$200 Bonus and 5% Cash Back

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  • Citi has launched a brand new credit card — the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card.
  • It’s offering a bonus of $200 in cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
  • You’ll earn 5% back on up to $500 spent in your top eligible spending category each billing cycle.
  • Read Insider’s guide to the best rewards credit cards.

It’s not often a major card issuer introduces a brand-new credit card, and even less common to see a new card with a completely novel rewards structure. 

Citi has just launched the no-annual-fee Citi Custom Cash℠ Card, and it’s out to give other 5% cash-back cards some stiff competition. It’s got a solid welcome bonus: $200 in cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. And cardholders can earn 5% cash back on purchases in their top eligible spending category (from a list) each billing cycle, on up $500 in spending (then 1%).

Because the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card earns rewards in the form of Citi ThankYou points, you’re not limited to using your earnings for straight cash back. You can redeem Citi ThankYou points in a variety of other ways, including travel booked through Citi, gift cards, merchandise, and (if you have certain other Citi ThankYou cards) transfers to over a dozen airline partners.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Citi Custom Cash℠ Card.

Citi Custom Cash Card details

Regular APR

13.99% – 23.99% Variable

Credit Score

Good to Excellent

Featured Reward

$200 in cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months

Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Flexibility to customize rewards by earning 5x points on up to $500 per billing cycle in your top spending category (from a list)
    • Generous welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card
    • No rotating bonus categories to sign up for or track
    • Earn valuable Citi ThankYou points which you can redeem for cash back, travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more
    Cons
    • Only earns 1% back outside of $500 in top spending category each billing cycle
    • Foreign transaction fee of 3%
    • Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
    • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
    • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
    • No rotating bonus categories to sign up for – as your spending changes each billing cycle, your earn adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
    • No Annual Fee
    • Citi will only issue one Citi Custom Cash℠ Card account per person.

    The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card starts you off with a welcome bonus and a reasonable minimum spending requirement: $200 in cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. That works out to an average of $250 a month, which should be attainable for most people just with regular spending.

    The card’s real strength is in its 5% categories, and how easy Citi makes it to earn this bonus. There are no rotating categories to track and no enrollment required (unlike some competing cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Discover it® Cash Back), so the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a great pick if you prefer simplicity.

    Read more: The best cash-back credit cards in 2021

    You’ll earn 5% cash back (5x Citi ThankYou points) on the eligible category you spend the most in each billing cycle, on up to $500 in total spending (then 1%), and 1% back (1x Citi ThankYou points) on all other purchases. The 1% return on other purchases isn’t exciting, but the 5% back categories span a wide range of everyday expenses.

    You might notice some of these categories are familiar — many of the best rewards credit cards, for example, earn a bonus on travel purchases, or at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations. However, a few categories are sprinkled in here that don’t typically earn a bonus with most top cards, such as home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment.

    If you don’t have a lot of other cards that earn a higher bonus in any of these categories, using the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card for your regular spending and enjoying 5x rewards in your top monthly category is a straightforward approach. But if you have other cards in your wallet, you’ll want to be a little more strategic.

    Read more: I have 26 credit cards — here’s how I decide which one to use

    For example, you might already use the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to earn 6% back at U.S. supermarkets (on your first $6,000 in spending each year, then 1% back), 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming services, and 3% back on U.S. gas stations and transit (cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars). You’d be better off using the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card for purchases that don’t earn a bonus with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, like travel or home improvement stores, where you’d otherwise be earning 1x points or 1% back.

    The great thing about the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is that it allows you to switch up your card strategy as your expenses change. One month your travel expenses might be higher than usual because you’re going on a trip, so using the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card to max out the 5% travel category would be a good play. But the next month, you might have a DIY project that costs you some money, so shifting your spending at home improvement stores to the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card makes sense.

    If you have large purchases coming up that you need to pay for over time, or already have credit card debt you want to consolidate, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card could be handy. New cardholders receive a 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (then a 13.99% – 23.99% Variable APR).

    Read more: A 5-minute conversation with my grandmother helped me get out of the post-divorce debt that plagued me for years

    As long as you have the means and a plan to pay off your purchases before the introductory APR expires, using a 0% APR credit card can help you save money on interest.

    Pair the Citi Custom Cash Card with other Citi cards

    If you already earn Citi ThankYou points with cards like the Citi Premier® Card, Citi Prestige® Card
    , or Citi® Double Cash Card (which allows you to convert rewards to Citi ThankYou points), the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card would be a great addition to your collection.

    You’ll get the biggest edge if you have the Citi Premier® Card or Citi Prestige® Card, because having one of these cards unlocks the ability to transfer points to the full list of Citi airline transfer partners, like JetBlue, Singapore Airlines, and Air France-KLM. 

    Read more: You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to 16 airline partners, and the best programs can save you thousands of miles on flights to destinations like Hawaii

    Consider this scenario if you have these three cards — Citi Premier® Card, Citi® Double Cash Card, and Citi Custom Cash℠ Card:

    • Citi Premier® Card: Earn 3x points on dining, groceries, gas, air travel, and hotels
    • Citi® Double Cash Card: Earn 1% back when you buy, and 1% when you pay on all purchases (effectively 2% back or 2x points on everything)
    • Citi Custom Cash℠ Card: Earn 5x points on the eligible category you spend the most in each billing cycle (up to $500 in spending, then 1x)

    By making the Citi Premier® Card your primary card in its 3x categories, shifting other purchases based on your current spending habits to the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card to earn 5x each month, and filling in the gaps by using the Citi® Double Cash Card for everything else, you’re guaranteed to earn a bonus on all your spending, and anywhere from 3x to 5x points in the most common spending categories.

    Regular APR

    13.99% – 23.99% Variable

    Credit Score

    Good to Excellent

    Featured Reward

    $200 in cash back, fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening

    Intro APR

    0% intro APR for 15 months

    Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Details

  • Pros
    • Flexibility to customize rewards by earning 5x points on up to $500 per billing cycle in your top spending category (from a list)
    • Generous welcome offer for a no-annual-fee card
    • No rotating bonus categories to sign up for or track
    • Earn valuable Citi ThankYou points which you can redeem for cash back, travel, gift cards, merchandise, and more
    Cons
    • Only earns 1% back outside of $500 in top spending category each billing cycle
    • Foreign transaction fee of 3%
    • Earn $200 in cash back after you spend $750 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
    • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
    • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
    • No rotating bonus categories to sign up for – as your spending changes each billing cycle, your earn adjusts automatically when you spend in any of the eligible categories.
    • No Annual Fee
    • Citi will only issue one Citi Custom Cash℠ Card account per person.

    Jasmin Baron is an associate editor at Personal Finance Insider, where she helps readers maximize rewards and find the best credit cards to fit their lifestyles. She has covered credit cards, points and miles, and loyalty programs for over seven years, and she’s a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF).

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