Katy Perry Thinks You Should Earn Cash Back for Credit Card Spending

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Citi Double Cash Card

If you put a dollar of spending on a credit card, your opportunity cost is the two cents you’d earn with a 2% cash back card. If all you’re earning is one airline mile, you’re effectively buying that mile for two cents.

The simple way to see that is you can earn 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay for the purchase with a no annual fee Citi Double Cash Card. You’re giving up cash when you put spend on a miles credit card. So you should be getting a higher rate of return in order to do that. 2 cents is more than most people are willing to spend for miles.

Earning on the Citi Double Cash Card is really strong for someone that isn’t going to redeem miles for premium cabin international travel as well. If you’re going to fly domestically, especially domestic economy, cash back is better than miles.

This level of rebate is expensive for a bank to offer. And every loyalty program and card issuer is obsessed with the problem of millennials. They’re future spenders, and consultants say they’re different. They want immediate gratification and experiences rather than things.

Millennials are low trust, so simple value propositions with immediate proof of value are a key strategy to employ. (Airline loyalty programs especially have a huge problem with millennials because of a history of devaluations and doubletalk.)

Enter Katy Perry, now advertising for Citibank. (HT: Alan H.)

The new spot features Perry rehearsing for an upcoming show and highlights the disparity between what people say and what they actually mean through everyday scenarios. Citi’s messaging—which will continue later this month with Perry’s micro teacup poodle named Nugget—is simple: they mean what we say.

“I’m all about not mincing my words, so I’m excited to be teaming up with Citi for this hilarious new campaign,” Perry said. “I’m super pleased Nugget finally gets to be on TV, too.”

The card offers a strong value proposition, it’s expensive for Citi to offer. But marketing is usually needed for consumers to become aware of even the best value propositions.

Citi Double Cash Card

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. Gary,
    I’m confused about your disfavor of travel credits. I’ve had the BarclayCard for years and have never had trouble redeeming the “travel credits” for statement credit based on past purchases. As long as you have sufficient “travel” spending on your card, it’s just like cash back. The annual fee is $85 so if you spend more than $17,000/year on it, the BarclayCard seems to me a better deal than the Citi (plus no foreign transaction fees on the BarclayCard).

  2. @WhoMe – when you have to redeem travel credits above specific thresholds then in my view you need to discount the value of those credits relative to cash (and not only because they’re good only for travel).

  3. WhoMe: Why would 2% in travel credits with an $89 fee be better than 2% in cash with no annual fee? I think you get a 5% rebate on miles spent, making it 2.1% in cash back, but you still have to “pay back” the annual fee first. Am I missing another benefit?

  4. Beyond signups I think this is a solid cashback card to get. 2% no AF. The AF on my prestige card is going to hit in August so I think I may PC to this double cash card. The prestige was good while it lasted but I picked up the chase reserve which offers a better value to me, especially with the loss of access to american airlines lounges which is why I kept the prestige around. I have the downgraded barclays arrival card which I keep for the tradeline and util purposes and I tend to use on car rentals since I still have points on it to redeem for the travel credits and I have the venture card with a waived AF which I keep around because its my oldest active card and on occasion I will use it if I need to do a BT.

  5. Barclay’s Arrival+ is a dog. $89 for an extra 0.1%?

    And you have to redeem against travel transactions within the past 6 months with a $50 minimum. The only advantage is not FTF.

    Citi DC is good. Blispay is better. 2% immediately every statement cycle.

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