Citi Custom Cash Credit Card Review


Key information

  • Automatically earn 5% cash back in your highest qualifying spend category on purchases up to $ 500 in each bill cycle.
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Earn a $ 200 sign-up bonus after spending $ 750 on purchases in the first three months of card membership.
  • There is no annual fee.


Advantages and disadvantages

Benefits
  • Automatically earn 5% cash back on the highest spending category

  • No annual fee

  • Redeem ThankYou points for cash back at 1 cent per point

  • Sign-up bonus

The inconvenients
  • The cash back rate on all other purchases is lackluster

  • Higher cash back rate limited to $ 500 in purchases per month

  • Only one higher cash back category


Benefits explained

  • Automatically earn 5% cash back on your highest spending category: This card automatically identifies your highest qualifying spend category each billing period and applies the equivalent of a 5% cash back rate on qualifying purchases after the bill cycle closes. Some other cards offer similar functionality with lower cash back rates or the requirement to choose the category in advance.
  • No annual fee: This card does not require you to pay an annual fee to access the higher cash back rate or sign up bonus of the card.
  • Redeem ThankYou points for 1 cent cash back per point: Some Citi cards allow you to redeem ThankYou points for cash back at a rate of less than 1 cent per point. This card gives you a total value of 1 cent per point, which makes cash back a reasonable redemption option for this card.
  • Registration bonus: Earn a sign up bonus worth $ 200 when you spend $ 750 within three months of opening your account. Some credit cards don’t offer any sign-up bonus, so this bonus is a welcome addition to this credit card with no annual fee.


Disadvantages Explained

  • The cash back rate on all other purchases is poor: You only earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. Some competitive credit cards offer 1.5-2% cash back on all purchases.
  • Higher cash back rate limited to $ 500 in purchases per month: The 5% cash back category is a high cash back rate, but only applies to the first $ 500 of purchases in the highest qualifying spend category in each billing cycle. You earn 1% cash back on purchases above this cap. Some cards with similar characteristics have higher equivalent monthly or quarterly spending limits.
  • Only one higher cash back category: While earning 5% cash back is a decent winning rate, you only earn the highest rate in a category each month. Some credit cards offer several higher reward categories before transferring all other purchases at a lower base rate.



Who is this card for?

The Citi Custom Cash credit card is ideal for people who don’t want the hassle of having to think about choosing a bonus spend category or activating their cash back every quarter. The card offers 5% automatic cash back to your highest qualifying spending category each month on purchases up to $ 500, making the process effortless on your behalf. People who want to maximize their overall cash back will need to pair it with a credit card that offers a higher cash back rate on all other purchases.


Citi personalized cash welcome bonus

You can earn a welcome bonus of $ 200 after spending $ 750 on purchases in the first three months after opening your account. Technically, this bonus is awarded in the form of 20,000 Thank You Points which you can then redeem for $ 200 cash back or other redemption options. The bonus dollar amount is competitive, but you have to spend more money than other similar credit card offers to earn the bonus.

You are only eligible for this bonus if you have not received a bonus for opening a Citi Custom Cash account within the past 48 months. While points typically appear in your account at the end of the billing cycle when you have made the purchase, bonus points can take up to two additional billing cycles to appear in your account.


Reward Details

This credit card earns you money at two different rates. However, the cash back is actually issued in the form of ThankYou Rewards points, which can be redeemed for cash back at the rate of one penny each.

You will earn 5 ThankYou Rewards points per dollar spent in your highest qualifying spend category each billing cycle up to the first $ 500 spent in that category per bill cycle. Any spend over the $ 500 limit in the top spend category and all other purchases earn 1 ThankYou Rewards point per dollar spent.

Categories eligible for the highest 5 ThankYou Rewards points per dollar spent include:

  • Restaurants
  • Petrol stations
  • Groceries
  • Select the trip
  • Select public transport
  • Select streaming services
  • Pharmacies
  • Home improvement stores
  • Fitness clubs
  • Live entertainment

The higher reward rate in your highest spending category is a good bonus, especially since it is automatically calculated for you. The downside is the spending limit of only $ 500 which qualifies for the highest income rate. Unfortunately, the win rate on all other purchases is poor at an effective cash back rate of 1%. It is not uncommon to find cards offering 1.5% to 2% cash back on all qualifying purchases.

ThankYou points do not expire as long as your account is open. However, your points may be withdrawn if Citi finds evidence of fraud, abuse, abuse, or suspicious activity.


Details on how to use rewards

Since the Citi Custom Cash card technically earns ThankYou Rewards points, you are not limited to redeeming your rewards for cash back. Instead, you can use your rewards for multiple redemption options, including cash back in the form of direct deposit, statement or check credit, gift cards, travel, purchases with points. with Amazon, etc.

Overall, the best redemption option for flexibility and value is usually to redeem your points for cash back. This particular card allows you to redeem points for cash back worth 1 cent per point. That said, Citi ThankYou Rewards may have special offers on gift cards or other redemption options that may allow you to redeem your points at a higher rate than the 1 cent per point cash back offers. . Avoid using your points to make purchases at stores like Amazon, which can lead to lower exchange rates, such as 0.8 cents per point.


How to Maximize Your Rewards

To maximize your rewards on this card, simply place all of your expenses on it. Citi automatically calculates your highest expense category and applies the highest cashback rate applicable to that category. When redeeming points, make sure you get at least 1 cent of value per point while looking for higher redemption options, such as selling gift cards.

If you want to maximize your overall credit card rewards, consider putting only one category of purchases on that card that you know will result in either $ 500 per month in spending, or whichever is greater. it is less than $ 500. Then use another card that offers a higher cash back rate on all purchases to put your other purchases.


Standard benefits

You have access to Citi Entertainment, which includes access to purchase tickets for music, sports, dining, theater, and other events.


Cardholder experience

Citi received a score of 801 in JD Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, ranking it below the domestic issuer segment average of 810 by nine points. The credit card provides access to one free FICO score each month through the Citi mobile app or Citi online. As a Citi Custom Cash cardholder, you also get 24/7 customer support if you need help with your card or account.


Security functions

The Citi Custom Cash credit card offers a key security feature that you may be interested in. You have access to Citi Quick Lock to instantly deactivate and reactivate your card to make new charges while allowing recurring payments in case you think you may have misplaced your card.


Our verdict

The Citi Custom Cash credit card offers 5% cash back in your highest spending category with up to $ 500 in purchases each billing cycle. You can also earn a $ 200 signup bonus by spending $ 750 on purchases during the first three months of card membership.

This card could be ideal for people who prefer to have personalized higher income categories that do not require choosing a category or activating bonus cash back. When paired with a more profitable cash back card for all other purchases, like the Citi Double Cash card, it can help you maximize your cash back.

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