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Citi Custom Cash cash back & points speculation

cws-21
Regular Contributor

Citi Custom Cash cash back & points speculation

This issue may never even arise, but I was just wondering about the discrepancy between the Citi Custom Cash Card being a 5% and 1% cash back credit card and a credit card that earns TYPs. What do you think would happen if there was a devaluation of TYPs given this discrepancy? Would Citi convert the card to only cash back to keep it as a 5%/1% cash back card or would it no longer be a 5%/1% card, but one that only earns points?

Message 1 of 7
6 REPLIES 6
DBarrett
New Contributor

Re: Citi Custom Cash cash back & points speculation


@cws-21 wrote:

This issue may never even arise, but I was just wondering about the discrepancy between the Citi Custom Cash Card being a 5% and 1% cash back credit card and a credit card that earns TYPs. What do you think would happen if there was a devaluation of TYPs given this discrepancy? Would Citi convert the card to only cash back to keep it as a 5%/1% cash back card or would it no longer be a 5%/1% card, but one that only earns points?


It's actually 5 TYP/1 TYP with the ability to redeem TYPs for cash back in the form of statement credit, direct deposit, or check.  According to Citi's T&Cs,  they "...have the right to change the "Points to dolloar conversion rate" for Rewards at any time."  So they would keep it at 5 TYP/1 TYP but devalue the points when converted.  That's the big negative for point cards in my opinion.

 

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Custom Cash T&Cs can be found here.

 

Citi ThankYou Rewards Terms and Conditions for Citi Custom Cash Card Accounts 

Message 2 of 7
cws-21
Regular Contributor

Re: Citi Custom Cash cash back & points speculation


@DBarrett wrote:


It's actually 5 TYP/1 TYP with the ability to redeem TYPs for cash back in the form of statement credit, direct deposit, or check.  According to Citi's T&Cs,  they "...have the right to change the "Points to dolloar conversion rate" for Rewards at any time."  So they would keep it at 5 TYP/1 TYP but devalue the points when converted.  That's the big negative for point cards in my opinion.


@DBarrett, thanks for the reply. I guess I should have been more clear in my initial post. The card is heavily marketed as a cash back credit card, which, I believe, is what causes the discrepancy. Are other points cards marketed as such or as much? My understanding is that, typically, points cards are marketed as 3x MRPs at restaurants worldwide for AMEX Gold Card or even 3x points back at restaurants for the Citi Premier Card.

Message 3 of 7
FormerCollegeDJ
Regular Contributor

Re: Citi Custom Cash cash back & points speculation


@cws-21 wrote:

@DBarrett wrote:


It's actually 5 TYP/1 TYP with the ability to redeem TYPs for cash back in the form of statement credit, direct deposit, or check.  According to Citi's T&Cs,  they "...have the right to change the "Points to dolloar conversion rate" for Rewards at any time."  So they would keep it at 5 TYP/1 TYP but devalue the points when converted.  That's the big negative for point cards in my opinion.


@DBarrett, thanks for the reply. I guess I should have been more clear in my initial post. The card is heavily marketed as a cash back credit card, which, I believe, is what causes the discrepancy. Are other points cards marketed as such or as much? My understanding is that, typically, points cards are marketed as 3x MRPs at restaurants worldwide for AMEX Gold Card or even 3x points back at restaurants for the Citi Premier Card.


I'm unsure if this fits your description, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex emphasize they provide cash back but their earnings can also be treated as Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  The points cannot be transferred to partner airlines and hotels however without also using a premium Chase Sapphire card that charges an annual fee.

Playing the credit card rewards game since early May 2020.

