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This article was last updated Sep 17, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Whether you’re looking for a generous cashback card with no annual fee or a no-frills balance transfer card, our partner Citi has a number of cards worth serious consideration.
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, for example, offers one of the most generous cashback rates you can get without paying an annual fee. Meanwhile, the Citi Simplicity® Card offers fewer penalty charges than many credit cards and one of the longest 0% balance transfer periods around.
The best credit card for you will depend on your spending habits, budget and goals for your new credit card. Before you fill out an application, be sure to research all your options. This particular round-up only looks at Citi credit cards, but it’s worth your time to also scout out other issuers.
In addition to looking at a card’s rewards program, annual fee and APR, also consider other fees or charges you may come across, such as penalty interest rates if you happen to miss a payment and foreign transaction fees.
Don’t forget about side benefits, either, such as purchase protection or travel insurance. Citi, for example, offers one of the easiest-to-use price protection benefits called Citi Price Rewind. So, if you do a lot of bargain shopping, charging those purchases to a Citi credit card could potentially save you quite a bit. However, Citi doesn’t advertise as many purchase and travel benefits as some other card issuers. So, depending on the card, you may need to look elsewhere for guaranteed benefits.
Here’s our picks of the best Citi credit cards:
- Best for cash back
- Best for 0% intro APR
- Best for frequent flyers
- Best for rewards
- Best for low interest
- Best for students
- Best for building credit
- How we picked these Citi cards
- The bottom line
Best for cash back
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
If you’re looking for a simple, flat-rate cashback credit card, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is one of the most generous cash back rates you’ll find on a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. Cardholders earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. However, you have to pay off your purchases in full in order to claim the maximum amount of cash back. Many of the card’s competitors, by contrast, only award 1.5% cash back.
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer also advertises a generous 0% for 18 months on balance transfers (after 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) applies). However, it doesn’t offer a promotional APR on new purchases. So if you’re looking for a card that allows you to transfer other high-interest card debt to one with no interest for a year and a half, this would be a good deal. But if want to pay back charges over time without incurring any interest, you’re better off looking at another card.
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer currently doesn’t have a sign-up bonus. But depending on how much you spend, you should still be able to earn significantly more over time than if you picked a card with a lower rewards rate and big bonus. For example, if you charge $2,500 a month to your Citi Double Cash card and pay off your purchases in full, you’ll collect $600 in one year. If you charged the same amount to a card with a 1.5% cash back rate, you’d take home just $450, plus whatever bonus was offered with the card.
You can currently redeem your cash back for checks or statement credits. However, beginning in the fall of 2019, cardholders will be able to convert cash back to Citi ThankYou points — which can be redeemed for gift cards, travel purchases at select retailers and more.
Best for 0% intro APR
Citi Simplicity® Card
The Citi Simplicity® Card isn’t flashy, as it doesn’t offer a rewards program, nor does it offer very many other benefits. But it does offer one of the best 0% promotional offers you can find on any credit card – especially if you’re looking to transfer a large balance.
New cardholders get 0% for 18 months on Purchases and 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers. After that, 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable) applies.
Those 0% offers are among the most generous you’ll find on a credit card. Many popular balance transfer cards, for example, only allow cardholders 12 to 15 months to carry a balance without paying any interest. The Citi Simplicity® Card’s balance transfer fee is higher, though, when you take advantage of the longer offer. For example, if you apply for the card’s balance transfer offer, you’ll be charged Balance transfer fee – either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater., however, the fee can be worth it if you need a longer period of time to repay a large balance.
The Citi Simplicity® Card also sets itself apart by offering fewer fees than many credit cards. So, if you’re prone to forgetting your bill’s due dates, this may be a safe pick.
Best for frequent flyers
Citi Prestige® Credit Card
If you’re willing to spend $495 on an annual fee, you’ll receive more than enough benefits to make up for it on this ultra generous travel card – as long as you travel often enough to take advantage of all its perks.
For example, cardholders are awarded an automatic $250 travel credit every year that can be used to offset a wide variety of travel purchases, including airfare, hotel stays, car rentals, public transportation, highway tolls, parking fees and more. You’ll also be credited with one free hotel night when you book four nights in a row using your Citi Prestige® Credit Card. The benefit is capped, though, at two trips per year.
In addition, the Citi Prestige® Credit Card offers a number of other high value travel benefits that cardholders are awarded for free, including an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck – allowing you to zip through airport security lines faster – and generous travel insurance benefits.
For example, cardholders can qualify for up to $75,000 worth of car rental insurance, up to $5,000 worth of trip cancellation and interruption protection, up to $500 worth of trip delay protection, up to $500 worth of delayed baggage insurance and up to $10,000 worth of lost baggage protection, among other travel and purchase protection benefits. Cardholders also receive free access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world through Priority Pass Select.
The Citi Prestige® Credit Card also offers a strong rewards program that lets you transfer your rewards to a small number of partner airlines, including JetBlue, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic. You’ll receive Earn 5x points at restaurants and for air travel purchases, 3x for hotel and cruise purchases, and 1x for all other purchases. In addition: Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 within three months of account opening. This is worth at least $500 in free travel.
Best for rewards
Citi Rewards+® Card
At first glance, the Citi Rewards+® Card doesn’t look especially generous: It awards just Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases..
