BENEFITS OF THE CITI CUSTOM CASHSM CARD

BENEFITS OF THE CITI CUSTOM CASHSM CARD:

2% cashback at restaurants and gas stations

1% cashback on all other purchases

Cash-back match at first card anniversary

You’ll also have the same “redeem any amount/any time” redemption privileges, zero fraud liability, and security options allowing you to freeze your account and get custom alerts.

Enjoy 0% APR Purchases and Balance Transfers

If you need to make a large purchase or have high-interest credit card balances, you’d like to pay off, a 0% APR period can save you hundreds of dollars in interest charges.

Sign-up bonus

We’re fans of the Citi Custom Cash Card since it comes with an easily attainable sign-up bonus — you’ll earn $200 cash back after spending $750 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

This sign-up bonus is comparable to other no-annual-fee cashback cards (although the Citi Double Cash lacks a sign-up bonus). While it’s certainly not the most outstanding offer out there, the sign-up bonus is a nice little incentive to apply.

Main benefits

The Citi Custom Cash is light on other benefits, which isn’t a total surprise since there’s no annual fee. However, there are a few perks and essential security features:

Access to Citi Entertainment, which helps cardholders find and purchase exclusive tickets for concerts, sporting events, and more.

Contactless payment.

A free check of your FICO credit score.

Identity theft protection that monitors and alerts cardholders in case of suspicious activity.

Citi Identity Theft Solutions will assist you if you’re experiencing identity fraud or theft.

How to earn

Each billing cycle (roughly every month or so), you’ll earn 5% cash back on the first $500 of purchases in your top spending category from the following list:

Restaurants

Gas stations

Grocery stores

Select travel

Select transit

Select streaming services

Drugstores

Home improvement stores

Fitness clubs

Live entertainment

Select travel is defined as airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and travel agencies.

Select transit is defined as car rentals, ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis/limousines/car services, passenger railways, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, bus lines, and motor home and recreational vehicle rentals. It also includes merchants that sell electricity for charging an electric vehicle.

Select streaming services are defined as cable, satellite, and streaming providers such as Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, Apple Music, CBS All Access, Disney+, AT&T TV NOW, ESPN+, fuboTV, HBO Max, NBA League Pass, Netflix, Pandora, Showtime, Sling TV, Spotify, Starz, SiriusXM, Vudu, YouTube Red, YouTube TV and Tidal. (Note that AT&T TV NOW has recently rebranded as DirectTV Stream.)

This is a card that truly caters to your lifestyle, whether you jet-setting one month or cooking it up in the kitchen the next. If you max out the $500 spending limit each billing cycle, you’ll earn $25 in cashback rewards per month — for a potential maximum of $300 in rewards annually.

How to redeem

To put it in simple terms, 1 ThankYou point equates to 1 cent of cashback rewards. That means you’ll earn 5% back (or 5 points per dollar) on the first $500 spent on your top eligible spending category.

There’s no minimum balance you need to reach before accessing your rewards — which isn’t the case for many cashback cards (including the Citi Double Cash, which requires you to reach a balance of $25 first). You can request a statement credit or direct deposit at any time. However, if you’re requesting a check, there is a minimum rewards balance of $5 (or 500 points).

If you’re adding the Citi Custom Cash on top of your Citi Prestige or Citi Premier cards, you can unlock the option to convert your points into miles with Citi’s hotel and airline transfer partners to extract potentially greater value from them.

Chase will set the bonus categories each quarter, but in the past, we’ve seen common vendors such as Amazon, Walmart, home improvement stores, and gas stations included in these rotating categories. The Freedom Flex also earns 5% back on Chase Travel booked through Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1% back on other eligible purchases.

The Custom Cash still has a slight leg up on the Flex since your top spending category changes each billing cycle based on your spending habits. You may find that some of the quarters on the Flex’s rotating calendar, as well as its regular bonus categories, may not align with your lifestyle.

