The Citi Custom Cash℠ Credit Card, from our partner Citi, gives cardholders the chance to earn a whopping 5% cash back every month in their top eligible spending category — without having to pay an annual fee.
It’s technically billed as a cash-back credit card. Although, unlike its popular cousin, the Citi® Double Cash Card, you’ll earn Thank You Points.
Which can be worth more than traditional cash-back rewards, especially when you redeem points for travel rewards or take advantage of the credit card issuer’s multiple airline and hotel transfer partners.
Here’s what you need to know about the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, including some limitations that could make some people think twice before applying.
Why We Like It
Secure application on issuer’s website.
Annual Fee: $0
Bonus: $200 ⓘ
APR: Variable APR Between 17.74% – 27.74% After Intro 0% APR Period ⓘ
Rewards Rate: 5% Back in Top Eligible Spend Category ⓘ
Terms and restrictions apply
- Sign-Up Bonus
- Rewards Rate
- Annual Fee
- Intro 0% APR
- Redeeming Rewards
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card Overview
The CCiti Custom Cash℠ Card offers a sort of hybrid approach to compete against other top cash-back credit cards, like the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom Flex℠.
But instead of assigning rotating bonus categories every quarter and essentially forcing you to spend money in those categories to maximize your rewards, the Citi Custom Cash Card gives you 5% back on your top spending category from a list of nine eligible categories.
The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is offering $200 bonus after you spend $1,500 in the first 6 months — that’s 20,000 ThankYou Points, which you can redeem for cash back or for a number of other things, including gift cards and travel.
New cardholders will also get an introductory 0% APR for 15 months, after which the APR jumps to the card’s regular variable APR, based on your creditworthiness.
The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card offers an impressive 5% cash back on purchases made in your top eligible spending category each month, up to $500 spent per month — no activation required.
After that, you’ll earn just 1% back on every purchase because that’s the base rewards rate.
The list of eligible categories includes:
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores
- Select travel and transit
- Select streaming services
- Home improvement stores
- Fitness clubs
- Live entertainment
The Citi Custom Cash Card has no rotating bonus categories to sign up for like the Chase Freedom Flex. As your spending changes each billing cycle, your rewards earning adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
The $500 monthly cap seems low, but it matches up with the Discover it Cash Back and Chase Freedom Flex, which limit their 5% rates to $1,500 spent per quarter.
Also, this credit card offers more flexibility than Discover and Chase, which require you to activate your bonus categories every month, and they may or may not be categories in which you spend a lot.
Introductory 0% APR
Similar to the popular Citi Rewards+® Card, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card also offers a 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months.
After that, the card’s regular variable APR, which is based on your creditworthiness, will be charged on all balances.
Note that the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card charges is a balance transfer fee of $5 or 5% of the transfer, whichever is greater. Furthermore, balance transfers need to occur during the first four months of account opening.
If you plan on carrying a balance transfer for longer than the Citi Custom Cash Card’s 15-month offer, then consider the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card. The Citi Diamond Preferred offers new cardholders long-term 0% interest on balance transfers and new purchases. Read our full review of the Citi Diamond Preferred.
While many credit card experts recommend paying off your balances every billing cycle, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card could make borrowing in the short-term acceptable.
This credit card gives members up to 15 months of zero interest on new purchases.
The trick is paying off your balance before the 0% period ends so you don’t get a stuck paying interest on the 16th month of card ownership.
The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card doesn’t charge an annual fee, which is common for cash-back credit cards in the same tier as this one.
Citi ThankYou credit card holders can redeem their points for cash back as a direct deposit, statement credit or check. Alternatively, they can redeem their points for gift cards, travel rewards and online shopping via Amazon.com.
The ThankYou rewards program also partners with a number of airlines, both domestic and international, and you can transfer your points to these frequent flyer programs.
Citi also has hotel loyalty programs on its list of transfer partners, providing even greater value for cardholders that prioritize travel rewards over bonus cash back.
Taking advantage of transfer partners is one of the best ways to use your points because you may be able to get a better redemption rate than the standard 1 cent per point.
Fans of the credit card issuer who have other Citi cards in their wallets — such as the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Rewards+® Card — can pool ThankYou Points together for even more significant redemptions.
Should You Apply for the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card?
The chance of earning 5% back for the eligible category you spend the most on every month can be incredibly appealing, especially because the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card includes common everyday categories such as grocery store purchases, restaurant purchases and drugstore purchases.
While the $500 monthly spending limit for cash bonus rewards is relatively low, it’s standard among the rotating cash-back cards.
If you’re a ThankYou Points enthusiast, the Citi Custom Cash Card can be a great way to maximize your rewards on categories that other Citi ThankYou credit cards don’t offer.
However, it may not make sense to use just this card for all of your purchases because of its mediocre base rewards rate. Consider pairing it with a credit card that offers 1.5% or even 2% back on all purchases to maximize your cash back.