If you are one of the many readers who have taken money expert Clark Howard’s advice on signing up for the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, you need to know about some changes to your credit card rewards that are on the way.
Also know that Clark isn’t exactly thrilled about them.
Citi announced on its website that the Double Cash soon will see changes to the simple 2% cash back rewards program that has made it a popular recommendation of Team Clark through the years.
The good news is that the change is more of an annoyance than an overhaul. You’ll still see the exact same rewards you’ve been getting from the card; it will just require an extra few steps to get your money.
“It takes away what I love about the card: the simplicity,” Clark says. “You have one additional step now to get your money. Instead of just getting the money, you have to go their website or app and say, “Give me my money.’ But it is still there.”
Team Clark has the details of what you can expect in the coming weeks.
What Is Changing About the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer Rewards Program
Effective March 28, 2022, your spending with the Citi Double Cash card will no longer be rewarded via Cash Rewards.
Instead, Citi has announced that it will be awarding an equivalent value of Citi ThankYou points instead.
This means that, during each billing cycle, you will earn one ThankYou point for every $1 you spend and then an additional ThankYou point per $1 you pay on your bill toward that purchase.
These ThankYou points are already in use with several of Citi’s other popular credit cards. You can redeem them for things like gift cards and travel rewards in addition to the cash-based returns you’re used to such as statement credits, direct deposits and checks.
So you can rest easy knowing you’re still able to get the full 2% cash value of your rewards if you choose, but you’ll have to go through the process of redeeming the ThankYou points to do so.
Here’s a look at Citi’s explanation of the change as per its website.
“Important changes are coming to your card:
Important changes are coming to your rewards. You will continue to earn 1% cash back when you buy and 1% as you pay for your purchases. However, starting on March 28, 2022, cash back will be earned in the form of ThankYou® Points instead of Cash Rewards. This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker. Points can be redeemed for cash back as a direct deposit, statement credit or check. For example, redeem 10,000 ThankYou® Points for a $100 direct deposit, statement credit or check. Points can also be redeemed for a variety of other rewards, such as gift cards, travel and more. Redemption rates may vary. Any cash rewards balance in your account will be converted to ThankYou® Points. You will receive 1 point for every cent in cash rewards. For example, if you have $10.13 in cash rewards, your rewards will be converted to 1,013 ThankYou® Points — redeemable for a $10.13 statement credit, direct deposit or check.”
Clark’s Take on the Upcoming Rewards Change
As someone who has recommended this credit card to readers and listeners for years now, Clark is annoyed with the confusing presentation of this new rewards system.
After all, what he has long pitched to you and me is the simplicity of the Citi Double Cash rewards program: You spend, you pay and you get 2% back.
It makes for a great “set it and forget it” rewards system that you can really use.
Clark believes this change to ThankYou points will unnecessarily confuse what has always been an otherwise straightforward process.
“The new Citi Double Cash program, to me, is needlessly complicated,” Clark says. “You still earn the same 2% cash back — real money that can go in your pocket. The complexity is that they’re now offering you this additional option to turn it into things like travel on JetBlue and other things like that. It leaves you with the additional work of figuring out whether you’re better off taking the cash or if you’d get more out of it by using the points elsewhere.”
Clark cautioned that having more options doesn’t necessarily mean they are better options. He says there will be temptations from Citi’s marketing to potentially use your rewards on something other than cash back.
And that’s where you need to pay close attention to make sure you’re actually getting a good deal.
“You’ve got to do the math to see if you are getting more value than two cents on the dollar, because you may be getting less,” Clark says. “Unless you’re getting a meaningful amount more, stick with cash.”
Ultimately, Clark says he will continue to use the Citi Double Cash card because he knows he can still get his 2% back for all of his purchases even if it requires an extra step.
If this additional step to claiming your 2% cash back is enough to drive you away from Citi, there are some other options on the credit card market that also promote a 2% cash back reward for everyday purchases.
What do you think about the changes to the Citi Double Cash card? Share your opinion in our community!
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