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Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Citi Premier Card: Which Travel Card is the Best Value?

Both cards offer solid benefits and rewards, but which one is right for your spending needs?

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® and Citi Premier® Card, from our partner Citi, are two popular travel credit cards that offer tremendous value.

Both cards offer a generous welcome bonus, valuable bonus categories and many benefits you can use when traveling or going about your daily life. Both also come with a reasonable $95 annual fee and their points can be transferred to airline and hotel partners (some of which overlap). 

If you’re in the market for a mid-tier travel credit card, chances are you’ve looked up both of these cards and tried to figure out which one would be a better fit. We’ve compiled the benefits offered by both cards into a handy chart and written up an analysis of how they stack up against each other, so you can make your decision more easily.

Here’s how the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Premier Card compare: 

Comparing the Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Citi Premier Card

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 60,000 Points
APR: Variable Rate
Rewards Rate: 1X-5X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Sign-Up Bonus: New applicants can earn 60,000 bonus points after using their card to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That’s $750 when redeeming points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who are beginning with travel rewards cards.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred actually works like having over a dozen different rewards credit cards. That’s because this credit card allows you to transfer your rewards points into miles with 11 airlines and points with three hotel programs.

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred might not be ideal for the most frequent travelers and highest spenders, it’s part of a family of Chase cards that has a built-in upgrade path. So when it comes time to take your travel rewards game to the next level, you won’t have to start from scratch with an entirely different credit card and rewards program.

The card has a $95 annual fee, but the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit effectively reduces that fee to $45. Plus, the credit card allows you to continue earning points through bonus categories and a 10% anniversary points boost. But when it comes time to redeem your rewards for travel, this card really shines. You can take advantage of some really strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt. Similarly, you can just book any reservation you want through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center.

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 80,000 ThankYou Points
APR: Variable APR Between 19.74% – 27.74%
Rewards Rate: 1X-3X ThankYou Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: This card features a 19.74% – 27.74% variable APR based on creditworthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 3x ThankYou Points per $1 spent at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, air travel and hotels. Beyond that, the card awards 1x ThankYou Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: New account holders can earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want to maximize rewards in multiple spending categories and welcome transferring points to airline partners.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier Card, from our partner Citi, is worth considering if you’re looking for accelerated travel rewards, but don’t want to pay a huge annual fee. It earns 3X points per dollar on air travel, hotels and spending at gas stations. You’ll also earn 3X points per dollar at supermarkets and restaurants and 1X point on everything else.

It’s easy to quickly rack up lots of points on this card. While you can redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, you’ll get more value when you redeem points for flights and hotels, and potentially even better value when you transfer points to travel partners.

Citi has dramatically improved the ThankYou Rewards program in recent years as well as the cards that earn those points, especially the Citi Premier Card. To compete with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi has onboarded new airline partners like Avianca LifeMiles and JetBlue TrueBlue.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Citi Premier Card both have a lot to offer, especially for a relatively low $95 annual fee. Choosing the best card comes down to selecting the one that most closely aligns with your spending habits and travel goals. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with not only the one-time and recurring benefits but ways you can redeem your points.

We’ll help you figure out the latter part. In the meantime, here’s how the two cards stack up against each other.

Sign-up Bonus

JetBlue tails at airport
JetBlue

Winner: Citi Premier Card

The two cards have historically offered comparable sign-up bonuses. However, the Citi Premier Card is currently offering an elevated bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of account opening. 

Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months. 

The best sign-up bonus comes down to how you plan to redeem your points. We’ll dive deeper into the different ways you can redeem these points, since they’re not exactly equal. In the meantime, here’s a look at the five airline transfer partners Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou have in common:

  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue 
  • Emirates Skyward
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

If you’re saving up for an award with one of these programs, then you should get the Citi Premier Card for the higher welcome bonus. But if you want to earn more Hyatt points, for example, then the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the better option since you cannot transfer your Citi points to World of Hyatt. 

Earn Rate

relaxing at a hotel
iStock

Winner: Tie

When you’re shopping for a credit card, it’s always best to look beyond the welcome bonus. You want a card that will generously reward you for your daily purchases. You’ll want a card with bonus categories that match your spending habits. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has the highest and most well-rounded bonus categories, compared to the Citi Premier Card. Cardholders earn 5X points on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel bookings and Lyft rides through March 31, 2025. The card earns 3X points on select streaming services, dining (including eligible delivery services) and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). Plus, you’ll earn 2X points on all other travel purchases and 1 point per dollar on other purchases.

These bonuses can help most people accrue quite a large stash of points every year. If that’s not enough, you’ll get an annual bonus equal to 10% of your total purchases made the previous year. For example, if you spend $20,000 on your card, you’ll get 2,000 bonus points. Essentially, you’re earning a minimum of 1.1 points per dollar spent on this card.

The Citi Premier Card offers solid value as well. Cardholders earn 3X points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel and hotels. All other points earn 1 point per dollar spent. In some ways, the Citi Premier Card is a better card. It has a lower earn rate but it’s less restrictive. The grocery bonus isn’t limited to online purchases and the travel bonus doesn’t apply to just Citi ThankYou bookings. 

