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If you like to keep your credit card rewards simple and don’t need a high-powered travel credit card, stick with a good cash-back card. Two of the best are the Chase Freedom® and the Citi® Double Cash Card – and both cards come with no annual fees. Let’s compare what you’ll get with each card.
Citi Double Cash versus Chase Freedom
|Card Name||Welcome Bonus|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||No intro bonus.|
|Chase Freedom®||Earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.|
Best sign-up bonus
The Citi Double Cash doesn’t currently have an introductory bonus offer. However, with the Chase Freedom you earn a $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 within the first three months of opening the card.
Winner: Chase Freedom
Best earning rate
The Chase Freedom earns 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter in a rotating list of bonus categories, for the second quarter of 2020 (April-June) the bonus categories are grocery stores, select streaming services and fitness club memberships (activation required). Cardholders also earn 5% back on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and 1% back on all other purchases.
On the other hand, the Citi Double Cash earns 2% back: 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay your bill. Earning 2% back on every purchase with a no-annual-fee card is hard to beat. The Chase Freedom card bonus categories can earn you an extra $300 per year if you max them out, but if you put all of your spending on a single card, you will come out ahead over the course of the year with the Citi Double Cash card.
One of the most common mistakes made with cash-back cards is not using the right card for a specific purchase and with the Citi Double Cash it’s impossible to make that mistake.
Winner: Citi Double Cash
Best redemption value
As stand-alone cards, both the Chase Freedom and Citi Double Cash have the same redemption value. After all, when you redeem cash back you get…cash. But you can pair these two with other cards and turn them into something more.
The points you earn with the Chase Freedom card can be pooled onto a card that earns transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Ink Business Preferred Credit Card. At that point, instead of each point being worth one cent in cash back, you can redeem them for 1.25-1.5 cents each for travel booked through the Chase travel portal. Or you can transfer those same points to partner airlines or hotels and get even greater value per point.
The Citi Double Cash has a similar ability if you also have either the Citi Premier℠ Card or Citi Prestige® Card you’ll be able to convert one dollar of cash back into 100 Citi ThankYou points and then you can transfer those points to Citi travel partners.
In general, the Chase transfer partners are much more useful than most of the travel partners you’ll have access to with Citi ThankYou points. So if you’re going to get multiple cards with one bank, Chase credit cards are the most valuable for most people. However, if you’re over the Chase 5/24 rule, picking up another Citibank credit card to pair with the Double Cash is a solid option.
Winner: Chase Freedom
Information for the Citi Prestige, Citi Premier and Ink Business Preferred cards has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets and has not be reviewed by the card issuer.
Best annual fee
Both the Citi Double Cash and the Chase Freedom are credit cards with no annual fee.
For most people having a good cash-back credit card is worth it and it’s hard to go wrong with either the Chase Freedom or the Citi Double Cash. Both are no-annual-fee cards that can be paired with other cards to make the rewards more valuable.
If you have to pick only one card, the decision comes down to whether or not you plan on pairing either of these cards with annual-fee cards so you can turn the rewards you earn into transferable points. The Citi Double Cash has a better overall earning rate, but the Chase Freedom has the potential to earn more valuable transferable Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
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