Citi Custom Cash SM Card- Good Cashback Card But Needs A Complimentary Card

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There are many credit cards on the market that give you 5% cash back on rotating categories. But if your spending categories vary from month to month, the Citi Custom Cash (SM) Card is a great option. With this card, you don’t have to keep track of your spending categories. You will get 5% cash back (subject to a $500 spending cap) in your top spending category each billing cycle. All other spending earns an unlimited 1% back.

Citi Custom Cash (SM) Card

Sign up bonus

You will earn $200 cashback (20,000 Citi ThankYou points) after spending $1500 on purchases in the first six months. That’s an easy bar to meet for most people. Citi can sometimes be stingy when it comes to sign up bonuses but the sign up bonus on this card is competitive. For example, the popular Citi Double Cash credit card does not offer sign up bonuses.


  • 5% cash back on up to $500 in purchases in your top spending category. The top spending category is chosen automatically every month based on your spending
  • Top spending categories are restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores, select travel, select transit, select streaming services, drugstores, home improvement stores, fitness clubs, and live entertainment
  • You will earn 1% on all other purchases
  • You will earn rewards as Citi ThankYou points, which you can convert to cash if you prefer
  • With the $500 spending cap, your cashback from your top spending category is limited to $25 per month or $300 per year

Other benefits

Citi Custom Cash SM Card is a World Elite Mastercard that gives you the following benefits.

  • 0% Introductory APR on purchases for the first 15 months, APR will be between 18.99%  and 28.99% based on your creditworthiness (variable)


  • No annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Balance transfer fee – $5 or 5% of the amount of each credit card balance transfer, whichever is greater

Redeeming points

You can redeem your ThankYou points as a statement credit or as a direct deposit to your bank. The minimum amount you can redeem is $5.

Combine the Citi Custom Cash card with another card to maximize the benefits

The big limitation with the Citi Custom Cash card is that you are limited to a single category for the 5% cashback. Your cashback is also capped at $25 per month (or $500 in spending per month for the category). The $500 spending cap is much lower than the $1,500  cap of the Discover It cashback card.

Outside of the top spending category, you will earn only 1% rewards from the Citi Custom Cash card. But you can do better with another card for your other spending. A good complementary card to consider is the Citi Premier(R) Card which gives you 3x ThankYou points on restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, and travel. The card has an annual fee of $95. You need to do the math to ensure that your spending pattern allows you to benefit from the card despite its annual fee.

Bottom Line

The Citi Custom Cash card is a great option for those who are tired of rotating categories. The card gives you 5% cash back on your top spending category with a $500 spending cap. So you can only earn $25 per month or $300 per year. 1% cash back on all other spending is not appealing. So you need to complement this card with another card that gives you more than 1%. The Citi Premier Credit card, which has an annual fee of $95, offers 3x ThankYou points (or 3% cashback) on restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, and travel spending, which can be a great card to go with the Citi Custom Cash. This combination will keep all your points in the Citi ThankYou ecosystem and allow you to get the most out of your points.

My Money Planet has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. My Money Planet and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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