Guide Citi Merci Trifecta | Bankrate.com
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If you’re an avid credit card enthusiast or enjoy strategizing for your rewards, you might be interested in a Winning Trophy. This approach combines three cards from the same issuer to enjoy the best benefit and reward rates on each card. It allows you to easily combine reward points or cash back for options of redemption or transfer to travel partners.
What is the Citi trifecta?
For the Citi Trio, we highlight the combined rewards power of the Citi Prestige® Card, Citi® Double Cash Card and Citi Custom Cash℠ Card to accumulate as many Thank You and Cash Back Points as possible.
You can convert your Citi ThankYou points into cash, gift cards, merchandise, airline miles, or hotel stays. Earning these points quickly can therefore give you a financial boost. And by using the trifecta strategy to use each card for purchases that maximize your rewards, you’ll also earn the most Cash Back in each billing cycle.
Here’s an overview of the Prestige, Double Cash, and Custom Cash credit card benefits and rewards structure, along with tips for using the trifecta strategy to maximize your monthly rewards.
|Citi Custom Cash Custom Card||5% cash back (up to $ 500 per bill cycle, then 1%) on your highest spending category
1% cash back in all other categories
|$ 0||$ 200 cash back if you make purchases of $ 750 in the first three months of account opening|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||2% cash back in all categories (1% at time of purchase, 1% when paid on time)||$ 0||No welcome offer|
|Citi Prestige® Card||5 thank you points per dollar for dining and air travel expenses
3 points per dollar for hotels and cruise lines
1 point per dollar for all other purchases
|$ 495||50,000 bonus points if you spend $ 4,000 within the first three months of opening the account|
Citi Custom Cash: Ideal for cardholders who spend a lot in a category
The Citi Custom Cash card offers many advantages. You can get 5% back on all purchases you invoice in your highest expense category for each billing cycle. Your 5% category can be restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, travel, public transportation, streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, or shows.
You will earn 5% cash back in this category on the first $ 500 you invoice in each bill cycle, and then 1% cash back afterwards. You will also earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.
So you can generate a lot of cash back if you spend a lot in certain categories. Maybe you cook all week, you could earn 5% on your groceries. Or maybe you have an expensive fitness center membership and you can pay the annual bill to get 5% back as this is your first category of billing cycle.
You can receive your cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit to your bank account, or a check. If you’d rather earn more points, you can convert your money into Citi ThankYou Points, which you can spend on everything from gift cards and merchandise to hotel stays and airline miles.
The Citi Custom Cash card also comes with a welcome cash back offer of $ 200 if you make at least $ 750 in purchases with the card in the first three months after opening your account. The card also comes with 0% interest on balance transfers and new purchases for 15 months. You must complete your balance transfer within the first four months of opening your account to benefit from this offer. The balance transfer fee is $ 5 or 5% of the amount you transfer, whichever is greater. After the welcome offers expire, you will have a variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99%.
The Custom Cash card does not charge an annual fee.
Citi Double Cash: Ideal for people who spend a lot in several different categories
You can also earn a lot of money with the Citi Double Cash card, although you will earn your cash back bonus in a different way.
Instead of making big bucks in one spending category per month, you’ll earn 2% cash back on all your purchases. You will get 1% cash back when you debit a purchase with the card and an additional 1% cash back when you make on-time payments for those purchases. As with all Citi Cash Back Cards, you can receive your cash back as a statement credit, direct deposit, or check. You can also convert your discount into thank you points.
The Double Cash card did not offer a welcome bonus at the time of writing, but it did come with a generous 0% interest rate on balance transfers for 18 months. You must complete balance transfers within four months of opening your account to take advantage of this offer. The balance transfer fee is $ 5 or 3% of the amount you transfer, whichever is greater. The variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% applies after 18 months.
The Double Cash card does not charge an annual fee.
Citi Prestige Card: Ideal for frequent travelers
The Citi Prestige card is not a cash back card. Instead, it’s a travel rewards card that allows you to earn Citi ThankYou points.
You will earn 5 points for every dollar you charge in restaurants and on air travel. You will earn 3 points for every dollar billed at hotels and on cruise lines. You will earn 1 point for every dollar charged for all other purchases.
