Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Citi Premier Card

Are you trying to decide between the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Citi Premier® Card? Which card will be better for you? Find out below!


Trying to decide which card is better—Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Citi Premier® Card—requires some forethought
Trying to decide which card is better—Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Citi Premier® Card—requires some forethought. Image courtesy of Wix

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is one of the most sought-after premium travel credit cards in the market. The welcome bonus currently stands at 60,000 Ultimate Rewards® points.


The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has recently enhanced its credit card rewards. You will now earn 3X points per dollar on online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target, and wholesale clubs), 3X points on dining, 3X points on select streaming services, 5X points on Lyft rides, 5X points on Peloton equipment, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase's Travel Portal, and 2X points on other travel categories.


Two new benefits that help offset the $95 annual fee are the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® Hotel Credit and the 10% anniversary points boost.


You can learn more about this credit card in the following post: Chase Sapphire Preferred—the Best Credit Card Just Got Better! You can apply for this card here!


Citi Premier® Card


The Citi Premier® Card flies under the radar when compared to other premier travel credit cards. It packs a powerful punch with a welcome bonus of 60,000 ThankYou® Points!


The Citi Premier® Card has enhanced category multipliers. You will earn 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel, and hotels.


An intriguing perk about this card is the $100 annual hotel savings benefit. Just book your hotel stay of $500 or more through thankyou.com or 1-800-THANKYOU to receive this benefit. It pays for the $95 annual fee!


You can learn more about this credit card in the following post: Citi Premier Card—Don't Underestimate This Workhorse! You can apply for this card here!


Welcome Bonus: And the Winner Is...


The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards® points; the Citi Premier® Card has a welcome bonus of ThankYou® Points. Both Chase and Citi have flexible points ecosystems. To learn more about this concept, see the following post: Flexible Points Credit Cards vs. Co-Branded Credit Cards—Don't Make This Mistake!


Which is better?


Overall, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card wins this round. Chase has better transfer partners than Citi. This will provide you with better options when the time comes to redeem your Ultimate Rewards® points for an Award Ticket. (I.e. cents per point valuation, etc.) To learn more about this concept, see the following post: An Easy Example of How to Leverage Your Miles & Points for an Award Ticket.


If you decide to use Chase's Travel Portal over a transfer partner, your points receive a 25% boost. In other words, 60,000 points are valued at $750 when used in this manner. With Citi, there is no boost when using their Travel Portal—60,000 points are valued at $600.


It should be noted that you will need to spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening in order to receive the 60,000 Ultimate Rewards® points. You will need to spend the same amount within the same time to receive the 60,000 ThankYou® Points.


Credit Card Rewards: And the Winner Is...


I give the winner of this round to the Citi Premier® Card. The Citi Premier® Card shines when it comes to the rewards it earns on purchases. Not only does it earn 3X points at restaurants, air travel, and hotels, but it also includes this same rate at supermarkets and gas stations! This creates an opportunity to turn this card into a real workhorse for everyday expenses; it is not your typical travel card.


In contrast, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target, and wholesale clubs). It earns 3X points per dollar on online grocery purchases (excluding Walmart, Target, and wholesale clubs), 3X points on dining, 3X points on select streaming services, 5X points on Lyft rides, 5X points on Peloton equipment, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase's Travel Portal, and 2X points on other travel categories. It earns 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.


Although the category multipliers for both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Citi Premier® Card are a close call, I give the edge to the Citi Premier® Card because of the 3X points on supermarkets, air travel, hotels, and gas stations. Having a card that earns 3X points in these categories is a win in my book.


Whatever credit card you decide to use, don't forget to stack your rewards! This is an easy—but often overlooked—way to increase your credit card rewards. One of my favorite online shopping portals is Rakuten. Use this link and get $30 for setting up an account! If you want to learn more about reward stacking see the following post: How to Win Points—With Your Spouse and Your Credit Card!


Anniversary Benefits: And the Winner Is...


The winner of this round goes to the Citi Premier® Card—barely—with its $100 annual hotel savings perk with the following caveat: Just book your hotel stay of $500 or more through thankyou.com or 1-800-THANKYOU to receive this perk. It pays for the $95 annual fee!


The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® Hotel Credit that is easy to use. In addition, the 10% anniversary points boost adds to the overall value of the card. For example, if you spend on average $10,000 per year with your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and utilize the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards® Hotel Credit, you will receive 1,000 bonus points per year + a $50 statement credit. I value Ultimate Rewards® at 1.5 cents per point. This would equate to $65 in anniversary benefits per year.