Point Redemption Value

Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa
Hyatt

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

When it comes to redeeming points, both cards let you transfer points to travel partners or redeem them through a travel portal. You’ll get the most value by transferring your points, but direct bookings are more straightforward. Plus, they provide more flexibility when award inventory is limited by airlines and hotels. This can happen quite often during peak travel dates. Being able to still redeem your points at a flat rate through a travel portal is useful in these situations.

Here’s a closer look at the point redemption value you can expect from each program:

Best Point Value for Direct Travel Bookings

If you plan to redeem points for direct travel bookings, the Sapphire Preferred is a better option. Points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Meanwhile, Citi ThankYou points are worth 1 cent each towards Citi ThankYou travel bookings. 

Best Point Value for Transfer Partners

If you plan on redeeming points with a transfer partner, Slickdeals values Ultimate Rewards points at 2.2 cents and Citi ThankYou points at 1.8. That’s the value you can expect when redeeming points for premium travel redemptions. There’s plenty to choose from, with both programs offering plenty of transfer partners and sweet spots.

Here’s a look at ways you can redeem Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou points for exceptional value:

Chase Ultimate Rewards 

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 to over a dozen airline and hotel transfer partners. The most unique is probably Hyatt, which only transfers from one other program (Bilt Rewards). But other than that, there is plenty of variety and a good mix of domestic and international travel partners.

  • Aer Lingus, AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue 
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

If you’re curious how far your points will go. Here’s a look at some historical sweet spot awards:

  • British Airways: 26,000 Avios round-trip for economy class between the West Coast and Hawaii
  • Iberia: 34,000 Avios for round-trip business class between the East Coast and Europe
  • Hyatt: From 12,000 points for a free night at the all-inclusive Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana
  • Flying Blue: 43,000 miles for a round-trip economy class ticket to North Africa
  • Virgin Atlantic: 20,000 miles for a round-trip economy class ticket between the East Coast and London

Citi ThankYou points 

The Citi Thankyou program has more transfer partners than Chase Ultimate Rewards. It’s roster is dominated largely by international partners, but these can offer tremendous value if you use them right.

  • Aeromexico Club Premier
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • Avianca LifeMiles
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Choice Privileges 
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Etihad Guest
  • Eva Air Infinity MileageLands
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer
  • Qatar Airways Privilege Club
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • Wyndham Rewards
  • Shop Your Way

Here are some of the historical sweet spot awards you can book with Citi ThankYou points:

  • Turkish Miles&Smiles: 15,000 miles round-trip for United economy class to Hawaii
  • Etihad Guest: 88,000 miles round-trip for Royal Air Maroc business class to Morocco
  • Avianca Lifemiles: 174,000 miles round-trip for Lufthansa first class to Europe
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue: 30,000 miles roundtrip for economy class between the U.S. and Caribbean

Travel Perks

Winner: Tie

Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Premier Card offer annual travel perks, which is rare for mid-tier cards. The Sapphire Preferred offers up to $50 in statement credits for hotel stays booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. The Citi Premier Card has a higher $100 annual hotel savings benefit valid on bookings of $500 or more. 

The Sapphire Preferred’s bonus is lower, but also more versatile because there’s no minimum booking amount. You can use it to knock out the cost of a $50 hotel stay or save on more expensive bookings. However, if you plan to book hotel stays costing $500 or more, the Citi Premier Card’s bonus will save you more.

Neither credit card charges foreign transaction fees, so you can use it abroad without incurring extra charges.

Other Perks

ordering food on DoorDash
DoorDash

Winner: Citi Premier Card

Both credit cards offer several useful perks for everyday life. For example, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders receive a free DoorDash DashPass subscription through 2024.

The Citi Premier Card offers even more benefits through the Mastercard World Elite program. In addition to DashPass membership, members get $5 off the first order every month through Sept. 30, 2022. Cardholders also get a free ShopRunner membership, which includes free two-day shipping at over a hundred stores. Lastly, members receive 5% off Hello Fresh and a $5 credit for three Lyft rides taken in a month.

Citi clearly comes out ahead in this category, with a broader selection of benefits.

Travel and Purchase Protection

Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred

In 2019, Citi stripped its credit cards of nearly all of its insurance coverage. The only thing left intact is purchase protection, valid within 90 days of purchase and limited to $10,000 per incident – much higher than the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s limit of $500 per claim. Citi Premier Card’s Extended Warranty benefit is also superior to Sapphire Preferred’s. It extends the manufacturer’s warranty by 24 months (as opposed to Chase’s 12) and covers losses of up to $10,000. 

The Citi Premier Card has no travel protections, which makes charging high-priced vacations to your Citi cards far less appealing. In the age of COVID, when travel can come to a complete stop at any moment, travel insurance is as vital as ever. So you should think twice about charging your trips to your Citi Premier Card unless you’re buying supplemental insurance.

