Sapphire Preferred vs Citi Premier: Which Card Is Better?

AwardWallet receives compensation from advertising partners for links on the blog. Terms Apply to the offers listed on this page. The opinions expressed here are our own and have not been reviewed, provided, or approved by any bank advertiser. Here's our complete list of Advertisers.

The Citi Premier® Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are two of the best mid-tier rewards cards available. Both earn flexible points that can be redeemed for travel at a fixed value or transferred to more than a dozen hotel and airline partners.

These cards have reasonable annual fees under $100, and both currently feature great signup bonuses. So, this is the perfect opportunity to compare their benefits and decide which one deserves a spot in your wallet.

Citi Premier & Sapphire Preferred at a Glance

Card DetailsCiti Premier® CardChase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Signup BonusEarn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® PointsEarn 60,000 bonus points
Bonus Categories• 3X points on airfare, hotels, and at gas stations
• 3X points on dining at restaurants, including cafes, bars, and lounges
• 3X at supermarkets
• 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases
• 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
• 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
• 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases

* From November 1, 2020, through April 30, 2021, earn 2X points per dollar spent at grocery stores
Value of Points• 1.25¢ per point for airfare through Citi Travel Center through 04/09/21, then 1¢ per point
• Transfer points to 16 airline partners
• 1.25¢ per point for travel through the Chase Travel Portal (also for purchases at grocery stores, dining, and home improvement stores through 04/30/21)
• Transfer points to 13 airline and hotel partners
Key Benefits• Hotel credit - $100 annual credit eligible on hotel reservations of $500 or more made through ThankYou.com.
• World Elite Mastercard benefits
• Free FICO score
• Primary CDW insurance on car rentals worldwide
• Trip delay reimbursement up to $500 for delays 12+ hours or overnight
• Trip cancellation and interruption insurance up to $10K per covered trip
• Lost luggage reimbursement and baggage delay coverage
EligibilityWon't be approved if you:
• Have opened or closed a ThankYou points earning card in the previous 24 months
Won't be approved if you:
• Currently hold a Sapphire card, or have received a signup bonus on one in the previous 48 months.
• Have opened 5 or more new credit card accounts in the previous 24 months (Chase's 5/24 Rule)
Annual Fee$95$95

60,000 ThankYou Points vs. 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points

Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
The Citi Premier card offers some of the top earning rates of any rewards card with an annual fee under $100. This card is best-in-class for rewards on air travel and hotel spending, and it tops our list of the best cards for gas & fuel purchases with a generous 3X ThankYou® Points.
  • 60,000 point signup bonus worth $750 towards airfare through the ThankYou Travel Center, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 3X points per $1 on airfare and hotels and at gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
  • Annual Hotel Benefit: Save $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through ThankYou.com
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • 3X points per $1 spent on airfare, hotels, and at gas stations
  • 3X points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants, including cafes, bars and lounges
  • 3X points per $1 spent at supermarkets
  • 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases

Cardmembers who opened their Citi Premier account before April 10, 2020 will also earn 2X points on entertainment and 3X points on a broader range of travel purchases through April 9, 2021.

The Citi Premier is currently running an increased bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This is an excellent bonus that can provide plenty of value when transferred to airline partners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Our #1 recommended beginners rewards card featuring an 60,000 point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 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 travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 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 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
  • 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

The Sapphire Preferred has returned to its standard signup bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

We value Ultimate Rewards points and ThankYou points at roughly the same value, so the determining factor here is which points you need more for your next redemption, or if you are affected by the application restrictions for either card.

Bonus Categories and Earning Potential

While Chase has added some temporary bonus categories in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the earning potential of the Sapphire Preferred is still a sore point when you line it up next to the Citi Premier.

The Citi Premier earns 3X points across a wide range of bonus categories including airfare, hotels, dining & restaurants, and at gas stations and supermarkets. Those are all useful bonus categories in which many cardholders will spend a lot every year.

As standalone cards, you'll earn a lot more points on everyday spending with the Citi Premier over the Sapphire Preferred. However, you can hold companion Ultimate Rewards-earning cards to broaden your bonus categories.

Key Benefits and Highlights

Understandably for sub-$100 annual fee cards, the Citi Premier and Sapphire Preferred are relatively light on big-ticket perks.

We were disappointed to see Citi pull most of its travel and purchase protection benefits from the Citi Premier in 2019. Realizing it may have gone too far, Citi sweetened the Citi Premier in early 2020 with an annual $100 hotel credit and new bonus categories. Plus, the card still offers some skeleton purchase protection benefits.

Outside of a new $60 Peloton credit, Chase doesn't offer any sort of statement credits on the Sapphire Preferred. Instead, it offers a robust set of travel and purchase protection benefits, making it one of the best in its class for purchasing travel. You can read more about the Sapphire Preferred benefits in our full review of the card.

airport-gate-lounge
Chase's travel protections could really come in handy in a pinch.

