Citi Double Cash vs. Amex Blue Cash Everyday
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When you are looking for a credit card that offers cash back, there are two different types of offers available. Some credit cards offer the same level of cash back on all charges, while others feature bonus levels of cash back for purchases from specific categories of merchants.
While cards that offer a flat rate of cash back can be easy to understand and use, many cardholders prefer the chance to earn even more returns from cards that offer high levels of bonus cash back, especially on their most frequently categories of purchases. Citi offers its Double Cash card with an exceptional rate of cash back on all purchases, while the Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express features bonus levels of cash back for several different categories of purchases.
The Citi Double Cash card offers cardholders the chance to earn cash back twice–1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay. There is no limit to the amount of cash back that you can earn. You also receive 15 months of 0% financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. After the promotional financing rate expires, the standard interest rate will apply to the remaining balance, which is 12.99% – 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness at the time of the application.
Benefits include Citi’s Price Rewind service which will automatically refund the difference in price when a lower price is found on a covered item. Cardholders also receive damage and theft protection that covers up to $1,000 per item and $50,000 per year if purchases are damaged or stolen within 120 days (90 days for New York residents). This card’s extended warranty program covers purchases for an additional year beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, while trip cancellation and interruption protection reimburses you for non-refundable expenses when your travel plans fall through, up to $1,500 per year. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee imposed on all transactions processed outside of the United States.
The Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express is currently offering new applicants $100 in cash back after spending $1,000 within three months of account opening. Cardholders earn 3% cash back at supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent each year, 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
New cardholders also receive 15 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. After that, the standard interest rate will apply only to any unpaid balance, which is 12.99 – 21.99%, depending on your creditworthiness at the time of the application.
This card’s benefits include a purchase protection policy, extended warranty coverage, and a return protection plan which covers eligible items for 90 days after purchase if a retailer refuses to accept the return. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee imposed on all transactions processed outside of the United States.
Which card is right for you?
The typical Citi Double Cash cardholder is someone who just doesn’t want to think about their credit card rewards. These cardholders will simply look for the highest rate of return without worrying about which charges fall into which categories. The fact that only 1% cash back is earned at the time of purchase and the other 1% is earned at the the time of payment will be of little concern to most reward card users, as these cardholders are the type of people who always pay their balances in full in order to avoid interest charges. Nevertheless, both cards offer identical 15 month promotional financing offers.
On the other hand, the Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express is for cardholders who enjoy actively managing their credit cards to maximize their returns. These cardholders will look to use the 3% cash back at grocery stores whenever possible, even if it means purchasing gift cards there for use at other merchants The ideal Blue Cash Everyday user will also know which gas stations and department stores qualify for the 2% cash back returns.
But the 2% rewards for the Citi Double Cash are so strong that they are equal to or better than all but the grocery category for the Blue Cash Everyday card. The 2% cash back at gas stations and select department stores is equal to Citi’s offer, and the 1% cash back on other purchases is clearly inferior. So the American Express card would be a good compliment to the Citi Double Cash, or another cash back card, for grocery purchases but not necessarily a replacement for most cardholders. Thankfully, American Express also offers its Blue Cash Preferred, with additional rewards, but that card comes with a $75 annual fee.
By looking closely at both the Citi Double Cash and the Blue Cash Everyday card from American Express, you can choose the right cash back reward card for your individual needs.