Citi Custom Cash Card
The Custom Cash Card is a great way to boost the number of Citi ThankYou points you earn each year. It earns 5x ThankYou points on up to $500 of spending per month in whichever category you spent the most (from a large set of categories). You can use it to earn a little extra rewards in common categories like restaurants or travel or to earn bonus rewards on categories, like home improvement and fitness clubs, that don't earn bonuses on most other cards. But because bonus rewards are capped each month, you'll want to use this card alongside more straightforward cards like the Citi Double Cash and Premier cards.
Using your ThankYou points
- Normally, ThankYou points from the Custom Cash Card can only be redeemed for 1 cent each.
- However, if you also have a Citi Premier Card (or discontinued Prestige Card), you will then be able to transfer these points to one of more than a dozen different frequent flyer programs to use for award tickets. In many cases, using your points for frequent flyer tickets will provide more value than the normal rate of 1 cent per point. With particularly good redemptions, you can get values of 2, 3, or even 4 cents per point.
- If you have a Citi Rewards+ card, you will receive a 10% rebate on the first 100,000 ThankYou points you redeem each year, giving you a boost to the value of your points regardless of whether you convert your ThankYou points to frequent flyer miles or just cash them out.
- If you don't have Citi Premier or Prestige Card, you can still use your ThankYou points to purchase JetBlue tickets, often giving you a little extra value for most JetBlue flights. Otherwise, there isn't much reason to convert your points to ThankYou points. You might as well redeem them directly.
For example, you can convert $250 of rewards into 25,000 Air France miles to purchase Delta tickets, into 25,000 Cathay Pacific miles to purchase American Airlines tickets, or into 25,000 Singapore Airlines miles to purchase United tickets. As an extreme example, $250 worth of Double Cash points can be converted into 25,000 Turkish Airlines miles, which can then be used for a round-trip United ticket to Hawaii in first class.
The Citi Premier (and Prestige) Card lets you earn bonus ThankYou reward cards on restaurants, travel, and other categories, and frequently offer large signup bonuses to quickly boost the number of points in your account.
Collecting the signup bonus
- The reason to get this card is for the bonus category rewards—the signup bonus is just a nice side benefit. The bonus is described as $200, but is really 20,000 ThankYou points. If you have the Premier or Prestige Card, you can turn them into 20,000 frequent flyer miles.
- While the card earns ThankYou points it doesn't interfere with your ability to earn the signup bonus on the Premier Card. So you might as well get the card directly, rather than through a product change.
- You should be able to earn the signup bonus multiple times. However, we suspect you can only earn the signup bonus once every 24 months.
Bonus category rewards
The Custom Cash Card is best thought of as a specialized card to earn some extra rewards as part of a multi-card strategy.
- The Custom Cash Card earns 5x points on a single category each billing cycle. You don't need to choose a category. The category is automatically set to whichever category you spent the most money in during that statement period. Eligible categories are: Restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.
- Bonus rewards are capped to the first $500 of spending in that category. You can earn up to 2,500 ThankYou points per month on bonus category spending (or 1,500 more points than you'd earn from putting the spending on the Double Cash Card). That works out to 30,000 maximum bonus points per year (or 18,000 more than you would earn with the Double Cash Card).
- Ideally, you would only ever use the card for a single category during any given month. Any spending in other categories (or any spending over $500 in the top category) only earns 1x points, which is less than you'd earn with your general-purpose reward card. For example, if you decide to use the card for groceries during a given statement period, don't put any travel or gas spending on it during that time.
- One way to use the card is to earn points on a less common category. For example, very few cards provide bonus rewards for your gym membership. You could simply use the card to pay your gym membership each month, earn bonus points on the payments, and live with the limitation that you probably aren't spending $500 per month. Even better, you could choose a few months to use the card to prepay your gym membership for the year, and spend in different categories, like drugstores or home improvement, in other months.
- Another way to use the card is boost your point earning in common categories. For example, if you normally earn 3x ThankYou points on restaurants or groceries with the Citi Premier card, you could use the Custom Cash card for the first $500 in spending to earn an extra 2x points. Remember that you can choose a different strategy each billing period.
Getting Rid of the Card
Make sure to cash out your rewards balance before you cancel your card.
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