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Review

2020 Review: Citi Diamond Preferred Card — Best for Balance Transfers?

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Sean Messier By Sean Messier Dec 12, 2019 | Updated Jun 30, 2020
Our rating
Min. credit level: Excellent
Annual Fee: $0
Regular APR: 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)

There are plenty of credit cards out there with introductory APR offers lasting a year or more. Once you start looking for offers that span at least a year and a half, however, strong contenders are much harder to find. The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is right near the top of that pile.

Its massive balance transfer offer gives you a 0% APR for 18 months. There’s a 3% (minimum $5) balance transfer fee, which is pretty much middle ground.

The card’s intro purchase APR offer is just as long, at 0% APR for 18 months.

After these periods end, the card’s APR reverts to its regular 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) for both purchases and balance transfers.

And that’s about it. There are no rewards, no annual fee, and only a few simple benefits, so the Diamond Preferred isn’t about to woo your local points junkie or travel enthusiast.

But if it’s a competitive introductory APR offer you’re after, you’ll find it here.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

We give the Citi Diamond Preferred Card 4 out of 5 stars. Its introductory balance transfer period is one of the longest, and it’s matched by the purchase APR offer. Its balance transfer fee is a notable drawback, however.

The relative lack of additional features isn’t a huge detriment given how balance transfers are its main focus.

Why We Like It

  • Exceptionally long introductory balance transfer period coupled with an equally exceptional purchase APR offer
  • Citi Entertainment can be useful for securing event tickets and reservations
  • No annual fee

Why It Could Be Better

  • Charges a balance transfer fee
  • No rewards
  • Very few benefits

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • Transfer a balance: Take advantage of the huge introductory period, but only if you think it’s worth the 3% balance transfer fee. You might be better off considering competitive offers with smaller fees, or shorter periods with no transfer fees at all. We outline a few good alternatives below.
  • Pay off a large purchase: Pay off purchases interest-free if you don’t have a card with a longer offer (of which there are several). It may be worth vetting other options first, though, so you can choose a card that provides rewards and an intro APR.
  • Access entertainment: Citi Entertainment is basically the card’s only benefit, but the access it provides to presale tickets, “exclusive experiences,” and other events could be useful for cardholders who enjoy a night on the town.
  • Monitor your credit: Keep an eye on your credit situation by viewing your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report, for free.

The Rewards

The Citi Diamond Preferred provides no rewards; its introductory APR offer is the main feature.

Insider tip
There are several credit cards that provide points or cash rewards and promotional balance transfer APR offers. Aside from those we listed as alternatives, options include, but aren’t limited to, the Chase Freedom® (Review) and the Discover it® Cash Back (Review). The introductory periods for these credit card offers are seldom as long as the Diamond Preferred’s, but they often still exceed a year.

The Benefits

By now, it’s probably pretty clear that there’s not too much going on with the Diamond Preferred. There are some small perks, but nothing terribly impactful.

  • Citi Concierge: Call 1-800-508-8930 anytime to speak with a personal assistant, who can help with non-emergency tasks like finding tickets or making reservations.
  • Citi Entertainment: Access tickets to a wide variety of events, like concerts and sporting events, occasionally including presales and exclusive experiences.
  • Free FICO Score: Check your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report, for free.
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions: Receive aid from Citi’s identity theft specialists, who will help you apply fraud alerts, monitor your credit reports, provide advice for completing police reports, and more.
  • Automatic account alerts: Alerts concerning your balance, payments due, and other key account factors are delivered via email or text.
  • Choose your payment due date: Pick from the beginning, middle, or end of the month.
  • $0 fraud liability: Get comprehensive protection from unauthorized purchases on your account.
Insider tip

Citi may extend an offer for either Citi Flex Pay or a Citi Flex Loan, the issuer’s flexible financing programs, through your email or a banner on your account page.

Both options have their benefits, particularly if you don’t think you can pay for a necessary purchase up front or by the end of the billing period. Just be sure you understand the terms of whichever plan you choose before taking the plunge.

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
0% for 18 months, then 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable) 25.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 3%
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
3%, $5 minimum 5%, $10 minimum
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Up to 29.99% Variable Up to $40 Up to $40

This is where the Citi Diamond Preferred sells itself.

The card provides an introductory balance transfer APR offer that’s among the longest there is, with a great purchase APR to boot. Unfortunately, there’s a balance transfer fee. Most cards with balance transfer offers seem to charge a fee, and this one is no exception.

Nevertheless, if you’re transferring a balance that you may have trouble paying off with a shorter introductory period, the Diamond Preferred is a good option.

The introductory purchase APR is decent, but the card earns no rewards, so you should probably search elsewhere for a card that provides both in one place if you’re looking to pay off new, large purchases.

The Diamond Preferred charges a foreign transaction fee. That’s not uncommon for a card like this, and it shouldn’t be a big deal, because this isn’t a card you’ll want to bring abroad.

