Several readers have asked if they should change their credit card strategy because of COVID-19.
Of course nobody knows exactly how long we’ll be sitting at home, but many people understandably want to prioritize cash back over miles these days.
During regular times, a combo like Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Sapphire Reserve allows you to earn 1.5 points per dollar everywhere and 3 points per dollar on dining and travel. Those points can be cashed out 1 cent each (1.5%-3% cash back everywhere), used for paid travel at 1.5 cents each (2.25%-4.5% back everywhere), or transferred into miles where they can be worth 2 cents each (3%-6% back everywhere) or more when utilized properly.
With the Citi Double Cash Card you earn 2% cash back everywhere. Plus there’s no annual fee.
That’s a pretty good value proposition in times like these!
But what’s more interesting about the card is that you can choose to convert the cash back into Citi ThankYou points. That flexibility is valuable as it allows you to choose between 2% cash back everywhere or miles.
- You can get the Citi Rewards+ Card ($0 annual fee, 20K signup bonus for spending $1.5K in 3 months) and convert points from Citi Double Cash into ThankYou points.
- With this card you’ll get all of your purchases rounded up to the nearest 10 points. That means you can earn 10 points on a $0.50 Amazon balance reload!
- If you have this card you’ll get a 10% points rebate when you redeem points, up to a 10K points rebate per year. This card can’t transfer points into miles (except for JetBlue at a weaker ratio), but if you have a Premier card you’ll get a 10% rebate on points transferred to miles or used for paid airfare with a 25% bonus.
- You’ll want to use this card over Citi Double Cash for all purchases under $5.
- You can get the Citi Premier card ($95 annual fee, 60K signup bonus for spending $4K in 3 months).
- Having this card allows you to transfer points from Citi Double Cash and Citi Rewards+ into miles.
- This card earns triple points on airfare, hotels, travel agencies, and gas.
- Starting on 8/23/20 this card will earn triple points on supermarkets and dining.
- Starting on 8/23/20 this card will also offer a once annual $100 credit for making a $500+ hotel booking through Citi.
- Currently this card earns double points on entertainment, such as sporting events, amusement parks, zoos, museums, tourist attractions, theater, concerts, movies, video rentals, internet steaming media, etc. This will end on 4/10/21, but you can get double points everywhere with Citi Double Cash.
- Currently this card earns triple points on car rentals, cruises, public transportation, timeshares, boat rentals, taxis, tolls, trains, parking, Uber, Lyft. This will end on 4/10/21, but you can still get double points everywhere with Citi Double Cash.
- Currently you can get a 25% bonus for paid travel, but this will end on 4/10/21.
- Citi mileage transfer partners now include:
- Aeromexico (Skyteam): 1K:1K
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Skyteam): 1K:1K
- Avianca Lifemiles (Star Alliance): 1K:1K
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (OneWorld): 1K:1K
- Emirates: 1K:1K
- Etihad: 1K:1K
- EVA (Star Alliance): 1K:1K
- Garuda Indonesia (Skyteam): 1K:1K
- JetPrivilege: 1K:1K
- JetBlue: 1K:1K
- Malaysia (OneWorld): 1K:1K
- Qantas (OneWorld): 1K:1K
- Qatar (OneWorld): 1K:1K
- Singapore (Star Alliance): 1K:1K
- Thai (Star Alliance): 1K:1K
- Turkish (Star Alliance): 1K:1K
- Virgin Atlantic: 1K:1K
For example you can transfer miles to Turkish Airlines to fly from the US to Tel Aviv on United for just 32K miles in coach ($16K of spending on Citi Double Cash, plus 3.2K points rebate with Rewards+):
Or 47K miles in Polaris business class ($23.5K of spending on Citi Double Cash, plus 4.7K points rebate with Rewards+):
There are lots of other bargains:
- Fly one-way anywhere in the US, including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and USVI, for just 7.5K miles in coach or 12.5K in business class on United with no fuel surcharges.
- Fly one-way anywhere to Canada or Mexico for just 10K miles in coach or 15K in business class on United with no fuel surcharges.
- Fly one-way to Europe for 45K in business class on United with no fuel surcharges.
Plus you’ll save another 10% with Citi Rewards+.
You can start from scratch with no fees by getting a Citi Double Cash Card with no annual fee. Cash out your points for 2% cash back everywhere or let them sit and go into trifecta mode at any point later on.
You can also transfer points between any Citi cardholders to transfer points into miles.
Has COVID-19 changed your credit card strategy?