Preferred, Citi will tack on another $75 to the balance. However, its intro APR period is longer than most, so plugging your balance into a balance transfer calculator can help you see if a lower-fee card with a potentially shorter intro APR period would cost less than the Citi Diamond Preferred.

Other cardholder perks: Limited outside of the Citi-specific

Some perks the Citi Diamond Preferred offers could prove helpful, but they aren’t much to write home about. The Citi Flex Loans perk, available by invitation only, allows you to borrow money against your Citi credit card limit at a fixed rate and pay it back over a set period of time, with no additional fees, application or credit inquiry required. This feature could be useful if you need a personal installment loan down the line. 

Meanwhile, Citi Entertainment and Citi Easy Deals are common shopping and entertainment access portals like you’d find with other issuers. However, if you are trying to pay off debt, the Citi Easy Deals could add to your balance, so it might not be the most worthwhile perk if you’re paying down debt. The upside is that the lack of perks on this card may help you focus on paying off debt rather than chasing statement credits or spending requirements.

Balance transfer fee vs. interest payments

If you’re carrying credit card debt and facing high-interest charges each month, any balance transfer card can help you pay down that balance. However, the Citi Diamond Preferred could help pay over a longer period than most balance transfer cards. Transferring your balance can help you save on interest and give you a time-based incentive to pay off your debt. While you might not be able to pay off your entire balance during a card’s introductory period, having a deadline can be a great way to motivate monthly payments.

Here’s a look at how much you could save on interest by transferring a balance to the Citi Diamond Preferred, assuming you have average credit card debt (around $6,000), an average APR on your current card (around 20 percent) and make fixed monthly payments of $240. Based on data from Bankrate’s balance transfer calculator and minimum payment calculator, a balance transfer will enable you to pay off your debt five months earlier and save a little over $1,400 in this example. Your only extra cost with the Diamond Preferred would be the $5 or 5 percent balance transfer fee.

Card Payoff time Total estimated cost
Citi Diamond Preferred 21 months* $300 (5% balance transfer fee)
Credit card with 20% APR 26 months $1,730 (interest charges)

*Then an ongoing APR of 18.24% - 28.99% (Variable)

How the Citi Diamond Preferred compares to other balance transfer cards

A handful of cards match the Citi Diamond Preferred Card’s intro APR offer and offer additional benefits like cash back rewards or a lower ongoing APR. Here’s how the Citi Diamond Preferred compares to competing balance transfer credit cards.

Image of Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of BankAmericard® credit card

BankAmericard® credit card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Citi Double Cash® Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Citi's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

$200 cash back
Info

Rewards rate

1% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Who is the Citi Diamond Preferred right for?

As a solid balance transfer card, the Citi Diamond Preferred is most beneficial to anyone who wants to pay off their debt.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Citi Diamond Preferred worth it?

If you need to pay down debt or finance purchases, the Citi Diamond Preferred Card should be a good fit. Though it carries a high $5 or 5 percent balance transfer fee and lacks rewards or cardholder perks, this card should get the job done if you want to tackle debt without paying interest. 

The shortened intro purchase APR and limited long-term value may make no-annual-fee rewards cards with slightly shorter intro APR periods more worthwhile options, especially after you’ve paid off your balance. If you need the longest period possible to pay down your balance, the Diamond Preferred is still solid, but other balance transfer-focused cards also offer more favorable intro APR periods on purchases.

How we rated this card

Document
100+
card ratings
Credit Card Apr
400+
APRs tracked
Search
3000
data points analyzed
Credit Card Reviews
40+
perks evaluated

Our proprietary card rating system takes into account a mix of factors when scoring balance transfer and low-interest cards, including each card’s introductory APR, intro APR period length, ongoing APR, balance transfer fee, perks and more.

While balance transfer and low-interest cards share a similar ratings rubric, we weigh features differently based on how a card is categorized. We categorize cards that carry an especially long intro APR offer on balance transfers as dedicated balance transfer cards, while cards that offer an especially low ongoing APR are considered general low-interest cards. 

Based on its features, we assigned this card a primary category of balance transfer and tailored our ratings accordingly. 

We analyzed over 100 of the most popular balance transfer and low-interest cards and scored each based on how its key features stacked up against those of other cards in its category. 

Here’s a breakdown of what gave this card its score:

*The information about the BankAmericard® credit card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Ashley Parks
Former Editor, Credit cards

As a Bankrate credit cards editor, Ashley Parks is fascinated by the ways people can make credit cards work for them when armed with the right knowledge.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Former Editor, Credit Cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.