Who's Eligible for the Welcome Bonuses?

To qualify for the Citi Premier 60,000-point bonus, you can't have opened or closed a ThankYou Points earning card in the previous 24 months.

“Bonus ThankYou® Points are not available if you received a new cardmember bonus for Citi Rewards+℠, Citi ThankYou® Preferred, Citi ThankYou® Premier/Citi Premier® or Citi Prestige®, or if you have closed any of these accounts, in the past 24 months.”

New Sapphire Preferred applicants have a few extra hurdles to jump through to get the limited-time increased 60,000-point bonus. In addition to Chase's 5/24 policy, you can't currently be a Sapphire cardmember, and cannot have received a signup bonus on a Sapphire card in the previous 48 months.

“This product is available to you if you do not have any Sapphire card and have not received a new cardmember bonus for any Sapphire card in the past 48 months.”

Final Thoughts

 

When you factor in the 60,000-point signup bonus, we think the Sapphire Preferred should be on the radar of anyone that qualifies for the bonus. The card is a staple for Ultimate Rewards fans and offers the cheapest method of transferring UR points to partners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Our #1 recommended beginners rewards card featuring an 60,000 point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 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 travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 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 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
  • 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Over the longterm, the Citi Premier will likely earn more points, given it has a much higher earning potential on everyday spending categories. If you spend a lot in the Citi Premier bonus categories, or you don't qualify for the Sapphire Preferred, this is a great card to add to your wallet.

Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
The Citi Premier card offers some of the top earning rates of any rewards card with an annual fee under $100. This card is best-in-class for rewards on air travel and hotel spending, and it tops our list of the best cards for gas & fuel purchases with a generous 3X ThankYou® Points.
  • 60,000 point signup bonus worth $750 towards airfare through the ThankYou Travel Center, or potentially much more when transferred to airline partners
  • 3X points per $1 on airfare and hotels and at gas stations, restaurants, and supermarkets
  • Annual Hotel Benefit: Save $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through ThankYou.com
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee
  • 3X points per $1 spent on airfare, hotels, and at gas stations
  • 3X points per $1 spent on dining at restaurants, including cafes, bars and lounges
  • 3X points per $1 spent at supermarkets
  • 1X points per $1 spent on all other purchases

Cardmembers who opened their Citi Premier account before April 10, 2020 will also earn 2X points on entertainment and 3X points on a broader range of travel purchases through April 9, 2021.

The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

**You may receive 5 bonus AAdvantage miles for leaving a comment (Details/FAQ)

Comments

  • Avatar
    Don Andrews says:

    Chase is the way to go. I appreciate the PYB offer during this time we cannot travel as much!

  • Avatar
    IGNACIO MEDINA says:

    Chase is way better than Citi. People should go for the new Sapphire card without any doubt.

  • Avatar

    I think the 60K bonus on the premier is too weak.
    Needs to be 80K like the CSP to attract more people.

  • Avatar

    I believe the Sapphire is the better choice at this time because of the all time high welcome bonus.

  • Avatar

    The real question is when are they going to increase the reserve sign up bonus. Ridiculous that the preferred has a higher bonus.

  • Avatar

    I had been looking to possibly start with the Citi cards. I found out though that they do not transfer to hotels? I looked up who they transfer to but all the websites I looked at didn’t list any hotels. That’s a big game changer in my book. I think that Chase still has a leg up on Citi with the travel coverage, transferring to hotels, and redemption is superior. The only way Citi would become an option is if they get American as a transfer partner.

    • Avatar

      I’ve been hoping for Citi to add AA as a transfer partner for years! It seems like such a natural partnership considering Citi issues AAdvantage cards. Alas, it’s remained elusive.

      And yes, you’re right that Citi doesn’t have hotel transfer partners. Still, I have found Citi’s eclectic airline partners can provide plenty of value.

      • Avatar
        Chris Anderson says:

        Recently got the Citi Premier card to take advantage of the new bonus categories. But secretly hoping and crossing my fingers they will eventually make American a transfer partner.

  • Avatar

    Working my way through the sign up bonus on the Citi Premier right now!

  • Avatar

    Chase will need to increase reward points to be comparable to Citi Premier.

  • Avatar

    If I have choice to pick between the two, I would go with Chase first.

    • Avatar

      I would say chase is more useful due to the additional cards that are available that cover other bonus categories and those ur points can be transferred over to the sapphire card

  • Avatar

    The annual fee makes it a no for me. Except for the points, the perks have no appeal to me. Can get those on other cards with no annual that have better perks (cash back rewards).

  • Avatar

    Lots of great deals. Check your previous card expirations. I made that mistake, got the card but no bonus and reset my next card time limit.

  • Avatar

    The Chase Sapphire is great card and worth the annual fee. This bonus offer is an excellent one!