The Prestige card also comes with a welcome offer of 50,000 bonus points. To earn this, you must spend $ 4,000 within the first three months of opening your account.
You will also enjoy valuable travel benefits with this card. This includes a fourth night free at a hotel of your choice if you book at least four consecutive nights through ThankYou.com. You will also get a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit on your statement of up to $ 100.
Citi will also provide you with a travel credit of up to $ 250 each calendar year, which will automatically apply to qualifying travel purchases. Cardholders also get free access to hundreds of VIP lounges at airports across the country.
However, these benefits are not free. The Citi Prestige card charges an annual fee of $ 495.
How to maximize the Citi ThankYou trifecta
How do you use these three Citi cards to maximize the amount of Thank You Points and Cash you’ll earn?
First, use the Citi Prestige card to bill for airline tickets and restaurant meals. These purchases will earn you 5 Thank You Points for every dollar spent, so the points can add up quickly if you travel frequently or eat out often.
Do not make restaurant or travel purchases with your Citi Custom Cash card. You already earn this 5% bonus in these categories with your Prestige card.
Instead, choose one of the other 5% categories to use your personalized charge card for. You might spend a lot in grocery stores each month or drive a lot. Focus your spending in one of these categories on your personalized money to make it your primary spending category and recoup that 5%.
Selecting a different 5% category with your Custom Cash card will help you earn 5% on three categories of purchases, by adding your 5% Custom Cash category to the restaurant and airline categories on your Citi Prestige card.
Use your Citi Double Cash card on all other purchases for the month. You will earn 2% cash back on these other purchases, giving you a nice bonus on the cash back and thank you points you already earn with your Prestige and Custom Cash cards.
However, you will need to be careful when choosing between the Custom Cash and Double Cash card for certain purchases. This is because of the $ 500 spending limit per bill cycle on your top Citi Custom Cash category. at 1 percent Custom Cash.
For example, you might want to buy a new washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher at a combined cost of $ 3,000. If you place this purchase on your Citi Custom Cash card, you will earn 5% on the first $ 500 of this charge (if home improvement stores are your top 5% cash back category), then 1% on the remainder . This comes down to 5,000 points, or $ 50 cash back. If you place this purchase on the Citi Double Cash card, you will earn 6000 points or $ 60 cash back.
How to get the Citi Trifecta
This Citi trifecta strategy will not work if you do not qualify for all three Citi Prestige, Double Cash and Custom Cash cards. And to qualify for these cards, you will need a strong FICO credit score.
Credit card providers rely on your three-digit FICO score to decide whether or not to approve you for their cards. The higher your score, the higher your chances of qualifying. Unfortunately, Citi does not publish a minimum credit score for its cards. But for cards that offer rewards, such as the cash back bonuses of the Double Cash and Custom payment cards and the ThankYou points that you can generate with the Prestige card, you will usually need a higher credit score. .
While Citi does not provide a minimum score, you will generally need a FICO score of 700 or higher to qualify for reward-rich cards like these.
What if your score is too low? You can improve it steadily by paying your bills on time each month and paying off as much of your existing credit card debt as possible. Complete these two steps and your FICO score will increase gradually but steadily until it is high enough to qualify you for better credit cards.
Also, remember that when you apply for your Citi trifecta, you should space your card requests to ensure that you can take full advantage of each welcome bonus without going over budget to do so.
The bottom line
Relying on the Citi trifecta is a great way to maximize your cash back bonuses and reward points. But this movement will not work for everyone. If you don’t fly a lot, for example, or eat out often, you won’t earn a lot of thank you points with the Prestige card. And if you don’t spend a lot in one type of spending category, the Custom Cash card might not generate the highest cash back bonuses every month, making it a worthwhile addition to your wallet.
Review your spending habits before applying for Prestige, Double Cash and Custom Cash cards. If your monthly spending doesn’t result in the highest possible amount of rewards, these cards might not be the best combination for you. But if they do, the Citi Winning Tier could be your perfect credit card strategy.
Citi Prestige credit card information was collected independently by Bankrate.com. Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.