Citi's $100 annual hotel savings benefit generally will yield more value than Chase's $50 Ultimate Rewards® Hotel Credit + 10% anniversary points boost. However, it is harder to use than Chase's, and your miles may vary.

Travel Benefits: And the Winner Is...


Once again, the winner of this round goes to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card—by far. It comes with a multitude of travel benefits and purchase protection. This provides peace of mind when unexpected events take place that impacts your trip.


The travel benefits include Trip Cancellation/ Trip Interruption Insurance—up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. It also includes primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver coverage. There are Travel and Emergency Assistance Services. There is also Trip Delay Reimbursement—up to $500 per ticket. It includes Baggage Delay Insurance—up to $100 a day for 5 days. And, there is Lost Luggage Reimbursement—up to $3,000 per passenger. Finally, there are no foreign transaction fees.


The Citi Premier® Card falls far short when it comes to travel benefits and purchase protection compared to other premium travel credit cards—such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. It no longer has Worldwide Car Rental Insurance, Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection, Trip Delay Protection, Baggage Delay Protection, and Lost Baggage Protection, just to name a few.


You will want to be cognizant of this fact when preparing your trip—and have other travel insurance options at your disposal.


Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Citi Premier® Card do not have foreign transaction fees.


Having travel insurance provides peace of mind when unexpected events take place that impacts your trip. With COVID-19 affecting travel, learn more about how to plan for travel insurance in the following post: An Easy Guide to Travel Insurance for Your Next Vacation.


Are you thinking about international travel? AwardYourMiles has created a COVID-19 Resources tool to help you search for the country you would like to visit. After you enter the country, links to dynamic travel guidance/ requirements will automatically populate. This will save you time and energy. We have also included all 50 states within the United States. Our goal is to help provide you with tools to help make your journey a success. Also, learn more about international travel in the following post: International Travel—Five Things You Should Research First!


Transfer Partners: And the Winner Is...


The winner in our "final" round is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Although Citi has 18 transfer partners—compared to Chase's 14—they fall a little short.


Don't get me wrong—Citi has some amazing potential with some of its partners. Partners such as Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, British Airways Executive Club, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club can be leveraged for some amazing redemptions!


Chase, on the other hand, has a very strong presence with the following partners: Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards, United MileagePlus®, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, and World of Hyatt. From my own experience, I have received great value redeeming through Chase's transfer partners!


Final Verdict


Although there are other credit cards that may offer better credit card rewards, there are essentially three reasons why the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is considered one of the "best" and a "must-have" credit card for anyone entering the award travel arena:

  1. The WELCOME BONUS! You do not want to leave the current welcome bonus on the table.

  2. Access to TRANSFER PARTNERS! The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of three credit cards that opens the door to Chase's 14 transfer partners.

  3. Solidifies a RELATIONSHIP WITH CHASE! Chase is the "prized pony" when it comes to credit card issuers offering products that are tailored for award travel. A good relationship with Chase creates more opportunities to use additional products they offer; this is extremely valuable over time.

"The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is the best beginner's credit card for Award Travel."

Because of those aforementioned reasons, I would pick the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card over the Citi Premier® Card. Chase is a great company to work with and you can apply for this card here!


But, you can also benefit by having both cards! My wife and I work together to strategically open credit cards to substantially reduce our travel expenses. Learn more about this strategy—also known as "two-player mode"—to increase your credit card rewards in the following post: Getting Approved for a Credit Card While Unemployed—Why You Don't Want to Miss Out!


Do you want to determine the value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Citi Premier® Card based on your spending habits? Feel free to use our Credit Card Selector Calculator for FREE! It uses our proprietary algorithm which determines the best credit card in our database based on your spending habits. You will be able to determine the value of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Citi Premier® Card in your first year of use.


Do you want to learn how the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card compares with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card? Find out in the following post: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card vs. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.


Credit Card Miles & Points Consultant


Do you feel overwhelmed with all the options available when it comes to redeeming your miles & points? Would you like some assistance to get you started in the right direction? You will benefit from the services of a Credit Card Miles & Points Consultant. You will be assisted with regards to earning miles & points through credit card use and redeeming those miles & points for Award Travel. Or, feel free to use any of our Award Travel Tools online. Get started today!


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