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A Dynamic Duo: Why the Citi Double Cash and Citi Premier Cards Make Such a Powerful Combination

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The Citi® Double Cash and Citi Premier®, from our partner Citi, are two very different credit cards aimed at different types of consumers.

The Citi Double Cash card earns a flat cashback rate with no annual fee, while the Citi Premier is a great card for those who want to earn generous rewards on everyday purchases.

Most people looking for a generous rewards card wouldn’t consider the Citi Double Cash. Most cash-back consumers would skip over Citi Premier. Yet, these two cards paired together make a great combination to help you earn more points on everyday expenses. Here’s why you should consider having both cards in your wallet.

Overview of the Citi Double Cash

couple traveling in italy

The Citi Double Cash currently has a pretty great benefit for a card with no annual fee. The card earns 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. In other words: As long as you pay your card in full every month, you’ll earn 2% cash back.

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: 2% Cash Back
APR: Variable APR Between 17.74% – 27.74% After Intro 0% APR Period
Rewards Rate: 2% Cash Back
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $0

Intro APR: New cardholders enjoy 0% introductory APR on all balance transfers for the first 18 months of account opening and are charged an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first four months of account opening. After that, the fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5). Once the no-interest offer concludes, a variable APR between 17.74% – 27.74%, based on creditworthiness, will apply to all balances.

APR: After the intro 0% APR offer concludes, a variable APR will apply.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want simple, flat-rate cash back on all of their spending.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card, from our partner Citi, is among the top cards on the market for general spending. Forget the cards that offer 1% and 1.5% cash back. The Citi Double Cash Card offers you a whopping 2% cash back for all spending. Earn 1% back when you make a purchase and 1% back when you pay your account balance. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.

The credit card’s rewards rate makes it perfect for all of the odds and ends you buy from random stores and uncategorized vendors.

The card also offers a 0% intro APR offer for 18 months on balance transfers. Granted, you’ll need to pay a 3% balance transfer fee, but it might be worthwhile. If you’re looking for a 0% balance transfer offer, 18 months is a pretty generous timeframe. The Citi Double Cash Card carries a 3% foreign transaction fee, making this a suboptimal card for travel abroad

This card is unique because if you have another card that earns Citi ThankYouⓇ points (like the Citi Premier), you can convert your cash-back earnings to points. There’s a simple reason you’d want to do that: Points are worth more than cash back, assuming you redeem them to their full potential. We’ll get into that later – for the time being, let’s look at the Citi Premier’s key features and how these cards complement each other.

Overview of the Citi Premier

pumping gas

The Citi Premier is a great starter card if you want a generous welcome bonus and earning structure. The card currently has an elevated welcome bonus of 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. It also earns up to 3 points per dollar in common spending categories:

  • 3x points on air travel and hotels
  • 3x points at gas stations
  • 3x points at restaurants
  • 3x points at supermarkets
  • 1x point on all other purchases
Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 80,000 ThankYou Points
APR: Variable APR Between 19.74% – 27.74%
Rewards Rate: 1X-3X ThankYou Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: This card features a 19.74% – 27.74% variable APR based on creditworthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 3x ThankYou Points per $1 spent at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, air travel and hotels. Beyond that, the card awards 1x ThankYou Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: New account holders can earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want to maximize rewards in multiple spending categories and welcome transferring points to airline partners.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier Card, from our partner Citi, is worth considering if you’re looking for accelerated travel rewards, but don’t want to pay a huge annual fee. It earns 3X points per dollar on air travel, hotels and spending at gas stations. You’ll also earn 3X points per dollar at supermarkets and restaurants and 1X point on everything else.

It’s easy to quickly rack up lots of points on this card. While you can redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, you’ll get more value when you redeem points for flights and hotels, and potentially even better value when you transfer points to travel partners.

Citi has dramatically improved the ThankYou Rewards program in recent years as well as the cards that earn those points, especially the Citi Premier Card. To compete with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi has onboarded new airline partners like Avianca LifeMiles and JetBlue TrueBlue.

