There are two major parts of planning your credit card strategy. One part, and the primary focus that many people take, is focusing on sign up bonuses that fit your immediate needs. This is a very important part of credit card strategizing, but it’s not the only thing to consider.

In addition to sign up bonuses, it’s important to build a long term strategy with the cards you select. There are lot of things to consider when deciding to keep a credit card long term. Some cards offer some great travel insurance while others offer access to airport lounges.

When building a robust long term strategy, you can’t overlook the need to diversify your points and the ability to earn as many points as possible when you aren’t working on a sign up bonus.

One of the overlooked ways to help diversify your points portfolio and have a tremendous amount of earning opportunity is by carrying Citibank credit cards. The combination of the Citi® Double Cash Card and a Citi Premier® Card can be a great addition to your long term credit card portfolio.

Let’s take a deeper dive into these cards and why this is such a powerful combo that you should consider keeping in your wallet.

Overview of the Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card isn’t often associated with points and miles, but this card has some secrets hiding inside.

For starters, the Citi® Double Cash Card has no annual fee. This makes it easy to justify holding onto the card for a long time which will help you build a robust credit profile.

The Citi® Double Cash Card earns 2% back on every purchase you make regardless of category. That 2% is broken down into two segments. You get 1% when you make a purchase with the card, and another 1% when you pay off the balance.

That’s 2% you get on gas, groceries, travel, anything. While it isn’t a category leader in any of these categories, it’s a good return across the board with no caps on the amount you can earn.

Compared to its contemporaries, the Citi® Double Cash Card out earns most of its competition. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the American Express Cash Magnet Card each earn 1.5% on non-bonus categories. The Citi Double Cash Card out earns its competitors from the start.

The biggest downside of the Citi Double Cash Card is that there’s no sign up bonus for the card. Don’t let that stop you from looking at this card, as there are some creative ways to get yourself a Citi Double Cash Card and some bonus points at the same time.

However, what makes this card so appealing is the ability to combine it with its powerful partner, the Citi Premier® Card.

Overview of Citi Premier® Card

If you have a Citi Premier® Card, you’ll earn 3X ThankYou Points on a lot of categories. You’ll get 3X points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels with no caps on the amount of bonus points you can earn. All other purchases earn 1X.

Citi Premier® Card

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

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The Citi Premier® Card has a modest $95 annual fee, making it easy to afford for most people. If you make paid hotel stays once a year, you’ll easily offset the annual fee because the Citi Premier® Card will give you $100 off a hotel stay of $500 or more once a year. You can wash your hands of the annual fee quite easily if you have paid hotel stays.

Additionally, if you have the Citi Premier® Card, you can transfer your earned ThankYou Points to travel partners. You can transfer ThankYou Points to the following airline partners:

  • Aeromexico
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air
  • Flying Blue
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Jet Privilege
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

The ability to access transfer partners opens up a lot of opportunities for redeeming points, making the Citi Premier a perfect partner to the Citi Double Cash card.

Why The Citi Double Cash and Citi Premier Are a Killer Combo

Putting these two cards together is a fantastic earning combo. For starters, you’ll earn 3X points on a multitude of popular categories with the Citi Premier® Card. Put all other spend on your Citi Double Cash card for 2X on everything else.

Although the Citi Double Cash advertises itself as earning cash back, the secret is that you can convert your cashback earned into ThankYou Points. For every one dollar of cash back earned you can convert it to 100 ThankYou points.

With this combo, you’ll always earn at least 2 ThankYou Points for every dollar you spend. That’s a great opportunity to build up some often overlooked points that can help you greatly diversify your points portfolio.

This works with any Citi credit card that earns ThankYou Points, but the Citi Premier has the perfect balance of great earning categories with a modest annual fee that makes it easier to hold onto for a long time.

Best Ways To Get a Citi Double Cash

If you’re looking to get a Citi Double Cash, you should look to get it…by not opening a Citi Double Cash Card.

That seems counterintuitive, but working around the system can help you get more points.

If you open a Citi Double Cash Card outright you’ll get 0 bonus points. However, if you instead open a Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard, you can earn the bonus American Airlines miles. After you’ve had the card for a year, you can request to “product change” the card to a Citi Double Cash.

Converting a Citi AAdvantage Platinum card gives you an added bonus. Citi currently restricts you to getting one Citi AAdvantage bonus within every 24 months of account open or closing. By changing your Citi AAdvantage card to a Citi Double Cash, you don’t reset the timer by closing the card and now you can start earning ThankYou points as well.

Similarly, if you’ve long held a Citi Premier, Citi Prestige Card, or any other ThankYou Points earning card and you’re interested in getting the bonus again, you can just change that card to a Citi® Double Cash Card and reopen another Citi Premier or other card to get a new bonus.

Great Ways to Use Citi ThankYou Points

While this isn’t a comprehensive list, there are a few great sweet spots to Citi ThankYou Points.

One of the best sweet spots with Citi ThankYou Points is booking business class to Hawaii on United. This is one of those times where utilizing a partner award chart will save you a lot of miles on your trip.

Rather than booking with United, which can require 44,000 or more miles, you can use Turkish Miles & Smiles to book the same flight for only 12,500 miles. If you want to fly economy, it will only require 7,500 miles. No other bank program transfers to Turkish Miles & Smiles making this an exclusive sweet spot for Citi ThankYou Points.

While other sweet spots aren’t exclusive to Citi ThankYou Points, one compelling reason to prefer Citi points for flights is that Citi doesn’t have any hotel partners. You can save your Chase Ultimate Rewards or your American Express Membership Rewards to use for hotels and instead use your Citi ThankYou Points for your flights.

Some other great uses of Citi ThankYou Points transfer partners are using Virgin Atlantic to book business or first class to Japan for a maximum of 125,000 points round-trip. You can also transfer 44,000 points to Etihad Guest to book Royal Air Maroc to Morocco in business class. Finally, you can transfer to Qantas to book American Airlines flights less than 1,200 miles for only 12,000 points.

As always, don’t transfer points to any of these before confirming availability. If you need assistance in finding award availability, check out our award booking service where we will do all of the heavy lifting of finding award seats for you.

Final Thoughts

There are some great ways to redeem Citi ThankYou Points for some great sweet spots all around the world. Having a healthy stash of these often overlooked points can help you diversify your points portfolio to keep your options open.

If you’re looking for a killer combo to earn more Citi ThankYou Points, the Citi Premier and Citi DoubleCash Card are a go to winner. The Citi Premier earns 3X points in a lot of popular categories, while the Citi DoubleCash Card earns 2X points on everything else. Holding both means you can transfer the points on your Citi DoubleCash that would normally be cashback to transfer partners.

This combo is a keeper, and definitely a sleeper that is often missed by many people, but one that you should definitely consider.