Citi Double Cash vs. American Express Blue Cash Preferred: Two Great Cards — Your Best Fit Depends On How You’ll Use It

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Good for Flat Cash Back
Citi® Double Cash Card
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Citi® Double Cash Card
Rewards rate:

Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

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Good for Tiered Bonus Categories
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Rewards rate:

6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

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  • Intro offer:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    17.74% – 27.74% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Rewards rate:

    Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

  • Intro offer:
    $250
  • Annual fee:
    $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Regular APR:
    17.74%-28.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Rewards rate:

    6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%). 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more. 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations. 1% Cash Back on other purchases.

Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Flat cash back on every purchase
  • 18-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers (17.74% to 27.74% variable APR thereafter)
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • 3% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5)
  • Delayed cash back rewards if you carry a balance
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Great rewards in everyday spending categories
  • Introductory interest offer for new purchases and balance transfers
  • Competitive welcome bonus
Cons
  • $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year)
  • U.S. supermarket 6% rewards capped after $6,000 annual spend
Additional Card Details
Additional Card Details
  • Extra incentive to pay down your balance in full: You’ll earn only 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and the other 1% when you pay it off
  • 18-month 0% intro period on balance transfers, 17.74% to 27.74% variable APR thereafter
  • Redeem cash back for statement credits, direct deposit, check, or convert cash back value to Citi ThankYou points
  • Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening and a 3% ($5 minimum) fee applies, After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5)
Additional Card Details
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months from the date of account opening, then 17.74% – 28.74% variable APR
  • Cash welcome bonus
  • Disney Bundle credit worth up to $84
  • Equinox+ credit worth up to $120
  • Early event ticket access and seating through American Express Experiences
  • Eligible for Amex Pay It, Plan It
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
  • Minimum $25 rewards redemption
NextAdvisor’s Take

The Citi Double Cash and the American Express Blue Cash Preferred credit cards are both among our favorite cash back credit cards. They’re great cards all around, but the right choice for you can depend on your spending habits. If you’re looking for flat savings on every purchase, the Citi Double Cash offers unlimited 2% back on everything you buy (1% when you purchase and another 1% when you pay it off). But if your everyday spending is largely focused in select categories — including supermarkets, streaming, and gas stations — you may find more value from the American Express Blue Cash Preferred. What’s more, the complementary flat and tiered bonus category rewards structures also make these cards optimal for pairing, if you really want to maximize every purchase.

Not every cash back credit card is created equal. Most commonly, cash back cards offer either tiered rewards on specific categories (often between 2% and 5% cash back), or a lower, flat rate on every purchase (typically 1.5% to 2%). 

Either type of cash back card can be valuable, but your spending habits can help determine which rewards structure — along with card details like fees, interest, and added benefits — works best for you. To help you decide, we’re putting two of the best options in each category head-to-head: the Citi® Double Cash Card and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Side-by-Side Comparison

Citi Double Cash CardBlue Cash Preferred from American Express
Annual Fee$0
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Welcome OfferN/AEarn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 6 months
Cash Back Rewards2% back on all spending — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off• 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back)

• 6% back on select U.S. streaming services

• 3% back at gas stations and on transit

• 1% back on other purchases

• Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit
Other Benefits• 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, followed by a variable APR of 17.74% to 27.74%

• Citi Entertainment benefits
• 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 17.74% to 28.74%

• Secondary auto rental coverage, Global Assist hotline, and return protection

Bonus Comparison

The Blue Cash Preferred is the clear standout in this category. It offers a higher welcome bonus, while Citi Double Cash does not earn a welcome offer. With the American Express Blue Cash Preferred, you’ll earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership, which is a pretty high offer for cash back welcome bonus. 

Rewards Comparison

Both of these cards offer great rewards rates, but the savings you earn will depend on your spending habits and the kind of purchases you charge. 

The Citi Double Cash Credit Card offers 2% back on all spending — 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off. That means you must pay your balances off in full to maximize your rewards. 