Earn $200 bonus cash back

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card offers a competitive sign-on bonus:

Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Although the threshold to receive the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card’s sign-on bonus is likely attainable for many new cardholders, it is still a bit higher than for some other competing cards. The Chase Freedom Unlimited®, for example, earns a similar bonus, but cardholders only need to spend $500 in the first three months to reach that bonus. If this is important to you, many other cards offer more competitive sign-on bonuses.

Up to 5% cash back

Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, and 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The 5% cash back makes the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card a very competitive choice in your highest spending eligible category, whatever it may be. Unlike competing for 5% cash back cards — the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ — the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card doesn’t make you jump through hoops to earn your bonus cash back:

Rather than requiring you to enroll in your 5% category, your account automatically determines which category you spent the most on each month and awards you 5% in that spending area.

Furthermore, there’s no risk that a rotating 5% category won’t match up with your spending: It offers the same categories every month.

5% cash back cards

Citi Custom Cash

Discover it® Cash Back

Chase Freedom Flex℠

5% category Automatically awards 5% on your highest spending category each month

Awards 5% on different categories each quarter Awards 5% on different categories each quarter

Spending categories Offer the same categories each month, including groceries, restaurants, and gas categories for the quarter may not match your highest spending category

May not cover lucrative categories like groceries, restaurants, and gas in a quarter

Categories for the quarter may not match your highest spending category

May not cover lucrative categories like groceries, restaurants, and gas in a quarter

Enrollment

No enrollment is required. You must enroll at the start of the quarter to earn the bonus on all your purchases.

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card might be best used as a dedicated card for a specific high spending area like gas or groceries, paired along with another card with more competitive rewards for everyday purchases.

Ultimately, depending on your own unique spending habits, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card could still leave you with more cash back rewards at the end of the day if you’re someone who’s looking for new primary care.

Redeeming cash back

One major perk of the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card: Your cashback is extremely flexible and customizable. All rewards are earned in the form of Citibank ThankYou points — these points can be redeemed in a broad range of ways through Citi’s online portal, with no minimum redemption amount for many options.

Redemption options include:

Getting cash back as a statement credit — No minimum

Getting cash back as a direct deposit — No minimum

Getting a check in the mail — $5 minimum

Getting gift cards in exchange for points — Minimum varies by merchant

Donate cash back to charity — $25 minimum

Student loan or mortgage payments — $25 minimum

Shopping with points — No minimum

Note that the redemption rate varies between the different options, meaning some are more valuable than others (cashback is generally the best way to go at 1 cent per point). Be sure to look at the redemption rate of a particular option before you redeem your points to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck and receiving a payout that’s valuable to you. If the value is less than 1 cent per point, you should stick to redeeming your points for cashback.

Pairing the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card with other cards

The best use of the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is as a supplemental card to other rewards cards, like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer. You can use the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card to earn 5% cash back in one category (like grocery stores or restaurants) where you spend the most in a particular month while putting most of your spending on the other card. In our sample below, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card paired with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer nets $180 more in cash back per year than the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer alone.

Sample cashback earnings

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card + Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer

$20,000 in purchases x 2% = $400

$6,000 in groceries x 5% (Citi Custom Cash) = $300

$14,000 in other purchases x 2% (Citi® Double Cash Card – 18-month BT offer) = $280

Total cash back = $400 Total cash back = $580

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card card also makes a good companion to the Citi Prestige® Credit Card and Citi

Premier® Card. You can pool the points from your Citi Custom Cash℠ Card with the ones earned from these cards to redeem for travel rewards. Plus, you can also transfer points from these cards to one of Citi’s travel loyalty program partners to get more value out of them.

Other Citi Custom Cash℠ Card benefits

The main benefits of the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card are its sign-on bonus, competitive cash back, and robust redemption options. Beyond these notable benefits, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card offers a very limited number of additional benefits for cardholders, including:

0% APR

The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card offers a 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers and a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. After that, the APR will be 14.24% – 24.24% (Variable). This is a longer-than-average 0% introductory period, making the card a good option for someone who wants to transfer a balance or finance a large purchase with a card they can keep around in the long run.

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