On the other hand, Chase Sapphire Preferred offers the following protections:

  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip.
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Secondary coverage that provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the car in case of theft or collision
  • Baggage Delay Insurance: Reimburses essential purchases for baggage delays over six hours. Up to $100 per day for up to five days.
  • Trip Delay Reimbursement: Provides reimbursement for meals and lodging, up to $500 per ticket when travel is delayed for more than 12 hours or requires an overnight stay.
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: Provides emergency assistance, legal and medical referrals.
  • Purchase protection: Covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim (up to $50,000 per account). 
  • Extended Warranty Protection: Extends U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by an additional year (valid on warranties of three years or less).

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is clearly your best bet if you want peace of mind during your travels, while the Citi Premier Card offers superior protection for your most valued purchases. The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s protections can save you hundreds of dollars on insurance and thousands in case of a loss.

Bottom Line

The Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Premier Card are both great cards that offer great rewards and recurring perks. So which credit card is best? The two are seemingly tied based on the six criteria we’ve evaluated them on.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is best for point redemption value and travel protections. Meanwhile, the Citi Premier Card comes out ahead on the sign-up bonus and non-travel perks. The two cards are tied on earn rate and travel perks. 

Breaking the tie and settling on “the best credit card” comes down to your personal spending habits and travel goals. If your spending habits align closer with the Sapphire Preferred’s bonus categories, then go with that card. If you’re a budget traveler, the Sapphire Preferred’s $50 hotel credit might go further than the Citi Premier Card’s $100 credit, which also has a $500 booking minimum.

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 60,000 Points
APR: Variable Rate
Rewards Rate: 1X-5X Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: Variable APR depending on credit worthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Sign-Up Bonus: New applicants can earn 60,000 bonus points after using their card to spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening. That’s $750 when redeeming points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who are beginning with travel rewards cards.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred actually works like having over a dozen different rewards credit cards. That’s because this credit card allows you to transfer your rewards points into miles with 11 airlines and points with three hotel programs.

Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred might not be ideal for the most frequent travelers and highest spenders, it’s part of a family of Chase cards that has a built-in upgrade path. So when it comes time to take your travel rewards game to the next level, you won’t have to start from scratch with an entirely different credit card and rewards program.

The card has a $95 annual fee, but the $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit effectively reduces that fee to $45. Plus, the credit card allows you to continue earning points through bonus categories and a 10% anniversary points boost. But when it comes time to redeem your rewards for travel, this card really shines. You can take advantage of some really strong transfer partners such as United, Southwest, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Hyatt. Similarly, you can just book any reservation you want through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel center.

Offer Details

Secure application on issuer’s website.

Annual Fee: $95
Bonus: 80,000 ThankYou Points
APR: Variable APR Between 19.74% – 27.74%
Rewards Rate: 1X-3X ThankYou Points
Details: Full Review

Terms and restrictions apply

Offer Terms

Annual Fee: $95

APR: This card features a 19.74% – 27.74% variable APR based on creditworthiness.

Rewards Rate: The card offers 3x ThankYou Points per $1 spent at supermarkets, gas stations, restaurants, air travel and hotels. Beyond that, the card awards 1x ThankYou Points per dollar spent on all other eligible purchases.

Sign-Up Bonus: New account holders can earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening.

Who Should Use This Credit Card? People who want to maximize rewards in multiple spending categories and welcome transferring points to airline partners.

Why We Like It

Why We Like the Citi Premier® Card

The Citi Premier Card, from our partner Citi, is worth considering if you’re looking for accelerated travel rewards, but don’t want to pay a huge annual fee. It earns 3X points per dollar on air travel, hotels and spending at gas stations. You’ll also earn 3X points per dollar at supermarkets and restaurants and 1X point on everything else.

It’s easy to quickly rack up lots of points on this card. While you can redeem ThankYou points for gift cards, you’ll get more value when you redeem points for flights and hotels, and potentially even better value when you transfer points to travel partners.

Citi has dramatically improved the ThankYou Rewards program in recent years as well as the cards that earn those points, especially the Citi Premier Card. To compete with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi has onboarded new airline partners like Avianca LifeMiles and JetBlue TrueBlue.

Regardless of which credit card you choose, you’ll save money on travel and get a few freebies to use in the meantime. But my recommendation? Get both cards and splurge on a truly spectacular business class flight to someplace fabulous. Then evaluate your spending patterns after the first year to determine which to cancel and which to keep

While we work hard on our research, we do not always provide a complete listing of all available offers from credit-card companies and banks. And because offers can change, we cannot guarantee that our information will always be up to date, so we encourage you to verify all the terms and conditions of any financial product before you apply.

Ariana Arghandewal
Ariana Arghandewalhttps://www.pointchaser.com/
Ariana Arghandewal is a rewards travel expert and founder of Pointchaser. She has covered all things points, miles and credit cards for over a decade and served as an editor at The Points Guy, NerdWallet, and FlyerTalk. Her work has also appeared in Forbes, Fodor's Travel, and U.S. News Weekly.

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