Meanwhile, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred racks up 6% back on up to $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1% back), 6% on select U.S. streaming services, 3% back at gas stations and on transit, and 1% back on other purchases.

Let’s say you spend the following amounts in these bonus categories annually, loosely based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • $5,000 spent ($416 per month) at U.S. supermarkets 
  • $500 spent ($41 per month) on streaming services
  • $2,400 spent ($200 per month) at U.S. gas stations and on transit 
  • $10,000 spent ($833 per month) on miscellaneous purchases (dining, utilities, online shopping, superstores, etc.)

Provided you paid your credit card bill in full throughout the year, the Citi Double Cash Credit Card would net you $358 in cash back rewards on this spending. 

Meanwhile, the American Express Blue Cash Preferred would net you $502 in cash back the first year  — $300 in rewards at U.S. supermarkets, $30 in streaming rewards, $72 in rewards at U.S. gas stations and on transit, and $100 in cash back on regular purchases.

That’s on top of the $250 welcome offer you can earn within the first 6 months of account opening. . In all, that would make for a total $752 value with the first year welcome bonus, and $502 each year after that with the same spending, accounting for the annual fee.

Look at your past credit card statements and store receipts to get a better idea of where exactly you spend most each month. If your spending aligns with grocery, gas, and streaming categories, the big rewards from Blue Cash Preferred may be a no brainer. Otherwise, an all-encompassing, flat cash back offer like Citi Double Cash will likely leave you better off. 

APRs

Both the Citi Double Cash Credit Card and the American Express Blue Cash Preferred come with an introductory APR. 

The Citi Double Cash Credit Card gives you 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, followed by a variable APR of 17.74% to 27.74%. This makes it better for consumers who want a long introductory rate for paying down existing debt balances — in fact, it’s among our favorite balance transfer offers available today.

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, followed by a variable APR of 17.74% to 28.74%. If you have a large upcoming purchase that you want to pay down without interest over time, this offer can also help.

Fees

The no annual fee Citi Double Cash wins this category. American Express Blue Cash Preferred does charge an annual fee of $95, though it’s waived for the first year. 

They both charge similar costs for purchases you make abroad — a 3% foreign transaction fee for the Citi Double Cash Credit Card and a 2.7% foreign transaction fee for the American Express Blue Cash Preferred. Both cards incur late payment and returned payment fees— up to $41 for the Citi double Cash and up to $40 for the Blue Cash Preferred. (See Rates & Fees)

Not only does the American Express Blue Cash Preferred not have an intro offer for balance transfers, but it doesn’t allow them at all, so it doesn’t list a fee for this option. If you transfer a balance to the Citi Double Cash Credit Card, you’ll pay an intro balance transfer fee of 3% (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, a fee of 5% of each transfer ((minimum $5).

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Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

  • Intro offer:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    17.74% – 27.74% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site
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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Intro offer:
    $250
  • Annual fee:
    $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Regular APR:
    17.74%-28.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.
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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Intro offer:
    Earn an Additional 1.5% Cash Back
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    18.74% – 27.49% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site

Deciding Between Citi Double Cash and Amex Blue Cash Preferred

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred is slightly more rewarding than the Citi Double Cash despite its annual fee. If your monthly budget is largely spent on everyday staples like groceries and gas, this card will maximize your spending best. 

However, there is something to be said for picking a credit card without any fees. And the simplicity of flat cash back can help you maximize spending outside of common rewards categories — like trips to the mall or utility bills. Plus, the Citi Double Cash is easily the best option if you’re hoping to consolidate and pay off other debts.

Can’t decide between the two? You can really maximize your savings by adding both to your wallet and getting competitive cash back rates on every single thing you buy. Use the Blue Cash Preferred for its bonus categories to maximize your rewards there, then switch to the Citi Double Cash for non-bonus purchases so you earn 2% back on all regular spending (1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay it off). Since you can add the Citi Double Cash to your wallet without adding an annual fee, this cash back duo could give you the best of both worlds.