But what sets this card apart is a unique 10-point round-up feature that allows you to potentially earn substantially more. For every purchase you make, Citi will round up your rewards earnings to the next 10 point marker.
So, if you charge $2 for a cup of tea, you’ll earn 10 points, rather than 2 points. If you spend $91 on new clothes on the card, you’ll earn 100 points. As a result, your effective rewards rate for everyday purchases could run to nearly 10 points per dollar spent for smaller purchases – which is unusually generous for a card that has a $0 annual fee.
The Citi Rewards+® Card doesn’t cap the number of points you can earn through the round up program either. So you could potentially collect a ton of points if you use this card for all your small dollar purchases.
If you regularly spend $4 every morning on a coffee drink, you’ll earn around 300 points a month just from your coffee spending. If you charged the same amount to a card that awarded 2 points for every dollar you spent, you’d earn just 240 points during the same period.
In addition, Citi offers a 10% redemption bonus on the first 100,000 points that you redeem each year, allowing you to boost your earnings even more. To illustrate, if you redeemed 100,000 Citi ThankYou® points, you’d collect another $100 worth of points. The Citi Rewards+® Card lets you Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com.
Best for low interest
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card doesn’t offer the lowest interest rate you’ll find on a credit card. However, if you’re committed to working with Citi, it does offer the lowest APR on a Citi card.
Depending on your credit score, you could qualify for a minimum APR of 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable), which is close to what some other major issuers charge for a basic, no frills credit card. However, the card’s maximum APR runs high, so you aren’t guaranteed that lower rate.
Where you’ll really save money with the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is by taking advantage of its low promotional purchase and balance transfer APR. Cardholders are given 0% for 18 months on Purchases and 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, after that 13.74% - 23.74% (Variable) applies. A Balance transfer fee applies with this offer: 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Best for students
Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card
The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card is currently the only student credit card that Citi offers. Compared to other student cards on the market, it’s a solid card. It offers the same rewards structure as the Citi Rewards+® Card, so students who make a lot of small dollar purchases could benefit handsomely from the card’s 10-point round-up feature.
As with the Citi Rewards+® Card, student cardholders are given 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases. But what sets this card apart from other student cards is that it also rounds up student’s point-earnings to the next 10-point marker. So, for example, if a student spends $12 on a fast casual lunch, they’ll earn 20 points for the transaction, rather than 12 points. Similarly, if they spend $2 on a candy bar, they’ll earn 10 points in return.
The 10-point round up feature is ideal for students who typically buy just small dollar purchases. Citi also awards a 10-point redemption bonus on the first 100,000 points that students redeem.
In addition, the Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card offers a generous sign-up bonus that’s more accessible than the average sign-up bonus. Students can Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com.
Best for building credit
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
Citi also offers one secured credit card that’s designed to help borrowers rebuild their credit scores before they transition to other unsecured cards.
Unlike some other secured credit cards, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® charges a $$0 annual fee. However, it does charge a fairly high APR of 22.49% (Variable), so you’ll want to avoid carrying a balance. It also charges a high maximum penalty APR and a maximum late fee of $39.
Citi also has a deposit requirement of at least $200 in order to receive an equal credit limit. The more money you deposit, the bigger credit limit you may receive. However, Citi will set your initial credit limit. The Citi® Secured Mastercard® caps credit limits at $2,500.
The Citi® Secured Mastercard® doesn’t offer a rewards program. This card is best for cardholders who are just trying to build a better credit score – without paying an annual fee – so they can qualify for more generous perks in the future.
How and why we picked these Citi cards
CompareCards reviewed the rewards, benefits and terms of Citi’s line of credit cards and chose the cards with the greatest potential value for a wide range of cardholders.
In most cases, credit cards with lower fees were given more weight than less accessible credit cards. For example, the Citi Rewards+® Card was chosen as the best Citi Rewards card because it offered a substantial amount of value without charging an annual fee. The Citi Premier® Card came in a close second. However, it charges a $95 annual fee, so it may not be as accessible to cardholders who can’t afford to commit to a big fee.
Earn 3X points per $1 spent on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases
Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
- Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
- 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
- No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
- No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
- See additional Citi Premier® Card details
See additional details for Citi Premier® Card
Credit cards that provide value to a wider group of people were also favored. For example, Citi offers a number of airline credit cards, including one airline card – the American Airlines AAdvantage MileUp℠ Card – that has a $0 annual fee. But the Citi Prestige® Credit Card won for best travel credit card, in part, because it appeals to a wider variety of frequent travelers, not just flyers who favor a particular airline.
The Citi Prestige® Credit Card also offers a unique suite of travel perks – such as its fourth night free benefit and annual travel credit – that should appeal to many frequent flyers and help make up for its big annual fee.
CompareCards also considered a credit card’s terms when rating various Citi credit cards and favored cards with lower fees.
Citi offers a wide range of competitive credit cards.
Citi’s no-annual fee rewards cards, such as the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and the Citi Rewards+® Card, especially stand out compared to other rewards cards on the market. So do Citi’s 0% credit cards and its super premium rewards card, the Citi Prestige® Credit Card.
However, you may want to look elsewhere if you’re looking for a low rate card to use long-term: Citi’s standard APRs tend to be on the higher side, compared to some competitors.
The information related to the Citi Simplicity® Card and the Citi Rewards+® Card have been independently collected by CompareCards and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.