Travel rewards often steal the spotlight when it comes to credit card rewards and perks, but a great cash-back rewards credit card can likely find a place in just about anyone’s wallet.
CardName (See Rates and Fees) and CardName are both strong choices for a cash-back credit card. Neither charges an annual fee and both offer flexible redemption options that could allow you to make your cash-back card function as a kind of travel rewards card (in certain circumstances as discussed below). In other words, they’re worth checking out no matter what your credit card rewards goals. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser
At first glance, the cards have similarities, but there are some key differences in how each card awards cash back. Furthermore, recent updates to the Freedom Unlimited® card have added some new elements to this comparison. Keep reading for more about that as well as all the details you need to know about the cards’ terms and benefits.
Rewards earning rates
These cards are both marketed as cash-back rewards cards, but they earn at decidedly different rates.
With CardName, cardholders earn unlimited 1% cash back upon making a purchase and then another 1% back when they pay for those purchases (as long as minimum payment is made on time), so it’s effectively 2% cash back on every purchase along with a healthy incentive to pay off your balance each month. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
CardName cardholders, on the other hand, earn at a number of levels:
- 5% cash back on travel through Chase
- 3% back at restaurants (including takeout and delivery)
- 3% back at drugstores
- Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
Obviously, there’s more to think about with the Freedom Unlimited® earning, but it’s also possibly much more lucrative.
New cardholder cash-back bonus
If a new cardholder bonus is what you’re looking for, CardName takes the prize with the opportunity to earn unlimited matched cash back. Use your card for all your purchases and at the end of your first year, Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned. There is no limit to how much you can earn. Every dollar in cash back rewards you earn is a dollar Chase will match.
On the other hand, Citi® Double Cash cardholders can earn $200 cash back once spending $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of opening an account. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back. This is a valuable offer, but depending on how much you spend, the Chase card has the potential to reward you with more. You just have to wait until the end of your first year as a cardholder to receive it.
Cash-back redemption options
Both Citi® Double Cash and CardName call themselves “cash-back rewards cards”; however, there are some flexible redemption options available with both.
Both cards allow cardholders to redeem for statement credit, check, direct deposit and gift cards. The both also allow cardholders to convert rewards to their respective points programs. For Citi® Double Cash, that means you can convert your rewards into ThankYou® Points as long as you have one of Citi’s ThankYou® Points earning cards. You can find out more about the program in our Guide to Citi ThankYou® Points.
Freedom Unlimited® cardholders, likewise, can redeem their cash back as Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, Chase’s points program. In both cases, you can combine your rewards with points you’re earning through other Citi or Chase points-earning cards. In the case of Freedom Unlimited®, combining your points under a CardName carddiscontinued or a CardNamediscontinued would make those points worth 50% or 25% more, respectively, when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.
Interest rates and fees
Choosing a credit card is, of course, about more than just rewards. You’ll want to consider the fees and interest rates as well.
CardName offers no annual fee and an introductory APR offerof 0% for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then, RegAPR).
Citi® Double Cash also offers an intro 0% APR, but this one is just for balance transfers and extends for 18 months. It does charge a balance transfer fee: BalanceTransferFees This fee is quite typical when it comes to balance transfers.
One thing to consider for both cards is that they both charge foreign transaction fees. That means neither is your best choice for your travels abroad.
Should I get Citi® Double Cash or Chase Freedom Unlimited®?
The chart below provides an at-a-glance look at how the CardName compares to CardName.
Both cards routinely make the CardRatings picks for the best credit cards, so we consider either option to be a good choice. It might come down to whether you need an introductory 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers.
Citi Double Cash® vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
New Cardholder Bonus Offer
Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.
Unlimited matched cash back. Use your card for all your purchases and at the end of your first year, Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned! There is no limit to how much you can earn. Every dollar in cash back rewards you earn is a dollar Chase will match.
Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, and an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24.
Unlimited 1.5% cash back is just the beginning of what you can earn. You’ll enjoy 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services; 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; and 1.5% on all other purchases.
Cash back rewards will expire if you haven’t earned any cash back on purchases or on payments for 12 months. Rewards can be redeemed for:
- Request a check for deposit into a bank account (minimum redemption is $25)
- Statement credit (minimum redemption is $25)
- Gift cards
- Direct deposit to a Citi savings or checking account OR any checking account from which you’ve made at least two Citi credit card bill payments
- Convert cash back to ThankYou® Points under a ThankYou® Points-earning card, such as the CardNamediscontinued
Cash back rewards do not expire so long as account is open and there is no minimum for redemption. Rewards can be redeemed for:
- Cash back as a statement credit or direct deposit
- Gift cards
- Travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Amazon purchases
- Apple Ultimate Rewards® Store purchases
Intro Purchase and Balance Transfer APR
Enjoy 0% intro APR for the first 18 months on balance transfers, then RegAPR
Enjoy 0% intro APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then RegAPR
Foreign Transaction Fees
24/7 Citi concierge
Travel notice monitors your account to check for possible fraudulent activity
Auto rental collision damage waiver
Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
Travel and emergency assistance services
- Zero liability protection against unauthorized charges
- Virtual account numbers for secure online purchases
- Zero liability protection
- Extended warranty protection
- Purchase protection for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per year
- Citi® Quick Lock allows you to instantly lock your card against new purchases via the app or Citi online
- Chip-and-PIN protection
- Fraud alerts
- Fraud protection
- Paperless statements
- 24/7 access to customer service specialist
- Embedded chip technology
- Fraud alerts
- Fraud protection
- Paperless statements