Citi Trifecta: Earn 2%-5% on Every Purchase

Packing your wallet with the Citi Custom Cash, Citi Strata Premier and Citi Double Cash could maximize your rewards earnings.
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Written by Erin Hurd
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If you’re looking to take your credit card rewards-earning to the next level, a strategic combination of cards can help you maximize every purchase you make. Citi, sometimes overlooked in favor of other issuers, offers rewards credit cards that can work together to boost your returns.

For a total annual fee of $95, you can carry three Citi cards, dubbed the "Citi trifecta," that can earn at least 2% — and as much as 5% — on every single purchase you make with a card, no matter the category. And for travelers, combining these cards unlocks the ability to transfer rewards to travel partners for outsized returns.

Here’s everything you need to know about this rewarding combination of Citi cards.

At a glance

How the cards compare
Citibank Strata Premier Card
Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
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on Citibank's application

Rates & Fees
Citi® Double Cash Card
Citi Double Cash® Card
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on Citibank's application

Rates & Fees
Citi Custom Cash® Card
Citi Custom Cash® Card
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on Citibank's application

Rates & Fees
Annual fee




Sign-up bonus

Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening, redeemable for $700 in gift cards or travel rewards at

Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. This bonus offer will be fulfilled as 20,000 ThankYou® Points, which can be redeemed for $200 cash back.

Ongoing rewards
  • 10 ThankYou points per $1 spent on hotels, rental cars and attractions booked through Citi

  • 3 points per $1 spent on air travel and other hotels.

  • 3 points per $1 spent at supermarkets, gas stations and restaurants.

  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

  • 2% cash back on purchases, distributed in two stages: 1% cash back for every dollar spent, 1% cash back for every dollar paid off.

  • 5% cash back on up to $500 spent in your highest spend category per billing cycle (from a list of eligible options), then 1% thereafter.

  • 1% back on all other purchases.

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Basics of ThankYou points

While the both the Citi Double Cash® Card and the Citi Custom Cash® Card are positioned as cash-back credit cards, their rewards actually come in the form of Citi ThankYou points.

ThankYou points are worth 1 cent per point when redeemed for travel booked through Citi, gift cards, bill payments, cash back and more.

ThankYou points can also be transferred to one of Citi's partners at up to a 1:2 ratio if you hold a Citi Strata Premier℠ Card. Through strategic redemptions, you can potentially get more value out of your points this way. If you don't plan on traveling internationally — or don’t want to spend the effort to use alliances booking domestic travel on foreign airlines — this option is somewhat limited since JetBlue is the only domestic carrier.


  • Aeromexico (1:1 ratio).

  • Air France/KLM (1:1 ratio).

  • Asia Miles (1:1 ratio).

  • Avianca (1:1 ratio).

  • Emirates (1:1 ratio).

  • Etihad (1:1 ratio).

  • Eva Air (1:1 ratio).

  • JetBlue (1:1 or 1:0.8 ratio, depending on which card you have).

  • Qantas (1:1 ratio).

  • Qatar Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Singapore Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Thai Airways (1:1 ratio).

  • Turkish Airlines (1:1 ratio).

  • Virgin Atlantic (1:1 ratio).


  • Accor Live Limitless (2:1 ratio).

  • Choice Hotels (1:2 or 1:1.5 ratio, depending on which card you have).

  • The Leading Hotels of the World (5:1 ratio).

  • Wyndham (1:1 ratio or 1:0.8 ratio, depending on which card you have).


  • Shop Your Way (1:10 ratio).

If you hold multiple ThankYou points-earning cards, you can pool your points together into one bucket. You can even share your points with someone else who holds a ThankYou points account, though those shared points will expire within 90 days after they’re received. Make sure you’re transferring with a specific and immediate use in mind to avoid expiration.

Your best strategy in carrying multiple Citi cards

Carrying a 2% cash-back card like the Citi Double Cash® Card is a solid choice for earning rewards on everyday purchases. It earns 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay off the purchase. But pairing with other cards in certain categories can supercharge your rewards.

The Citi Strata Premier℠ Card is a rewards powerhouse of four top everyday spending categories: supermarkets, restaurants, travel and gas stations. You could dedicate your monthly spending in these categories to the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card and earn 3x rewards with no cap.

The Citi Custom Cash® Card is versatile and automatically earns 5% on one of 10 eligible spending categories each billing cycle up to $500 (and 1% thereafter). Since the card is so — for lack of a better word — custom, the rewards you could earn from your spending in various categories will vary.

For example, if you had a large purchase at a home improvement store one month, you could charge that on your Citi Custom Cash® Card and earn 5%. Or, you could prepay several months of your fancy fitness club membership and earn 5% on the charge. If you fill several prescriptions a month, you could use the card on those purchases for 5%.

Does your family spend much of your monthly budget on groceries? You could charge the first $500 per month on the Citi Custom Cash® Card and use the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card for any extra grocery spend. Then, use your Citi Double Cash® Card for all other purchases.

Factors to consider

It takes some work

Using multiple cards to make purchases in different categories is not a "set it and forget it" strategy. In order to earn the maximum rewards, you’ll have to track what you’re spending on the Citi Custom Cash® Card to make sure you’re earning 5% on as many of your purchases as you can each month. You’ll have to remember which card to use for what transaction, and it could change monthly depending on your spending patterns.

Limited transfer partners

Compared with other credit card issuers like Chase and American Express, Citi’s travel partner options are limited. If you’re looking to use your points for international travel, and are comfortable using rewards programs for foreign airlines, there are plenty of choices.

Though ThankYou points are generally worth 1 cent a piece, you can often find outsized value of 2, 3, 4 or even more cents per point when you take advantage of these transfers. Occasionally, Citi will offer limited-time transfer bonuses where you can transfer your points for even better than a 1:2 ratio.

But if you want to use your points with domestic airline partners, Citi is not your best bet. Chase, for example, partners with United, Southwest and JetBlue, but Citi offers only JetBlue. And for hotel partners, Chase has Marriott, Hyatt and IHG, while Citi offers fewer options, Choice Hotels and Wyndham.

Opening multiple cards can harm your credit

If you already have a Citi card or two, building out your "trifecta" is an easier feat. But if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll want to go slowly.

Numerous hard pulls on your credit report, especially in a short time span, could have a negative effect on your credit, although temporarily. Even with a good credit score, multiple requests for new credit cards can be a red flag that can cause denials from issuers.

It takes discipline

Maximizing your rewards by using different cards for different purchases sounds great on paper, but it can prove to be difficult in reality. This strategy is a good move for you only if you pay your balances on time and in full every month. The interest you’ll pay on balances that go unpaid will outweigh the rewards you’ll earn.

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer

Up to $300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
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Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy $250 to use on Capital One Travel in your first cardholder year, plus earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening - that’s equal to $1,000 in travel.

See more travel cards

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