Clark Howard

Is Citi Double Cash® Still a Good Credit Card in 2024?

Is the Citi Double Cash® Card still a good credit card in 2024?

Money expert Clark Howard has recommended the popular cash back credit card for years. He even carries it in his wallet.

The reason he has suggested the card is its simplicity: You can earn unlimited 2% cash back on all your purchases with no annual fee and no spending categories to track.

But things aren’t as simple as they used to be. There have been some hurdles added to the rewards redemption process that have caused concerns for listeners and Clark alike.

During a recent episode of the Clark Howard podcast, Clark discussed the latest issue that is irritating Double Cash cardholders.

Citi Is Tricking Some Customers Into Redeeming Points at Lower Value

The Citi Double Cash® Card rewards program used to be very straightforward: You received 1% cash back when you made a purchase and 1% cash back when you paid the bill. That totaled 2% back on your purchases … and that was that.

In recent years, Citi has made the redemption of that 2% back a little more complicated by converting the earned rewards into Citi ThankYou® points.

That opens up more creative ways cardholders can redeem rewards, but they now must login to convert those ThankYou points into the cash back redemption method of their choice.

That’s a mildly annoying extra step to take, but still relatively simple.

Now, it seems that Citi is trying to get users to redeem those ThankYou points for lower than their 2% value by prompting cardholders to pay with points at the register when they swipe their Double Cash at select retailers.

Daniel from North Carolina wrote into Clark to spread the word on his recent experience that devalued his points on an accidental redemption at the register:

"Sometimes when I use my Citi Double Cash Card at checkout, it pops up an option to pay with ThankYou points. It costs 2500 points for a $20 transaction. That's a bad deal because if you redeem the points online, those 2500 points are worth $25.

"This week, I was in a hurry and thought I was approving the credit card transaction, but I actually approved spending the points. I wanted to warn your listeners about this sneaky design. I've since transferred all of my points directly to my bank accounts. I won't be tricked again."

Clark Says Double Cash Is Now “Good” Instead of “Great”

As you may have anticipated, Clark was a bit upset at hearing the news of Daniel’s misfortune.

And Clark said this is hardly the first time he’s heard from a displeased Double Cash cardholder in recent times.

"You know, we've had so many things that people have shared with us about how ridiculously complicated Citibank has made Double Cash," Clark said. "Double Cash used to be just a very, very easy card to use. And now Citibank has managed to take this clear, great card and gum it up. So you have homework to do to make sure you squeeze out the full 2% value from the Citibank Double Cash card."

It was only a loss of $5, but Daniel’s experience serves as just one example of a larger problem at hand.

Many unknowing customers are potentially clicking “pay with ThankYou points” at the register and losing value on cash back from a credit card that he has long recommended.

Clark says this is what he likes to refer to as a “curse of the MBAs,” where a lot of really smart people come up with an idea that sounds great in a boardroom but is bad for the customer in day-to-day life.

He noted that credit card reviews (like ours) still consider it a "good" card to have, but says these redemption issues are holding it back from being the "great" card that he and others used to consider it.

And as a result, Clark is calling on Citibank to consider re-simplifying the process for the good of the consumer.

“Is it really worth it for them to cheat you out of $5? Is it really worth it to create that level of distrust? As hard as it is to get trust from a customer? I just hope that somebody at Citibank hears this and is in a position to simplify how Double Cash works. So it becomes again, absolutely a great card to have. It’s still a good card, if you jump through all the hoops and don’t get burned. But you shouldn’t have to do all that.”

More Information on Citi Double Cash® Card

Despite the recent rewards redemption issues, Team Clark still considers the Double Cash a good card to have in your wallet.

It appears on several of our "best of" lists for 2024, including best cash back credit cards, best rewards credit cards and best no-annual-fee credit cards.

Top Alternatives To the Citi Double Cash® Card

If what you’ve seen from the Double Cash redemption process has you looking for a different option, we have some good news.

There are several 2% cash back cards on the market that will give you similar cash back rewards without an annual fee.

Two of my favorites are the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card and the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®. Fidelity will give you 2% back on all purchases if you send your rewards into a qualifying Fidelity investment account. This is a great way to "force" yourself to use the rewards to save for things like college or retirement.

The PayPal card offers 2% back on all purchases, but that return boosts to 3% back if you use it to pay with PayPal.

Some other good options we talk about often in our credit card coverage include the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card and the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card.

Have you encountered this redemption issue with your Double Cash card? Do you enjoy another cash back credit card instead? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the Clark.com community.

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