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Citi Custom Cash Card Review: Automatic 5% Cash Back Card

The Citi Custom Cash Card is a simple, no-hassle card that automatically earns 5% cash back on your top eligible spend category each billing cycle. The card is ideal for those who want to earn 5% cash back and don’t want to stress about activating categories.


Key Features

  • Spend Multipliers:
  • Earn 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, 1% cash back thereafter. See below for a list of eligible categories.
  • Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases
  • Special Travel Offer: Earn an additional 4% cash back on hotels, car rentals, and attractions booked on Citi Travel℠ portal through 6/30/2025.

Welcome Offer and Eligibility

The intro bonus offer is advertised as cash back, but it will be issued as ThankYou Points which are flexible to redeem for travel (if you have the Citi Strata Premier Card or Citi Prestige Cards), cash back, or gift cards.

You do NOT qualify for the intro bonus if:

  1. You already have a Citi Custom Cash Card
  2. You received a bonus for opening a new Citi Custom Cash Card account in the past 48 months
  3. You product change to the card

Limit one Citi Custom Cash Card per customer.

Citi Custom Cash Card Review

If you’re looking for a no-hassle 5% credit card, look no further than the Citi Custom Cash Card. Unlike other 5% cards on the market, you do not need to activate categories to earn the spending multiplier.

The Citi Custom Cash Card automatically earns 5% cash back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent. Earn 1% cash back after that.

If you have spend in other categories outside the top one, the purchases will earn 1% cash back.

For example, if you spend $500 at restaurants and $200 at gas stations during a billing cycle, you’ll earn 5% on the restaurant purchases and 1% at gas stations.

The maximum earnings from the 5% rate on $500 each billing cycle is $25.

All other purchases on the card will earn an unlimited 1% cash back.

Citi Custom Cash Card Eligible 5% Categories

There are currently ten eligible 5% categories on the Citi Custom Cash Card. You do not have to select, enroll, or activate categories; it’s automatic.

Exclusions do apply, so be sure to read the fine print to determine if the purchase is eligible.

Restaurants: Includes purchases at cafes, bars, lounges, and fast food restaurants.

  • Excludes purchases at bakeries, caterers, restaurants located inside another business (such as hotels, stores, stadiums, grocery stores, or warehouse clubs) and third party dining delivery services.

Gas stations

  • Excludes gasoline purchases at warehouse clubs, discount stores, convenience stores, or other merchants that do not use the gas station merchant category code.

Grocery stores: Includes purchases at supermarkets, meat/seafood stores, dairy stores, bakeries, and miscellaneous food/convenience stores.

  • Excludes purchases at general merchandise/discount superstores; wholesale/warehouse clubs; candy, nut and confectionery stores. Purchases made at online supermarkets or with grocery delivery services also do not qualify if the merchant does not classify itself as a supermarket by using the supermarket merchant category code.

Select travel: Includes airline, hotel, cruise line, and travel agency purchases.

  • Excludes timeshares, boat leases and rentals, campgrounds and trailer parks, and real estate agencies.

Select transit: Includes car rentals, ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis/limousines/car services, passenger railways, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, bus lines, and motor home and recreational vehicle rentals.

  • Excludes bike/scooter rentals, auto clubs and insurance companies.

Select streaming services: Includes the following cable, satellite, and streaming providers: Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, Apple Music, CBS All Access, Disney+, AT&T TV NOW, ESPN+, fuboTV, HBO Max, NBA League Pass, Netflix, Pandora, Showtime, Sling TV, Spotify, Starz, SiriusXM, Vudu, YouTube Red, YouTube TV, and Tidal.

Drugstores: Includes purchases made at pharmacies in grocery stores, general merchandise/discount superstores, and wholesale/warehouse clubs if those merchants submit purchases made in their pharmacy with the drug store and pharmacy merchant category code.

Home improvement stores: Includes purchases at home supply warehouse stores, lumber and building materials stores, paint and wallpaper stores, hardware stores, nurseries – lawn and garden supply stores and paints, varnishes, and supplies stores.

  • Excludes florists and florists’ supply stores; nursery stock; wholesale construction stores; and glass stores.

Fitness clubs: Includes membership fee and other purchases at athletic, sports, and recreation facilities requiring membership such as health, tennis, and swimming clubs.

  • Excludes fees associated with virtual services for home exercise equipment, personal monitoring devices, or fitness streaming classes.

Live entertainment: Includes ticket purchases for live entertainment, including: concerts, live sporting events, live theatrical productions, amusement parks, and orchestras.

  • Excludes: charitable organizations that provide live entertainment (benefits), sporting camps, sports complexes where you participate in the sport, public and private golf courses, country clubs (including membership fees), bowling alleys, movie theaters, tourist attractions, museums, and art galleries.

Optimal Strategy

Since the Citi Custom Cash Card earns ThankYou Points, the optimal strategy would be to pair it with a Citi Strata Premier Card or Citi Prestige Card to access the travel portal and transfer partners.

For a simple no-hassle cash back set up, I would consider picking one category to maximize the 5% on up to $500 in the top eligible category spend each billing cycle, and pairing the Citi Custom Cash Card with the Citi Double Cash Card for all other category spend.

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