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The popular Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, an excellent cash-back credit card, will soon allow its rewards to be transferred to Citi’s ThankYou points rewards program, according to messages starting to appear in customer accounts.
Citi officials would not provide details on the new option, but the account message reads: “Coming in the Fall 2019 your Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer will allow you to convert your cash rewards to ThankYou Points which can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, purchases at select retailers, and more.”
Key missing information so far is the transfer ratio — what are cash-back rewards worth after you convert them into ThankYou points?
» MORE: Citi ThankYou points: How to earn and use them
Is converting to ThankYou points a good deal?
The short answer: We don’t know yet, until Citi reveals the transfer rate and other details.
NerdWallet values ThankYou points at an average of 1 cent each, depending on what you redeem them for. Redemption options include travel, gift cards and more. But cash is a more flexible currency than any reward points, including ThankYou points, because you can spend it on anything — so a key to converting this card’s cash rewards into ThankYou points would be to get back more than the cash value.
The $0-annual-fee Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has the potential to provide that outsize value if the conversion rate is favorable. If it’s a 1:1 ratio, for instance, that would mean you essentially earn 2 ThankYou points per dollar spent — just as the card now earns 2% cash back per dollar spent: 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% back when you pay it off.
In that scenario — depending on which other Citi cards you have and where you’re likely to travel — you might get good value from using Citi’s travel-booking site or transferring points to its multiple airline partners. Keep in mind, though, that JetBlue is Citi’s only domestic partner. And again, Citi has not disclosed the transfer ratio.
And this also assumes that cardholders of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer will even have access to the travel-booking site to use ThankYou Points — or whether they will also need one of Citi’s more premium travel cards, such as the Citi Premier℠ Card, with an annual fee of $95. That card, too, provides another possible wrinkle because with it, ThankYou points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for airfare via the Citi ThankYou Travel Center. So if you’re allowed to combine ThankYou points from multiple Citi cards, this could be a valuable option.
Notable to travelers, however: Citi just axed a number of travel benefits and protections from its credit cards. And the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer charges a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
Regardless of this new transfer option, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is a perennial NerdWallet top pick among cash-back credit cards for its high rate and its simplicity. Of course, choosing to strategically transfer rewards to ThankYou points would add a layer of complexity.
» MORE: Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer: NerdWallet’s full review