Citi Double Cash is now the best personal card for general spending, if paired with a premium ThankYou card

Starting September 22, 2019, Citi Double Cash allows its cash rewards to be transferred to ThankYou points.  This feature makes Double Cash the best personal card for general spending, returning 3% travel rewards based on our current valuation of ThankYou points, if paired with a premium ThankYou card such as Citi Prestige or Cit Premier.  Finally, we have a personal card comparable to Amex Blue Business Plus.  At least on paper, Double Cash beats Alliant Visa Signature which returns 2.5% cashback with a $99 annual fee.  A combo of Double Cash and Citi Prestige is also one of the best credit card combos.

The details can be found in the reviews and here are some highlights:

  • A total of 2% cash rewards: unlimited 1% cash back for all purchases, and an additional 1% cash back for the payments made, as long as you at least pay minimum amount due each month.  You can redeem your cash rewards once your rewards balance exceeds $25, for statement credit, check, or direct deposit into your checking account.  Cash rewards expire after 12 months of account inactivity.  Starting September 2019, you might also transfer your cash rewards to ThankYou points at a ratio of 1:100.  The transfer is irreversible.
  • Normally, you might redeem ThankYou (TY) points for cash, merchandise, gift cards, and travel, returning up to 1 cent per point (note: cash rewards in form of statement credit or check have 0.5 cent value and in form of bill pay have 0.65 cent value).  You might also transfer TY points earned from Double Cash to JetBlue’s TrueBlue points at 1:0.8; as our current valuation of JetBlue points is 1.4 cents a piece, this option will make your TY points a little over 1 cent (1.12 to be exact); however, considering the hassle of redeeming points for flights, we actually won’t recommend this option.  The bottom line: considering the valuation of TY points, for most consumers, it is better to keep the cash rewards earned from Double Cash as is and not to transfer them into TY points.
  • However, if you have a premium TY card such as Citi Premier ($95) or Citi Prestige ($495), you might pool all your TY points together and take advantage of the better miles/points transfer feature: transferring TY points to miles/points of several frequent traveler programs at 1:1 ratio (including JetBlue).  In this way, you increase TY points earned from Double Cash quite a bit; based on our current valuation of 1.5 cents per TY point using this feature, Double Cash returns 3% rewards instead of 2% cashback!  Please see our featured review Marriott vs. MR vs. UR vs. TY vs. CR for the programs that allow points transfer to frequent traveler accounts.  In addition, Citi Premier has a fixed value flight redemption option at 1.25 cents per TY point; if you use this option, Double Cash then returns 2.5% rewards, a little lower than the miles/points transfer option but with a much easier redemption process.
  • If you have a premium TY card and combine all your TY accounts, the TY points earned from Double Cash become transferrable to miles/points of several frequent traveler programs.  Based on our current valuation, Double Cash becomes a powerhouse for general spending, returning 3% travel rewards, beating both Chase Freedom Unlimited and Amex EveryDay Preferred.  Of course, you want to use Citi Prestige for dining & airlines & travel agencies (5x points, =7.5% rewards), hotels & cruise lines (3x points, =4.5% rewards), and foreign purchases.  You might replace Citi Prestige with Citi Premier which also allows frequent traveler miles/points transfer, returns lower rewards (3x points on travel & gas, = 4.5% rewards), but has a lower annual fee ($95, $150 lower than Citi Prestige’s effective annual fee).

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