Read more

2020’s Best Credit Cards With No Balance Transfer Fees and 0% APR

The Bottom Line

This card does a couple things, and it does them well. It’s unfortunate that the card has a balance transfer fee, but the length of the intro period nonetheless makes the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card one of the more notable balance transfer cards that’s currently available. You just have to give it some thought to decide whether it’s right for you.

Is it worth it to pay a transfer fee and have lots of time to pay the balance in full, or should you settle for a shorter intro period with a lower transfer fee, or no fee at all?

Do you already already have a card that offers rewards? This card allows you to pay off a purchase or transfer a balance without interest charges, but you won’t earn any rewards like points or cash back.

Consider carefully.

Whatever you do, make sure you always use the card responsibly and make your payments on time, or you could forfeit the introductory interest rate and face a treacherous penalty APR instead. That would totally defeat the purpose of this Citi credit card.

Aside from its introductory offers, the Diamond Preferred card’s other features don’t require much discussion. There are a few good security perks, and Citi Entertainment can be useful if you love to be out and about. But beyond that, there’s not much else.

How to Apply for the Citi Diamond Preferred Card

Click the “Apply Now” button below, and you’ll be taken to the Citi website. Once you’re at the application you’ll have to provide a variety of basic background details, outlined below.

Citi will then conduct an inquiry to check your creditworthiness, and you’ll most likely get an instant decision, though the issuer may follow up for more information.

What Credit Scores Do You Need for the Citi Diamond Preferred?

The Citi Diamond Preferred caters to applicants with excellent credit. This credit score range typically encompasses a FICO score of at least 740, and a VantageScore of at least 750.

Take note that you’re not guaranteed to be approved with these scores, though. Other factors, including your income and monthly housing payments, may also influence Citi’s decision. So you could be approved with scores below the “excellent” threshold, or denied even with excellent scores.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Personal information: Name, date of birth, Social Security number, U.S. citizenship status
  • Address and contact information: Home address, phone number, email address
  • Financial information: Total annual income, monthly mortgage or rent payment

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Our rating
Min. credit levelExcellent
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

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Alternatives to the Citi Diamond Preferred Card

The Citi Diamond Preferred is a strong option if you have to transfer a balance, but it may not be the right fit for your situation.

Earlier, we mentioned cards with useful features like lower balance transfer fees, longer purchase APR offers, and strong rewards programs that complement their APRs. We’ll discuss a few of these below, so you can weigh their advantages against those of the Diamond Preferred.

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Fair
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 14.99%–24.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card boasts an introductory APR offer that’s even longer than the Diamond Preferred’s. The balance transfer fee is the same.

The card also provides a small batch of benefits, including several useful shopping and travel protections, that you won’t receive with the Diamond Preferred.

  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 20 billing cycles, then 14.99%–24.99% Variable (for transfers completed within the first 60 days)
  • Balance Transfer fee: 3%, $5 minimum
  • Travel and shopping protections: Extended Warranty Protection, an Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, and Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
  • Cell Phone Protection: Pay your phone bill with your U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card, and receive coverage for damage and theft claims up to $600, up to two claims per year, with a $25 deductible.
  • Free VantageScore credit score: View your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report, to help monitor your credit.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • 0% introductory APR for 20 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, then 14.99%–24.99% Variable
  • Savings at various retailers through Visa Discounts
  • Travel and shopping protections
  • Cell Phone Protection
  • Free VantageScore based on your TransUnion credit report
  • No annual fee

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Our rating
Min. credit level Excellent
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review) has racked up a big following thanks to its flat 2% reward rate, but that’s not its only selling point.

This Citi card is also popular because it delivers a very strong introductory balance transfer APR period. It’s the same length as the Diamond Preferred’s, and with the same transfer fee, it’s certainly a competitor.

Unfortunately, the Double Cash provides no purchase APR offer, so it doesn’t have the same two-in-one appeal for carrying balances as the Diamond Preferred. And take note that if you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay off the entire balance (including any transfers) by the due date.

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make
    • 1% back when you make a purchase
    • 1% back when you pay for that purchase

The Double Cash doesn’t provide the full 2% cash back at once. You only get 1% back when you actually make a purchase, and then another 1% back when the purchase is paid off.

Still, considering most strong balance transfer credit cards have no rewards, this is a pretty great offer. And besides, using credit cards responsibly means paying down your balance monthly, so you should get that full 2% pretty quickly.

  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, and then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) (from date of first transfer, when transfers are completed within 4 months)
  • Balance transfer fee: Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum
  • Free FICO credit score: Monitor your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report.
  • Quick customer service: Say “representative” when calling customer support to be connected with a rep more quickly.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

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At a glance

The Citi Diamond Preferred Card offers a very long promotional APR period on balance transfers and purchases. Aside from a few basic benefits, that’s about all there is to it — the intro APRs are its main draw.

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