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Citi Double Cash Credit Card: What You Need to Know About Converting Cash Back to ThankYou Points

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Shows a funny man with luggage with big letters: Earn Thank you points two times faster with citi double cash

Citicard’s popular Citi Double Cash card has made a significant change that will allow cardholders to convert cash back into Citi ThankYou points that you can redeem for travel.

Suddenly, what was a top-notch cash-back card has become quite a good travel-rewards card.

What You Need to Know

Citi has announced that as of Sept. 22, the Double Cash Card cash back rewards can be converted into ThankYou points, which were only available through other Citicards, such as Citi Prestige, Citi Premier and Citi Rewards+ cards.

This change means that the Citi Double Cash rewards are no longer limited to typical cash-back options such as direct bank deposits, gifts cards and statement credit. Instead, you can now use the Double Cash Card cash back to earn travel rewards as well.

What makes this announcement particularly interesting is that none of the existing ThankYou rewards cards offer 2x rewards for every dollar spent. They offer targeted bonus points for various categories – travel, groceries, entertainment, gas – and some impose an annual spending limiting, after which reward accumulation reverts to 1 point per $1.

But Citi Double Cash offers an unlimited 2% cash back on every expense – 1% when you buy and 1% when you repay.

For fans of travel-reward cards, this new option puts the Citi Double Cash card in the same league as the Capital One Venture card, which offers an unlimited 2x miles on every dollar spent.

What is the Conversion Ratio?

Citi will convert Double Cash Card cash back at a rate of $1 in cash rewards equals 100 ThankYou points.

Each ThankYou point is worth 1 cent, so 100 points is equal to the $1 you converted … thus it’s a 1:1 ratio.

You could also transfer cash back to a ThankYou points account that you could then transfer to an airline mileage account through frequent-flyer programs affiliated with Citi’s ThankYou rewards program, including:

  • Air France/KLM
  • Avianca (Colombia)
  • Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)
  • EVA Air (Taiwan)
  • Etihad (United Arab Emirates)
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Jet Airways (India)
  • JetBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas (Australia)
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airways
  • Virgin Atlantic (U.K.)

Those conversions are 1:1 … meaning that 2% cash back is effectively 2x miles. 

For example: You spend $100 on new shoes on a Citi Double Cash card. You get $2 cash back. At a conversation ratio of $1 = 100 points, you end up with 200 points in your Citi ThankYou account, which you can then convert into 200 miles in one of the airline partner mileage programs.

What Travel Rewards Credit Cards Does Citi Double Cash Compete With Now?

Given that the Double Cash Card has no annual fee, the most direct comparison is the Citi Rewards+ card, which also imposes no annual fee.

With Citi Rewards+, you’re getting 2x miles on every $1 spent at supermarkets and gas stations, up to $6,000 per year. After that it’s 1 miles for every $1 … which is what you earn as well on every other purchase outside of supermarkets and gas stations.

Rewards+ also has the benefit of rounding your spending up to the nearest $10., so if you spend, say, $1 on postage stamps, you’ll earn a minimum of 10 points.

Citi Rewards+ gives you a 10% points back on the first 100,000 points you redeem each year. And if you don’t already have a Rewards+ card, Citi will give you a signup bonus of 15,000 ThankYou points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months.

Citi Double Cash offers no signup bonus at the moment.

Or, there’s the Capital One Venture Card. With this card you’re getting 2x miles on every $1 spent (identical to Citi Double Cash when going through the conversion option). Plus, through January 2020, you’ll pick up 10x miles for every $1 spent at thousands of hotels around the world.

Capital One will also give you 50,000-mile signup bonus after spending $3,000 in the first three months. There’s no annual fee in the first year, though the card is $95 a year thereafter.

You can also transfer Venture miles to various airline frequent flyer plans, including:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France/KLM
  • Air Canada
  • Alitalia (Italy)
  • Avianca
  • Emirates (United Arab Emirates)
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair (Finland)
  • Hainan Airlines (China)
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Singapore Airlines

The Wrap Up

This new ability to convert cash back into travel rewards is unique in the world of credit card rewards, and it will be interesting to see if other credit-card companies follow Citi’s path.

We could end up with an entirely new credit card reward system in which many more credit cards offer cardholders the opportunity to go back and forth between cash back options and travel options.

In the meantime, the Citi Double Cash card has suddenly become an even better credit card to have in your wallet.

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