Sapphire Preferred vs Citi Premier: Which Card Is Better?

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The Citi Premier® Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are two of the top mid-tier rewards cards. 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 charge affordable annual fees under $100 and both currently feature all-time high welcome offers — which are arguably two of the best bonuses available right now. So, now is a great time to compare the bonus, earning potential, and benefits of these cards to 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 80,000 bonus ThankYou® PointsEarn 100,000 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
• 5X points on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
• 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide
• 3X points on eligible streaming services
• 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
• 2X points on travel which is not purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
• 1X point per $1 spent on all other purchases
Value of Points• 1.0¢ per point for airfare through Citi Travel Center
• Transfer points to 16 airline partners
• 1.25¢ per point for travel through the Chase Travel Portal
• Transfer points to 14 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
• Hotel credit – $50 annual credit eligible on hotel stays purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
• 10% anniversary bonus – Each year, cardmembers will receive 10% of the points earned in the previous year as a bonus
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

80,000 ThankYou Points vs. 100,000 Ultimate Rewards Points

Citi Premier® Card
Citi Premier® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Offer Earn 80,000 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.
  • 80,000 point signup bonus worth $800 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

The Citi Premier is currently running an all-time high bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This is by far the best bonus we've seen on this card and can provide a ton of value when transferred to airline partners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Our #1 recommended beginners rewards card featuring an 100,000-point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. This card comes with great benefits and earns valuable Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 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 eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
  • 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 3X points on eligible streaming services
  • 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
  • 2X points on all other travel
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

For the first time ever, the Sapphire Preferred is offering a massive signup bonus of 100,000 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 Sapphire Preferred is a clear winner in the race for the best signup bonus.

Bonus Categories and Earning Potential

With the earning-rate improvements that took effect on August 16, 2021, the Sapphire Preferred made up a lot of lost ground against the competition—including the Citi Premier card.

Prior to these changes, the Sapphire Preferred earned 2X points on dining and travel (and just 1X on everything else). Now, Sapphire Preferred earns 3X on dining out, 3X on eligible streaming services, and 3X on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs). The card also improved its earning rate to 5X on travel, but only for purchases made directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

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.

Even with the Sapphire Preferred improvements, the Citi Premier still holds a slight edge in earning through everyday spending. Most prospective cardholders will benefit more from the Citi Premier‘s 3X earning at gas stations than the Sapphire Preferred‘s 3X on steaming services. Citi's 3X earning on in-person grocery purchases (rather than Chase's category for online grocery) will be much more attractive for those who like to pick out their own produce.

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 basic purchase protection benefits.

Along with the increased earning rates announced in August 2021, Chase also added two brand new benefits to the Sapphire Preferred. Cardholders will receive an annual $50 statement credit for a hotel stay booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards. They will also receive an annual bonus equal to 10% of the points earned in the previous year. Outside of a $60 Peloton credit, Chase didn't previously offer much in the way of statement credits, so this is a welcome change.

Fortunately, Chase hasn't made any major changes to the Sapphire Preferred‘s industry-leading travel and purchase protection benefits—which remain one of the key reasons to get and keep this card. You can find more details in our full review.

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 80,000-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 increased 100,000-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 100,000-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 way to earn transferrable Ultimate Rewards points.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Annual Fee$95
Welcome Bonus Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Our #1 recommended beginners rewards card featuring an 100,000-point signup bonus after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. This card comes with great benefits and earns valuable Ultimate Rewards points.
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 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 eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
  • 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022
  • 5X points on travel purchased through Chase
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 3X points on eligible streaming services
  • 3X points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs)
  • 2X points on all other travel
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases

Over the long term, the Citi Premier will likely help you build a more substantial balance of rewards 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 80,000 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.
  • 80,000 point signup bonus worth $800 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

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Comments

  • Personally I prefer Chase, is better than Citi

    • Seeing your vote is a data point, but hearing exactly why you feel that way is where the real value lies. I agree with you on your choice, but we don’t know if it’s for the same reasons.

  • Given the increased fees and devaluations of some of the top cards such as the CSR, it’s great to see comparisons of these mid-tier $100 annual fee cards.

  • just applied for CSP, does any one know if i can apply for Citi premier on the same day so only one credit pull?

    • Since the CSP is from Chase and Citi Premier is Citi, you’ll still get two credit pulls. However, you can apply for another personal Chase card the same day for only one pull.

  • Just cancelled my Sapphire reserve card on 7/06/21
    Does anyone know how long I have to wait to apply for the Sapphire preferred any data point would be greatly appreciated

    • From what we’ve seen, it only takes a day or 2. So, you should be set. Although, as I’m about to go through the process, I’d love to hear your data point!

      • Hi JT
        First I went to see my personal banker on the 13th and he don’t see any offer for the Sapphire preferred card so I decided to wait.
        Finally applied online today 7/19th.Got the need more time to review message decided to call reconsideration waited for 20 minutes was told to verify my fiances then move some of my credit from my unlimited card and finally approved. Good luck on your process

  • I prefer Chase’s UR ecosystem (followed by AMEX’s MR system) to Citi’s TU Points system.

  • Both look great. Chase Sapphire Preferred 100k offer is unprecedented though!

  • Even though Citi is offering less bonus points, I think it is more well-rounded and will provide more value in the long run

  • Citi has more transfer partners than I expected, and Chase fewer. Interesting to compare, but I’m already so invested in Avios, getting anything but a Chase card to get even more Avios would feel strange…

  • I keep Citi premier & Citi prestige on my own reasons, don’t have Sapphire Preferred at the moment, but to be honest, SPreferred seems better, especially thanks to trip protection benefits. Also this CPremier’s benefit – Hotel credit – $100 annual credit eligible on hotel reservations of $500 or more made through ThankYou.com. – is pretty useless as it can’t combined with my my elite status for most of hotel chains.

  • euromannn says:

    CSP vs Citi Premier?

    No brainer —— Chase customer service is superior to Citi—which is one big reason to stay away from Citi Bank.

    Best VALUE in Credit Cards(CC) is the Sign Up Bonus(SUB) and Chase wins 100k SUB vs Citi 80K.
    Remember CSP card gives an extra 25% bonus when redeeming in travel at CHase so $250 value(125,000 on travel value).

  • Already have the Prestige and 180,000 TY points. AF is due next month. If I apply for the Premier, then product change Prestige to the DC, would I have to move the TY points I already have, within 60-90 days or will they pool?.

    • That’s a great question! I know that Double Cash “cash rewards” can be transferred to ThankYou Points. But I’m not sure how TYP that are earned via the Prestige are treated when you product change. I suppose that they will be converted to cash rewards that can then be transferred back to TYP via the Premier. I’d love to hear your experience!

  • Personally I like Chase one better.

  • I have both cards already. I recently spent $6,000 on two new airconditioners for my home. I put on my Citi Premier card because it gives you 2 additional years of warranty where Sapphire only gives you one

  • On the Chase card, if points are transferred to Southwest will it count for companion pass?