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In the past, the Chase Sapphire Preferred perks have easily stood head & shoulders above most personal rewards credit cards. But many cards have been increasing their bonuses and benefits, which makes choosing just a little bit harder. One of those cards that has increased in value recently is the Citi Premier® Card.
Alright, let’s review these two of the best travel cards.
Best Sign-Up Bonus
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in 3 months. There’s a $95 annual fee on the CSP as well. Those 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points are worth $800 or $1000 in travel. You’re eligible for the Chase Sapphire Preferred and its sign-up bonus as long as you don’t currently hold the card and it’s been 24 months since you last received a bonus on the card.
The Citi Premier® Card earns 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. The 60,000 bonus points are worth $750 in airfare at thankyou.com. The $95 annual fee is not waived for the first year.
I think Ultimate Rewards are more valuable (more on that later).
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Citi Premier: Perks & Benefits
These two travel cards have a lot of great benefits, which is great for us!
The Citi Premier® Card gives you unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on:
- Gas Stations
- Travel Agencies
Finally, you’ll earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
There are no foreign transaction fees, and the card comes with chip technology and travel protection benefits like lost baggage, car rental insurance, trip accident insurance, and travel emergency assistance. Cardholders can also get a $100 annual hotel benefit after purchasing a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) through thankyou.com. The Citi Premier® Card is also a World Mastercard. Cardholders are entitled to additional benefits.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card rewards you with 2x earning on travel and dining purchases, 5x points on Lyft rides through March 2020, and 1x on all other purchases. Cardholders also get access to DoorDash Dashpass. It’s also great for international travel since there are no foreign transaction fees and it has chip & signature technology. The Sapphire Preferred is a Visa Signature card, which offers additional benefits like free wine tastings, BOGO movies, and more. It’s also worth noting that the Ultimate Rewards site has a shopping portal that can be very useful in earning multiple dollars for shopping online.
The Citi Premier® Card’s category bonuses are actually a little better than the Sapphire Preferred since you earn 3 points per $1 on travel and gas purchases. And the hotel bonus is nice.
Winner: Citi Premier® Card
Reward Points System
The Sapphire Preferred earns Ultimate Rewards points, which are my favorite points to earn. P e r i o d. They are just so darn flexible. You can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for travel through their website and receive a 20% bonus per redemption. That means that 80,000 UR points are worth $1000 in travel through the UR website. You can book any flight, hotel, or car rental available too. You can always redeem your UR points for gift cards, merchandise, and statement credits, but that’s obviously not my style.
The REAL value with Ultimate Rewards points is found in their transfer partners. You can transfer UR points out to 13 top travel partners. They are JetBlue, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Emirates, United, Southwest, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Air France/KLM, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG, and Marriott.
That’s a lot of options! I prefer to transfer my Ultimate Rewards points out to Singapore Airlines, United, Southwest, British Airways, or Hyatt. Here’s a couple of examples of what you can do with UR points.
You can fly round-trip to Europe on United in economy for 60,000 miles. That’s easily worth over $1,100 in value.
80,000 Ultimate Rewards points could also be transferred out to Hyatt and get you 2 nights at the Andaz 5th Avenue in New York City.
Citi ThankYou Points can also be redeemed through their website for travel, and you will get a 25% bonus on a redemption. 60,000 TY points are worth $750 in travel when you redeem through the site. You can also redeem your Thank You points for gift cards and merchandise. Gotta say it.
However, Citi ThankYou points can also be transferred out to travel partners! Victory. The Citi ThankYou transfer partners include Singapore Airlines, Asia Miles, EVA, Qantas, JetBlue, Virgin Atlantic, Garuda, Qatar, Etihad, Thai, Air France, and Malaysia.
In my opinion, the best Citi TY transfer partner is Singapore Airlines, which is also a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. Flying Singapore premium products is a treat, especially their high-end Suites Class. We recently flew from Tokyo to LA in Singapore Suites, and it was awesome. The ticket would’ve cost $15,000 out of pocket, but we were able to book it with miles & points. Here’s my primer on booking Singapore Krisflyer award tickets online.
I love that both the Ultimate Rewards program and Thank You programs earn transferable points. Transferable points will give you the most flexibility, thus the opportunity to get the most of out your points. It’s worth mentioning too that once you have miles in a certain airline’s loyalty program, you can fly any airline that is a partner with them. Crazy value!
In this category, I will have to pick the Sapphire Preferred because the Ultimate Rewards program has better transfer partners.
Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Conclusion of Chase Sapphire Preferred vs Citi Premier
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Citi Premier® Card are both solid travel card options, and each has its advantages. The Citi Premier Card has better category bonuses, but the Sapphire Preferred has better transfer partners.
Both cards have very competitive sign-up bonuses, but at the end of the day, I would rather earn Ultimate Rewards points than Citi ThankYou points.
Eventually, you may want to have both of these travel rewards cards since they compliment each other well. And that’s possible since they are issued from different banks. Basically, you can’t go wrong with either card, but hopefully, this review helps you make your decision.
Related Card Comparison Posts:
- Capital One Venture vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Freedom or Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Citi Premier vs Capital One Venture Rewards
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.