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Citi Custom Cash℠ Card or Amazon Prime Rewards: Read This Before Applying

Last updated on August 3rd, 2022

When it comes to finding the best credit card for you it is essential to do your homework first. The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature and Citi Custom Cash Card are two popular cash back rewards options, but which is best? Here is everything you need to know to find your best credit  card offer:

At a Glance

Citi Custom Cash℠ Card or Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature®: Which Is Right for You?

Before deciding which credit card is right for you, the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card or the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature, here is a detailed breakdown of the cards, their features, and their suitability:

Pre-Qualification Before Applying

Applying for a credit card requires a credit check. Often, these credit checks (or credit inquiries) are known as “hard inquiries,” meaning the bank pulls your full credit report before approving (or denying) your credit card application. If you apply for a credit card and are declined, your credit score will likely take a minor hit. One way to avoid a negative impact on your credit score before getting a new credit card is by pre-qualifying before you apply.

Pre-qualification for credit cards is safe, fast, and effective. Citi and Chase offer online pre-qualification before applying, so seeing if you qualify for a lucrative cash back card has never been easier. 

Related Article: How to Pre-Qualify for a Credit Card

Credit Score Needed

Both rewards cards require a “good” or “excellent” credit score, meaning a FICO Score of 670+ is the minimum you should expect to have before applying. For versatile, no annual fee rewards cards, however, a credit score of 700+ is likely needed.

However, keep in mind that your credit score is only one part of the equation. Banks also consider other factors, including how your income compares to your debt obligations and your overall ability to make your monthly credit card payments.

How to Apply

Most credit card applications from major issuers are similar. Here is what you can expect from the application process with all three cards – including what information is needed:

  • Full name (middle name and suffix optional)
  • Social Security Number
  • Birthdate
  • Citizenship
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Income
  • Monthly rent/mortgage expenses

Annual Fee

Both cards feature no annual fee. It is worth noting, however, that getting the best rewards with Amazon and Chase requires an active Prime membership. Membership with Prime does have its benefits, including free shipping, special members-only discounts, and access to millions of films, television shows, and more. However, this is still an additional cost that those considering applying for this card must consider – a charge of over $100 per year.

Introductory APR

While the Amazon Prime Rewards does not come with a dedicated 0% intro APR period on purchases, Chase does offer special promotional financing on select Amazon purchases.

In contrast, the Citi Custom Cash Mastercard provides 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will vary depending on the applicant’s creditworthiness. Those 15 months are on par with other lucrative cash back cards, including the Chase Feeedom Flex and the Freedom Unlimited.

Related Article: What is the Longest 0% APR Credit Card?

How to Earn Rewards

Earning impressive cash back is great, regardless of the ocassion. Here is precisely how those bonus categories breakdown:

Shopping with Amazon

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature was designed for Amazon shopping. The Chase credit card offers cardholders impressive rewards on all Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases – improving to 6% back on those purchases during Prime Day 2022.

Conversely, the Custom Cash earns 5% back on purchases in your top eligible spend category each billing cycle, up to the first $500 spent, and 1% cash back after that. Plus, cardholders automatically earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Those 5% back categories include grocery stores and select streaming, meaning there is some significant value for the frequent Amazon shopper with the card. Here is a breakdown of Citi’s select streaming services, including Prime Video and Amazon Music Premium:

Amazon Music Fubo TV MLB.tv Prime Video
Apple Music HBO Max NBA League Pass Showtime
Apple TV+ YouTube (Music/TV) Netflix Sling TV
Audible Hulu NHL.tv SiriusXM
DirecTV Stream iHeartRadio Pandora Spotify
Disney+ Kindle Unlimited Paramount+ Sticher
ESPN+ Luminary Peacock TIDAL

Earning Rewards Everywhere Else

When it comes to earning rewards outside of Amazon, its no contest between the Custom Cash and the Prime Rewards Visa (though this was obviously going to be the case).

As stated, the card earns 5% back on your top spend category each month – up to $500 spent every billing period. Here are those 5% back categories:

Dining Fitness clubs Grocery stores
Drugstores Gas stations Home improvement stores
Travel & transit (select) Live entertainment Streaming services (select)

All other purchases made with eh Custom Cash (including after the $500 threshold is met – earn 1% cash back.

Outside of Amazon, the Prime Rewards Visa provides 2% cash back at gas stations, drug stores, and restaurants.  Those 2% back rewards aren’t excessive but give some value versus the Custom Cash. For example, Prime cardholders can earn maximum rewards at Amazon and Whole Foods while earning enhanced cash back on drugstore purchases– something the Citi card cannot do.

How to Redeem Rewards

Earning up to 5% cash back is great, but how can you convert those rewards into awards?

How to Redeem Rewards with Citi

While the Citi Custom Cash℠ Mastercard earns “cash back,” those rewards take the form of ThankYou points. This means that 5% back is 5X ThankYou points – a rather lucrative total.

Cardholders can redeem their ThanYou Points for a huge selection of rewards, including:

  • Gift cards, including 15% more value when redeeming ThankYou points for gift cards from Wayfair®, Sephora®, and Grubhub.
  • Merchandise through participating retailers (including Amazon)
  • Travel
  • Charity
  • Citi loan payments (mortgages, student loans, etc.)

Citibank offers point transfers to 17 airline and hotel partners:

Aeromexico Club Premier Choice Privileges Air France KLM Flying Blue
American Airlines AAdvantage Emirates Skywards InterMiles
Asia Miles EVA Air Infinity MileageLands JetBlue TrueBlue
Aviatica LifeMiles Etihad Guest Malaysia Airlines Enrich
Qantas Frequent Flyer Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
Qatar Airways Privilege Club Sears Shop Your Way Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

How to Redeem Rewards with Amazon Prime Visa

All points accrued with the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card are redeemable towards eligible Amazon purchases, cash back through Chase (either as a statement credit or into available savings or checking account), or redeemed for gift cards. These options provide solid value for cardmembers – especially those who prioritize savings with Amazon – and want to use points to get that big-ticket item they have their eye on.

Other Features

The Citi Custom Cash Card is a Mastercard product. This means cardholders can expect the following basic Mastercard protections:

Zero Liability Protection Mastercard Global Services ID Theft Protection

In addition to these basic protections, cardholders may also have access to World Elite Mastercard features, including Luxury Hotels Collection access, Mastercard’s Hotel Stay Guarantee, Priceless Experiences, and more. 

Conversely, the Amazon Prime Rewards Card is a Visa product. While Visa Signature’s basic protections are nearly identical to Mastercard’s the enhanced perks differ slightly: 

Zero Fraud Liability Cardholder Inquiry Services Emergency Card Replacement
Roadside Dispatch and Auto Collision Damage Waiver Lost/Stolen Card Reporting ID Navigator from Norton
Luxury Hotel Collection Travel & Emergency Assistance Extended Warranty Coverage
Visa Signature Concierge

Recap

Here is a quick recap of all the features of all three card offers:


Citi Custom Cash℠ Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature®
Rewards Rate 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. Also, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn 5% on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases, 2% back at gas stations, drug stores, and restaurants, and 1% everywhere else.
Introductory Bonus $200 after spending $750 in 3 months, plus 15 months of 0% intro APR on purchases and BTs $200 Amazon gift card upon approval
Annual Fee No annual fee No annual fee
Learn More

The information related to Citi Custom Cash Card has been collected by BestCards.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Featured image by Gam-Ol  / PixaBay

About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. Cory holds academic degrees in both the U.S. and U.K. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.

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