Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.
Updated on Thursday, April 21, 2016
Earning cash back to pay off your credit card bill is the most straightforward way to get rewarded for spending. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer are two cards that let you turn money earned from shopping into credits for your statement or, in the case of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, also check or gift cards.
Here we’re comparing both to help you choose between the two and we’ll also discuss an instance where you can benefit from keeping both of these cards in your wallet.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has a multi-level cash back program.
You earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. The money you spend at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores will earn you 2% cash back. A few participating department stores include JCPenney, Sears, Macy’s, Boscov’s and Nordstrom. All other purchases outside of the 3% and 2% categories earn 1% cash back.
For new cardholders, there is a Welcome Offer that may pique your interest. $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
Cash back is earned in Rewards Dollars. You can cash in Rewards Dollars for statement credit once your balance reaches $25 or more. There is a $0 annual fee.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer Cash Back Program
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer gives you double cash back on all purchases. You Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.. If you’re looking for a rewards program without any spending restrictions, this would be one to seriously consider.
You can redeem cash back for a check, statement credit or gift card once your cash back balance reaches $25. If you have a Citi savings or checking account, you can also transfer cash earned into one of your accounts.
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has a $0 annual fee.
Pros and Cons
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Pro: Cash back in statement credit. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has a no fuss redemption system. Cash in your Rewards Dollars for a statement credit to pay your bill. Easy enough.
Con: Spending limit in the grocery category. If you spend more than $500 per month on groceries, you could very well hit the $6,000 yearly spend limit for the 3% category and only earn 1% cash back for the rest of the year. Now, that’s a generous spending limit, but factor in holidays, summer BBQs and other events where you shop heavy. You may reach the spending limit faster than you think.
Pro: No activation required. You get the benefit of high bonus categories without having to activate a revolving category each quarter. And the 3% and 2% categories you can benefit from the entire year cover things you need to buy anyway, gas for your car and groceries for your family.
Con: Warehouse stores not welcome. Superstores and warehouses are not considered supermarkets. If you shop at Target, Walmart, Costco and the like, you won’t get rewarded for it.
Pro: No annual fee. You don’t have to pay to get access to these rewards.
Con: Redemption threshold. You have to reach $25 in Rewards Dollars before you can use it and you can redeem cash back in one way: statement credit.
To see rates & fees for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Pro: No fine print. There’s double cash back on everything, no limits. And no need to sign up for or pay attention to revolving categories.
Con: Less cash back. The pro of how basic the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer terms are comes with a catch. Sure, you can earn cash back without restrictions or a cap, but you’ll earn less cash back in certain areas than you can with a tiered rewards program like Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
Pro: Redeem cash in multiple ways. Instead of just using your cash back for statement credits you have more options including requesting checks, gift cards or cash deposits.
Con: Redemption threshold. Similar to the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, your cash back balance has to reach $25 before you can redeem it.
Using Both the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
If you’re interested in working the rewards program system, you may want to sign up for both of these cards to earn maximum cash back. Be prepared to pay more attention to your cards than just swiping the first one you can find in your wallet while using this method. One good thing about coupling these particular cards together is both have no revolving categories, so that’s one less thing to remember.
Pull out the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express while grocery shopping until you spend $6,000 for the year. Then use the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer for the rest of the year to (Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.) instead of just the 1% that you would earn with the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express on most purchases.
Other Cash Back Card Options
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card has another program with no cash back category restriction. You earn unlimited 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day.
Like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, you have more than one option to redeem your cash back. Other than a statement credit you can request a check. There is a $0 annual fee.
Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card card is similar to the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and gives you unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases. Eligible Fidelity accounts include:
- Brokerage accounts
- Fidelity Cash Management Accounts
- Fidelity-managed 529 College Savings plans
- Retirement accounts like the Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA and SEP IRA
Fidelity uses a point system to keep track of cash back, $1 spent equals 2 points and your points never expire. Besides account deposits, you can cash in points for travel, merchandise, gift cards and statement credits. However, points you redeem for anything other than deposits into your Fidelity account won’t have the same value. To get the most from this rewards program you should intend to transfer cash back into a Fidelity account.
In order to redeem points for a cash deposit, your point balance has to reach 5,000 or $50. You can redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift cards or statement credit starting at 2,500 points. The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card has a $0 annual fee.
Which Card Will Benefit You the Most?
If your focus is earning cash back from grocery shopping and gas and you spend below the 3% category cap ($6,000) per year, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express has an uncomplicated program that could serve you well. If you prefer finding one card that will reward you the most for everything, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer would be your best bet.
The information related to Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.