Gas and grocery spending are big expenses for most people, so being able to earn 3x points is a big deal. As a comparison, the American Express® Gold Card earns 4x points in these categories and caps the grocery bonus to $25,000 per year. The Citi Premier has no limit on the number of points you can earn. Plus, the card’s $95 annual fee is much lower than the AmexⓇ Gold’s $250. Bottom line: The Citi Premier Card offers terrific value for a mid-tier card.

Aside from category bonuses, cardmembers also enjoy no foreign transaction fees on purchases made abroad and an annual $100 discount on hotel bookings of $500 or higher made through Citi ThankYou Travel.

Why You Should Combine the Citi Double Cash and Citi Premier Cards

friends travel in San francisco

As you can see, both cards have positive attributes that can make them worthy contenders. So why do you need both? Here’s a look at how having both a Citi Double Cash and Premier Card can be beneficial:

You’ll Maximize Earnings on All of Your Spending

Pairing the Citi Double Cash and Citi Premier Card gets you the best of both worlds: You’ll earn generous category bonuses where it counts and at least 2x ThankYou points on all other spending. This is massively useful because you’re doubling your earn rate outside of those four spending categories. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average American household spent $61,334 in 2020 across 14 spending categories. Out of that number, $4,942 was spent on food at home, $2,375 on dining out, and $1,568 on gas. Those numbers have likely changed, with rising inflation and gas prices. Still, using these numbers as an example, a Citi Premier cardholder would earn 26,655 in these bonus categories. The remaining $52,499 in non-bonus spending would generate 104,998 points with a Citi Double Cash Card. Having both cards would generate an extra 9,885 bonus points in a year.

Your Cash Back Rewards Become More Valuable

Pairing a Citi Premier Card with your Citi Double Cash card increases the value of your rewards and gives you more options to redeem them.

Slickdeals values ThankYou points at 1.8 cents each. Let’s say you make $10,000 worth of purchases with the Citi Double Cash Card. You’d earn $200 cash back or you can convert that to 20,000 points. Those 20,000 points would be worth $360, which is more than the value of your initial cash back rewards. 

You Only Pay One Annual Fee

Plenty of card pairings might get you a similar earning structure, but few will be as cheap as the Citi Premier-Citi Double Cash combo. The Citi Premier’s $95 annual fee is reasonable when you factor in the 3x category bonuses. Using the $100 hotel discount offsets the card’s $95 annual fee entirely.

There are plenty of 2% cash-back cards on the market with no annual fee. But being able to convert your cash back into valuable ThankYou points is a compelling reason to pair these two cards together.

Before You Apply for a Citi Card

If you’re excited about the Citi Double Cash and Citi Premier combo, you’ll want to read up on Citi’s application rules before applying for a card. While Citi is more lax than some banks, it has several rules that could impact whether you’re approved for a new card. 

Citi won’t approve you for a Premier Card if you’ve had (and closed) the card in the past 24 months. This rule extends to other Thank You-earning cards, including the Citi Rewards+, Citi ThankYou Preferred and Citi ThankYou Prestige. 

Additionally, Citi limits card approvals to one every eight days and two within 65 days. So if you’ve recently applied for another Citi card, you may not be eligible for a new Premier or Double Cash Card. You’ll want to time your applications correctly, so you don’t miss out on approval.

Bottom Line

Suppose you have a Citi Double Cash card in your wallet. The Citi Premier can expand your rewards potential and offers money-saving travel perks at a very reasonable annual fee. You can convert your cashback to points for valuable travel redemptions, like first-class flights and luxury hotels. Best of all, you can keep earning points abroad without incurring a foreign transaction fee and enjoy perks reserved for World Elite MastercardⓇ cards. 

And if you have a Citi Premier card, adding a Double Cash card to your repertoire enhances an already terrific card. You’ll earn 2x points outside of an already impressive bonus category line-up at no additional fee. Either way, this killer combo will supercharge your point-earning potential.

Official application link: Apply here for the Citi Double Cash card

Official application link: Apply here for the Citi Premier card

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewal is a rewards travel expert and founder of Pointchaser. She has covered all things points, miles and credit cards for over a decade and served as an editor at The Points Guy, NerdWallet, and FlyerTalk. Her work has also appeared in Forbes, Fodor's Travel, and U.S. News Weekly.

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