Current credit cards:
*Discover Cash It, 10/5/94, $10,000 CL
*American Express Hilton Honors, 9/23/96, $16,500 CL
*Kohl's store card, 7/31/00, $2500 CL
*Chase Amazon Rewards Visa, 10/29/06, $11,000 CL
*Citi Sears/Thank You Rewards Mastercard, 9/19/09, $2001 CL (LOL)
*Citi My Best Buy Visa, 12/29/11, $4600 CL
*Bank of America Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Mastercard, 10/17/15, $15,000 CL
*Bank of America AAA Member Rewards Visa, 3/9/17, $15,000 CL
*Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa, 6/29/20, $11,000 CL
*Chase Freedom Flex Mastercard, 11/9/20, $9900 CL
*Capital One SavorOne Mastercard, 3/30/21, $10,000 CL
*Wells Fargo Propel American Express, 4/11/21, $10,000 CL

Next target credit cards:
*US Bank Cash+ Visa
*Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa, PSECU Founder's Card Visa, or Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa
*Citi Custom Cash Mastercard
*Elan Financial Services Max Cash Preferred (S&T Bank Visa version)
Message 4 of 7
longtimelurker
Mega Contributor

Re: Citi Custom Cash cash back & points speculation


@FormerCollegeDJ wrote:

and Chase Freedom Flex emphasize they provide cash back but their earnings can also be treated as Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  The points cannot be transferred to partner airlines and hotels however without also using a premium Chase Sapphire card that charges an annual fee.

I think it is very similar.  It's not so much that they can be treated as, but they actually are, issued as URs!   Chase has always maintained a 1UR=1c for cashout, but in theory they could change that.   As with Citi, in that case they could no longer refer to this as 5% cashback, but issuers also say that the reward program can be changed at any time.

 

As far as I remember, my chief bad example, Penfed Plat Rewards, always referred to 5/3/1 points rather than percent, so they didn't need to change copy when the silently reduced the value of the points!

Message 5 of 7
cws-21
Regular Contributor

Re: Citi Custom Cash cash back & points speculation


@longtimelurker wrote:

@FormerCollegeDJ wrote:

and Chase Freedom Flex emphasize they provide cash back but their earnings can also be treated as Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  The points cannot be transferred to partner airlines and hotels however without also using a premium Chase Sapphire card that charges an annual fee.

I think it is very similar.  It's not so much that they can be treated as, but they actually are, issued as URs!   Chase has always maintained a 1UR=1c for cashout, but in theory they could change that.   As with Citi, in that case they could no longer refer to this as 5% cashback, but issuers also say that the reward program can be changed at any time.

 

As far as I remember, my chief bad example, Penfed Plat Rewards, always referred to 5/3/1 points rather than percent, so they didn't need to change copy when the silently reduced the value of the points!


Thanks for the replies. @longtimelurker, I agree that this situation is similar to the Chase UR points one. @FormerCollegeDJ, the bold above is exactly what I have been thinking. I wonder if it makes it somewhat less likely for Citi to devalue their points than would be the case for another bank with cards that are marketed as acquiring points rather than cash back.

Message 6 of 7
SouthJamaica
Super Contributor

Re: Citi Custom Cash cash back & points speculation


@cws-21 wrote:

This issue may never even arise, but I was just wondering about the discrepancy between the Citi Custom Cash Card being a 5% and 1% cash back credit card and a credit card that earns TYPs. What do you think would happen if there was a devaluation of TYPs given this discrepancy? Would Citi convert the card to only cash back to keep it as a 5%/1% cash back card or would it no longer be a 5%/1% card, but one that only earns points?


IMHO one should assume with any rewards card by any issuer that there may come a time when the lender decides to change the terms and make them less rewarding. We constantly learn of devaluations and "nerfings".

 

During the 6 years or so I've been with Citi, they've made changes on multiple occasions, some of which made things more valuable for me, some of which made them less valuable for me.  Examples: taking away the car rental benefit on the Premier card, cutting back on the types of spends included in "travel" on the Premier card, adding the ability to get TY points with my DoubleCash points, adding the ability to convert TY points to cash.


Total revolving limits 677500 (584500 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 750 TU 761 EX 749

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